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Y. Mor. A homely one, my lord, not worth the telling. Edw. Pray thee let me know it.
Y. Mor. But, seeing you are so desirous, thus it is :
A lofty cedar-tree, fair flourishing,
On whose top-branches kingly eagles perch,
And by the bark a canker creeps me up,
And gets into the highest bough of all:
The motto, que tandem.
Edw. And what is yours, my lord of Lancaster?
Lan. My lord, mine's more obscure than Mortimer's.
Pliny reports there is a flying fish
Which all the other fishes deadly hate,
And therefore, being pursued, it takes the air:
No sooner is it up, but there's a fowl
That seizeth it: this fish, my lord, I bear,
The motto this: Undique mors est.
Kent. Proud Mortimer! ungentle Lancaster!
1 Reed refers to Pliny's Nat. Hist., ix. 19; but Pliny merely says that the exocœtus would leap on to a rocky ledge in warm weather and there bask in the sun. It is curious that Dyce, who was such an enthusiast for Athenæus, did not refer his readers to the account of the exocœtus quoted from Clearchus in Deipnos. viii. 5. According to this authority the fish, when basking on the ledge, has to be constantly on his guard against king-fishers and the like, and when he sees them afar, flies leaping and gasping until he dives under the water. Perhaps Marlowe had in his mind some embellished account that he had found in Gesner or Bellonius.
2 So ed. 1612.-Omitted in ed. 1598.
3 Old eds.
"Edw." (a misprint for "Edm."-the prefix in the 4tos. to Kent's speeches.)
Can you in words make show of amity,
And in your shields display your rancorous minds!
Against the Earl of Cornwall and my brother?
Queen. Sweet husband, be content, they all love you. Edw. They love me not that hate my Gaveston. I am that cedar, shake me not too much; And you the eagles; soar ye ne'er so high, I have the jesses1 that will pull you down ; And Eque tandem shall that canker cry Unto the proudest peer of Britainy. Though thou compar'st him to a flying fish, And threatenest death whether he rise or fall, 'Tis not the hugest monster of the sea,
Nor foulest harpy that shall swallow him.
Y. Mor. If in his absence thus he favours him, What will he do whenas he shall be present?
Lan. That shall we see ; look where his lordship comes.
Edw. My Gaveston !
Welcome to Tynemouth! welcome to thy friend!
For, as the lovers of fair Danae,
When she was locked up in a brazen tower,
1 Old eds. "gresses " (for "gesses.")-"Jesses " were the straps round a hawk's legs, with rings (called "varvels,") to which the falconer's leash was attached.
2 So ed. 1622.-Eds. 1598, 1612, "sure."
Is sweeter far than was thy parting hence
Gav. Sweet lord and king, your speech preventeth mine, Yet have I words left to express my joy:
The shepherd nipt with biting winter's rage
Edw. Will none of you salute my Gaveston?
Lan. Salute him? yes; welcome, Lord Chamberlain !
Kent. Brother, do you hear them?
Edw. Still will these earls and barons use me thus.
Whose mounting thoughts did never creep so low
Lan. Yet I disdain not to do this for you.
Edw. Treason! treason! where's the traitor?
1 Old eds. read:
"Pem. Here, here, king: convey hence Gaveston, thaile murder
I have followed Dyce in giving the line "Convey hence Gaveston,
[Edw.] Convey hence Gaveston; they'll murder him. Gav. The life of thee shall salve this foul disgrace. Y. Mor. Villain! thy life, unless I miss mine aim. [Offers to stab him. Queen. Ah! furious Mortimer, what hast thou done? Y. Mor. No more than I would answer, were he slain. [Exit GAVESTON with Attendants. Edw. Yes, more than thou canst answer, though he live; Dear shall you both abide this riotous deed.
Out of my presence! come not near the court.
Y. Mor. I'll not be barred the court for Gaveston. 90
That think with high looks thus to tread me down.
'Tis war that must abate these barons' pride.
[Exeunt the KING, QUEEN, and KENT. War. Let's to our castles, for the king is moved.
Y. Mor. Moved may he be, and perish in his wrath! Lan. Cousin, it is no dealing with him now, He means to make us stoop by force of arms; And therefore let us jointly here protest,
To prosecute that Gaveston to the death.
&c.," to the king; but I do not agree with him in regarding "king" as a prefix (for in the old copies "Edw." is always the prefix to the king's speeches.)
Y. Mor. By heaven, the abject villain shall not live! War. I'll have his blood, or die in seeking it.
Pem. The like oath Pembroke takes.
Lan. And so doth Lancaster.
Now send our heralds to defy the king;
And make the people swear to put him down.
Y. Mor. Letters! from whence?
Mess. From Scotland, My lord.
[Giving letters to MORTIMER. Lan. Why, how now, cousin, how fares all our friends? Y. Mor. My uncle's taken prisoner by the Scots. Lan. We'll have him ransomed, man; be of good cheer. Y. Mor. They rate his ransom at five thousand pound. Who should defray the money but the king,
Seeing he is taken prisoner in his wars?
I'll to the king.
Lan. Do, cousin, and I'll bear thee company.
War. Meantime, my lord of Pembroke and myself 120
Will to Newcastle here, and gather head.
Y. Mor. About it then, and we will follow you.
Lan. Be resolute and full of secrecy.
War. I warrant you.
[Exit with PEMBROKE.
Y. Mor. Cousin, and if he will not ransom him,
I'll thunder such a peal into his ears,
As never subject did unto his king.1
1 The reader cannot fail to be reminded of Hotspur :— "But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla 'Mortimer!'"