Scene One

Enter Gaveston reading on a letter that was brought him from the king.

‘My father is deceast, come Gaveston,’
‘And share the kingdom with thy deerest friend.
Ah words that make me surfet with delight:
What greater blisse can hap to Gaveston,
Then live and be the favorit of a king?
Sweete prince I come, these these thy amorous lines,
Might have enforst me to have swum from France,
And like Leander gaspt upon the sande,
So thou wouldst smile and take me in thy armes.
The sight of London to my exiled eyes,
Is as Elizium to a new come soule.
Not that I love the citie or the men,
But that it harbors him I hold so deare,
The king, upon whose bosome let me die,
And with the world be still at enmitie:
What neede the artick people love star-light,
To whom the sunne shines both by day and night.
Farewell base stooping to the lordly peeres,
My knee shall bowe to none but to the king.
As for the multitude that are but sparkes,
Rakt up in embers of their povertie,
Tanti: Ile fawne first on the winde,
That glaunceth at my lips and flieth away:
Enter three poore men.
But how now, what are these?

Poore men
Such as desire your worships service.

What canst thou doe?

1. poore man
I can ride.

But I have no horses. What art thou?

2. poore man
A traveller.

Let me see, thou wouldst do well
To waite at my trencher, and tell me lies at dinner time,
And as I like your discoursing, ile have you.
And what art thou?

3. poore man
A souldier, that hath serv'd against the Scot.

Why there are hospitals for such as you,
I have no warre, and therefore sir be gone.

3. poore man
Farewell, and perish by a souldiers hand,
That wouldst reward them with an hospitall.
[Offer to go.]

I, I, these wordes of his move me as much,
As if a Goose should play the Porpintine,
And dart her plumes, thinking to pierce my brest,
But yet it is no paine to speake men faire,
Ile flatter these, and make them live in hope:
You know that I came lately out of France,
And yet I have not viewd my Lord the king,
If I speed well, ile entertaine you all.

We thanke your worship.

I have some busines, leave me to my selfe.

We will wait heere about the court.

Do: these are not men for me,
I must have wanton Poets, pleasant wits,
Musitians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant king which way I please:
Musicke and poetrie is his delight,
Therefore ile have Italian maskes by night,
Sweete speeches, comedies, and pleasing showes,
And in the day when he shall walke abroad,
Like Sylvian Nimphes my pages shall be clad,
My men like Satyres grazing on the lawnes,
Shall with their Goate feete daunce an antick hay.
Sometime a lovelie boye in Dians shape,
With haire that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearle about his naked armes,
And in his sportfull hands an Olive tree,
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by,
One like Actaeon peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angrie goddesse be transformde,
And running in the likenes of an Hart,
By yelping hounds puld downe, and seeme to die.
Such things as these best please his majestie,
My lord. Heere comes the king and the nobles
From the parlament, ile stand aside.
Enter the King, Lancaster, Mortimer senior, Mortimer junior, Edmund Earle of Kent, Guie Earle of Warwicke, &c.


My Lorde.

That Earle of Lancaster do I abhorre.

Will you not graunt me this?In spight of them[Aside.]

Ile have my will, and these two Mortimers,
That crosse me thus, shall know I am displeasd.

Mortimer senior
If you love us my lord, hate Gaveston.

That villaine Mortimer, ile be his death.

Mine unckle heere, this Earle, and I my selfe,
Were sworne
to your father at his death,
That he should nere returne into the realme:
And know my lord, ere I will breake my oath,
This sword of mine that should offend your foes,
Shall sleepe within the scabberd at thy neede,
And underneath thy banners march who will,
For Mortimer will hang his armor up.

Mort dieu.

Well Mortimer, ile make thee rue these words,
Beseemes it thee to contradict thy king?
Frownst thou thereat, aspiring Lancaster,
The sworde shall plane the furrowes of thy browes,
And hew these knees that now are growne so stiffe.
I will have Gaveston, and you shall know,
What danger tis to stand against your king.

Well doone, Ned.

My lord, why do you thus incense your peeres,
That naturally would love and honour you,
But for that base and obscure Gaveston:
Foure Earldomes have I besides Lancaster,
Darbie, Salsburie, Lincolne, Leicester,
These will I sell to give my souldiers paye,
Ere Gaveston shall stay within the realme.
Therefore if he be come, expell him straight.

Barons and Earls, your pride hath made me mute,
But now ile speake, and to the proofe I hope:
I do remember in my fathers dayes,
Lord Percie of the North being highly mov'd,
Brav'd Mowberie in presence of the king,
For which, had not his highnes lov'd him well,
He should have lost his head, but with his looke,
The undaunted spirit of Percie was appeasd,
And Mowberie and he were reconcild:
Yet dare you brave the king unto his face.
Brother revenge it, and let these their heads,
Preach upon poles for trespasse of their tongues.

O our heads?

I yours, and therefore I would wish you graunt.

Bridle thy anger gentle Mortimer.

I cannot, nor I will not, I must speake
Cosin, our hands I hope shall fence our heads,
And strike off his that makes you threaten us.
Come unckle, let us leave the brainsick king,
And henceforth parle with our naked swords.

Mortimer senior
Wilshire hath men enough to save our heads.

All Warwickshire will love him for my sake.

And Northward Gaveston hath many friends.
Adew my Lord, and either change your minde,
Or looke to see the throne where you should sit,
To floate in bloud, and at thy wanton head,
The glozing head of thy base minion throwne.
Exeunt Nobiles.

I cannot brooke these hautie menaces:
Am I a king and must be over rulde?
Brother displaie my ensignes in the field,
Ile bandie with the Barons and the Earles,
And eyther die, or live with Gaveston.

I can no longer keepe me from my lord.

What Gaveston, welcome: kis not my hand,
Embrace me Gaveston as I do thee:
Why shouldst thou kneele, knowest thou not who I am?
Thy friend, thy selfe, another Gaveston.
Not Hilas was more mourned of Hercules,
Then thou hast beene of me since thy exile.

And since I went from hence, no soule in hell
Hath felt more torment then poore Gaveston.

I know it, brother welcome home my friend.
Now let the treacherous Mortimers conspire,
And that high minded earle of Lancaster,
I have my wish, in that I joy thy sight,
And sooner shall the sea orewhelme my land,
Then beare the ship that shall transport thee hence:
I heere create thee Lord high Chamberlaine,
Cheefe Secretarie to the state and me,
Earle of Cornewall, king and lord of Man.

My lord, these titles far exceed my worth.

Brother, the least of these may well suffice
For one of greater birth then Gaveston.

Cease brother, for I cannot brooke these words:
Thy woorth sweet friend is far above my guifts,
Therefore to equall it receive my hart.
If for these dignities thou be envied,
Ile give thee more, for but to honour thee,
Is Edward pleazd with kinglie regiment.
Fearst thou thy person? thou shalt have a guard:
Wants thou gold? go to my treasurie:
Wouldst thou be lovde and fearde? receive my seale,
Save or condemne, and in our name commaund,
What so thy minde affectes or fancie likes.

It shall suffice me to enjoy your love,
Which whiles I have, I thinke my selfe as great,
As Caesar riding in the Romaine streete,
With captive kings at his triumphant Carre.
Enter the Bishop of Coventrie.

whether goes my Lord of Coventrie so fast?

To celebrate your fathers exequies,
But is that wicked Gaveston returnd?

I priest, and lives to be revengd on thee,
That wert the onely cause of his exile.

Tis true, and but for reverence of these robes,
Thou shouldst not plod one foote beyond this place.

I did no more then I was bound to do,
And Gaveston unlesse thou be reclaimd,
As then I did incense the parlement,
So will I now, and thou shalt back to France.

Saving your reverence, you must pardon me.
[Lays hold on him.]

Throwe of his golden miter, rend his stole,
And in the channell christen him a new.

Ah brother, lay not violent hands on him,
For heele complaine unto the sea of Rome.

Let him complaine unto the sea of hell,
Ile be revengd on him for my exile.

No, spare his life, but seaze upon his goods,
Be thou lord bishop, and receive his rents,
And make him serve thee as thy chaplaine,
I give him thee, here use him as thou wilt.

He shall to prison, and there die in boults.

I, to the tower, the fleete, or where thou wilt.

For this offence be thou accurst of God.

Whose there? conveie this priest to the tower.

True, true.
[Exit guarded.]

But in the meane time Gaveston away,
And take possession of his house and goods:
Come follow me, and thou shalt have my guarde,
To see it done, and bring thee safe againe.

What should a priest do with so faire a house?
A prison may beseeme his holinesse.

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