[SCENE II]〖The royal palace〗


Y. MOR. Fair Isabel, now have we our desire;

The proud corrupters of the light-brain’d king

Have done their homage to the lofty gallows,

And he himself lies in captivity.

Be rul’d by me, and we will rule the realm.

In any case take heed of childish fear,

For now we hold an old wolf by the ears,

That, if he slip, will seize upon us both,

And gripe the sorer, being grip’d himself.

Think therefore, madam, that imports us much

To erect your son with all the speed we may,

And that I be protector over him;

For our behoof will bear the greater sway

Whenas a king’s name shall be under writ.

Q. ISAB. Sweet Mortimer, the life of Isabel,

Be thou persuaded that I love thee well,

And therefore, so the prince my son be safe,

Whom I esteem as dear as these mine eyes,

Conclude against his father what thou wilt,

And I myself will willingly subscribe.

Y. MOR. First would I hear news that he were depos’d,

And then let me alone to handle him.


Letters! from whence?

MESS. From Killingworth, my lord.

Q. ISAB. How fares my lord the king?

MESS. In health, madam, but full of pensiveness.

Q. ISAB. Alas, poor soul, would I could ease his grief!

[Enter the BISHOP of WINCHESTER with the crown.]

Thanks, gentle Winchester. [To the Messenger.] Sirrah, be gone.

[Exit Messenger.]

B. OF WIN. The king hath willingly resign’d his crown.

Q. ISAB. O happy news! send for the prince, my son.

B. OF WIN. Further, or this letter was seal’d, Lord Berkeley came,

So that he now is gone from Killingworth;

And we have heard that Edmund laid a plot

To set his brother free; no more but so.

The lord of Berkeley is as pitiful

As Leicester that had charge of him before.

Q. ISAB. Then let some other be his guardian.

Y. MOR. Let me alone, here is the privy seal.


Who’s there?—Call hither Gurney and Matrevis.

[To Attendants within.]

To dash the heavy-headed Edmund’s drift,

Berkeley shall be discharg’d, the king remov’d,

And none but we shall know where he lieth.

Q. ISAB. But, Mortimer, as long as he survives,

What safety rests for us, or for my son?

Y. MOR. Speak, shall he presently be despatch’d and die?

Q. ISAB. I would he were, so ’twere not by my means.


Y. MOR. Enough.—

Matrevis, write a letter presently

Unto the lord of Berkeley from ourself

That he resign the king to thee and Gurney;

And when ’tis done, we will subscribe our name.

MAT. It shall be done, my lord. [Writes.]

Y. MOR. Gurney.

GUR. My lord.

Y. MOR. As thou intend’st to rise by Mortimer,

Who now makes Fortune’s wheel turn as he please,

Seek all the means thou canst to make him droop,

And neither give him kind word nor good look.

GUR. I warrant you, my lord.

Y. MOR. And this above the rest: because we hear

That Edmund casts〖Plots.〗 to work his liberty,

Remove him still from thence place to place by night,

Till at the last he come to Killingworth,

And then from thence to Berkeley back again;

And by the way, to make him fret the more,

Speak curstly to him, and in any case

Let no man comfort him; if he chance to weep,

But amplify his grief with bitter words.

MAT. Fear not, my lord, we’ll do as you command.

Y. MOR. So now away; post thitherwards amain.

Q. ISAB. Whither goes this letter? To my lord the king?

Commend me humbly to his majesty,

And tell him that I labour all in vain

To ease his grief, and work his liberty;

And bear him this as witness of my love.    [Gives a ring.]

MAT. I will, madam. Exit with GURNEY.

Enter PRINCE EDWARD, and KENT talking with him

Y. MOR. Finely dissembled. Do so still, sweet queen.

Here comes the young prince with the Earl of Kent.

Q. ISAB. Something he whispers in his childish ears.

Y. MOR. If he have such access unto the prince,

Our plots and stratagems will soon be dash’d.

Q. ISAB. Use Edmund friendly, as if all were well.

Y. MOR. How fares my honourable lord of Kent?

KENT. In health, sweet Mortimer. How fares your grace?

Q. ISAB. Well, if my lord your brother were enlarg’d.

KENT. I hear of late he hath depos’d himself.

Q. ISAB. The more my grief.

Y. MOR. And mine.

KENT. Ah, they do dissemble! [Aside.]

Q. ISAB. Sweet son, come hither, I must talk with thee.

Y. MOR. You being his uncle, and the next of blood,

Do look to be protector o’er the prince.

KENT. Not I, my lord; who should protect the son,

But she that gave him life? I mean the queen.

P. EDW. Mother, persuade me not to wear the crown:

Let him be king—I am too young to reign.

Q. ISAB. But be content, seeing ’tis his highness’ pleasure.

P. EDW. Let me but see him first, and then I will.

KENT. Ay, do, sweet nephew.

Q. ISAB. Brother, you know it is impossible.

P. EDW. Why, is he dead?

Q. ISAB. No, God forbid!

KENT. I would those words proceeded from your heart.

Y. MOR. Inconstant Edmund, dost thou favour him,

That wast the cause of his imprisonment?

KENT. The more cause have I now to make amends.

Y. MOR. [Aside to Q. ISAB. ] I tell thee, ’tis not meet that one so false

Should come about the person of a prince.—

My lord, he hath betray’d the king his brother,

And therefore trust him not.

P. EDW. But he repents, and sorrows for it now.

Q. ISAB. Come, son, and go with this gentle lord and me.

P. EDW. With you I will, but not with Mortimer.

Y. MOR. Why, youngling, ’sdain’st thou so of Mortimer?

Then I will carry thee by force away.

P. EDW. Help, uncle Kent! Mortimer will wrong me.

Q. ISAB. Brother Edmund, strive not; we are his friends;

Isabel is nearer than the Earl of Kent.

KENT. Sister, Edward is my charge, redeem him.

Q. ISAB. Edward is my son, and I will keep him.

KENT. Mortimer shall know that he hath wrong’d me!—

Hence will I haste to Killingworth Castle,

And rescue aged Edward from his foes,

To be reveng’d on Mortimer and thee.

[Aside.] Exeunt [on one side QUEEN ISABELLA, PRINCE EDWARD, and Young MORTIMER; on the other KENT.]

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