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DEPOSITION AND DEATH OF EDWARD II
From 1322 to 1326 Edward II was controlled almost entirely by the Despensers, who made enemies everywhere. Queen Isabella, an able woman, alienated from the King, probably contemptuous of his incompetence and jealous of the power of the Despensers, intrigued with Roger Mortimer to dethrone him. The Despensers were hanged and Edward was compelled to resign the crown. Eight months later he was murdered in Berkeley Castle.
(The King, being deposed, surrenders his crown into the hands of the Bishop of Winchester and the Earl of Leicester at Killingworth Castle.)
And jointly both yield up their wishèd right.
Let never silent night possess this clime:
See, monsters, see! I'll wear my crown again.
What, fear you not the fury of your king?—
And therefore say, will you resign or no?
[The KING rageth. King Edward. I'll not resign, but whilst I live
Traitors, be gone, and join you with Mortimer! 30 Elect, conspire, install, do what you will:
Their blood and yours shall seal these treacheries. Bishop of Winchester. This answer we'll return, and so farewell. [Going with TRUSSEL. Leicester. Call them again, my lord, and speak them fair;
For if they go, the prince shall lose his right. King Edward. Call thou them back; I have no power to speak.
Leicester. My lord, the king is willing to resign. Bishop of Winchester. If he be not, let him
King Edward. O would I might! but heaven and earth conspire
To make me miserable. Here, receive my crown.
He of you all that most desires my blood,
Take it. What, are you mov'd? pity you me? 45 Then send for unrelenting Mortimer,
19. fondly] foolishly.
And Isabel, whose eyes, being turn'd to steel,
Here, here! [Gives the crown.] Now, sweet God of heaven,
Make me despise this transitory pomp,
And sit for aye enthronized in heaven!
Come, death, and with thy fingers close my eyes, Or if I live, let me forget myself!
(Berkeley Castle. The King is left alone with Lightborn, a murderer.)
King Edward. Who's there? what light is that? wherefore com'st thou ?
Lightborn. To comfort you, and bring you joyful
King Edward. Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks:
Villain, I know thou com'st to murder me.
Lightborn. To murder you, my most gracious lord!
Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
King Edward. Weep'st thou already? list a while to me,
And then thy heart, were it as Gurney's is,
This dungeon where they keep me is the sink
King Edward. And there, in mire and puddle, have I stood
This ten days' space; and, lest that I should sleep, One plays continually upon a drum;
They give me bread and water, being a king;
I see my tragedy written in thy brows.
King Edward. What mean'st thou to dissemble with me thus ?
Lightborn. These hands were never stain'd with innocent blood,
Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's.
King Edward. Forgive my thought for having such a thought.
One jewel have I left; receive thou this:
Still fear I, and I know not what's the cause,
Lightborn. You're overwatch'd, my lord; lie down
King Edward. But that grief keeps me waking I should sleep;
For not these ten days have these eye-lids clos'd. Now, as I speak, they fall; and yet with fear Open again. O wherefore sitt'st thou here?
Lightborn. If you mistrust me, I'll be gone, my lord.
King Edward. No, no; for if thou mean'st to murder me,
Thou wilt return again; and therefore stay. [Sleeps. Lightborn. He sleeps.
King Edward. [waking.] O!
Let me not die; yet stay, O stay a while!
King Edward. Something still buzzeth in mine
And tells me, if I sleep I never wake;
This fear is that which makes me tremble thus; And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come? Lightborn. To rid thee of thy life. --Matrevis, come.
Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY.
King Edward. I am too weak and feeble to resist.
Assist me, sweet God, and receive my soul!
MATREVIS re-enters. KING EDWARD is murdered.
C. MARLOWE (from Edward II).