ACT IV, SCENE 3 Poitou. Fields near Poitiers. The French camp; Tent of the Duke of Normandy.

Enter Charles of Normandy and Villiers.


I wonder, Villiers, thou shouldest importune me
For one that is our deadly enemy.
Not for his sake, my gracious Lord, so much
Am I become an earnest advocate,
As that thereby my ransom will be quit.
Thy ransom, man? why needest thou talk of that?
Art thou not free? and are not all occasions,
That happen for advantage of our foes,
To be accepted of, and stood upon?
No, good my Lord, except the same be just;
For profit must with honor be comixt,
Or else our actions are but scandalous.
But, letting pass their intricate objections,
Wilt please your highness to subscribe, or no?
Villiers, I will not, nor I cannot do it;
Salisbury shall not have his will so much,
To claim a passport how it pleaseth himself.
Why, then I know the extremity, my Lord;
I must return to prison whence I came.
Return? I hope thou wilt not;
What bird that hath escaped the fowler's gin,
Will not beware how she's ensnared again?
Or, what is he, so senseless and secure,
That, having hardly past a dangerous gul,
Will put him self in peril there again?
Ah, but it is mine oath, my gracious Lord,
Which I in conscience may not violate,
Or else a kingdom should not draw me hence.
Thine oath? why, tat doth bind thee to abide:
Hast thou not sworn obedience to thy Prince?
In all things that uprightly he commands:
But either to persuade or threaten me,
Not to perform the covenant of my word,
Is lawless, and I need not to obey.
Why, is it lawful for a man to kill,
And not, to break a promise with his foe?
To kill, my Lord, when war is once proclaimed,
So that our quarrel be for wrongs received,
No doubt, is lawfully permitted us;
But in an oath we must be well advised,
How we do swear, and, when we once have sworn,
Not to infringe it, though we die therefore:
Therefore, my Lord, as willing I return,
As if I were to fly to paradise.
Stay, my Villiers; thine honorable mind
Deserves to be eternally admired.
Thy suit shall be no longer thus deferred:
Give me the paper, I'll subscribe to it;
And, wheretofore I loved thee as Villiers,
Hereafter I'll embrace thee as my self.
Stay, and be still in favour with thy Lord.
I humbly thank you grace; I must dispatch,
And send this passport first unto the Earl,
And then I will attend your highness pleasure.
Do so, Villiers;--and Charles, when he hath need,
Be such his soldiers, howsoever he speed!
  [Exit Villiers.] [Enter King John.]
Come, Charles, and arm thee; Edward is entrapped,
The Prince of Wales is fallen into our hands,
And we have compassed him; he cannot escape.
CHARLES But will your highness fight to day?
What else, my son? he's scarce eight thousand strong,
And we are threescore thousand at the least.
I have a prophecy, my gracious Lord,
Wherein is written what success is like
To happen us in this outrageous war;
It was delivered me at Cresses field
By one that is an aged Hermit there.
[Reads.] 'When feathered foul shall make thine army tremble,
And flint stones rise and break the battle ray,
Then think on him that doth not now dissemble;
For that shall be the hapless dreadful day:
Yet, in the end, thy foot thou shalt advance
As far in England as thy foe in France.'
By this it seems we shall be fortunate:
For as it is impossible that stones
Should ever rise and break the battle ray,
Or airy foul make men in arms to quake,
So is it like, we shall not be subdued:
Or say this might be true, yet in the end,
Since he doth promise we shall drive him hence
And forage their Country as they have done ours,
By this revenge that loss will seem the less.
But all are frivolous fancies, toys, and dreams:
Once we are sure we have ensnared the son,
Catch we the father after how we can.


To see other scenes in the show:

Full Play Text

ACT III, SCENE 4 The Same./ACT III, SCENE 5 The Same.

ACT I, SCENE 1 London. A Room of State in the Palace. 

ACT IV, SCENE 1 Bretagne. Camp of the English/ACT IV, SCENE 2 Picardy. The English Camp before Calais.

ACT I, Scene 2 Roxborough. Before the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 3 Poitou. Fields near Poitiers. The French camp; Tent of the Duke of Normandy.

ACT II, SCENE 1 The Same. Gardens of the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 4 The same. The English Camp.

ACT II, SCENE2 The Same. A Room in the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 5 The same. The French Camp.

ACT III, SCENE1  Flanders. The French Camp.

ACT IV, SCENE 6  The same. A Part of the Field of Battle./ACT IV, SCENE 7  The same. Another Part of the Field of Battle.

ACT III, SCENE 2 Picardy. Fields near Cressy.

ACT IV, SCENE 8  The same. Another Part of the Field of Battle. /ACT IV, SCENE 9  The same. The English Camp.

ACT III, SCENE 3 The same. Drums.

ACT V, SCENE 1  Picardy. The English Camp before Calais.


To view other Edward III sections:

Main Play Page     Play Text     Scene by Scene Synopsis      Character Directory     Commentary  


To view the other Plays click below:

By  Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies

All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale


To view other Shakespeare Library sections:

Biography     Plays     Poems     Sonnets     Theaters     Shake Links 

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
[Home]  [Upcoming Shows]  [HSC Venues]  [Past Productions]  [Articles] [HSC Programs]
 [Shakespeare Library] [Actor Resources]   [Contact Us]  [Links]  [Site Map]