Edward III
By William Shakespeare

Edward III has declared war on the Scottish. The Countess has come to greet the newly arrived King. Edward is immediately taken with her. He is in the middle of writing a love letter to her, when she interrupts him and he confesses his intentions. She responds by letting him know, in no uncertain terms, that this she will never be his.


But that your lips were sacred, my lord,
You would profane the holy name of love.
That love you offer me you cannot give,
For Caesar owes that tribute to his queen;
That love you beg of me I cannot give,
For Sarah owes that duty to her lord.
He that doth clip or counterfeit your stamp
Shall die, my lord; and will your sacred self
Commit high treason against the king of heaven,
To stamp his image in forbidden metal,
Forgetting your allegiance and your oath?

In violating marriage' sacred law,
You break a greater honour than yourself.
To be a king is of a younger house
Than to be married: your progenitor,
Sole reigning Adam on the universe,
By God was honoured for a married man,
But not by him anointed for a king.
It is a penalty to break your statutes,
Though not enacted with your highness' hand;
How much more to infringe this holy act
Made by the mouth of God, seal'd with His hand?
I know my sovereign in my husband's love,
Who now doth loyal service in his wars,
Doth but to try the wife of Salisbury,
Whether she will hear a wanton's tale or no.
Lest being therein guilty by my stay,
From that, not from my liege, I turn away.

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