Home > Uncategorized > Christopher Marlowe: Parricide and filicide. While lions war, poor lambs perish.

Christopher Marlowe: Parricide and filicide. While lions war, poor lambs perish.


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Christopher Marlowe: Accurs’d be he that first invented war!


Christopher Marlowe
From The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke

Enter a Souldier with a dead man in his arms.

Sould. It blowes the wind that profits no bodie,
This man that I haue slaine in fight to daie,
Maie be possessed of some store of crownes,
And I will search to find them if I can.
But stay. Me thinkes it is my fathers face,
Oh I tis he who I haue slaine in fight,
From London was I prest out by the king,
My father he came on the part of Yorke.
And in this conflict I haue slaine my father:
Oh pardon God, I knew not what I did,
And pardon father, for I knew thee not.

Enter an other Souldier with a dead man.

2 Soul. Lie there thou who foughtst with me so stoutly,
Now let me see what store of gold thou haste,
But staie, me thinkes this is no famous face:
Oh no it is my sonne that I haue slaine in fight.
Oh monstrous times begetting such euents,
How cruel, bloudy, and ironious,
The deadly quarrell dailie doth beget,
Poore boy thy father gaue thee lif too late,
And hath bereau’d thee of thy life too sone.

King. Wo aboue wo, griefe more then common griefe,
Whilst Lyons war and battaile for their dens,
Poore lambs do feel the rigour of their wraths;
The red rose and the white are on his face,
The fatall colours of our striuing houses,
Wither one rose, and let the other flourish,
For if you striue, ten thousand liues must perish.

1 Sould. How will my mother for my fathers death,
Take on with me and nere be satisfide?

2 Soul. How will my wife for slaughter of my son,
Take on with me and nere be satisfide?

King. How will the people now misdeeme their king,
Oh would my death their mindes could satisfie.

1 Sould. Was euer son so rude his fathers bloud to spil?

2 Soul. Was euer father so vnnaturall his son to kill?

King. Was euver king thus greeued and vexed still?

1 Sould. Ile beare thee hence from this accursed place,
For wo is me to see my fathers face. [Exit with his father.]

2 Soul. Ile beare thee hence & let them fight that wil,
For I haue murdered where I should not kill. [Exit with his sonne.]

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