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I am declined
Into the vale of years.

      — Othello, Act III Scene 3

History of King John

(complete text)

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Act I

1. KING JOHN’S palace.

Act II

1. France. Before Angiers.

Act III

1. The French King’s pavilion.

2. The same. Plains near Angiers.

3. The same.

4. The same. KING PHILIP’S tent.

Act IV

1. A room in a castle.

2. KING JOHN’S palace.

3. Before the castle.

Act V

1. KING JOHN’S palace.

2. LEWIS’s camp at St. Edmundsbury.

3. The field of battle.

4. Another part of the field.

5. The French camp.

6. An open place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

7. The orchard in Swinstead Abbey.

---
       

Act I, Scene 1

KING JOHN’S palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX,] [p]SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON]

  • King John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?
  • Chatillon. Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France
    In my behavior to the majesty, 5
    The borrow'd majesty, of England here.
  • King John. Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.
  • Chatillon. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
    Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, 10
    Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
    To this fair island and the territories,
    To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
    Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
    Which sways usurpingly these several titles, 15
    And put these same into young Arthur's hand,
    Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.
  • King John. What follows if we disallow of this?
  • Chatillon. The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
    To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. 20
  • King John. Here have we war for war and blood for blood,
    Controlment for controlment: so answer France.
  • Chatillon. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
    The farthest limit of my embassy.
  • King John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace: 25
    Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
    For ere thou canst report I will be there,
    The thunder of my cannon shall be heard:
    So hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath
    And sullen presage of your own decay. 30
    An honourable conduct let him have:
    Pembroke, look to 't. Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE]

  • Queen Elinor. What now, my son! have I not ever said
    How that ambitious Constance would not cease 35
    Till she had kindled France and all the world,
    Upon the right and party of her son?
    This might have been prevented and made whole
    With very easy arguments of love,
    Which now the manage of two kingdoms must 40
    With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
  • King John. Our strong possession and our right for us.
  • Queen Elinor. Your strong possession much more than your right,
    Or else it must go wrong with you and me:
    So much my conscience whispers in your ear, 45
    Which none but heaven and you and I shall hear.

[Enter a Sheriff]

  • Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy
    Come from country to be judged by you,
    That e'er I heard: shall I produce the men? 50
  • King John. Let them approach.
    Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
    This expedition's charge.
    [Enter ROBERT and the BASTARD]
    What men are you? 55
  • Philip the Bastard. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman
    Born in Northamptonshire and eldest son,
    As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
    A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
    Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field. 60
  • King John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
    You came not of one mother then, it seems.
  • Philip the Bastard. Most certain of one mother, mighty king; 65
    That is well known; and, as I think, one father:
    But for the certain knowledge of that truth
    I put you o'er to heaven and to my mother:
    Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.
  • Queen Elinor. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother 70
    And wound her honour with this diffidence.
  • Philip the Bastard. I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
    That is my brother's plea and none of mine;
    The which if he can prove, a' pops me out
    At least from fair five hundred pound a year: 75
    Heaven guard my mother's honour and my land!
  • King John. A good blunt fellow. Why, being younger born,
    Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
  • Philip the Bastard. I know not why, except to get the land.
    But once he slander'd me with bastardy: 80
    But whether I be as true begot or no,
    That still I lay upon my mother's head,
    But that I am as well begot, my liege,—
    Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!—
    Compare our faces and be judge yourself. 85
    If old sir Robert did beget us both
    And were our father and this son like him,
    O old sir Robert, father, on my knee
    I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!
  • King John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here! 90
  • Queen Elinor. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face;
    The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
    Do you not read some tokens of my son
    In the large composition of this man?
  • King John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts 95
    And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak,
    What doth move you to claim your brother's land?
  • Philip the Bastard. Because he hath a half-face, like my father.
    With half that face would he have all my land:
    A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year! 100
  • Faulconbridge. My gracious liege, when that my father lived,
    Your brother did employ my father much,—
  • Philip the Bastard. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:
    Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.
  • Faulconbridge. And once dispatch'd him in an embassy 105
    To Germany, there with the emperor
    To treat of high affairs touching that time.
    The advantage of his absence took the king
    And in the mean time sojourn'd at my father's;
    Where how he did prevail I shame to speak, 110
    But truth is truth: large lengths of seas and shores
    Between my father and my mother lay,
    As I have heard my father speak himself,
    When this same lusty gentleman was got.
    Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd 115
    His lands to me, and took it on his death
    That this my mother's son was none of his;
    And if he were, he came into the world
    Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
    Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine, 120
    My father's land, as was my father's will.
  • King John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
    Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him,
    And if she did play false, the fault was hers;
    Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands 125
    That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
    Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
    Had of your father claim'd this son for his?
    In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
    This calf bred from his cow from all the world; 130
    In sooth he might; then, if he were my brother's,
    My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
    Being none of his, refuse him: this concludes;
    My mother's son did get your father's heir;
    Your father's heir must have your father's land. 135
  • Faulconbridge. Shall then my father's will be of no force
    To dispossess that child which is not his?
  • Philip the Bastard. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
    Than was his will to get me, as I think.
  • Queen Elinor. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge 140
    And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
    Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
    Lord of thy presence and no land beside?
  • Philip the Bastard. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
    And I had his, sir Robert's his, like him; 145
    And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
    My arms such eel-skins stuff'd, my face so thin
    That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose
    Lest men should say 'Look, where three-farthings goes!'
    And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, 150
    Would I might never stir from off this place,
    I would give it every foot to have this face;
    I would not be sir Nob in any case.
  • Queen Elinor. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
    Bequeath thy land to him and follow me? 155
    I am a soldier and now bound to France.
  • Philip the Bastard. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance.
    Your face hath got five hundred pound a year,
    Yet sell your face for five pence and 'tis dear.
    Madam, I'll follow you unto the death. 160
  • Philip the Bastard. Philip, my liege, so is my name begun,
    Philip, good old sir Robert's wife's eldest son. 165
  • King John. From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bear'st:
    Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,
    Arise sir Richard and Plantagenet.
  • Philip the Bastard. Brother by the mother's side, give me your hand:
    My father gave me honour, yours gave land. 170
    Now blessed by the hour, by night or day,
    When I was got, sir Robert was away!
  • Queen Elinor. The very spirit of Plantagenet!
    I am thy grandam, Richard; call me so.
  • Philip the Bastard. Madam, by chance but not by truth; what though? 175
    Something about, a little from the right,
    In at the window, or else o'er the hatch:
    Who dares not stir by day must walk by night,
    And have is have, however men do catch:
    Near or far off, well won is still well shot, 180
    And I am I, howe'er I was begot.
  • King John. Go, Faulconbridge: now hast thou thy desire;
    A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.
    Come, madam, and come, Richard, we must speed
    For France, for France, for it is more than need. 185
  • Philip the Bastard. Brother, adieu: good fortune come to thee!
    For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.
    [Exeunt all but BASTARD]
    A foot of honour better than I was;
    But many a many foot of land the worse. 190
    Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.
    'Good den, sir Richard!'—'God-a-mercy, fellow!'—
    And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter;
    For new-made honour doth forget men's names;
    'Tis too respective and too sociable 195
    For your conversion. Now your traveller,
    He and his toothpick at my worship's mess,
    And when my knightly stomach is sufficed,
    Why then I suck my teeth and catechise
    My picked man of countries: 'My dear sir,' 200
    Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,
    'I shall beseech you'—that is question now;
    And then comes answer like an Absey book:
    'O sir,' says answer, 'at your best command;
    At your employment; at your service, sir;' 205
    'No, sir,' says question, 'I, sweet sir, at yours:'
    And so, ere answer knows what question would,
    Saving in dialogue of compliment,
    And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
    The Pyrenean and the river Po, 210
    It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
    But this is worshipful society
    And fits the mounting spirit like myself,
    For he is but a bastard to the time
    That doth not smack of observation; 215
    And so am I, whether I smack or no;
    And not alone in habit and device,
    Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
    But from the inward motion to deliver
    Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth: 220
    Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
    Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
    For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.
    But who comes in such haste in riding-robes?
    What woman-post is this? hath she no husband 225
    That will take pains to blow a horn before her?
    [Enter LADY FAULCONBRIDGE and GURNEY]
    O me! it is my mother. How now, good lady!
    What brings you here to court so hastily?
  • Lady Faulconbridge. Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he, 230
    That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
  • Philip the Bastard. My brother Robert? old sir Robert's son?
    Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
    Is it sir Robert's son that you seek so?
  • Lady Faulconbridge. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy, 235
    Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at sir Robert?
    He is sir Robert's son, and so art thou.
  • Philip the Bastard. Philip! sparrow: James, 240
    There's toys abroad: anon I'll tell thee more.
    [Exit GURNEY]
    Madam, I was not old sir Robert's son:
    Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
    Upon Good-Friday and ne'er broke his fast: 245
    Sir Robert could do well: marry, to confess,
    Could he get me? Sir Robert could not do it:
    We know his handiwork: therefore, good mother,
    To whom am I beholding for these limbs?
    Sir Robert never holp to make this leg. 250
  • Lady Faulconbridge. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
    That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour?
    What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
  • Philip the Bastard. Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like.
    What! I am dubb'd! I have it on my shoulder. 255
    But, mother, I am not sir Robert's son;
    I have disclaim'd sir Robert and my land;
    Legitimation, name and all is gone:
    Then, good my mother, let me know my father;
    Some proper man, I hope: who was it, mother? 260
  • Lady Faulconbridge. King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father:
    By long and vehement suit I was seduced
    To make room for him in my husband's bed: 265
    Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!
    Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
    Which was so strongly urged past my defence.
  • Philip the Bastard. Now, by this light, were I to get again,
    Madam, I would not wish a better father. 270
    Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
    And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:
    Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
    Subjected tribute to commanding love,
    Against whose fury and unmatched force 275
    The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
    Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand.
    He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
    May easily win a woman's. Ay, my mother,
    With all my heart I thank thee for my father! 280
    Who lives and dares but say thou didst not well
    When I was got, I'll send his soul to hell.
    Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;
    And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
    If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin: 285
    Who says it was, he lies; I say 'twas not.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

France. Before Angiers.

      next scene .
---

[Enter AUSTRIA and forces, drums, etc. on one side:] [p]on the other KING PHILIP and his power; LEWIS, [p]ARTHUR, CONSTANCE and attendants]

  • Lewis. Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.
    Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
    Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart
    And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
    By this brave duke came early to his grave: 295
    And for amends to his posterity,
    At our importance hither is he come,
    To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf,
    And to rebuke the usurpation
    Of thy unnatural uncle, English John: 300
    Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
  • Arthur. God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's death
    The rather that you give his offspring life,
    Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
    I give you welcome with a powerless hand, 305
    But with a heart full of unstained love:
    Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.
  • Lewis. A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?
  • Lymoges. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
    As seal to this indenture of my love, 310
    That to my home I will no more return,
    Till Angiers and the right thou hast in France,
    Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
    Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides
    And coops from other lands her islanders, 315
    Even till that England, hedged in with the main,
    That water-walled bulwark, still secure
    And confident from foreign purposes,
    Even till that utmost corner of the west
    Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy, 320
    Will I not think of home, but follow arms.
  • Constance. O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
    Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
    To make a more requital to your love!
  • Lymoges. The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords 325
    In such a just and charitable war.
  • King Phillip. Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent
    Against the brows of this resisting town.
    Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
    To cull the plots of best advantages: 330
    We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
    Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
    But we will make it subject to this boy.
  • Constance. Stay for an answer to your embassy,
    Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood: 335
    My Lord Chatillon may from England bring,
    That right in peace which here we urge in war,
    And then we shall repent each drop of blood
    That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.

[Enter CHATILLON]

  • King Phillip. A wonder, lady! lo, upon thy wish,
    Our messenger Chatillon is arrived!
    What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;
    We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.
  • Chatillon. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege 345
    And stir them up against a mightier task.
    England, impatient of your just demands,
    Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,
    Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
    To land his legions all as soon as I; 350
    His marches are expedient to this town,
    His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
    With him along is come the mother-queen,
    An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife;
    With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain; 355
    With them a bastard of the king's deceased,
    And all the unsettled humours of the land,
    Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
    With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens,
    Have sold their fortunes at their native homes, 360
    Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
    To make hazard of new fortunes here:
    In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
    Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er
    Did nearer float upon the swelling tide, 365
    To do offence and scath in Christendom.
    [Drum beats]
    The interruption of their churlish drums
    Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand,
    To parley or to fight; therefore prepare. 370
  • Lymoges. By how much unexpected, by so much
    We must awake endavour for defence;
    For courage mounteth with occasion:
    Let them be welcome then: we are prepared. 375
    [Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD,]
    Lords, and forces]
  • King John. Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
    Our just and lineal entrance to our own;
    If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven, 380
    Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
    Their proud contempt that beats His peace to heaven.
  • King Phillip. Peace be to England, if that war return
    From France to England, there to live in peace.
    England we love; and for that England's sake 385
    With burden of our armour here we sweat.
    This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
    But thou from loving England art so far,
    That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king
    Cut off the sequence of posterity, 390
    Out-faced infant state and done a rape
    Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
    Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face;
    These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his:
    This little abstract doth contain that large 395
    Which died in Geffrey, and the hand of time
    Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
    That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
    And this his son; England was Geffrey's right
    And this is Geffrey's: in the name of God 400
    How comes it then that thou art call'd a king,
    When living blood doth in these temples beat,
    Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?
  • King John. From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
    To draw my answer from thy articles? 405
  • King Phillip. From that supernal judge, that stirs good thoughts
    In any breast of strong authority,
    To look into the blots and stains of right:
    That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
    Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong 410
    And by whose help I mean to chastise it.
  • King John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
  • Constance. Let me make answer; thy usurping son. 415
  • Queen Elinor. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,
    That thou mayst be a queen, and cheque the world!
  • Constance. My bed was ever to thy son as true
    As thine was to thy husband; and this boy
    Liker in feature to his father Geffrey 420
    Than thou and John in manners; being as like
    As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
    My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think
    His father never was so true begot:
    It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. 425
  • Queen Elinor. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.
  • Constance. There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
  • Lymoges. What the devil art thou? 430
  • Philip the Bastard. One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
    An a' may catch your hide and you alone:
    You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
    Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard;
    I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right; 435
    Sirrah, look to't; i' faith, I will, i' faith.
  • Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe
    That did disrobe the lion of that robe!
  • Philip the Bastard. It lies as sightly on the back of him
    As great Alcides' shows upon an ass: 440
    But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your back,
    Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
  • Lymoges. What craker is this same that deafs our ears
    With this abundance of superfluous breath?
  • King Phillip. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight. 445
  • Lewis. Women and fools, break off your conference.
    King John, this is the very sum of all;
    England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
    In right of Arthur do I claim of thee:
    Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms? 450
  • King John. My life as soon: I do defy thee, France.
    Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
    And out of my dear love I'll give thee more
    Than e'er the coward hand of France can win:
    Submit thee, boy. 455
  • Constance. Do, child, go to it grandam, child:
    Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will
    Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig:
    There's a good grandam. 460
  • Arthur. Good my mother, peace!
    I would that I were low laid in my grave:
    I am not worth this coil that's made for me.
  • Queen Elinor. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
  • Constance. Now shame upon you, whether she does or no! 465
    His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames,
    Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
    Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee;
    Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be bribed
    To do him justice and revenge on you. 470
  • Queen Elinor. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!
  • Constance. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
    Call not me slanderer; thou and thine usurp
    The dominations, royalties and rights
    Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eld'st son's son, 475
    Infortunate in nothing but in thee:
    Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
    The canon of the law is laid on him,
    Being but the second generation
    Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb. 480
  • Constance. I have but this to say,
    That he is not only plagued for her sin,
    But God hath made her sin and her the plague
    On this removed issue, plague for her 485
    And with her plague; her sin his injury,
    Her injury the beadle to her sin,
    All punish'd in the person of this child,
    And all for her; a plague upon her!
  • Queen Elinor. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce 490
    A will that bars the title of thy son.
  • Constance. Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will:
    A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!
  • King Phillip. Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:
    It ill beseems this presence to cry aim 495
    To these ill-tuned repetitions.
    Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
    These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak
    Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.

[Trumpet sounds. Enter certain Citizens upon the walls]

  • King John. England, for itself.
    You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects—
  • King Phillip. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects, 505
    Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle—
  • King John. For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
    These flags of France, that are advanced here
    Before the eye and prospect of your town,
    Have hither march'd to your endamagement: 510
    The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
    And ready mounted are they to spit forth
    Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls:
    All preparation for a bloody siege
    All merciless proceeding by these French 515
    Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates;
    And but for our approach those sleeping stones,
    That as a waist doth girdle you about,
    By the compulsion of their ordinance
    By this time from their fixed beds of lime 520
    Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
    For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
    But on the sight of us your lawful king,
    Who painfully with much expedient march
    Have brought a countercheque before your gates, 525
    To save unscratch'd your city's threatened cheeks,
    Behold, the French amazed vouchsafe a parle;
    And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire,
    To make a shaking fever in your walls,
    They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke, 530
    To make a faithless error in your ears:
    Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
    And let us in, your king, whose labour'd spirits,
    Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
    Crave harbourage within your city walls. 535
  • King Phillip. When I have said, make answer to us both.
    Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
    Is most divinely vow'd upon the right
    Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
    Son to the elder brother of this man, 540
    And king o'er him and all that he enjoys:
    For this down-trodden equity, we tread
    In warlike march these greens before your town,
    Being no further enemy to you
    Than the constraint of hospitable zeal 545
    In the relief of this oppressed child
    Religiously provokes. Be pleased then
    To pay that duty which you truly owe
    To that owes it, namely this young prince:
    And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear, 550
    Save in aspect, hath all offence seal'd up;
    Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent
    Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;
    And with a blessed and unvex'd retire,
    With unhack'd swords and helmets all unbruised, 555
    We will bear home that lusty blood again
    Which here we came to spout against your town,
    And leave your children, wives and you in peace.
    But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
    'Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls 560
    Can hide you from our messengers of war,
    Though all these English and their discipline
    Were harbour'd in their rude circumference.
    Then tell us, shall your city call us lord,
    In that behalf which we have challenged it? 565
    Or shall we give the signal to our rage
    And stalk in blood to our possession?
  • First Citizen. In brief, we are the king of England's subjects:
    For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
  • King John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in. 570
  • First Citizen. That can we not; but he that proves the king,
    To him will we prove loyal: till that time
    Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.
  • King John. Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
    And if not that, I bring you witnesses, 575
    Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,—
  • King John. To verify our title with their lives.
  • First Citizen. Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
    We for the worthiest hold the right from both.
  • King John. Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
    That to their everlasting residence, 585
    Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
    In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
  • Philip the Bastard. Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
    Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door, 590
    Teach us some fence!
    [To AUSTRIA]
    Sirrah, were I at home,
    At your den, sirrah, with your lioness
    I would set an ox-head to your lion's hide, 595
    And make a monster of you.
  • King John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth
    In best appointment all our regiments. 600
  • King Phillip. It shall be so; and at the other hill
    Command the rest to stand. God and our right!
    [Exeunt]
    [Here after excursions, enter the Herald of France,] 605
    with trumpets, to the gates]
  • French Herald. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
    And let young Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, in,
    Who by the hand of France this day hath made
    Much work for tears in many an English mother, 610
    Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground;
    Many a widow's husband grovelling lies,
    Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth;
    And victory, with little loss, doth play
    Upon the dancing banners of the French, 615
    Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
    To enter conquerors and to proclaim
    Arthur of Bretagne England's king and yours.

[Enter English Herald, with trumpet]

  • English Herald. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells: 620
    King John, your king and England's doth approach,
    Commander of this hot malicious day:
    Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright,
    Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood;
    There stuck no plume in any English crest 625
    That is removed by a staff of France;
    Our colours do return in those same hands
    That did display them when we first march'd forth;
    And, like a troop of jolly huntsmen, come
    Our lusty English, all with purpled hands, 630
    Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes:
    Open your gates and gives the victors way.
  • First Citizen. Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,
    From first to last, the onset and retire
    Of both your armies; whose equality 635
    By our best eyes cannot be censured:
    Blood hath bought blood and blows have answered blows;
    Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power:
    Both are alike; and both alike we like.
    One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even, 640
    We hold our town for neither, yet for both.
    [Re-enter KING JOHN and KING PHILIP, with their]
    powers, severally]
  • King John. France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
    Say, shall the current of our right run on? 645
    Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
    Shall leave his native channel and o'erswell
    With course disturb'd even thy confining shores,
    Unless thou let his silver water keep
    A peaceful progress to the ocean. 650
  • King Phillip. England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood,
    In this hot trial, more than we of France;
    Rather, lost more. And by this hand I swear,
    That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
    Before we will lay down our just-borne arms, 655
    We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,
    Or add a royal number to the dead,
    Gracing the scroll that tells of this war's loss
    With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.
  • Philip the Bastard. Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers, 660
    When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
    O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel;
    The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;
    And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
    In undetermined differences of kings. 665
    Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?
    Cry, 'havoc!' kings; back to the stained field,
    You equal potents, fiery kindled spirits!
    Then let confusion of one part confirm
    The other's peace: till then, blows, blood and death! 670
  • King John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
  • King Phillip. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?
  • King John. In us, that are our own great deputy 675
    And bear possession of our person here,
    Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
  • First Citizen. A greater power then we denies all this;
    And till it be undoubted, we do lock
    Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates; 680
    King'd of our fears, until our fears, resolved,
    Be by some certain king purged and deposed.
  • Philip the Bastard. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,
    And stand securely on their battlements,
    As in a theatre, whence they gape and point 685
    At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
    Your royal presences be ruled by me:
    Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
    Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend
    Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town: 690
    By east and west let France and England mount
    Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,
    Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd down
    The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
    I'ld play incessantly upon these jades, 695
    Even till unfenced desolation
    Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
    That done, dissever your united strengths,
    And part your mingled colours once again;
    Turn face to face and bloody point to point; 700
    Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth
    Out of one side her happy minion,
    To whom in favour she shall give the day,
    And kiss him with a glorious victory.
    How like you this wild counsel, mighty states? 705
    Smacks it not something of the policy?
  • King John. Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
    I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers
    And lay this Angiers even to the ground;
    Then after fight who shall be king of it? 710
  • Philip the Bastard. An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
    Being wronged as we are by this peevish town,
    Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
    As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
    And when that we have dash'd them to the ground, 715
    Why then defy each other and pell-mell
    Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.
  • King John. We from the west will send destruction
    Into this city's bosom. 720
  • King Phillip. Our thunder from the south
    Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
  • Philip the Bastard. O prudent discipline! From north to south:
    Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth: 725
    I'll stir them to it. Come, away, away!
  • First Citizen. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to stay,
    And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league;
    Win you this city without stroke or wound;
    Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds, 730
    That here come sacrifices for the field:
    Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
  • King John. Speak on with favour; we are bent to hear.
  • First Citizen. That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,
    Is niece to England: look upon the years 735
    Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid:
    If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
    Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
    If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
    Where should he find it purer than in Blanch? 740
    If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
    Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
    Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
    Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
    If not complete of, say he is not she; 745
    And she again wants nothing, to name want,
    If want it be not that she is not he:
    He is the half part of a blessed man,
    Left to be finished by such as she;
    And she a fair divided excellence, 750
    Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
    O, two such silver currents, when they join,
    Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
    And two such shores to two such streams made one,
    Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings, 755
    To these two princes, if you marry them.
    This union shall do more than battery can
    To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,
    With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
    The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope, 760
    And give you entrance: but without this match,
    The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
    Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
    More free from motion, no, not Death himself
    In moral fury half so peremptory, 765
    As we to keep this city.
  • Philip the Bastard. Here's a stay
    That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death
    Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed,
    That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas, 770
    Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
    As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
    What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
    He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce;
    He gives the bastinado with his tongue: 775
    Our ears are cudgell'd; not a word of his
    But buffets better than a fist of France:
    Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
    Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
  • Queen Elinor. Son, list to this conjunction, make this match; 780
    Give with our niece a dowry large enough:
    For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
    Thy now unsured assurance to the crown,
    That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
    The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit. 785
    I see a yielding in the looks of France;
    Mark, how they whisper: urge them while their souls
    Are capable of this ambition,
    Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
    Of soft petitions, pity and remorse, 790
    Cool and congeal again to what it was.
  • First Citizen. Why answer not the double majesties
    This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town?
  • King Phillip. Speak England first, that hath been forward first
    To speak unto this city: what say you? 795
  • King John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
    Can in this book of beauty read 'I love,'
    Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
    For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
    And all that we upon this side the sea, 800
    Except this city now by us besieged,
    Find liable to our crown and dignity,
    Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
    In titles, honours and promotions,
    As she in beauty, education, blood, 805
    Holds hand with any princess of the world.
  • King Phillip. What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's face.
  • Lewis. I do, my lord; and in her eye I find
    A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
    The shadow of myself form'd in her eye: 810
    Which being but the shadow of your son,
    Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow:
    I do protest I never loved myself
    Till now infixed I beheld myself
    Drawn in the flattering table of her eye. 815

[Whispers with BLANCH]

  • Philip the Bastard. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!
    Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!
    And quarter'd in her heart! he doth espy
    Himself love's traitor: this is pity now, 820
    That hang'd and drawn and quartered, there should be
    In such a love so vile a lout as he.
  • Blanch. My uncle's will in this respect is mine:
    If he see aught in you that makes him like,
    That any thing he sees, which moves his liking, 825
    I can with ease translate it to my will;
    Or if you will, to speak more properly,
    I will enforce it easily to my love.
    Further I will not flatter you, my lord,
    That all I see in you is worthy love, 830
    Than this; that nothing do I see in you,
    Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,
    That I can find should merit any hate.
  • King John. What say these young ones? What say you my niece?
  • Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do 835
    What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.
  • King John. Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?
  • Lewis. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;
    For I do love her most unfeignedly.
  • King John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine, 840
    Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces,
    With her to thee; and this addition more,
    Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.
    Philip of France, if thou be pleased withal,
    Command thy son and daughter to join hands. 845
  • King Phillip. It likes us well; young princes, close your hands.
  • Lymoges. And your lips too; for I am well assured
    That I did so when I was first assured.
  • King Phillip. Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,
    Let in that amity which you have made; 850
    For at Saint Mary's chapel presently
    The rites of marriage shall be solemnized.
    Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
    I know she is not, for this match made up
    Her presence would have interrupted much: 855
    Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.
  • Lewis. She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.
  • King Phillip. And, by my faith, this league that we have made
    Will give her sadness very little cure.
    Brother of England, how may we content 860
    This widow lady? In her right we came;
    Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way,
    To our own vantage.
  • King John. We will heal up all;
    For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne 865
    And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
    We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance;
    Some speedy messenger bid her repair
    To our solemnity: I trust we shall,
    If not fill up the measure of her will, 870
    Yet in some measure satisfy her so
    That we shall stop her exclamation.
    Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,
    To this unlook'd for, unprepared pomp.

[Exeunt all but the BASTARD]

  • Philip the Bastard. Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!
    John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
    Hath willingly departed with a part,
    And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,
    Whom zeal and charity brought to the field 880
    As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear
    With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
    That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith,
    That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
    Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids, 885
    Who, having no external thing to lose
    But the word 'maid,' cheats the poor maid of that,
    That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity,
    Commodity, the bias of the world,
    The world, who of itself is peised well, 890
    Made to run even upon even ground,
    Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
    This sway of motion, this Commodity,
    Makes it take head from all indifferency,
    From all direction, purpose, course, intent: 895
    And this same bias, this Commodity,
    This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
    Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
    Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,
    From a resolved and honourable war, 900
    To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
    And why rail I on this Commodity?
    But for because he hath not woo'd me yet:
    Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
    When his fair angels would salute my palm; 905
    But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
    Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
    Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
    And say there is no sin but to be rich;
    And being rich, my virtue then shall be 910
    To say there is no vice but beggary.
    Since kings break faith upon commodity,
    Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

The French King’s pavilion.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY]

  • Constance. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
    False blood to false blood join'd! gone to be friends!
    Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch those provinces?
    It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard:
    Be well advised, tell o'er thy tale again: 920
    It cannot be; thou dost but say 'tis so:
    I trust I may not trust thee; for thy word
    Is but the vain breath of a common man:
    Believe me, I do not believe thee, man;
    I have a king's oath to the contrary. 925
    Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me,
    For I am sick and capable of fears,
    Oppress'd with wrongs and therefore full of fears,
    A widow, husbandless, subject to fears,
    A woman, naturally born to fears; 930
    And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
    With my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce,
    But they will quake and tremble all this day.
    What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
    Why dost thou look so sadly on my son? 935
    What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
    Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum,
    Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds?
    Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
    Then speak again; not all thy former tale, 940
    But this one word, whether thy tale be true.
  • Salisbury. As true as I believe you think them false
    That give you cause to prove my saying true.
  • Constance. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,
    Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die, 945
    And let belief and life encounter so
    As doth the fury of two desperate men
    Which in the very meeting fall and die.
    Lewis marry Blanch! O boy, then where art thou?
    France friend with England, what becomes of me? 950
    Fellow, be gone: I cannot brook thy sight:
    This news hath made thee a most ugly man.
  • Salisbury. What other harm have I, good lady, done,
    But spoke the harm that is by others done?
  • Constance. Which harm within itself so heinous is 955
    As it makes harmful all that speak of it.
  • Arthur. I do beseech you, madam, be content.
  • Constance. If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim,
    Ugly and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
    Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains, 960
    Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
    Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks,
    I would not care, I then would be content,
    For then I should not love thee, no, nor thou
    Become thy great birth nor deserve a crown. 965
    But thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
    Nature and Fortune join'd to make thee great:
    Of Nature's gifts thou mayst with lilies boast,
    And with the half-blown rose. But Fortune, O,
    She is corrupted, changed and won from thee; 970
    She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John,
    And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on France
    To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
    And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
    France is a bawd to Fortune and King John, 975
    That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!
    Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
    Envenom him with words, or get thee gone
    And leave those woes alone which I alone
    Am bound to under-bear. 980
  • Salisbury. Pardon me, madam,
    I may not go without you to the kings.
  • Constance. Thou mayst, thou shalt; I will not go with thee:
    I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
    For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop. 985
    To me and to the state of my great grief
    Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
    That no supporter but the huge firm earth
    Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
    Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it. 990
    [Seats herself on the ground]
    [Enter KING JOHN, KING PHILLIP, LEWIS, BLANCH,]
    QUEEN ELINOR, the BASTARD, AUSTRIA, and Attendants]
  • King Phillip. 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
    Ever in France shall be kept festival: 995
    To solemnize this day the glorious sun
    Stays in his course and plays the alchemist,
    Turning with splendor of his precious eye
    The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
    The yearly course that brings this day about 1000
    Shall never see it but a holiday.
  • Constance. A wicked day, and not a holy day!
    [Rising]
    What hath this day deserved? what hath it done,
    That it in golden letters should be set 1005
    Among the high tides in the calendar?
    Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,
    This day of shame, oppression, perjury.
    Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child
    Pray that their burthens may not fall this day, 1010
    Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross'd:
    But on this day let seamen fear no wreck;
    No bargains break that are not this day made:
    This day, all things begun come to ill end,
    Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change! 1015
  • King Phillip. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
    To curse the fair proceedings of this day:
    Have I not pawn'd to you my majesty?
  • Constance. You have beguiled me with a counterfeit
    Resembling majesty, which, being touch'd and tried, 1020
    Proves valueless: you are forsworn, forsworn;
    You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
    But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:
    The grappling vigour and rough frown of war
    Is cold in amity and painted peace, 1025
    And our oppression hath made up this league.
    Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjured kings!
    A widow cries; be husband to me, heavens!
    Let not the hours of this ungodly day
    Wear out the day in peace; but, ere sunset, 1030
    Set armed discord 'twixt these perjured kings!
    Hear me, O, hear me!
  • Constance. War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war
    O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame 1035
    That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward!
    Thou little valiant, great in villany!
    Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
    Thou Fortune's champion that dost never fight
    But when her humorous ladyship is by 1040
    To teach thee safety! thou art perjured too,
    And soothest up greatness. What a fool art thou,
    A ramping fool, to brag and stamp and swear
    Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
    Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side, 1045
    Been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend
    Upon thy stars, thy fortune and thy strength,
    And dost thou now fall over to my fores?
    Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
    And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs. 1050
  • Lymoges. O, that a man should speak those words to me!
  • Lymoges. Thou darest not say so, villain, for thy life.
  • King John. We like not this; thou dost forget thyself. 1055

[Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH]

  • Cardinal Pandulph. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!
    To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
    I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal, 1060
    And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
    Do in his name religiously demand
    Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
    So wilfully dost spurn; and force perforce
    Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop 1065
    Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
    This, in our foresaid holy father's name,
    Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.
  • King John. What earthy name to interrogatories
    Can task the free breath of a sacred king? 1070
    Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
    So slight, unworthy and ridiculous,
    To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
    Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England
    Add thus much more, that no Italian priest 1075
    Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;
    But as we, under heaven, are supreme head,
    So under Him that great supremacy,
    Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
    Without the assistance of a mortal hand: 1080
    So tell the pope, all reverence set apart
    To him and his usurp'd authority.
  • King John. Though you and all the kings of Christendom
    Are led so grossly by this meddling priest, 1085
    Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
    And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
    Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
    Who in that sale sells pardon from himself,
    Though you and all the rest so grossly led 1090
    This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish,
    Yet I alone, alone do me oppose
    Against the pope and count his friends my foes.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. Then, by the lawful power that I have,
    Thou shalt stand cursed and excommunicate. 1095
    And blessed shall he be that doth revolt
    From his allegiance to an heretic;
    And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
    Canonized and worshipped as a saint,
    That takes away by any secret course 1100
    Thy hateful life.
  • Constance. O, lawful let it be
    That I have room with Rome to curse awhile!
    Good father cardinal, cry thou amen
    To my keen curses; for without my wrong 1105
    There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.
  • Constance. And for mine too: when law can do no right,
    Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong:
    Law cannot give my child his kingdom here, 1110
    For he that holds his kingdom holds the law;
    Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,
    How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?
  • Cardinal Pandulph. Philip of France, on peril of a curse,
    Let go the hand of that arch-heretic; 1115
    And raise the power of France upon his head,
    Unless he do submit himself to Rome.
  • Queen Elinor. Look'st thou pale, France? do not let go thy hand.
  • Constance. Look to that, devil; lest that France repent,
    And by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul. 1120
  • Lymoges. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.
  • Lymoges. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs, Because—
  • King John. Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal? 1125
  • Constance. What should he say, but as the cardinal?
  • Lewis. Bethink you, father; for the difference
    Is purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,
    Or the light loss of England for a friend:
    Forego the easier. 1130
  • Blanch. That's the curse of Rome.
  • Constance. O Lewis, stand fast! the devil tempts thee here
    In likeness of a new untrimmed bride.
  • Blanch. The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,
    But from her need. 1135
  • Constance. O, if thou grant my need,
    Which only lives but by the death of faith,
    That need must needs infer this principle,
    That faith would live again by death of need.
    O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up; 1140
    Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down!
  • King John. The king is moved, and answers not to this.
  • Constance. O, be removed from him, and answer well!
  • Lymoges. Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. What canst thou say but will perplex thee more,
    If thou stand excommunicate and cursed?
  • King Phillip. Good reverend father, make my person yours,
    And tell me how you would bestow yourself. 1150
    This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
    And the conjunction of our inward souls
    Married in league, coupled and linked together
    With all religious strength of sacred vows;
    The latest breath that gave the sound of words 1155
    Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love
    Between our kingdoms and our royal selves,
    And even before this truce, but new before,
    No longer than we well could wash our hands
    To clap this royal bargain up of peace, 1160
    Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and over-stain'd
    With slaughter's pencil, where revenge did paint
    The fearful difference of incensed kings:
    And shall these hands, so lately purged of blood,
    So newly join'd in love, so strong in both, 1165
    Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?
    Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
    Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
    As now again to snatch our palm from palm,
    Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed 1170
    Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
    And make a riot on the gentle brow
    Of true sincerity? O, holy sir,
    My reverend father, let it not be so!
    Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose 1175
    Some gentle order; and then we shall be blest
    To do your pleasure and continue friends.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. All form is formless, order orderless,
    Save what is opposite to England's love.
    Therefore to arms! be champion of our church, 1180
    Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,
    A mother's curse, on her revolting son.
    France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,
    A chafed lion by the mortal paw,
    A fasting tiger safer by the tooth, 1185
    Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. So makest thou faith an enemy to faith;
    And like a civil war set'st oath to oath,
    Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow 1190
    First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform'd,
    That is, to be the champion of our church!
    What since thou sworest is sworn against thyself
    And may not be performed by thyself,
    For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss 1195
    Is not amiss when it is truly done,
    And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
    The truth is then most done not doing it:
    The better act of purposes mistook
    Is to mistake again; though indirect, 1200
    Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
    And falsehood falsehood cures, as fire cools fire
    Within the scorched veins of one new-burn'd.
    It is religion that doth make vows kept;
    But thou hast sworn against religion, 1205
    By what thou swear'st against the thing thou swear'st,
    And makest an oath the surety for thy truth
    Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure
    To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;
    Else what a mockery should it be to swear! 1210
    But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;
    And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.
    Therefore thy later vows against thy first
    Is in thyself rebellion to thyself;
    And better conquest never canst thou make 1215
    Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
    Against these giddy loose suggestions:
    Upon which better part our prayers come in,
    If thou vouchsafe them. But if not, then know
    The peril of our curses light on thee 1220
    So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,
    But in despair die under their black weight.
  • Lymoges. Rebellion, flat rebellion!
  • Blanch. Upon thy wedding-day?
    Against the blood that thou hast married?
    What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter'd men?
    Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums, 1230
    Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
    O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
    Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
    Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce,
    Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms 1235
    Against mine uncle.
  • Constance. O, upon my knee,
    Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
    Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
    Forethought by heaven! 1240
  • Blanch. Now shall I see thy love: what motive may
    Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?
  • Constance. That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,
    His honour: O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour!
  • Lewis. I muse your majesty doth seem so cold, 1245
    When such profound respects do pull you on.
  • King Phillip. Thou shalt not need. England, I will fall from thee.
  • Constance. O fair return of banish'd majesty!
  • King John. France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.
  • Philip the Bastard. Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,
    Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue.
  • Blanch. The sun's o'ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!
    Which is the side that I must go withal? 1255
    I am with both: each army hath a hand;
    And in their rage, I having hold of both,
    They swirl asunder and dismember me.
    Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;
    Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose; 1260
    Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
    Grandam, I will not wish thy fortunes thrive:
    Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose
    Assured loss before the match be play'd.
  • Lewis. Lady, with me, with me thy fortune lies. 1265
  • Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.
  • King John. Cousin, go draw our puissance together.
    [Exit BASTARD]
    France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
    A rage whose heat hath this condition, 1270
    That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
    The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.
  • King Phillip. Thy rage sham burn thee up, and thou shalt turn
    To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
    Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy. 1275
  • King John. No more than he that threats. To arms let's hie!

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

The same. Plains near Angiers.

      next scene .
---

[Alarums, excursions. Enter the BASTARD, with] [p]AUSTRIA'S head]

  • Philip the Bastard. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot; 1280
    Some airy devil hovers in the sky
    And pours down mischief. Austria's head lie there,
    While Philip breathes.

[Enter KING JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT]

  • King John. Hubert, keep this boy. Philip, make up: 1285
    My mother is assailed in our tent,
    And ta'en, I fear.
  • Philip the Bastard. My lord, I rescued her;
    Her highness is in safety, fear you not:
    But on, my liege; for very little pains 1290
    Will bring this labour to an happy end.

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

The same.

      next scene .
---

[Alarums, excursions, retreat. Enter KING JOHN,] [p]QUEEN ELINOR, ARTHUR, the BASTARD, HUBERT, [p]and Lords]

  • King John. [To QUEEN ELINOR] So shall it be; your grace shall
    stay behind
    So strongly guarded.
    [To ARTHUR]
    Cousin, look not sad: 1300
    Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will
    As dear be to thee as thy father was.
  • Arthur. O, this will make my mother die with grief!
  • King John. [To the BASTARD] Cousin, away for England!
    haste before: 1305
    And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
    Of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels
    Set at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
    Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
    Use our commission in his utmost force. 1310
  • Philip the Bastard. Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
    When gold and silver becks me to come on.
    I leave your highness. Grandam, I will pray,
    If ever I remember to be holy,
    For your fair safety; so, I kiss your hand. 1315

[Exit the BASTARD]

  • King John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert, 1320
    We owe thee much! within this wall of flesh
    There is a soul counts thee her creditor
    And with advantage means to pay thy love:
    And my good friend, thy voluntary oath
    Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished. 1325
    Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,
    But I will fit it with some better time.
    By heaven, Hubert, I am almost ashamed
    To say what good respect I have of thee.
  • King John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet,
    But thou shalt have; and creep time ne'er so slow,
    Yet it shall come from me to do thee good.
    I had a thing to say, but let it go:
    The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day, 1335
    Attended with the pleasures of the world,
    Is all too wanton and too full of gawds
    To give me audience: if the midnight bell
    Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
    Sound on into the drowsy race of night; 1340
    If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
    And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs,
    Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
    Had baked thy blood and made it heavy-thick,Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
    Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes 1345
    And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
    A passion hateful to my purposes,
    Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
    Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
    Without a tongue, using conceit alone, 1350
    Without eyes, ears and harmful sound of words;
    Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
    I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:
    But, ah, I will not! yet I love thee well;
    And, by my troth, I think thou lovest me well. 1355
  • Hubert de Burgh. So well, that what you bid me undertake,
    Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
    By heaven, I would do it.
  • King John. Do not I know thou wouldst?
    Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye 1360
    On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
    He is a very serpent in my way;
    And whereso'er this foot of mine doth tread,
    He lies before me: dost thou understand me?
    Thou art his keeper. 1365
  • Hubert de Burgh. And I'll keep him so,
    That he shall not offend your majesty.
  • King John. Enough.
    I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;
    Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee:
    Remember. Madam, fare you well: 1375
    I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
  • King John. For England, cousin, go:
    Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
    With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho! 1380

[Exeunt]

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. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

The same. KING PHILIP’S tent.

      next scene .
---

[Enter KING PHILIP, LEWIS, CARDINAL PANDULPH,] [p]and Attendants]

  • King Phillip. So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,
    A whole armado of convicted sail 1385
    Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship.
  • King Phillip. What can go well, when we have run so ill?
    Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
    Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain? 1390
    And bloody England into England gone,
    O'erbearing interruption, spite of France?
  • Lewis. What he hath won, that hath he fortified:
    So hot a speed with such advice disposed,
    Such temperate order in so fierce a cause, 1395
    Doth want example: who hath read or heard
    Of any kindred action like to this?
  • King Phillip. Well could I bear that England had this praise,
    So we could find some pattern of our shame.
    [Enter CONSTANCE] 1400
    Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
    Holding the eternal spirit against her will,
    In the vile prison of afflicted breath.
    I prithee, lady, go away with me.
  • Constance. Lo, now I now see the issue of your peace. 1405
  • King Phillip. Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!
  • Constance. No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
    But that which ends all counsel, true redress,
    Death, death; O amiable lovely death!
    Thou odouriferous stench! sound rottenness! 1410
    Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
    Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
    And I will kiss thy detestable bones
    And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows
    And ring these fingers with thy household worms 1415
    And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust
    And be a carrion monster like thyself:
    Come, grin on me, and I will think thou smilest
    And buss thee as thy wife. Misery's love,
    O, come to me! 1420
  • Constance. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:
    O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
    Then with a passion would I shake the world;
    And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy 1425
    Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
    Which scorns a modern invocation.
  • Constance. Thou art not holy to belie me so;
    I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine; 1430
    My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
    Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
    I am not mad: I would to heaven I were!
    For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
    O, if I could, what grief should I forget! 1435
    Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
    And thou shalt be canonized, cardinal;
    For being not mad but sensible of grief,
    My reasonable part produces reason
    How I may be deliver'd of these woes, 1440
    And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
    If I were mad, I should forget my son,
    Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
    I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
    The different plague of each calamity. 1445
  • King Phillip. Bind up those tresses. O, what love I note
    In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
    Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,
    Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
    Do glue themselves in sociable grief, 1450
    Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
    Sticking together in calamity.
  • Constance. Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it? 1455
    I tore them from their bonds and cried aloud
    'O that these hands could so redeem my son,
    As they have given these hairs their liberty!'
    But now I envy at their liberty,
    And will again commit them to their bonds, 1460
    Because my poor child is a prisoner.
    And, father cardinal, I have heard you say
    That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
    If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
    For since the birth of Cain, the first male child, 1465
    To him that did but yesterday suspire,
    There was not such a gracious creature born.
    But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud
    And chase the native beauty from his cheek
    And he will look as hollow as a ghost, 1470
    As dim and meagre as an ague's fit,
    And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
    When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
    I shall not know him: therefore never, never
    Must I behold my pretty Arthur more. 1475
  • Constance. He talks to me that never had a son.
  • Constance. Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
    Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me, 1480
    Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
    Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
    Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
    Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?
    Fare you well: had you such a loss as I, 1485
    I could give better comfort than you do.
    I will not keep this form upon my head,
    When there is such disorder in my wit.
    O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
    My life, my joy, my food, my all the world! 1490
    My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!

[Exit]

[Exit]

  • Lewis. There's nothing in this world can make me joy: 1495
    Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
    Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
    And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste
    That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. Before the curing of a strong disease, 1500
    Even in the instant of repair and health,
    The fit is strongest; evils that take leave,
    On their departure most of all show evil:
    What have you lost by losing of this day?
  • Lewis. All days of glory, joy and happiness. 1505
  • Cardinal Pandulph. If you had won it, certainly you had.
    No, no; when Fortune means to men most good,
    She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
    'Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost
    In this which he accounts so clearly won: 1510
    Are not you grieved that Arthur is his prisoner?
  • Lewis. As heartily as he is glad he hath him.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
    Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit;
    For even the breath of what I mean to speak 1515
    Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
    Out of the path which shall directly lead
    Thy foot to England's throne; and therefore mark.
    John hath seized Arthur; and it cannot be
    That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins, 1520
    The misplaced John should entertain an hour,
    One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest.
    A sceptre snatch'd with an unruly hand
    Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd;
    And he that stands upon a slippery place 1525
    Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
    That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall;
    So be it, for it cannot be but so.
  • Lewis. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?
  • Cardinal Pandulph. You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife, 1530
    May then make all the claim that Arthur did.
  • Lewis. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. How green you are and fresh in this old world!
    John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;
    For he that steeps his safety in true blood 1535
    Shall find but bloody safety and untrue.
    This act so evilly born shall cool the hearts
    Of all his people and freeze up their zeal,
    That none so small advantage shall step forth
    To cheque his reign, but they will cherish it; 1540
    No natural exhalation in the sky,
    No scope of nature, no distemper'd day,
    No common wind, no customed event,
    But they will pluck away his natural cause
    And call them meteors, prodigies and signs, 1545
    Abortives, presages and tongues of heaven,
    Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
  • Lewis. May be he will not touch young Arthur's life,
    But hold himself safe in his prisonment.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach, 1550
    If that young Arthur be not gone already,
    Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts
    Of all his people shall revolt from him
    And kiss the lips of unacquainted change
    And pick strong matter of revolt and wrath 1555
    Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
    Methinks I see this hurly all on foot:
    And, O, what better matter breeds for you
    Than I have named! The bastard Faulconbridge
    Is now in England, ransacking the church, 1560
    Offending charity: if but a dozen French
    Were there in arms, they would be as a call
    To train ten thousand English to their side,
    Or as a little snow, tumbled about,
    Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin, 1565
    Go with me to the king: 'tis wonderful
    What may be wrought out of their discontent,
    Now that their souls are topful of offence.
    For England go: I will whet on the king.
  • Lewis. Strong reasons make strong actions: let us go: 1570
    If you say ay, the king will not say no.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 1

A room in a castle.

      next scene .
---

[Enter HUBERT and Executioners]

  • Hubert de Burgh. Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand
    Within the arras: when I strike my foot 1575
    Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
    And bind the boy which you shall find with me
    Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to't. 1580
    [Exeunt Executioners]
    Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.

[Enter ARTHUR]

  • Arthur. As little prince, having so great a title
    To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.
  • Arthur. Mercy on me!
    Methinks no body should be sad but I: 1590
    Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
    Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
    Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
    So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
    I should be as merry as the day is long; 1595
    And so I would be here, but that I doubt
    My uncle practises more harm to me:
    He is afraid of me and I of him:
    Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son?
    No, indeed, is't not; and I would to heaven 1600
    I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
  • Hubert de Burgh. [Aside] If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
    He will awake my mercy which lies dead:
    Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.
  • Arthur. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day: 1605
    In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
    That I might sit all night and watch with you:
    I warrant I love you more than you do me.
  • Hubert de Burgh. [Aside] His words do take possession of my bosom.
    Read here, young Arthur. 1610
    [Showing a paper]
    [Aside]
    How now, foolish rheum!
    Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
    I must be brief, lest resolution drop 1615
    Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.
    Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?
  • Arthur. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
    Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?
  • Arthur. Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,
    I knit my handercher about your brows,
    The best I had, a princess wrought it me, 1625
    And I did never ask it you again;
    And with my hand at midnight held your head,
    And like the watchful minutes to the hour,
    Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time,
    Saying, 'What lack you?' and 'Where lies your grief?' 1630
    Or 'What good love may I perform for you?'
    Many a poor man's son would have lien still
    And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
    But you at your sick service had a prince.
    Nay, you may think my love was crafty love 1635
    And call it cunning: do, an if you will:
    If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill,
    Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?
    These eyes that never did nor never shall
    So much as frown on you. 1640
  • Hubert de Burgh. I have sworn to do it;
    And with hot irons must I burn them out.
  • Arthur. Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!
    The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
    Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears 1645
    And quench his fiery indignation
    Even in the matter of mine innocence;
    Nay, after that, consume away in rust
    But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
    Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron? 1650
    An if an angel should have come to me
    And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
    I would not have believed him,—no tongue but Hubert's.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Come forth.
    [Stamps] 1655
    [Re-enter Executioners, with a cord, irons, &c]
    Do as I bid you do.
  • Arthur. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out
    Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
  • Arthur. Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough?
    I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
    For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
    Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away,
    And I will sit as quiet as a lamb; 1665
    I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
    Nor look upon the iron angerly:
    Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
    Whatever torment you do put me to.

[Exeunt Executioners]

  • Arthur. Alas, I then have chid away my friend!
    He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart:
    Let him come back, that his compassion may 1675
    Give life to yours.
  • Arthur. O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours, 1680
    A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
    Any annoyance in that precious sense!
    Then feeling what small things are boisterous there,
    Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
  • Arthur. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
    Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes:
    Let me not hold my tongue, let me not, Hubert;
    Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
    So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes. 1690
    Though to no use but still to look on you!
    Lo, by my truth, the instrument is cold
    And would not harm me.
  • Arthur. No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief, 1695
    Being create for comfort, to be used
    In undeserved extremes: see else yourself;
    There is no malice in this burning coal;
    The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out
    And strew'd repentent ashes on his head. 1700
  • Arthur. An if you do, you will but make it blush
    And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:
    Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes;
    And like a dog that is compell'd to fight, 1705
    Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
    All things that you should use to do me wrong
    Deny their office: only you do lack
    That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,
    Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses. 1710
  • Hubert de Burgh. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye
    For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:
    Yet am I sworn and I did purpose, boy,
    With this same very iron to burn them out.
  • Arthur. O, now you look like Hubert! all this while 1715
    You were disguised.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Peace; no more. Adieu.
    Your uncle must not know but you are dead;
    I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports:
    And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure, 1720
    That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
    Will not offend thee.
  • Arthur. O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Silence; no more: go closely in with me:
    Much danger do I undergo for thee. 1725

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

KING JOHN’S palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter KING JOHN, PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other Lords]

  • King John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd,
    And looked upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.
  • Pembroke. This 'once again,' but that your highness pleased, 1730
    Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before,
    And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off,
    The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt;
    Fresh expectation troubled not the land
    With any long'd-for change or better state. 1735
  • Salisbury. Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
    To guard a title that was rich before,
    To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
    To throw a perfume on the violet,
    To smooth the ice, or add another hue 1740
    Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
    To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
    Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
  • Pembroke. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
    This act is as an ancient tale new told, 1745
    And in the last repeating troublesome,
    Being urged at a time unseasonable.
  • Salisbury. In this the antique and well noted face
    Of plain old form is much disfigured;
    And, like a shifted wind unto a sail, 1750
    It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,
    Startles and frights consideration,
    Makes sound opinion sick and truth suspected,
    For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.
  • Pembroke. When workmen strive to do better than well, 1755
    They do confound their skill in covetousness;
    And oftentimes excusing of a fault
    Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,
    As patches set upon a little breach
    Discredit more in hiding of the fault 1760
    Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.
  • Salisbury. To this effect, before you were new crown'd,
    We breathed our counsel: but it pleased your highness
    To overbear it, and we are all well pleased,
    Since all and every part of what we would 1765
    Doth make a stand at what your highness will.
  • King John. Some reasons of this double coronation
    I have possess'd you with and think them strong;
    And more, more strong, then lesser is my fear,
    I shall indue you with: meantime but ask 1770
    What you would have reform'd that is not well,
    And well shall you perceive how willingly
    I will both hear and grant you your requests.
  • Pembroke. Then I, as one that am the tongue of these,
    To sound the purpose of all their hearts, 1775
    Both for myself and them, but, chief of all,
    Your safety, for the which myself and them
    Bend their best studies, heartily request
    The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
    Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent 1780
    To break into this dangerous argument,—
    If what in rest you have in right you hold,
    Why then your fears, which, as they say, attend
    The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up
    Your tender kinsman and to choke his days 1785
    With barbarous ignorance and deny his youth
    The rich advantage of good exercise?
    That the time's enemies may not have this
    To grace occasions, let it be our suit
    That you have bid us ask his liberty; 1790
    Which for our goods we do no further ask
    Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
    Counts it your weal he have his liberty.

[Enter HUBERT]

  • King John. Let it be so: I do commit his youth 1795
    To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

[Taking him apart]

  • Pembroke. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
    He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine:
    The image of a wicked heinous fault 1800
    Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
    Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;
    And I do fearfully believe 'tis done,
    What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.
  • Salisbury. The colour of the king doth come and go 1805
    Between his purpose and his conscience,
    Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set:
    His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.
  • Pembroke. And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence
    The foul corruption of a sweet child's death. 1810
  • King John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand:
    Good lords, although my will to give is living,
    The suit which you demand is gone and dead:
    He tells us Arthur is deceased to-night.
  • Salisbury. Indeed we fear'd his sickness was past cure. 1815
  • Pembroke. Indeed we heard how near his death he was
    Before the child himself felt he was sick:
    This must be answer'd either here or hence.
  • King John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
    Think you I bear the shears of destiny? 1820
    Have I commandment on the pulse of life?
  • Salisbury. It is apparent foul play; and 'tis shame
    That greatness should so grossly offer it:
    So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.
  • Pembroke. Stay yet, Lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee, 1825
    And find the inheritance of this poor child,
    His little kingdom of a forced grave.
    That blood which owed the breadth of all this isle,
    Three foot of it doth hold: bad world the while!
    This must not be thus borne: this will break out 1830
    To all our sorrows, and ere long I doubt.

[Exeunt Lords]

  • King John. They burn in indignation. I repent:
    There is no sure foundation set on blood,
    No certain life achieved by others' death. 1835
    [Enter a Messenger]
    A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood
    That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?
    So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
    Pour down thy weather: how goes all in France? 1840
  • Messenger. From France to England. Never such a power
    For any foreign preparation
    Was levied in the body of a land.
    The copy of your speed is learn'd by them;
    For when you should be told they do prepare, 1845
    The tidings come that they are all arrived.
  • King John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
    Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care,
    That such an army could be drawn in France,
    And she not hear of it? 1850
  • Messenger. My liege, her ear
    Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April died
    Your noble mother: and, as I hear, my lord,
    The Lady Constance in a frenzy died
    Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue 1855
    I idly heard; if true or false I know not.
  • King John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
    O, make a league with me, till I have pleased
    My discontented peers! What! mother dead!
    How wildly then walks my estate in France! 1860
    Under whose conduct came those powers of France
    That thou for truth givest out are landed here?
  • King John. Thou hast made me giddy
    With these ill tidings. 1865
    [Enter the BASTARD and PETER of Pomfret]
    Now, what says the world
    To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
    My head with more ill news, for it is full.
  • Philip the Bastard. But if you be afeard to hear the worst, 1870
    Then let the worst unheard fall on your bead.
  • King John. Bear with me cousin, for I was amazed
    Under the tide: but now I breathe again
    Aloft the flood, and can give audience
    To any tongue, speak it of what it will. 1875
  • Philip the Bastard. How I have sped among the clergymen,
    The sums I have collected shall express.
    But as I travell'd hither through the land,
    I find the people strangely fantasied;
    Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams, 1880
    Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear:
    And here a prophet, that I brought with me
    From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
    With many hundreds treading on his heels;
    To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes, 1885
    That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
    Your highness should deliver up your crown.
  • King John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?
  • King John. Hubert, away with him; imprison him; 1890
    And on that day at noon whereon he says
    I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd.
    Deliver him to safety; and return,
    For I must use thee.
    [Exeunt HUBERT with PETER] 1895
    O my gentle cousin,
    Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arrived?
  • Philip the Bastard. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full of it:
    Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,
    With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire, 1900
    And others more, going to seek the grave
    Of Arthur, who they say is kill'd to-night
    On your suggestion.
  • King John. Gentle kinsman, go,
    And thrust thyself into their companies: 1905
    I have a way to win their loves again;
    Bring them before me.
  • King John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
    O, let me have no subject enemies, 1910
    When adverse foreigners affright my towns
    With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!
    Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,
    And fly like thought from them to me again.

[Exit]

  • King John. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.
    Go after him; for he perhaps shall need
    Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
    And be thou he. 1920

[Exit]

[Re-enter HUBERT]

  • Hubert de Burgh. My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night; 1925
    Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
    The other four in wondrous motion.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Old men and beldams in the streets
    Do prophesy upon it dangerously: 1930
    Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
    And when they talk of him, they shake their heads
    And whisper one another in the ear;
    And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist,
    Whilst he that hears makes fearful action, 1935
    With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
    I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
    The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
    With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
    Who, with his shears and measure in his hand, 1940
    Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
    Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
    Told of a many thousand warlike French
    That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent:
    Another lean unwash'd artificer 1945
    Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur's death.
  • King John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?
    Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
    Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause
    To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him. 1950
  • King John. It is the curse of kings to be attended
    By slaves that take their humours for a warrant
    To break within the bloody house of life,
    And on the winking of authority 1955
    To understand a law, to know the meaning
    Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
    More upon humour than advised respect.
  • King John. O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth 1960
    Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
    Witness against us to damnation!
    How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
    Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
    A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd, 1965
    Quoted and sign'd to do a deed of shame,
    This murder had not come into my mind:
    But taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
    Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
    Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger, 1970
    I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
    And thou, to be endeared to a king,
    Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.
  • King John. Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause 1975
    When I spake darkly what I purposed,
    Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
    As bid me tell my tale in express words,
    Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
    And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me: 1980
    But thou didst understand me by my signs
    And didst in signs again parley with sin;
    Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
    And consequently thy rude hand to act
    The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name. 1985
    Out of my sight, and never see me more!
    My nobles leave me; and my state is braved,
    Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:
    Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
    This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath, 1990
    Hostility and civil tumult reigns
    Between my conscience and my cousin's death.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Arm you against your other enemies,
    I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
    Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine 1995
    Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
    Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
    Within this bosom never enter'd yet
    The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;
    And you have slander'd nature in my form, 2000
    Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
    Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
    Than to be butcher of an innocent child.
  • King John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,
    Throw this report on their incensed rage, 2005
    And make them tame to their obedience!
    Forgive the comment that my passion made
    Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
    And foul imaginary eyes of blood
    Presented thee more hideous than thou art. 2010
    O, answer not, but to my closet bring
    The angry lords with all expedient haste.
    I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.

[Exeunt]

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Act IV, Scene 3

Before the castle.

      next scene .
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[Enter ARTHUR, on the walls]

  • Arthur. The wall is high, and yet will I leap down:
    Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!
    There's few or none do know me: if they did,
    This ship-boy's semblance hath disguised me quite.
    I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it. 2020
    If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
    I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
    As good to die and go, as die and stay.
    [Leaps down]
    O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones: 2025
    Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

[Dies]

[Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and BIGOT]

  • Salisbury. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury:
    It is our safety, and we must embrace 2030
    This gentle offer of the perilous time.
  • Pembroke. Who brought that letter from the cardinal?
  • Salisbury. The Count Melun, a noble lord of France,
    Whose private with me of the Dauphin's love
    Is much more general than these lines import. 2035
  • Lord Bigot. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
  • Salisbury. Or rather then set forward; for 'twill be
    Two long days' journey, lords, or ere we meet.

[Enter the BASTARD]

  • Philip the Bastard. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords! 2040
    The king by me requests your presence straight.
  • Salisbury. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us:
    We will not line his thin bestained cloak
    With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
    That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks. 2045
    Return and tell him so: we know the worst.
  • Salisbury. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.
  • Philip the Bastard. But there is little reason in your grief;
    Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now. 2050
  • Pembroke. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
  • Salisbury. This is the prison. What is he lies here?

[Seeing ARTHUR]

  • Pembroke. O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty! 2055
    The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
  • Salisbury. Murder, as hating what himself hath done,
    Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.
  • Lord Bigot. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,
    Found it too precious-princely for a grave. 2060
  • Salisbury. Sir Richard, what think you? have you beheld,
    Or have you read or heard? or could you think?
    Or do you almost think, although you see,
    That you do see? could thought, without this object,
    Form such another? This is the very top, 2065
    The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
    Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
    The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
    That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage
    Presented to the tears of soft remorse. 2070
  • Pembroke. All murders past do stand excused in this:
    And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
    Shall give a holiness, a purity,
    To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
    And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest, 2075
    Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
  • Philip the Bastard. It is a damned and a bloody work;
    The graceless action of a heavy hand,
    If that it be the work of any hand.
  • Salisbury. If that it be the work of any hand! 2080
    We had a kind of light what would ensue:
    It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
    The practise and the purpose of the king:
    From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
    Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life, 2085
    And breathing to his breathless excellence
    The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
    Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
    Never to be infected with delight,
    Nor conversant with ease and idleness, 2090
    Till I have set a glory to this hand,
    By giving it the worship of revenge.
  • Pembroke. [with Bigot] Our souls religiously confirm thy words.

[Enter HUBERT]

  • Hubert de Burgh. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you: 2095
    Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.
  • Salisbury. O, he is old and blushes not at death.
    Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!

[Drawing his sword]

  • Salisbury. Not till I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
    By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours: 2105
    I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
    Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
    Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
    Your worth, your greatness and nobility.
  • Lord Bigot. Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman? 2110
  • Hubert de Burgh. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
    My innocent life against an emperor.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Do not prove me so;
    Yet I am none: whose tongue soe'er speaks false, 2115
    Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
  • Salisbury. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
  • Philip the Bastard. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury: 2120
    If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
    Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
    I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
    Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
    That you shall think the devil is come from hell. 2125
  • Lord Bigot. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
    Second a villain and a murderer?
  • Hubert de Burgh. 'Tis not an hour since I left him well: 2130
    I honour'd him, I loved him, and will weep
    My date of life out for his sweet life's loss.
  • Salisbury. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
    For villany is not without such rheum;
    And he, long traded in it, makes it seem 2135
    Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
    Away with me, all you whose souls abhor
    The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;
    For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
  • Lord Bigot. Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there! 2140
  • Pembroke. There tell the king he may inquire us out.

[Exeunt Lords]

  • Philip the Bastard. Here's a good world! Knew you of this fair work?
    Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
    Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death, 2145
    Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
  • Philip the Bastard. Ha! I'll tell thee what;
    Thou'rt damn'd as black—nay, nothing is so black;
    Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer: 2150
    There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
    As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
  • Philip the Bastard. If thou didst but consent
    To this most cruel act, do but despair; 2155
    And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
    That ever spider twisted from her womb
    Will serve to strangle thee, a rush will be a beam
    To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
    Put but a little water in a spoon, 2160
    And it shall be as all the ocean,
    Enough to stifle such a villain up.
    I do suspect thee very grievously.
  • Hubert de Burgh. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
    Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath 2165
    Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
    Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
    I left him well.
  • Philip the Bastard. Go, bear him in thine arms.
    I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way 2170
    Among the thorns and dangers of this world.
    How easy dost thou take all England up!
    From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
    The life, the right and truth of all this realm
    Is fled to heaven; and England now is left 2175
    To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth
    The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.
    Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
    Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
    And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace: 2180
    Now powers from home and discontents at home
    Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
    As doth a raven on a sick-fall'n beast,
    The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
    Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can 2185
    Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child
    And follow me with speed: I'll to the king:
    A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
    And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.

[Exeunt]

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Act V, Scene 1

KING JOHN’S palace.

      next scene .
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[Enter KING JOHN, CARDINAL PANDULPH, and Attendants]

  • King John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand
    The circle of my glory.

[Giving the crown]

  • Cardinal Pandulph. Take again 2195
    From this my hand, as holding of the pope
    Your sovereign greatness and authority.
  • King John. Now keep your holy word: go meet the French,
    And from his holiness use all your power
    To stop their marches 'fore we are inflamed. 2200
    Our discontented counties do revolt;
    Our people quarrel with obedience,
    Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
    To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
    This inundation of mistemper'd humour 2205
    Rests by you only to be qualified:
    Then pause not; for the present time's so sick,
    That present medicine must be minister'd,
    Or overthrow incurable ensues.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. It was my breath that blew this tempest up, 2210
    Upon your stubborn usage of the pope;
    But since you are a gentle convertite,
    My tongue shall hush again this storm of war
    And make fair weather in your blustering land.
    On this Ascension-day, remember well, 2215
    Upon your oath of service to the pope,
    Go I to make the French lay down their arms.

[Exit]

  • King John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet
    Say that before Ascension-day at noon 2220
    My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
    I did suppose it should be on constraint:
    But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.

[Enter the BASTARD]

  • Philip the Bastard. All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out 2225
    But Dover castle: London hath received,
    Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:
    Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone
    To offer service to your enemy,
    And wild amazement hurries up and down 2230
    The little number of your doubtful friends.
  • King John. Would not my lords return to me again,
    After they heard young Arthur was alive?
  • Philip the Bastard. They found him dead and cast into the streets,
    An empty casket, where the jewel of life 2235
    By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away.
  • King John. That villain Hubert told me he did live.
  • Philip the Bastard. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.
    But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?
    Be great in act, as you have been in thought; 2240
    Let not the world see fear and sad distrust
    Govern the motion of a kingly eye:
    Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
    Threaten the threatener and outface the brow
    Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes, 2245
    That borrow their behaviors from the great,
    Grow great by your example and put on
    The dauntless spirit of resolution.
    Away, and glister like the god of war,
    When he intendeth to become the field: 2250
    Show boldness and aspiring confidence.
    What, shall they seek the lion in his den,
    And fright him there? and make him tremble there?
    O, let it not be said: forage, and run
    To meet displeasure farther from the doors, 2255
    And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.
  • King John. The legate of the pope hath been with me,
    And I have made a happy peace with him;
    And he hath promised to dismiss the powers
    Led by the Dauphin. 2260
  • Philip the Bastard. O inglorious league!
    Shall we, upon the footing of our land,
    Send fair-play orders and make compromise,
    Insinuation, parley and base truce
    To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy, 2265
    A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
    And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
    Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
    And find no cheque? Let us, my liege, to arms:
    Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace; 2270
    Or if he do, let it at least be said
    They saw we had a purpose of defence.
  • King John. Have thou the ordering of this present time.
  • Philip the Bastard. Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know,
    Our party may well meet a prouder foe. 2275

[Exeunt]

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Act V, Scene 2

LEWIS’s camp at St. Edmundsbury.

      next scene .
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[Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE,] [p]BIGOT, and Soldiers]

  • Lewis. My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,
    And keep it safe for our remembrance: 2280
    Return the precedent to these lords again;
    That, having our fair order written down,
    Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes,
    May know wherefore we took the sacrament
    And keep our faiths firm and inviolable. 2285
  • Salisbury. Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
    And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
    A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith
    To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince,
    I am not glad that such a sore of time 2290
    Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt,
    And heal the inveterate canker of one wound
    By making many. O, it grieves my soul,
    That I must draw this metal from my side
    To be a widow-maker! O, and there 2295
    Where honourable rescue and defence
    Cries out upon the name of Salisbury!
    But such is the infection of the time,
    That, for the health and physic of our right,
    We cannot deal but with the very hand 2300
    Of stern injustice and confused wrong.
    And is't not pity, O my grieved friends,
    That we, the sons and children of this isle,
    Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
    Wherein we step after a stranger march 2305
    Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up
    Her enemies' ranks,—I must withdraw and weep
    Upon the spot of this enforced cause,—
    To grace the gentry of a land remote,
    And follow unacquainted colours here? 2310
    What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove!
    That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about,
    Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
    And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
    Where these two Christian armies might combine 2315
    The blood of malice in a vein of league,
    And not to spend it so unneighbourly!
  • Lewis. A noble temper dost thou show in this;
    And great affections wrestling in thy bosom
    Doth make an earthquake of nobility. 2320
    O, what a noble combat hast thou fought
    Between compulsion and a brave respect!
    Let me wipe off this honourable dew,
    That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks:
    My heart hath melted at a lady's tears, 2325
    Being an ordinary inundation;
    But this effusion of such manly drops,
    This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,
    Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed
    Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven 2330
    Figured quite o'er with burning meteors.
    Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
    And with a great heart heave away the storm:
    Commend these waters to those baby eyes
    That never saw the giant world enraged; 2335
    Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
    Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
    Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep
    Into the purse of rich prosperity
    As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all, 2340
    That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.
    And even there, methinks, an angel spake:
    [Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH]
    Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
    To give us warrant from the hand of heaven 2345
    And on our actions set the name of right
    With holy breath.
  • Cardinal Pandulph. Hail, noble prince of France!
    The next is this, King John hath reconciled
    Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in, 2350
    That so stood out against the holy church,
    The great metropolis and see of Rome:
    Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up;
    And tame the savage spirit of wild war,
    That like a lion foster'd up at hand, 2355
    It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
    And be no further harmful than in show.
  • Lewis. Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back:
    I am too high-born to be propertied,
    To be a secondary at control, 2360
    Or useful serving-man and instrument,
    To any sovereign state throughout the world.
    Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
    Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
    And brought in matter that should feed this fire; 2365
    And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
    With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
    You taught me how to know the face of right,
    Acquainted me with interest to this land,
    Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart; 2370
    And come ye now to tell me John hath made
    His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
    I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
    After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
    And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back 2375
    Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
    Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
    What men provided, what munition sent,
    To underprop this action? Is't not I
    That undergo this charge? who else but I, 2380
    And such as to my claim are liable,
    Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
    Have I not heard these islanders shout out
    'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd their towns?
    Have I not here the best cards for the game, 2385
    To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
    And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
    No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.
  • Lewis. Outside or inside, I will not return 2390
    Till my attempt so much be glorified
    As to my ample hope was promised
    Before I drew this gallant head of war,
    And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
    To outlook conquest and to win renown 2395
    Even in the jaws of danger and of death.
    [Trumpet sounds]
    What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?

[Enter the BASTARD, attended]

  • Philip the Bastard. According to the fair play of the world, 2400
    Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:
    My holy lord of Milan, from the king
    I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
    And, as you answer, I do know the scope
    And warrant limited unto my tongue. 2405
  • Cardinal Pandulph. The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
    And will not temporize with my entreaties;
    He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms.
  • Philip the Bastard. By all the blood that ever fury breathed,
    The youth says well. Now hear our English king; 2410
    For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
    He is prepared, and reason too he should:
    This apish and unmannerly approach,
    This harness'd masque and unadvised revel,
    This unhair'd sauciness and boyish troops, 2415
    The king doth smile at; and is well prepared
    To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
    From out the circle of his territories.
    That hand which had the strength, even at your door,
    To cudgel you and make you take the hatch, 2420
    To dive like buckets in concealed wells,
    To crouch in litter of your stable planks,
    To lie like pawns lock'd up in chests and trunks,
    To hug with swine, to seek sweet safety out
    In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake 2425
    Even at the crying of your nation's crow,
    Thinking his voice an armed Englishman;
    Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
    That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
    No: know the gallant monarch is in arms 2430
    And like an eagle o'er his aery towers,
    To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.
    And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
    You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
    Of your dear mother England, blush for shame; 2435
    For your own ladies and pale-visaged maids
    Like Amazons come tripping after drums,
    Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
    Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts
    To fierce and bloody inclination. 2440
  • Lewis. There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;
    We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
    We hold our time too precious to be spent
    With such a brabbler.
  • Lewis. We will attend to neither.
    Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
    Plead for our interest and our being here.
  • Philip the Bastard. Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out; 2450
    And so shall you, being beaten: do but start
    An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
    And even at hand a drum is ready braced
    That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
    Sound but another, and another shall 2455
    As loud as thine rattle the welkin's ear
    And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand,
    Not trusting to this halting legate here,
    Whom he hath used rather for sport than need
    Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits 2460
    A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
    To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
  • Lewis. Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

The field of battle.

      next scene .
---

[Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT]

  • King John. How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert.
  • King John. This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
    Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick! 2470

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,
    Desires your majesty to leave the field
    And send him word by me which way you go.
  • King John. Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the abbey there. 2475
  • Messenger. Be of good comfort; for the great supply
    That was expected by the Dauphin here,
    Are wreck'd three nights ago on Goodwin Sands.
    This news was brought to Richard but even now:
    The French fight coldly, and retire themselves. 2480
  • King John. Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
    And will not let me welcome this good news.
    Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
    Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Another part of the field.

      next scene .
---

[Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, and BIGOT]

  • Salisbury. I did not think the king so stored with friends.
  • Pembroke. Up once again; put spirit in the French:
    If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
  • Salisbury. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge, 2490
    In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
  • Pembroke. They say King John sore sick hath left the field.

[Enter MELUN, wounded]

  • Melun. Lead me to the revolts of England here.
  • Salisbury. When we were happy we had other names. 2495
  • Melun. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;
    Unthread the rude eye of rebellion
    And welcome home again discarded faith. 2500
    Seek out King John and fall before his feet;
    For if the French be lords of this loud day,
    He means to recompense the pains you take
    By cutting off your heads: thus hath he sworn
    And I with him, and many moe with me, 2505
    Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;
    Even on that altar where we swore to you
    Dear amity and everlasting love.
  • Salisbury. May this be possible? may this be true?
  • Melun. Have I not hideous death within my view, 2510
    Retaining but a quantity of life,
    Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
    Resolveth from his figure 'gainst the fire?
    What in the world should make me now deceive,
    Since I must lose the use of all deceit? 2515
    Why should I then be false, since it is true
    That I must die here and live hence by truth?
    I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
    He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of yours
    Behold another day break in the east: 2520
    But even this night, whose black contagious breath
    Already smokes about the burning crest
    Of the old, feeble and day-wearied sun,
    Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
    Paying the fine of rated treachery 2525
    Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
    If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
    Commend me to one Hubert with your king:
    The love of him, and this respect besides,
    For that my grandsire was an Englishman, 2530
    Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
    In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
    From forth the noise and rumour of the field,
    Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
    In peace, and part this body and my soul 2535
    With contemplation and devout desires.
  • Salisbury. We do believe thee: and beshrew my soul
    But I do love the favour and the form
    Of this most fair occasion, by the which
    We will untread the steps of damned flight, 2540
    And like a bated and retired flood,
    Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
    Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd
    And cabby run on in obedience
    Even to our ocean, to our great King John. 2545
    My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
    For I do see the cruel pangs of death
    Right in thine eye. Away, my friends! New flight;
    And happy newness, that intends old right.

[Exeunt, leading off MELUN]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

The French camp.

      next scene .
---

[Enter LEWIS and his train]

  • Lewis. The sun of heaven methought was loath to set,
    But stay'd and made the western welkin blush,
    When English measure backward their own ground
    In faint retire. O, bravely came we off, 2555
    When with a volley of our needless shot,
    After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
    And wound our tattering colours clearly up,
    Last in the field, and almost lords of it!

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. The Count Melun is slain; the English lords
    By his persuasion are again fall'n off,
    And your supply, which you have wish'd so long, 2565
    Are cast away and sunk on Goodwin Sands.
  • Lewis. Ah, foul shrewd news! beshrew thy very heart!
    I did not think to be so sad to-night
    As this hath made me. Who was he that said
    King John did fly an hour or two before 2570
    The stumbling night did part our weary powers?
  • Messenger. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
  • Lewis. Well; keep good quarter and good care to-night:
    The day shall not be up so soon as I,
    To try the fair adventure of to-morrow. 2575

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 6

An open place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

      next scene .
---

[Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, severally]

  • Hubert de Burgh. What's that to thee? why may not I demand
    Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?
  • Hubert de Burgh. Thou hast a perfect thought: 2585
    I will upon all hazards well believe
    Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well.
    Who art thou?
  • Philip the Bastard. Who thou wilt: and if thou please,
    Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think 2590
    I come one way of the Plantagenets.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Unkind remembrance! thou and eyeless night
    Have done me shame: brave soldier, pardon me,
    That any accent breaking from thy tongue
    Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear. 2595
  • Hubert de Burgh. Why, here walk I in the black brow of night,
    To find you out.
  • Hubert de Burgh. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, 2600
    Black, fearful, comfortless and horrible.
  • Philip the Bastard. Show me the very wound of this ill news:
    I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
  • Hubert de Burgh. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk:
    I left him almost speechless; and broke out 2605
    To acquaint you with this evil, that you might
    The better arm you to the sudden time,
    Than if you had at leisure known of this.
  • Hubert de Burgh. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain, 2610
    Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
    Yet speaks and peradventure may recover.
  • Hubert de Burgh. Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
    And brought Prince Henry in their company; 2615
    At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
    And they are all about his majesty.
  • Philip the Bastard. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
    And tempt us not to bear above our power!
    I'll tell tree, Hubert, half my power this night, 2620
    Passing these flats, are taken by the tide;
    These Lincoln Washes have devoured them;
    Myself, well mounted, hardly have escaped.
    Away before: conduct me to the king;
    I doubt he will be dead or ere I come. 2625

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 7

The orchard in Swinstead Abbey.

       
---

[Enter PRINCE HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT]

  • Prince Henry. It is too late: the life of all his blood
    Is touch'd corruptibly, and his pure brain,
    Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house, 2630
    Doth by the idle comments that it makes
    Foretell the ending of mortality.

[Enter PEMBROKE]

  • Pembroke. His highness yet doth speak, and holds belief
    That, being brought into the open air, 2635
    It would allay the burning quality
    Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
  • Prince Henry. Let him be brought into the orchard here.
    Doth he still rage?

[Exit BIGOT]

  • Pembroke. He is more patient
    Than when you left him; even now he sung.
  • Prince Henry. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes
    In their continuance will not feel themselves.
    Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts, 2645
    Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now
    Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
    With many legions of strange fantasies,
    Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
    Confound themselves. 'Tis strange that death 2650
    should sing.
    I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
    Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,
    And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings
    His soul and body to their lasting rest. 2655
  • Salisbury. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born
    To set a form upon that indigest
    Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.

[Enter Attendants, and BIGOT, carrying KING JOHN in a chair]

  • King John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room; 2660
    It would not out at windows nor at doors.
    There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
    That all my bowels crumble up to dust:
    I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
    Upon a parchment, and against this fire 2665
    Do I shrink up.
  • King John. Poison'd,—ill fare—dead, forsook, cast off:
    And none of you will bid the winter come
    To thrust his icy fingers in my maw, 2670
    Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
    Through my burn'd bosom, nor entreat the north
    To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips
    And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much,
    I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait 2675
    And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
  • Prince Henry. O that there were some virtue in my tears,
    That might relieve you!
  • King John. The salt in them is hot.
    Within me is a hell; and there the poison 2680
    Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize
    On unreprievable condemned blood.

[Enter the BASTARD]

  • Philip the Bastard. O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
    And spleen of speed to see your majesty! 2685
  • King John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
    The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd,
    And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
    Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
    My heart hath one poor string to stay it by, 2690
    Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
    And then all this thou seest is but a clod
    And module of confounded royalty.
  • Philip the Bastard. The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
    Where heaven He knows how we shall answer him; 2695
    For in a night the best part of my power,
    As I upon advantage did remove,
    Were in the Washes all unwarily
    Devoured by the unexpected flood.

[KING JOHN dies]

  • Salisbury. You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.
    My liege! my lord! but now a king, now thus.
  • Prince Henry. Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
    What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
    When this was now a king, and now is clay? 2705
  • Philip the Bastard. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind
    To do the office for thee of revenge,
    And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
    As it on earth hath been thy servant still.
    Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres, 2710
    Where be your powers? show now your mended faiths,
    And instantly return with me again,
    To push destruction and perpetual shame
    Out of the weak door of our fainting land.
    Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought; 2715
    The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
  • Salisbury. It seems you know not, then, so much as we:
    The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
    Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,
    And brings from him such offers of our peace 2720
    As we with honour and respect may take,
    With purpose presently to leave this war.
  • Philip the Bastard. He will the rather do it when he sees
    Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
  • Salisbury. Nay, it is in a manner done already; 2725
    For many carriages he hath dispatch'd
    To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
    To the disposing of the cardinal:
    With whom yourself, myself and other lords,
    If you think meet, this afternoon will post 2730
    To consummate this business happily.
  • Philip the Bastard. Let it be so: and you, my noble prince,
    With other princes that may best be spared,
    Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
  • Prince Henry. At Worcester must his body be interr'd; 2735
    For so he will'd it.
  • Philip the Bastard. Thither shall it then:
    And happily may your sweet self put on
    The lineal state and glory of the land!
    To whom with all submission, on my knee 2740
    I do bequeath my faithful services
    And true subjection everlastingly.
  • Salisbury. And the like tender of our love we make,
    To rest without a spot for evermore.
  • Prince Henry. I have a kind soul that would give you thanks 2745
    And knows not how to do it but with tears.
  • Philip the Bastard. O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
    Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
    This England never did, nor never shall,
    Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror, 2750
    But when it first did help to wound itself.
    Now these her princes are come home again,
    Come the three corners of the world in arms,
    And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,
    If England to itself do rest but true. 2755

[Exeunt]

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