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History of King John

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Act V, Scene 4

Another part of the field.



  • 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]