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History of King John

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Act V, Scene 7

The orchard in Swinstead Abbey.



  • 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.


  • 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