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The Life and Death of King John Shakespeare homepage | King John | Entire play ACT I SCENE I. KING JOHN'S palace.

   Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, 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,
   The borrow'd majesty, of England here.

QUEEN ELINOR

   A strange beginning: 'borrow'd majesty!'

KING JOHN

   Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.

CHATILLON

   Philip of France, in right and true behalf
   Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
   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,
   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.

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:
   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.
   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
   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
   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,
   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?

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?

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.

KING JOHN

   What art thou?

ROBERT

   The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.

KING JOHN

   Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
   You came not of one mother then, it seems.

BASTARD

   Most certain of one mother, mighty king;
   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
   And wound her honour with this diffidence.

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:
   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?

BASTARD

   I know not why, except to get the land.
   But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
   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.
   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!

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
   And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak,
   What doth move you to claim your brother's land?

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!

ROBERT

   My gracious liege, when that my father lived,
   Your brother did employ my father much,--

BASTARD

   Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:
   Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.

ROBERT

   And once dispatch'd him in an embassy
   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,
   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
   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,
   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
   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;
   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.

ROBERT

   Shall then my father's will be of no force
   To dispossess that child which is not his?

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
   And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
   Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
   Lord of thy presence and no land beside?

BASTARD

   Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
   And I had his, sir Robert's his, like him;
   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,
   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?
   I am a soldier and now bound to France.

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.

QUEEN ELINOR

   Nay, I would have you go before me thither.

BASTARD

   Our country manners give our betters way.

KING JOHN

   What is thy name?

BASTARD

   Philip, my liege, so is my name begun,
   Philip, good old sir Robert's wife's eldest son.

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.

BASTARD

   Brother by the mother's side, give me your hand:
   My father gave me honour, yours gave land.
   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.

BASTARD

   Madam, by chance but not by truth; what though?
   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,
   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.

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.
   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
   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,'
   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;'
   '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,
   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;
   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:
   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
   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,
   That holds in chase mine honour up and down?

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,
   Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at sir Robert?
   He is sir Robert's son, and so art thou.

BASTARD

   James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?

GURNEY

   Good leave, good Philip.

BASTARD

   Philip! sparrow: James,
   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:
   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.

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?

BASTARD

   Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like.
   What! I am dubb'd! I have it on my shoulder.
   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?

LADY FAULCONBRIDGE

   Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?

BASTARD

   As faithfully as I deny the devil.

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:
   Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!
   Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
   Which was so strongly urged past my defence.

BASTARD

   Now, by this light, were I to get again,
   Madam, I would not wish a better father.
   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
   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!
   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:
   Who says it was, he lies; I say 'twas not.
   Exeunt

ACT II SCENE I. France. Before Angiers.

   Enter AUSTRIA and forces, drums, etc. on one side: on the other KING PHILIP and his power; LEWIS, 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:
   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:
   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,
   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?

AUSTRIA

   Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
   As seal to this indenture of my love,
   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,
   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,
   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!

AUSTRIA

   The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
   In such a just and charitable war.

KING PHILIP

   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:
   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:
   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 PHILIP

   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
   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;
   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;
   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,
   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,
   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.

KING PHILIP

   How much unlook'd for is this expedition!

AUSTRIA

   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.
   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,
   Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
   Their proud contempt that beats His peace to heaven.

KING PHILIP

   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
   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,
   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
   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
   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?

KING PHILIP

   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
   And by whose help I mean to chastise it.

KING JOHN

   Alack, thou dost usurp authority.

KING PHILIP

   Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.

QUEEN ELINOR

   Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?

CONSTANCE

   Let me make answer; thy usurping son.

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
   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.

QUEEN ELINOR

   There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

CONSTANCE

   There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.

AUSTRIA

   Peace!

BASTARD

   Hear the crier.

AUSTRIA

   What the devil art thou?

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;
   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!

BASTARD

   It lies as sightly on the back of him
   As great Alcides' shows upon an ass:
   But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your back,
   Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.

AUSTRIA

   What craker is this same that deafs our ears
   With this abundance of superfluous breath?

KING PHILIP

   Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.

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?

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.

QUEEN ELINOR

   Come to thy grandam, child.

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.

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!
   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.

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,
   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.

KING JOHN

   Bedlam, have done.

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
   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
   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 PHILIP

   Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:
   It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
   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

First Citizen

   Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls?

KING PHILIP

   'Tis France, for England.

KING JOHN

   England, for itself.
   You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects--

KING PHILIP

   You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,
   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:
   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
   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
   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,
   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,
   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.

KING PHILIP

   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,
   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
   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,
   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,
   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
   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?
   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.

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,
   Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,--

BASTARD

   Bastards, and else.

KING JOHN

   To verify our title with their lives.

KING PHILIP

   As many and as well-born bloods as those,--

BASTARD

   Some bastards too.

KING PHILIP

   Stand in his face to contradict his claim.

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,
   Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
   In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!

KING PHILIP

   Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! to arms!

BASTARD

   Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
   Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door,
   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,
   And make a monster of you.

AUSTRIA

   Peace! no more.

BASTARD

   O tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

KING JOHN

   Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth
   In best appointment all our regiments.

BASTARD

   Speed then, to take advantage of the field.

KING PHILIP

   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, 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,
   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,
   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:
   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
   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,
   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
   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,
   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?
   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.

KING PHILIP

   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,
   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.

BASTARD

   Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers,
   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.
   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!

KING JOHN

   Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

KING PHILIP

   Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?

First Citizen

   The king of England; when we know the king.

KING PHILIP

   Know him in us, that here hold up his right.

KING JOHN

   In us, that are our own great deputy
   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;
   King'd of our fears, until our fears, resolved,
   Be by some certain king purged and deposed.

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
   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:
   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,
   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;
   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?
   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?

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,
   Why then defy each other and pell-mell
   Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.

KING PHILIP

   Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?

KING JOHN

   We from the west will send destruction
   Into this city's bosom.

AUSTRIA

   I from the north.

KING PHILIP

   Our thunder from the south
   Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.

BASTARD

   O prudent discipline! From north to south:
   Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth:
   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,
   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
   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?
   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;
   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,
   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,
   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,
   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,
   As we to keep this city.

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,
   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:
   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;
   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.
   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,
   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 PHILIP

   Speak England first, that hath been forward first
   To speak unto this city: what say you?

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,
   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,
   Holds hand with any princess of the world.

KING PHILIP

   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:
   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.
   Whispers with BLANCH

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,
   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,
   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,
   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
   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,
   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.

KING PHILIP

   It likes us well; young princes, close your hands.

AUSTRIA

   And your lips too; for I am well assured
   That I did so when I was first assured.

KING PHILIP

   Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,
   Let in that amity which you have made;
   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:
   Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.

LEWIS

   She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.

KING PHILIP

   And, by my faith, this league that we have made
   Will give her sadness very little cure.
   Brother of England, how may we content
   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
   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,
   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

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
   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,
   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,
   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:
   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,
   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;
   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
   To say there is no vice but beggary.
   Since kings break faith upon commodity,
   Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.
   Exit

ACT III SCENE I. The French King's pavilion.

   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:
   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.
   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;
   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?
   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,
   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,
   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?
   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
   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,
   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.
   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;
   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,
   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.

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.
   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.
   Seats herself on the ground
   Enter KING JOHN, KING PHILLIP, LEWIS, BLANCH, QUEEN ELINOR, the BASTARD, AUSTRIA, and Attendants

KING PHILIP

   'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
   Ever in France shall be kept festival:
   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
   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
   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,
   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!

KING PHILIP

   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,
   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,
   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,
   Set armed discord 'twixt these perjured kings!
   Hear me, O, hear me!

AUSTRIA

   Lady Constance, peace!

CONSTANCE

   War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war
   O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame
   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
   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,
   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.

AUSTRIA

   O, that a man should speak those words to me!

BASTARD

   And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA

   Thou darest not say so, villain, for thy life.

BASTARD

   And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

KING JOHN

   We like not this; thou dost forget thyself.
   Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH

KING PHILIP

   Here comes the holy legate of the pope.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!
   To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
   I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
   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
   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?
   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
   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:
   So tell the pope, all reverence set apart
   To him and his usurp'd authority.

KING PHILIP

   Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.

KING JOHN

   Though you and all the kings of Christendom
   Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,
   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
   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.
   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
   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
   There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   There's law and warrant, lady, for my curse.

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,
   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;
   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.

AUSTRIA

   King Philip, listen to the cardinal.

BASTARD

   And hang a calf's-skin on his recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA

   Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs, Because--

BASTARD

   Your breeches best may carry them.

KING JOHN

   Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal?

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.

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.

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;
   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!

AUSTRIA

   Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.

BASTARD

   Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most sweet lout.

KING PHILIP

   I am perplex'd, and know not what to say.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   What canst thou say but will perplex thee more,
   If thou stand excommunicate and cursed?

KING PHILIP

   Good reverend father, make my person yours,
   And tell me how you would bestow yourself.
   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
   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,
   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,
   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
   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
   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,
   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,
   Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

KING PHILIP

   I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.

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
   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
   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,
   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,
   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!
   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
   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
   So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,
   But in despair die under their black weight.

AUSTRIA

   Rebellion, flat rebellion!

BASTARD

   Will't not be?
   Will not a calfs-skin stop that mouth of thine?

LEWIS

   Father, to arms!

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,
   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
   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!

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,
   When such profound respects do pull you on.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   I will denounce a curse upon his head.

KING PHILIP

   Thou shalt not need. England, I will fall from thee.

CONSTANCE

   O fair return of banish'd majesty!

QUEEN ELINOR

   O foul revolt of French inconstancy!

KING JOHN

   France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.

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?
   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;
   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.

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,
   That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
   The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.

KING PHILIP

   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.

KING JOHN

   No more than he that threats. To arms let's hie!
   Exeunt

SCENE II. The same. Plains near Angiers.

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

BASTARD

   Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot;
   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:
   My mother is assailed in our tent,
   And ta'en, I fear.

BASTARD

   My lord, I rescued her;
   Her highness is in safety, fear you not:
   But on, my liege; for very little pains
   Will bring this labour to an happy end.
   Exeunt

SCENE III. The same.

   Alarums, excursions, retreat. Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, ARTHUR, the BASTARD, HUBERT, 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:
   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:
   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.

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.

ELINOR

   Farewell, gentle cousin.

KING JOHN

   Coz, farewell.
   Exit the BASTARD

QUEEN ELINOR

   Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.

KING JOHN

   Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
   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.
   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.

HUBERT

   I am much bounden to your majesty.

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,
   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;
   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
   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,
   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.

HUBERT

   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
   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.

HUBERT

   And I'll keep him so,
   That he shall not offend your majesty.

KING JOHN

   Death.

HUBERT

   My lord?

KING JOHN

   A grave.

HUBERT

   He shall not live.

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:
   I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.

ELINOR

   My blessing go with thee!

KING JOHN

   For England, cousin, go:
   Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
   With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!
   Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same. KING PHILIP'S tent.

   Enter KING PHILIP, LEWIS, CARDINAL PANDULPH, and Attendants 

KING PHILIP

   So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,
   A whole armado of convicted sail
   Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.

KING PHILIP

   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?
   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,
   Doth want example: who hath read or heard
   Of any kindred action like to this?

KING PHILIP

   Well could I bear that England had this praise,
   So we could find some pattern of our shame.
   Enter CONSTANCE
   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.

KING PHILIP

   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!
   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
   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!

KING PHILIP

   O fair affliction, peace!

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
   Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
   Which scorns a modern invocation.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

CONSTANCE

   Thou art not holy to belie me so;
   I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;
   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!
   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,
   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.

KING PHILIP

   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,
   Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
   Sticking together in calamity.

CONSTANCE

   To England, if you will.

KING PHILIP

   Bind up your hairs.

CONSTANCE

   Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it?
   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,
   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,
   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,
   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.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   You hold too heinous a respect of grief.

CONSTANCE

   He talks to me that never had a son.

KING PHILIP

   You are as fond of grief as of your child.

CONSTANCE

   Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
   Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
   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,
   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!
   My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!
   Exit

KING PHILIP

   I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.
   Exit

LEWIS

   There's nothing in this world can make me joy:
   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,
   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.

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:
   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
   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,
   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
   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,
   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
   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;
   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,
   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,
   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
   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,
   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,
   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:
   If you say ay, the king will not say no.
   Exeunt

ACT IV SCENE I. A room in a castle.

   Enter HUBERT and Executioners 

HUBERT

   Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand
   Within the arras: when I strike my foot
   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.

First Executioner

   I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.

HUBERT

   Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to't.
   Exeunt Executioners
   Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.
   Enter ARTHUR

ARTHUR

   Good morrow, Hubert.

HUBERT

   Good morrow, little prince.

ARTHUR

   As little prince, having so great a title
   To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.

HUBERT

   Indeed, I have been merrier.

ARTHUR

   Mercy on me!
   Methinks no body should be sad but I:
   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;
   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
   I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.

HUBERT

   [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:
   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

   [Aside] His words do take possession of my bosom.
   Read here, young Arthur.
   Showing a paper
   Aside
   How now, foolish rheum!
   Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
   I must be brief, lest resolution drop
   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?

HUBERT

   Young boy, I must.

ARTHUR

   And will you?

HUBERT

   And I will.

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,
   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?'
   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
   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.

HUBERT

   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
   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?
   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

   Come forth.
   Stamps
   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.

HUBERT

   Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.

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;
   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.

HUBERT

   Go, stand within; let me alone with him.

First Executioner

   I am best pleased to be from such a deed.
   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
   Give life to yours.

HUBERT

   Come, boy, prepare yourself.

ARTHUR

   Is there no remedy?

HUBERT

   None, but to lose your eyes.

ARTHUR

   O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours,
   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.

HUBERT

   Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.

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.
   Though to no use but still to look on you!
   Lo, by my truth, the instrument is cold
   And would not harm me.

HUBERT

   I can heat it, boy.

ARTHUR

   No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief,
   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.

HUBERT

   But with my breath I can revive it, boy.

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,
   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.

HUBERT

   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
   You were disguised.

HUBERT

   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,
   That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
   Will not offend thee.

ARTHUR

   O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.

HUBERT

   Silence; no more: go closely in with me:
   Much danger do I undergo for thee.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. KING JOHN'S palace.

   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,
   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.

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
   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,
   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,
   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,
   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
   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
   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
   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,
   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
   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
   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;
   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
   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
   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
   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.

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.

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?
   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,
   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
   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.
   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?

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,
   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?

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
   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!
   Under whose conduct came those powers of France
   That thou for truth givest out are landed here?

Messenger

   Under the Dauphin.

KING JOHN

   Thou hast made me giddy
   With these ill tidings.
   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.

BASTARD

   But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
   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.

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,
   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,
   That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
   Your highness should deliver up your crown.

KING JOHN

   Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?

PETER

   Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.

KING JOHN

   Hubert, away with him; imprison him;
   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
   O my gentle cousin,
   Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arrived?

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,
   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:
   I have a way to win their loves again;
   Bring them before me.

BASTARD

   I will seek them out.

KING JOHN

   Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
   O, let me have no subject enemies,
   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.

BASTARD

   The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
   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.

Messenger

   With all my heart, my liege.
   Exit

KING JOHN

   My mother dead!
   Re-enter HUBERT

HUBERT

   My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;
   Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
   The other four in wondrous motion.

KING JOHN

   Five moons!

HUBERT

   Old men and beldams in the streets
   Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
   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,
   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,
   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
   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.

HUBERT

   No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?

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
   To understand a law, to know the meaning
   Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
   More upon humour than advised respect.

HUBERT

   Here is your hand and seal for what I did.

KING JOHN

   O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth
   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,
   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,
   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.

HUBERT

   My lord--

KING JOHN

   Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause
   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:
   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.
   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,
   Hostility and civil tumult reigns
   Between my conscience and my cousin's death.

HUBERT

   Arm you against your other enemies,
   I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
   Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine
   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,
   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,
   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.
   O, answer not, but to my closet bring
   The angry lords with all expedient haste.
   I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.
   Exeunt

SCENE III. Before the castle.

   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.
   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:
   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
   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.

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

BASTARD

   Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords!
   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.
   Return and tell him so: we know the worst.

BASTARD

   Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best.

SALISBURY

   Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.

BASTARD

   But there is little reason in your grief;
   Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.

PEMBROKE

   Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.

BASTARD

   'Tis true, to hurt his master, no man else.

SALISBURY

   This is the prison. What is he lies here?
   Seeing ARTHUR

PEMBROKE

   O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!
   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.

BIGOT

   Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,
   Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

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,
   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.

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,
   Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

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!
   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,
   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,
   Till I have set a glory to this hand,
   By giving it the worship of revenge.

PEMBROKE BIGOT

   Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
   Enter HUBERT

HUBERT

   Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
   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!

HUBERT

   I am no villain.

SALISBURY

   Must I rob the law?
   Drawing his sword

BASTARD

   Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.

SALISBURY

   Not till I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.

HUBERT

   Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
   By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours:
   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.

BIGOT

   Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman?

HUBERT

   Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
   My innocent life against an emperor.

SALISBURY

   Thou art a murderer.

HUBERT

   Do not prove me so;
   Yet I am none: whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
   Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.

PEMBROKE

   Cut him to pieces.

BASTARD

   Keep the peace, I say.

SALISBURY

   Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.

BASTARD

   Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
   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.

BIGOT

   What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
   Second a villain and a murderer?

HUBERT

   Lord Bigot, I am none.

BIGOT

   Who kill'd this prince?

HUBERT

   'Tis not an hour since I left him well:
   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
   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.

BIGOT

   Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!

PEMBROKE

   There tell the king he may inquire us out.
   Exeunt Lords

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,
   Art thou damn'd, Hubert.

HUBERT

   Do but hear me, sir.

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:
   There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
   As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.

HUBERT

   Upon my soul--

BASTARD

   If thou didst but consent
   To this most cruel act, do but despair;
   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,
   And it shall be as all the ocean,
   Enough to stifle such a villain up.
   I do suspect thee very grievously.

HUBERT

   If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
   Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
   Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
   Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
   I left him well.

BASTARD

   Go, bear him in thine arms.
   I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way
   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
   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:
   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
   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

ACT V SCENE I. KING JOHN'S palace.

   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
   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.
   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
   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,
   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,
   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
   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

BASTARD

   All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out
   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
   The little number of your doubtful friends.

KING JOHN

   Would not my lords return to me again,
   After they heard young Arthur was alive?

BASTARD

   They found him dead and cast into the streets,
   An empty casket, where the jewel of life
   By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away.

KING JOHN

   That villain Hubert told me he did live.

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;
   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,
   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:
   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,
   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.

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,
   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;
   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.

BASTARD

   Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know,
   Our party may well meet a prouder foe.
   Exeunt

SCENE II. LEWIS's camp at St. Edmundsbury.

   Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers 

LEWIS

   My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,
   And keep it safe for our remembrance:
   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.

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
   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
   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
   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
   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?
   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
   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.
   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,
   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
   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;
   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,
   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
   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,
   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,
   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,
   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;
   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;
   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
   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,
   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,
   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.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   You look but on the outside of this work.

LEWIS

   Outside or inside, I will not return
   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
   Even in the jaws of danger and of death.
   Trumpet sounds
   What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
   Enter the BASTARD, attended

BASTARD

   According to the fair play of the world,
   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.

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.

BASTARD

   By all the blood that ever fury breathed,
   The youth says well. Now hear our English king;
   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,
   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,
   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
   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
   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;
   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.

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.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

   Give me leave to speak.

BASTARD

   No, I will speak.

LEWIS

   We will attend to neither.
   Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
   Plead for our interest and our being here.

BASTARD

   Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out;
   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
   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
   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.

BASTARD

   And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.
   Exeunt

SCENE III. The field of battle.

   Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT 

KING JOHN

   How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert.

HUBERT

   Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?

KING JOHN

   This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
   Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!
   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.

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.

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

SCENE IV. Another part of the field.

   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,
   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.

PEMBROKE

   It is the Count Melun.

SALISBURY

   Wounded to death.

MELUN

   Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;
   Unthread the rude eye of rebellion
   And welcome home again discarded faith.
   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,
   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,
   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?
   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:
   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
   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,
   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
   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,
   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.
   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

SCENE V. The French camp.

   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,
   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

   Where is my prince, the Dauphin?

LEWIS

   Here: what news?

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,
   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
   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.
   Exeunt

SCENE VI. An open place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

   Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, severally 

HUBERT

   Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.

BASTARD

   A friend. What art thou?

HUBERT

   Of the part of England.

BASTARD

   Whither dost thou go?

HUBERT

   What's that to thee? why may not I demand
   Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?

BASTARD

   Hubert, I think?

HUBERT

   Thou hast a perfect thought:
   I will upon all hazards well believe
   Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well.
   Who art thou?

BASTARD

   Who thou wilt: and if thou please,
   Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think
   I come one way of the Plantagenets.

HUBERT

   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.

BASTARD

   Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?

HUBERT

   Why, here walk I in the black brow of night,
   To find you out.

BASTARD

   Brief, then; and what's the news?

HUBERT

   O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
   Black, fearful, comfortless and horrible.

BASTARD

   Show me the very wound of this ill news:
   I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.

HUBERT

   The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk:
   I left him almost speechless; and broke out
   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.

BASTARD

   How did he take it? who did taste to him?

HUBERT

   A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
   Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
   Yet speaks and peradventure may recover.

BASTARD

   Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?

HUBERT

   Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
   And brought Prince Henry in their company;
   At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
   And they are all about his majesty.

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,
   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.
   Exeunt

SCENE VII. 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,
   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,
   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,
   Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now
   Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
   With many legions of strange fantasies,
   Whi ch, in their throng and press to that last hold,
   Confound themselves. 'Tis strange that death
   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.

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;
   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
   Do I shrink up.

PRINCE HENRY

   How fares your majesty?

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,
   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
   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
   Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize
   On unreprievable condemned blood.
   Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD

   O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
   And spleen of speed to see your majesty!

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,
   Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
   And then all this thou seest is but a clod
   And module of confounded royalty.

BASTARD

   The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
   Where heaven He knows how we shall answer him;
   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?

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,
   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;
   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
   As we with honour and respect may take,
   With purpose presently to leave this war.

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;
   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
   To consummate this business happily.

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;
   For so he will'd it.

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
   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
   And knows not how to do it but with tears.

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,
   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.
   Exeunt

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