The Troublesome Reign of King John
|The Troublesome Reign of King John|
|Performed about 1590 by the Queen's Men. Published 1591 from foul papers. Author unknown. This drama was the main source for William Shakespeare's Life and Death of King John.|
The Troublesome Reign of King John
Scene 1 
Enter King John, Queen Eleanor his mother, William Marshal Earl of Pembroke, the earls of Essex and of Salisbury.
- Barons of England, and my noble lords:
- Though God and fortune have bereft from us
- Victorious Richard, scourge of infidels,
- And clad this land in stole of dismal hue,
- Yet give me leave to joy, and joy you all,
- That from this womb hath sprung a second hope,
- A king that may in rule and virtue both
- Succeed his brother in his empery.
- My gracious mother queen, and barons all:
- Though far unworthy of so high a place,
- As is the throne of mighty England’s king,
- Yet John your lord, contented uncontent,
- Will (as he may) sustain the heavy yoke
- Of pressing cares that hang upon a crown.
- My Lord of Pembroke, and Lord Salisbury,
- Admit the Lord Chatillon to our presence,
- That we may know what Philip king of France
- (By his ambassadors) requires of us.
- Dare lay my hand that Eleanor can guess
- Whereto this weighty embassade doth tend:
- If of my nephew, Arthur, and his claim,
- Then say my son I have not missed my aim.
Enter Chatillon and the two earls[, Pembroke and Salisbury].
- My lord Chatillon, welcome into England!
- How fares our brother Philip king of France?
- His Highness at my coming was in health,
- And willed me to salute your majesty,
- And say the message he hath given in charge.
- And spare not, man, we are prepared to hear.
- Philip, by grace of God most Christian king of France, having
- taken into his guardain and protection Arthur, duke of Brittany,
- son and heir to Jeffrey thine elder brother, requireth in the
- behalf of the said Arthur, the kingdom of England, with the
- lordship of Ireland, Poitiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine; and I
- attend thine answer.
- A small request—belike he makes account
- That England, Ireland, Poitiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
- Are nothing for a king to give at once!
- I wonder what he means to leave for me.
- Tell Philip, he may keep his lords at home
- With greater honor than to send them thus
- On embassades that not concern himself,
- Or if they did, would yield but small return.
- Is this thine answer?
- It is, and too good an answer for so proud a message.
- Then, King of England, in my master’s name,
- And in Prince Arthur Duke of Brittany’s name,
- I do defy thee as an enemy,
- And wish thee to prepare for bloody wars.
- My lord—that stands upon defiance thus—
- Commend me to my nephew; tell the boy,
- that I, Queen Eleanor, his grandmother,
- Upon my blessing charge him leave his arms,
- Whereto his headstrong mother pricks him so.
- Her pride we know, and know her for a dame
- That will not stick to bring him to his end,
- So she may bring herself to rule a realm.
- Next wish him to forsake the king of France,
- And come to me and to his uncle here,
- And he shall want for nothing at our hands.
- This shall I do, and thus I take my leave.
- Pembroke, convey him safely to the sea,
- But not in haste; for as we are advised,
- We mean to be in France as soon as he,
- To fortify such towns as we possess
- In Anjou, Touraine, and in Normandy.
Enter the Shrieve, and whispers the Earl of Salisbury in the ear.
- Please it your Majesty, here is the shrieve of Northamptonshire,
- with certain persons that of late committed a riot, and have
- appealed to your Majesty beseeching your Highness for special
- cause to hear them.
- Will them come near, and while we hear the cause,
- Go, Salisbury, and make provision;
- We mean with speed to pass the sea to France.
- Say shrieve, what are these men? what have they done?
- or whereto tends the course of this appeal?
- Please it your Majesty, these two brethren unnaturally falling
- at odds about their father’s living have broken your highness’
- peace, in seeking to right their own wrongs without cause of
- law, or order of justice, and unlawfully assembled themselves
- in mutinous manner, having committed a riot, appealing from
- trial in their country to your highness: and here I, Thomas
- Nidigate, shrieve of Northamptonshire, do deliver them over
- to their trial.
- My Lord of Essex, will the offenders to stand forth, and tell
- the cause of their quarrel.
- Gentlemen, it is the king’s pleasure that you discover your
- griefs, and doubt not but you shall have justice.
- Please it your majesty, the wrong is mine; yet will I abide
- all wrongs, before I once open my mouth to unrip the shameful
- slander of my parents, the dishonor of myself, and the wicked
- dealing of my brother in this princely assembly.
- Then by my prince his leave shall Robert speak,
- And tell your majesty what right I have
- To offer wrong, as he accounteth wrong.
- My father—not unknown unto your grace—
- Received his spurs of knighthood in the field
- At kingly Richard’s hands in Palestine,
- Whenas the walls of Acon gave him way:
- His name, Sir Robert Falconbridge of Mountberry.
- What by succession from his ancestors,
- And warlike service under England’s arms,
- His living did amount to at his death
- Two thousand marks revenue every year;
- And this, my lord, I challenge for my right,
- As lawful heir to Robert Falconbridge.
- If first-born son be heir indubitate
- By certain right of England’s ancient law,
- How should myself make any other doubt,
- But I am heir to Robert Falconbridge?
- Fond youth, to trouble these our princely ears
- Or make a question in so plain a case:
- Speak, is this man thine elder brother born?
- Please it your grace with patience for to hear;
- I not deny but he mine elder is,
- Mine elder brother too; yet in such sort,
- As he can make no title to the land.
- A doubtful tale as ever I did hear,
- Thy brother and thine elder, and no heir.
- Explain this dark enigma.
- I grant, my lord, he is my mother’s son,
- Base born, and base begot, no Falconbridge.
- Indeed the world reputes him lawful heir;
- My father in his life did count him so;
- And here my mother stands to prove him so.
- But I, my lord, can prove, and do aver
- Both to my mother’s shame and his reproach,
- He is no heir, nor yet legitimate.
- Then, gracious lord, let Falconbridge enjoy
- The living that belongs to Falconbridge,
- And let not him possess another’s right.
- Prove this, the land is thine by England’s law.
- Ungracious youth, to rip thy mother’s shame,
- The womb from whence thou didst thy being take.
- All honest ears abhor thy wickedness,
- But gold I see doth beat down nature’s law.
- My gracious lord, and you, thrice reverend dame,
- That see the tears distilling from mine eyes,
- And scalding sighs blown from a rented heart,
- For honor and regard of womanhood,
- Let me entreat to be commanded hence.
- Let not these ears receive the hissing sound
- Of such a viper, who with poisoned words
- Doth macerate the bowels of my soul.
- Lady, stand up, be patient for awhile;
- And fellow, say, whose bastard is thy brother?
- Not for myself, nor for my mother now,
- But for the honor of so brave a man,
- Whom he accuseth with adultery,
- Here I beseech your grace upon my knees,
- To count him mad, and so dismiss us hence.
- Nor mad, nor mazed, but well advised, I
- Charge thee before this royal presence here
- To be a bastard to King Richard’s self,
- Son to your grace, and brother to your Majesty.
- Thus bluntly, and—
- Young man, thou need’st not be ashamed of thy kin,
- Nor of thy sire. But forward with thy proof.
- The proof so plain, the argument so strong,
- As that your Highness and these noble lords,
- And all—save those that have no eyes to see—
- Shall swear him to be bastard to the king.
- First when my father was ambassador
- In Germany unto the emperor,
- The king lay often at my father’s house.
- And all the realm suspected what befell:
- And at my father’s back return again
- My mother was delivered as ‘tis said,
- Six weeks before the account my father made.
- But more than this: look but on Philip’s face,
- His features, actions, and his lineaments,
- And all this princely presence shall confess
- He is no other but King Richard’s son.
- Then, gracious lord, rest he King Richard’s son,
- And let me rest safe in my father’s right,
- That am his rightful son and only heir.
- Is this thy proof, and all thou hast to say?
- I have no more, nor need I greater proof.
- First, where thou said’st in absence of thy sire
- My brother often lodged in his house,
- And what of that? base groom to slander him,
- That honored his ambassador so much,
- In absence of the man to cheer the wife?
- This will not hold, proceed unto the next.
- Thou say’st she termed six weeks before her time.
- Why, good Sir Squire, are you so cunning grown
- To make account of women’s reckonings?
- Spit in your hand and to your other proofs:
- Many mischances hap in such affairs
- To make a woman come before her time.
- And where thou say’st he looketh like the king
- In action, feature and proportion,
- Therein I hold with thee, for in my life
- I never saw so lively counterfeit
- Of Richard Coeur-de-lion, as in him.
- Then, good my lord, be you indifferent judge,
- And let me have my living and my right.
- Nay, hear you sir, you run away too fast.
- Know you not, omne simile non est idem?
- Or have read in—hark, ye good sir,
- ‘Twas thus I warrant, and no otherwise,
- She lay with Sir Robert your father, and thought upon King
- Richard, my son, and so your brother was formed in this fashion.
- Madam, you wrong me thus to jest it out,
- I crave my right! King John, as thou art king,
- So be thou just, and let me have my right.
- Why, foolish boy, thy proofs are frivolous,
- Nor canst thou challenge anything thereby.
- But thou shalt see how I will help thy claim.
- This is my doom, and this my doom shall stand
- Irrevocable, as I am King of England.
- For thou know’st not, we’ll ask of them that know;
- His mother and himself shall end this strife,
- And as they say, so shall thy living pass.
- My lord, herein I challenge you of wrong,
- To give away my right, and put the doom
- Unto themselves. Can there be likelihood
- That she will loose?
- Or he will give the living from himself?
- It may not be, my lord. Why should it be?
- Lords, keep him back, and let him hear the doom.
- Essex, first ask the mother thrice who was his sire.
- Lady Margaret, widow of Falconbridge,
- Who was father to thy son Philip?
- Please it your majesty, Sir Robert Falconbridge.
- This is right, ask my fellow there if I be a thief.
- Ask Philip whose son he is.
- Philip, who was thy father?
- Mas, my lord, and that’s a question. And you had not taken some
- pains with her before, I should have desired you to ask my mother.
- Say who was thy father.
- Faith, my lord, to answer you sure he is my father that was
- nearest my mother when I was gotten, and him I think to be Sir
- Robert Falconbridge.
- Essex, for fashion’s sake demand again,
- And so an end to this contention.
- Was ever man thus wronged as Robert is?
- Philip, speak, I say, who was thy father?
- Young man, how now—what, art thou in a trance?
- Philip awake! The man is in a dream.
- Philippus atavis aedite regibus.
- What say’st thou, Philip? Sprung of ancient kings?
- Quo me rapit tempestas?
- What wind of honor blows this fury forth?
- Or whence proceed these fumes of majesty?
- Methinks I hear a hollow echo sound,
- That Philip is the son unto a king:
- The whistling leaves upon the trembling trees,
- Whistle in consort, I am Richard’s son.
- The bubbling murmur of the water’s fall
- Records Philippus Regius filius.
- Birds in their flight make music with their wings,
- Filling the air with glory of my birth!
- Birds, bubbles, leaves, and mountain’s echo, all
- Ring in mine ears that I am Richard’s son.
- Fond man, ah, whither art thou carried?
- How are thy thoughts ywrapt in honor’s heaven,
- Forgetful what thou art, and whence thou cam’st?
- Thy father's land cannot maintain these thoughts,
- These thoughts are far unfitting Falconbridge,
- And well they may, for why this mounting mind
- Doth soar too high to stoop to Falconbridge.
- Why, how now? Knowest thou where thou art?
- And knowest thou who expects thine answer here?
- Wilt thou upon a frantic madding vein
- Go lose thy land, and say thyself base borne?
- No, keep thy land, though Richard were thy sire,
- Whate’er thou think’st, say thou art Falconbridge.
- Speak man, be sudden, who thy father was.
- Please it your Majesty, Sir Robert—
- Philip, that Falconbridge cleaves to thy jaws;
- It will not out, I cannot for my life
- Say I am son unto a Falconbridge.
- Let land and living go, ‘tis honor’s fire
- That makes me swear King Richard was my sire.
- Base to a king adds title of more state
- Than knights begotten, though legitimate.
- Please it your grace, I am King Richard’s son.
- Robert, revive thy heart, let sorrow die,
- His falt’ring tongue not suffers him to lie.
- What head-strong fury doth enchant my son?
- Philip cannot repent, for he hath done.
- Then Philip, blame not me; thyself hast lost
- By willfulness, thy living and thy land.
- Robert, thou art the heir of Falconbridge;
- God give thee joy, greater than thy desert.
- Why how now, Philip—give away thy own?
- Madam, I am bold to make myself your nephew,
- The poorest kinsman that your Highness hath,
- And with this proverb ‘gin the world anew—
- Help hands, I have no lands, honor is my desire,
- Let Philip live to show himself worthy so great a sire.
- Philip, I think thou knew’st thy grandam’s mind;
- But cheer thee boy, I will not see thee want
- As long as Eleanor hath foot of land;
- Henceforth thou shalt be taken for my son,
- And wait on me and on thine uncle here,
- Who shall give honor to thy noble mind.
- Philip, kneel down, that thou may’st throughly know
- How much thy resolution pleaseth us;
- Rise up, Sir Richard Plantagenet, King Richard’s son.
- Grant heavens that Philip once may show himself
- Worthy the honor of Plantagenet,
- Or basest glory of a bastard’s name.
- Now, gentlemen, we will away to France,
- To check the pride of Arthur and his mates.
- Essex, thou shalt be ruler of my realm,
- And toward the main charges of my wars,
- I’ll seize the lazy abbey lubbers’ lands
- Into my hands to pay my men of war.
- The Pope and popelings shall not grease themselves
- With gold and groats that are the soldiers’ due.
- Thus forward lords, let our command be done,
- And march we forward mightily to France.
Manet Philip and his Mother.
- Madam, I beseech you deign me so much leisure as the hearing
- of a matter that I long to impart to you.
- What’s the matter, Philip? I think your suit in secret, tends
- to some money matter, which you suppose burns in the bottom of
- my chest.
- No madam, it is no such suit as to beg or borrow,
- But such a suit, as might some other grant,
- I would not now have troubled you withal.
- A God’s name let us hear it.
- Then madam thus, your ladyship sees well,
- How that my scandal grows by means of you,
- In that report hath rumored up and down
- I am a bastard, and no Falconbridge.
- This gross attaint so tilteth in my thoughts,
- Maintaining combat to abridge my ease,
- That field and town, and company alone,
- Whatso I do, or wheresoe’er I am,
- I cannot chase the slander from thy thoughts.
- If it be true, resolve me of my sire,
- For pardon, madam, if I think amiss.
- Be Philip Philip and no Falconbridge,
- His father doubtless was as brave a man.
- To you on knees as sometime Phaeton,
- Mistrusting silly Merop for his sire,
- Straining a little bashful modesty,
- I beg some instance whence I am extracted.
- Yet more ado to haste me to my grave,
- And wilt thou too become a mother’s cross?
- Must I accuse myself to close with you?
- Slander myself to quiet your affects?
- Thou mov’st me Philip, with this idle talk,
- Which I remit, in hope this mood will die.
- Nay lady mother, hear me further yet,
- For strong conceit drives duty hence awhile.
- Your husband Falconbridge was father to that son,
- That carries marks of nature like the sire,
- The son that blotteth you with wedlock’s breach,
- And holds my right, as lineal in descent
- From him whose form was figured in his face.
- Can nature so dissemble in her frame,
- To make the one so like as like may be,
- And in the other print no character
- To challenge any mark of true descent?
- My brother’s mind is base, and too too dull,
- To mount where Philip lodgeth his affects,
- And his external graces that you view,
- Though I report it, counterpoise not mine.
- His constitution plain debility
- Requires the chair, and mine the seat of steel.
- Nay, what is he, or what am I to him?
- When any one that knoweth how to carp
- Will scarcely judge us both one country born.
- This, madam, this hath drove me from myself,
- And here by heaven’s eternal lamps I swear,
- As cursed Nero with his mother did,
- So I with you, if you resolve me not.
- Let mother’s tears quench out thy anger’s fire,
- And urge no further what thou dost require.
- Let son’s entreaty sway the mother now,
- Or else she dies; I’ll not infringe my vow.
- Unhappy talk—must I recount my shame,
- Blab my misdeeds, or by concealing die?
- Some power strike me speechless for a time,
- Or take from him awhile his hearing’s use!
- Why wish I so, unhappy as I am?
- The fault is mine, and he the faulty fruit;
- I blush, I faint, oh would I might be mute!
- Mother, be brief: I long to know my name.
- And longing die to shroud thy mother’s shame.
- Come madam, come, you need not be so loath;
- The shame is shared equal twixt us both.
- Is’t not a slackness in me worthy blame,
- To be so old and cannot write my name?
- Good mother, resolve me.
- Then, Philip, hear thy fortune and my grief,
- My honor’s loss by purchase of thyself,
- My shame, thy name, and husband’s secret wrong,
- All maimed and stained by youth’s unruly sway.
- And when thou knowest from whence thou art extraught,
- Or if thou knew’st what suits, what threats, what fears,
- To move by love, or massacre by death,
- To yield with love, or end by love’s contempt,
- The mightiness of him that courted me,
- Who tempered terror with his wanton talk,
- That something may extenuate the guilt.
- But let it not advantage me so much;
- Upbraid me rather with the Roman Dame
- That shed her blood to wash away her shame.
- Why stand I to expostulate the crime
- With pro et contra, now the deed is done,
- When to conclude two words may tell the tale,
- That Philip’s father was a prince’s son,
- Rich England’s rule, world’s only terror he,
- For honor’s loss left me with child of thee—
- Whose son thou art, then pardon me the rather,
- For fair King Richard was thy noble father.
- Then, Robin Falconbridge, I wish thee joy,
- My sire a king, and I a landless boy.
- God’s lady, mother, the world is in my debt;
- There’s something owing to Plantagenet.
- Aye, marry, sir, let me alone for game,
- I’ll act some wonders now I know my name.
- By blessed Mary I’ll not sell that pride
- For England’s wealth, and all the world beside.
- Sit fast the proudest of my father’s foes,
- Away good mother, there the comfort goes.
Scene 2 
Enter Philip the French King and Lewis, Limoges, Constance, and her son Arthur.
- Now gin we broach the title of thy claim,
- Young Arthur, in the Albion territories,
- Scaring proud Angiers with a puissant siege;
- Brave Austria, cause of Couer-de-lion’s death,
- Is also come to aid thee in thy wars;
- And all our forces join for Arthur’s right.
- And, but for causes of great consequence,
- Pleading delay till news from England come,
- Twice should not Titan hide him in the west,
- To cool the fetlocks of his weary team,
- Till I had with an unresisted shock
- Controlled the manage of proud Angiers’ walls,
- Or made a forfeit of my fame to chance.
- Maybe that John in conscience or in fear
- To offer wrong where you impugn the ill,
- Will send such calm conditions back to France,
- As shall rebate the edge of fearful wars.
- If so, forbearance is a deed well done.
- Ah, mother, possession of a crown is much,
- And John as I have heard reported of,
- For present vantage would adventure far.
- The world can witness in his brother’s time,
- He took upon him rule and almost reign;
- Then must it follow as a doubtful point,
- That he’ll resign the rule unto his nephew.
- I rather think the menace of the world
- Sounds in his ears as threats of no esteem,
- And sooner would he scorn Europae’s power,
- Than lose the smallest title he enjoys—
- For questionless he is an Englishman.
- Why are the English peerless in compare?
- Brave cavaliers as ere that island bred,
- Have lived and died, and dared and done enough,
- Yet never graced their country for the cause:
- England is England, yielding good and bad,
- And John of England is as other Johns.
- Trust me, young Arthur, if thou like my reed,
- Praise thou the French that help thee in this need.
- The Englishman hath little cause, I trow,
- To spend good speeches on so proud a foe.
- Why Arthur, here’s his spoil that now is gone,
- Who when he lived outrode his brother john;
- But hasty curs that lie so long to catch
- Come halting home, and meet their overmatch.
- But news comes now—here’s the ambassador.
- And in good time! Welcome, my lord Chatillon!
- What news? Will John accord to our command?
- Be I not brief to tell your Highness all,
- He will approach to interrupt my tale,
- For one self bottom brought us both to France.
- He on his part will try the chance of war,
- And if his words infer assured truth,
- Will lose himself and all his followers,
- Ere yield unto the least of your demands.
- The mother queen she taketh on amain
- Gainst Lady Constance, counting her the cause
- That doth effect this claim to Albion,
- Conjuring Arthur with a grandam’s care,
- To leave his mother; willing him submit
- His state to John and her protection,
- Who—as she saith—are studious for his good.
- More circumstance the season intercepts:
- This is the sum, which briefly I have shown.
- This bitter wind must nip somebody’s spring,
- Sudden and brief; why so—’tis harvest weather.
- But say, Chatillon, what persons of account are with him?
- Of England, Earl pembroke and Salisbury,
- The only noted men of any name.
- Next them a bastard of the king’s deceased,
- A hardy wild head, tough and venturous,
- With many other men of high resolve.
- Then is there with them Eleanor, mother queen,
- And Blanche her niece, daughter to the king of Spain:
- These are the prime birds of this hot adventure.
Enter John and his followers, Queen, Bastard, earls, etc.
- Me seemeth John an over-daring spirit
- Effects some frenzy in thy rash approach,
- Treading my confines with thy armed troops.
- I rather looked for some submiss reply
- Touching the claim thy nephew Arthur makes
- To that which thou unjustly dost usurp.
- For that Chatillon can discharge you all;
- I list not plead my title with my tongue.
- Nor came I hither with intent of wrong
- To France or thee, or any right of thine;
- But in defense and purchase of my right,
- The town of Angiers—which thou dost begirt
- In the behalf of Lady Constance’ son,
- Whereto nor he nor she can lay just claim.
- Yes, false intruder, if that just be just,
- And headstrong usurpation put apart,
- Arthur my son, heir to thy elder brother,
- Without ambiguous shadow of descent,
- Is sovereign to the substance thou withhold’st.
- Misgoverned gossip, stain to this resort,
- Occasion of these undecided jars,
- I say (that know) to check thy vain suppose,
- Thy son hath naught to do with that he claims.
- For proof whereof, I can infer a will,
- That bars the way he urgeth by descent.
- A will indeed, a crabbed woman’s will,
- Wherein the devil is an overseer,
- And proud dame Eleanor sole executress!
- More wills than so, on peril of my soul,
- Were never made to hinder Arthur’s right.
- But say there was, as sure there can be none,
- The law intends such testaments as void,
- Where right descent can no way be impeached.
- Peace Arthur, peace, thy mother makes thee wings
- To soar with peril after Icarus,
- And trust me youngling, for the father’s sake,
- I pity much the hazard of thy youth.
- Beshrew you else, how pitiful you are,
- Ready to weep to hear him ask his own;
- Sorrow betide such grandams and such grief,
- That minister a poison for pure love.
- But who so blind, as cannot see this beam,
- That you forsooth would keep your cousin down,
- For fear his mother should be used too well?
- Aye, there’s the grief, confusion catch the brain,
- That hammers shifts to stop a prince’s reign.
- Impatient, frantic, common slanderer,
- Immodest dame, unnurtured quarreler,
- I tell thee I, not envy to thy son
- But justice makes me speak as I have done.
- But here’s no proof that shows your son a king.
- What wants, my sword shall more at large set down.
- But that may break before the truth be known.
- Then this may hold till all his right be shown.
- Good words, Sir Sauce, your betters are in place.
- Not you, Sir Doughty, with your lion’s case.
- Ah joy betide his soul, to whom that spoil belonged;
- Ah Richard, how thy glory here is wronged.
- Methinks that Richard’s pride, and Richard’s fall
- Should be a precedent t’affright you all.
- What words are these? How do my sinews shake?
- My father’s foe clad in my father’s spoil,
- A thousand furies kindle with revenge,
- Searing my inwards with a brand of hate.
- How doth Alecto whisper in mine ears?
- Delay not Philip; kill the villain straight;
- Disrobe him of the matchless muniment
- Thy father’s triumph o’er the savages.
- Base herdgroom, coward, peasant, worse than a threshing slave,
- What mak’st thou with the trophy of a king?
- Sham’st thou not coistrel, loathsome dunghill swad,
- To grace thy carcass with an ornament
- Too precious for a monarch’s coverture?
- Scarce can I temper due obedience
- Unto the presence of my sovereign,
- From acting outrage on this trunk of hate!
- But arm thee traitor, wronger of renown,
- For by his soul I swear, my father’s soul,
- Twice will I not review the morning’s rise,
- Till I have torn that trophy from thy back,
- And split thy heart, for wearing it so long.
- Philip hath sworn, and if it be not done,
- Let not the world repute me Richard’s son.
- Nay soft, Sir Bastard, hearts are not split so soon;
- Let them rejoice that at the end do win,
- And take this lesson at thy foeman’s hand:
- Pawn not thy life to get thy father’s skin.
- Well may the world speak of his knightly valor,
- That wins this hide to wear a lady’s favor.
- Ill may I thrive, and nothing brook with me,
- If shortly I present it not to thee.
- Lordings, forbear, for time is coming fast,
- That deeds may try what words cannot determine,
- And to the purpose for the cause you come.
- Meseems you set right in chance of war,
- Yielding no other reasons for your claim,
- But so and so, because it shall be so.
- So wrong shall be suborned by trust of strength;
- A tyrant’s practice to invest himself,
- Where weak resistance giveth wrong the way,
- To check the which, in holy lawful arms,
- I in the right of Arthur Geoffrey’s son,
- Am come before this city of Angiers,
- To bar all other false supposed claim,
- From whence or howsoe’er the error springs.
- And in his quarrel on my princely word,
- I’ll fight it out unto the latest man.
- Know, king of France, I will not be commanded
- By any power or prince in Christendom,
- To yield an instance how I hold mine own,
- More than to answer, that mine own is mine.
- But wilt thou see me parley with the town,
- And hear them offer me allegiance,
- Fealty and homage, as true liegemen ought.
- Summon them—I will not believe it till I see it,
- and when I see it I’ll soon change it.
- They summon the town, the citizens appear upon the walls.
- You men of Angiers, and as I take it my loyal subjects: I have
- summoned you to the walls to dispute on my right, were to think
- you doubtful therein, which I am persuaded you are not. In few
- words, our brother’s son, backed with the king of France, have
- beleaguered your town upon a false pretended title to the same;
- in defense whereof I your liege lord have brought our power to
- fence you from the usurper, to free your intended servitude, and
- utterly to supplant the foemen, to my right and your rest. Say
- then, who keep you the town for?
- For our lawful king.
- I was no less persuaded; then in God’s name open your gates, and
- let me enter.
- And it please your Highness, we control not your title, neither
- will we rashly admit your entrance. If you be lawful king, with
- all obedience we keep it to your use; if not king, our rashness
- to be impeached for yielding, without more considerate trial, we
- answer not as men lawless, but to the behoof of him that proves
- I shall not come in then?
- No, my lord, till we know more.
- Then hear me speak in the behalf of Arthur, son of Geoffrey, elder
- brother to John, his title manifest without contradiction to the
- crown and kingdom of England, with Angiers and divers towns on this
- side of the sea: will you acknowledge him your liege lord, who speaketh
- in my word to entertain you with all favors as beseemeth a king to his
- subjects, or a friend to his well-wishers: or stand to the peril of
- your contempt, when his title is proved by the sword?
- We answer as before: till you have proved one right, we acknowledge
- none right; he that tries himself our sovereign, to him will we
- remain firm subjects, and for him, and in his right we hold our town
- as desirous to know the truth as loath to subscribe before we know.
- More than this we cannot say, and more than this we dare not do.
- Then john, I defy thee in the name and behalf of Arthur Plantagenet
- thy king and cousin, whose right and patrimony thou detainest, as I
- doubt not ere the day end in a set battle make thee confess; whereunto
- with a zeal to right I challenge thee.
- I accept the challenge, and turn the defiance to thy throat.
Scene 3 
Excursions. The Bastard chaseth Lymoges the Austrich duke, and maketh him leave the lion’s skin.
- And art thou gone?—misfortune haunt thy steps,
- And chill cold fear assail thy times of rest.
- Morpheus, leave here thy silent ebon cave,
- Besiege his thoughts with dismal fantasies,
- And ghastly objects of pale threat’ning Mors.
- Affright him every minute with stern looks,
- Let shadow temper terror in his thoughts,
- And let the terror make the coward mad,
- And in his madness let him fear pursuit,
- And so in frenzy let the peasant die.
- Here is the ransom that allays his rage,
- The first freehold that Richard left his son,
- With which I shall surprise his living foes,
- As Hector’s statue did the fainting Greeks.
Scene 4 
Enter the kings’ Heralds with trumpets to the walls of Angiers: they summon the town.
- John by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Anjou,
- Touraine, etc, demandeth once again of you his subjects of Angiers,
- if you will quietly surrender up the town into his hands.
- Philip by the grace of God King of France, demandeth in the behalf
- of Arthur, duke of Brittany, if you will surrender up the town into
- his hands, to the use of the said Arthur.
- Heralds, go tell the two victorious princes that we, the poor inhabitants
- of Angiers, require a parley of their Majesties.
- We go.
Enter the Kings, Queen Eleanor, Blanche, Bastard, Lymoges, Lewis, Castilian,
Pembroke, Salisbury, Constance, and Arthur, duke of Brittany.
- Herald, what answer do the townsmen send?
- Will Angiers yield to Philip king of France?
- The townsmen on the walls accept your grace.
- And crave a parley of your Majesty.
- You citizens of Angiers, have your eyes
- Beheld the slaughter that our English bows
- Have made upon the coward fraudful French?
- And have you wisely pondered therewithal
- Your gain in yielding to the English king?
- Their loss in yielding to the English king.
- But John, they saw from out their highest towers
- The chevaliers of France and crossbow shot
- Make lanes of slaughtered bodies through thine host,
- And are resolved to yield to Arthur’s right.
- Why Philip, though thou bravest it fore the walls,
- Thy conscience knows that John hath won the field.
- What e’er my conscience knows, thy army feels
- That Philip had the better of the day.
- Philip indeed hath got the lion’s case,
- Which here he holds to Lymoge’s disgrace.
- Base duke to fly and leave such spoils behind;
- But this thou knew’st of force to make me stay.
- It fared with thee as with the mariner,
- Spying the hugie whale, whose monstrous bulk
- Doth bear the waves like mountains ‘fore the wind,
- That throws out empty vessels, so to stay
- His fury, while the ship doth sail away.
- Philip, ‘tis thine; and for this princely presence,
- Madam, I humbly lay it at your feet,
- Being the first adventure I achieved,
- And first exploit your grace did enjoin:
- Yet many more I long to be enjoined.
- Philip, I take it, and I thee command
- To wear the same as erst thy father did;
- Therewith receive this favor at my hands,
- T’encourage thee to follow Richard’s fame.
- Ye citizens of Angiers, are ye mute?
- Arthur or John, say which shall be your king!
- We care not which, if once we knew the right,
- But till we know we will not yield our right.
- Might Philip counsel two so mighty kings,
- As are the kings of England and of France,
- He would advise your graces to unite
- And knit your forces ‘gainst these citizens,
- Pulling their battered walls about their ears.
- The town once won, then strive about the claim,
- For they are minded to delude you both.
- Kings, princes, lords and knights assembled here,
- The citizens of Angiers all by me
- Entreat your Majesty to hear them speak;
- And as you like the motion they shall make,
- So to account and follow their advice.
John & Philip
- Speak on; we give thee leave.
- Then thus: whereas that young and lusty knight
- Incites you on to knit your kingly strengths,
- The motion cannot choose but please the good,
- And such as love the quiet of the state.
- But how, my lords, how should your strengths be knit?
- Not to oppress your subjects and your friends,
- And fill the world with brawls and mutinies,
- But unto peace your forces should be knit
- To live in princely league and amity.
- Do this, the gates of Angiers shall give way
- And stand wide open to your hearts’ content.
- To make this peace a lasting bond of love,
- Remains one only honorable means,
- Which by your pardon I shall here display.
- Lewis, the Dolphin and the heir of France,
- A man of noted valor through the world,
- Is yet unmarried: let him take to wife
- The beauteous daughter of the King of Spain,
- Niece to King John, the lovely lady Blanche,
- Begotten on his sister Eleanor.
- With her in marriage will her uncle give
- Castles and towers as fitteth such a match.
- The kings thus joined in league of perfect love,
- They may so deal with Arthur, duke of Brittany,
- Who is but young, and yet unmeet to reign,
- As he shall stand contented every way.
- Thus have I boldly—for the common good—
- Delivered what the city gave in charge.
- And as upon conditions you agree,
- So shall we stand content to yield the town.
- A proper peace, if such a motion hold;
- These kings bear arms for me, and for my right,
- And they shall share my lands to make them friends.
- Son John, follow this motion, as thou lovest thy mother;
- Make league with Philip, yield to anything.
- Lewis shall have my niece, and then be sure
- Arthur shall have small succor out of France.
- Brother of France, you hear the citizens:
- Then tell me, how you mean to deal herein.
- Why John, what canst thou give unto thy niece,
- That hast no foot of land, but Arthur’s right?
- By’r Lady, citizens, I like your choice—
- A lovely damsel is the Lady Blanche,
- Worthy the heir of Europe for her pheere.
- What kings, why stand you gazing in a trance?
- Why how now lords? Accursed citizens
- To fill and tickle their ambitious ears
- With hope of gain that springs from Arthur’s loss.
- Some dismal planet at thy birthday reigned,
- For now I see the fall of all thy hopes.
- Lady, and duke of Brittany, know you both,
- The king of France respects his honor more
- Than to betray his friends and favorers.
- Princess of Spain, could you affect my son,
- If we upon conditions could agree?
- Swounds madam, take an English gentleman!
- Slave as I was, I thought to have moved the match.
- Grandam, you made me half a promise once
- That Lady Blanche should bring me wealth enough,
- And make me heir of store of English land.
- Peace Philip, I will look thee out a wife;
- We must with policy compound this strife.
- If Lewis get her, well, I say no more;
- But let the frolic Frenchman take no scorn,
- If Philip front him with a English horn.
- Lady, what answer make you to the king of France?
- Can you affect the Dolphin for your lord?
- I thank the king that likes of me so well,
- To make me bride unto so great a prince;
- But give me leave, my lord, to pause on this,
- Lest being too too forward in the cause,
- It may be blemish to my modesty.
- Son John, and worthy Philip King of France,
- Do you confer a while about the dower,
- And I will school my modest niece so well,
- That she shall yield as soon as you have done.
- Aye, there’s the wretch that broacheth all this ill,
- Why fly I not upon the beldame’s face,
- And with my nails pull forth her hateful eyes.
- Sweet mother, cease these hasty madding fits;
- For my sake, let my grandam have her will.
- O, would she with her hands pull forth my heart,
- I could afford it to appease these broils.
- But, mother, let us wisely wink at all:
- Lest farther harms ensue our hasty speech.
- Brother of England, what dowry wilt thou give
- Unto my son in marriage with thy niece?
- First, Philip knows her dowry out of Spain
- To be so great as may content a king;
- But more to mend and amplify the same,
- I give in money thirty thousand marks.
- For land, I leave it to thine own demand.
- Then I demand Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,
- Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces,
- Which thou as king of England hold’st in France;
- Then shall our peace be soon concluded on.
- No less than five such provinces at once?
- Mother, what shall I do? My brother got these lands
- With much effusion of our English blood,
- And shall I give it all away at once?
- John, give it him; so shalt thou live in peace,
- And keep the residue sans jeopardy.
- Philip, bring forth thy son; here is my niece,
- And here in marriage I do give with her
- From me and my successors English kings,
- Volquessen, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
- And thirty thousand marks of stipend coin.
- Now, citizens, how like you of this match?
- We joy to see so sweet a peace begun.
- Lewis with Blanche shall ever live content.
- But now, King John, what say you to the duke?
- Father, speak as you may in his behalf.
- King John, be good unto thy nephew here,
- And give him somewhat that shall please thee best.
- Arthur, although thou troublest England’s peace,
- Yet here I give thee Brittany for thine own,
- Together with the earldom of Richmond,
- And this rich city of Angiers withal.
- And if thou seek to please thine uncle John,
- Shalt see, my son, how I will make of thee.
- Now everything is sorted to this end,
- Let’s in and there prepare the marriage rites,
- Which in Saint Mary’s chapel presently
- Shall be performed ere this presence part.
Exeunt. Manent Constance and Arthur.
- Madam, good cheer, these drooping languishments
- Add us redress to salve our awkward haps.
- If heavens have concluded these events,
- To small avail is bitter pensiveness.
- Seasons will change, and so our present grief
- May change with them, and all to our relief.
- Ah boy, thy years I see are far to green
- To look into the bottom of these cares.
- But I, who see the poise that weigheth down
- Thy weal, my wish, and all the willing means
- Wherewith thy fortune and thy fame should mount,
- What joy, what ease, what rest can lodge in me,
- With whom all hope and hap doth disagree?
- Yet lady’s tears, and cares, and solemn shows,
- Rather than helps, heap up more work for woes.
- If any power will hear a widow’s plaint,
- That from a wounded soul implores revenge,
- Send fell contagion to infect this clime,
- This cursed country, where the traitor’s breath
- Whose perjury as proud Briareus,
- Beleaguers all the sky with misbelief.
- He promised Arthur, and he sware it too,
- To fence thy right, and check thy foeman’s pride:
- But now black-spotted perjure as he is,
- He takes a truce with Eleanor’s damned brat,
- And marries Lewis to her lovely niece,
- Sharing thy fortune, and thy birthday’s gift
- Between these lovers—ill betide the match.
- And as they shoulder thee from out thy own,
- And triumph in a widow’s tearful cares,
- So heavens cross them with a thriftless course.
- Is all the blood yspilt on either part,
- Closing the cranies of the thirsty earth,
- Grown to a lovegame and a bridal feast?
- And must thy birthright bid the wedding bans?
- Poor helpless boy, hopeless and helpless too,
- To whom misfortune seems no yoke at all.
- Thy stay, thy state, thy imminent mishaps
- Woundeth thy mother’s thoughts with feeling care,
- Why look’st thou pale? The color flies thy face.
- I trouble now the fountain of thy youth,
- And make it moody with my dole’s discourse.
- Go in with me, reply not, lovely boy;
- We must obscure this moan with melody,
- Lest worser wrack ensue our malcontent.
Scene 5 
Enter the King of England, the King of France, Arthur, Bastard, Lewis, Lymoges,
Constance, Blanche, Chatillon, Pembroke, Salisbury, and Eleanor.
- This is the day, the long desired day,
- Wherein the realms of England and of France
- Stand highly blessed in a lasting peace.
- Thrice happy is the bridegroom and the bride,
- From whose sweet bridal such a concord springs,
- To make of mortal foes immortal friends.
- Ungodly peace made by another’s war.
- Unhappy peace, that ties thee from revenge.
- Rouse thee, Plantagenet; live not to see
- The butcher of the great Plantagenet.
- Kings, princes, and ye peers of either realms,
- Pardon my rashness, and forgive the zeal
- That carries me in fury to a deed
- Of high desert, of honor, and of arms.
- A boon, O kings, a boon doth Philip beg
- Prostrate upon his knee, which knee shall cleave
- Unto the superficies of the earth,
- Till France and England grant this glorious boon.
- Speak, Philip; England grants thee thy request.
- And France confirms what e’er is in his power.
- Then, duke, sit fast; I level at thy head,
- Too base a ransom for my father’s life.
- Princes, I crave the combat with the duke
- That braves it in dishonor of my sire.
- Your words are past, nor can you now reverse
- The princely promise that revives my soul,
- Whereat methinks I see his sinews shake.
- This is the boon, dread lords, which granted once
- Or life or death are pleasant to my soul,
- Since I shall live and die in Richard’s right.
- Base bastard, misbegotten of a king,
- To interrupt these holy nuptial rites
- With brawls and tumults to a duke’s disgrace—
- Let it suffice, I scorn to join in fight,
- With one so far unequal to myself.
- A fine excuse, kings if you will be kings,
- Then keep your words, and let us combat it.
- Philip, we cannot force the duke to fight,
- Being a subject unto neither realm:
- But tell me, Austria, if an English duke
- Should dare thee thus, wouldst thou accept the challenge?
- Else let the world account the Austrich duke
- The greatest coward living on the earth.
- Then cheer thee, Philip, John will keep his word.
- Kneel down; in sight of Philip king of France
- And all these princely lords assembled here,
- I gird thee with the sword of Normandy,
- And of that land I do invest thee duke;
- So shalt thou be in living and in land
- Nothing inferior unto Austria.
- King John, I tell thee flatly to thy face
- Thou wrongst mine honor; and that thou may’st see
- How much I scorn thy new-made duke and thee,
- I flatly say I will not be compelled!
- And so farewell Sir Duke of low degree,
- I’ll find a time to match you for this gear.
- Stay, Philip, let him go, the honor’s thine.
- I cannot live unless his life be mine.
- Thy forwardness this day hath joyed my soul,
- And made me think my Richard lives in thee.
- Lordings let’s in, and spend the wedding day
- In masques and triumphs, letting quarrels cease.
Enter a Cardinal from Rome.
- Stay, king of France, I charge thee join not hands
- With him that stands accursed of god and men.
- Know, John, that I, Pandulph, cardinal of Milan, and legate from
- the see of Rome, demand of thee in the name of our holy father the
- Pope Innocent, why thou dost, contrary to the laws of our holy mother
- the church, and our holy father the pope, disturb the quiet of the
- church, and disanull the election of Stephen Langton, whom his holiness
- hath elected archbishop of Canterbury: this in his holiness’ name I
- demand of thee.
- And what hast thou or the Pope thy master to do to demand of me, how I
- employ mine own? Know Sir Priest, as I honor the church and holy
- churchmen, so I scorn to be subject to the greatest prelate in the world.
- Tell thy master so from me, and say, John of England said it, that never
- an Italian priest of them all, shall either have tithe, toll, or poling
- penny out of England, but as I am king, so will I reign next under God,
- supreme head both over spiritual and temporal: and he that contradicts
- me in this, I’ll make him hop headless.
- What King John, know you what you say, thus to blaspheme against our
- holy father the Pope?
- Philip, though thou and all the princes of Christendom suffer themselves
- to be abused by a prelate’s slavery, my mind is not of such base temper.
- If the pope will be king in England, let him win it with the sword; I
- know no other title he can allege to mine inheritance.
- John, this is thine answer?
- What then?
- Then I Pandulph of Padua, legate from the apostolic see, do in the name of
- Saint Peter and his successor our holy father Pope Innocent, pronounce thee
- accursed, discharging every of thy subjects of all duty and fealty that they
- do owe to thee, and pardon and forgiveness of sin to those of them whatsoever,
- which shall carry arms against thee, or murder thee: this I pronounce, and
- charge all good men to abhor thee as an excommunicate person.
- So sir, the more the fox is cursed the better a fares; if God bless me and my
- land, let the pope and his shavelings curse and spare not.
- Furthermore, I charge thee, Philip king of France, and all the kings and
- princes of Christendom, to make war upon this miscreant: and whereas thou hast
- made a league with him, and confirmed it by oath, I do in the name of our
- foresaid father the pope, acquit thee of that oath as unlawful, being made
- with an heretic—how say’st thou, Philip, dost thou obey?
- Brother of France, what say you to the cardinal?
- I say, I am sorry for your Majesty, requesting you to submit yourself to the
- church of Rome.
- And what say you to our league, if I do not submit?
- What should I say? I must obey the pope.
- Obey the pope, and break your oath to God?
- The legate hath absolved me of mine oath;
- Then yield to Rome, or I defy thee here.
- Why, Philip, I defy the pope and thee,
- False as thou art, and perjured king of France,
- Unworthy man to be accompted king.
- Giv’st thou thy sword into a prelate’s hands?
- Pandulph, where I of abbots, monks and friars
- Have taken somewhat to maintain my wars,
- Now will I take no more but all they have.
- I’ll rouse the lazy lubbers from their cells,
- And in despite I’ll send them to the pope.
- Mother, come you with me, and for the rest
- That will not follow John in this attempt,
- Confusion light upon their damned souls.
- Come lords, fight for your king that fighteth for your good.
- And are they gone? Pandulph, thyself shalt see
- How France will fight for Rome and romish rites.
- Nobles, to arms, let him not pass the seas.
- Let’s take him captive, and in triumph lead
- The king of England to the gates of Rome.
- Arthur, bestir thee man, and thou shalt see
- What Philip king of France will do for thee.
- And will your grace upon your wedding day
- Forsake your bride and follow dreadful drums?
- Nay, good my lord, stay you at home with me.
- Sweetheart, content thee, and we shall agree.
- Follow me lords, Lord Cardinal lead the way,
- Drums shall be music to this wedding day.
Scene 6 
Excursions: the Bastard pursues Austria, and kills him.
- Thus hath King Richard’s son performed his vows,
- And offered Austria’s blood for sacrifice
- Unto his father’s everlasting soul.
- Brave Coeur de Lion, now my heart doth say
- I have deserved—though not to be thy heir
- Yet as I am, thy base-begotten son—
- A name as pleasing to thy Philip’s heart
- As to be called the Duke of Normandy.
- Lie there, a prey to every ravening fowl,
- And as my father triumphed in thy spoils,
- And trod thine ensigns underneath his feet,
- So do I tread upon thy cursed self,
- And leave thy body to the fowls for food.
Scene 7 
Excursions: Arthur, Constance, Lewis, having taken Queen Eleanor prisoner.
- Thus hath the God of kings with conquering arm
- Dispersed the foes to true succession.
- Proud, and disturber of thy country’s peace,
- Constance doth live to tame thine insolence,
- And on thy head will now avenged be
- For all the mischiefs hatched in thy brain.
- Contemptuous dame, unreverent duchess thou,
- To brave so great a queen as Eleanor.
- Base scold, hast thou forgot that I was wife,
- And mother to three mighty English kings?
- I charge thee then, and you forsooth, sir boy,
- To set your grandmother at liberty.
- And yield to John your uncle and your king.
- ‘Tis not thy words, proud queen, shall carry it.
- Nor yet thy threats, proud dame, shall daunt my mind.
- Sweet grandam, and good mother, leave these brawls.
- I’ll find a time to triumph in thy fall.
- My time is now to triumph in thy fall,
- And thou shalt know that Constance will triumph.
- Good mother, weigh it is Queen Eleanor;
- Though she be captive, use her like herself.
- Sweet grandam, bear with what my mother says,
- Your Highness shall be used honorably.
Enter a Messenger.
- Lewis my lord, Duke Arthur, and the rest,
- To arms in haste, King John rallies <Q relyes> his men,
- And ‘gins the fight afresh; and swears withal
- To lose his life, or set his mother free.
- Arthur away, ‘tis time to look about.
- Why how now dame? What, is your courage cooled?
- No Eleanor, my courage gathers strength,
- And hopes to lead both John and thee as slaves—
- And in that hope, I hale thee to the field.
Scene 8 
Excursions. Eleanor is rescued by John, and Arthur is taken prisoner. Exeunt. Sound victory.
Scene 9 
Enter John, Eleanor, and Arthur prisoner, Bastard, Pembroke, Salisbury,
and Hubert de burgh.
- Thus right triumphs, and John triumphs in right.
- Arthur, thou seest, France cannot bolster thee;
- Thy mother’s pride hath brought thee to this fall.
- But if at last, nephew, thou yield thyself
- Into the guardance of thine uncle John,
- Thou shalt be used as becomes a prince.
- Uncle, my grandam taught her nephew this,
- To bear captivity with patience.
- Might hath prevailed, not right, for I am king
- Of England, though thou wear the diadem.
- Son John, soon shall we teach him to forget
- These proud presumptions, and to know himself.
- Mother, he never will forget his claim;
- I would he lived not to remember it.
- But leaving this, we will to England now,
- And take some order with our popelings there,
- That swell with pride, and fat of laymen’s lands.
- Philip, I make thee chief in this affair;
- Ransack the abbeys, cloisters, priories,
- Convert their coin unto my soldiers’ use;
- And whatsoe’er he be within my land,
- That goes to Rome for justice and for law,
- While he may have his right within the realm,
- Let him be judged a traitor to the state,
- And suffer as an enemy to England.
- Mother, we leave you here beyond the seas
- As regent of our provinces in France,
- While we to England take a speedy course,
- And thank our God that gave us victory.
- Hubert de Burgh, take Arthur here to thee;
- Be he thy prisoner. Hubert, keep him safe,
- For on his life doth hang thy sovereign’s crown,
- But in his death consists thy sovereign’s bliss.
- Then Hubert, as thou shortly hear’st from me,
- So use the prisoner I have given in charge.
- Frolic, young prince, though I your keeper be,
- Yet shall your keeper live at your command.
- As please my god, so shall become of me.
- My son to England, I will see thee shipped,
- And pray to God to send thee safe ashore.
- Now wars are done I long to be at home
- To dive into the monks’ and abbots’ bags,
- To make some sport among the smooth-skin nuns,
- And keep some revel with the Fanzen Friars.
- To England, lords; each look unto your charge
- And arm yourselves against the Roman pride.
Scene 10 
Enter the King [Philip] of France, Lewis his son, Cardinal Pandulph Legate, and Constance.
- What, every man attached with this mishap?
- Why frown you so; why droop ye lords of France?
- Methinks it differs from a warlike mind
- To lower it for a check or two of chance.
- Had Lymoges escaped the bastard’s spite
- A little sorrow might have served our loss.
- Brave Austria, heaven joys to have thee there.
- His soul is safe and free from purgatory;
- Our holy father hath dispensed his sins,
- The blessed saints have heard our orisons,
- And all are mediators for his soul,
- And in the right of these most holy wars,
- His Holiness free pardon doth pronounce
- To all that follow you gainst English heretics,
- Who stand accursed in our mother church.
Enter Constance alone.
- To aggravate the measure of our grief,
- All malcontent comes Constance for her son.
- Be brief, good madam, for your face imports
- A tragic tale behind that’s yet untold.
- Her passions stop the organ of her voice,
- Deep sorrow throbbeth misbefallen events.
- Out with it lady, that our act may end
- A full catastrophe of sad laments.
- My tongue is tuned to story forth mishap;
- When did I breath to tell a pleasing tale?
- Must Constance speak? let tears prevent her talk.
- Must I discourse? let Dido sigh and say
- She weeps again to hear the wrack of Troy.
- Two words will serve, and then my tale is done:
- Eleanor’s proud brat hath robbed me of my son.
- Have patience, madam, this is chance of war;
- He may be ransomed, we revenge his wrong.
- Be it ne’er so soon, I shall not live so long.
- Despair not yet, come Constance, go with me,
- These clouds will fleet, the day will clear again.
- Now Lewis, thy fortune buds with happy spring;
- Our Holy Father’s prayers effecteth this.
- Arthur is safe, let John alone with him,
- Thy title next is fair’st to England’s crown.
- Now stir thy father to begin with John;
- The pope says aye, and so is Albion thine.
- Thanks, my lord legate, for your good conceit,
- ‘Tis best we follow now the game is fair;
- My father wants to work him your good words.
- A few will serve to forward him in this,
- Those shall not want: but let’s about it then.
Scene 11 
Enter Philip leading a Friar, charging him to show where the Abbot’s gold lay.
- Come on, you fat Franciscans, dally no longer, but show me where
- the Abbot’s treasure lies, or die.
- Benedicamus Domini, was ever such an injury.
- Sweet Saint Withold of thy lenity, defend us from extremity,
- And hear us for Saint Charity, oppressed with austerity.
- In nomini Domini, make I my homily,
- Gentle gentility, grieve not the clergy.
- Gray gowned good face, conjure ye, ne’er trust me for a groat,
- If this waist girdle hang thee not that girdeth in thy coat.
- Now, bald and barefoot bungie birds, when up the gallows climbing,
- Say Philip he had words enough to put you down with rhyming.
- A pardon, O parce, Saint Francis for mercy
- Shall shield thee from nightspells and dreaming of devils;
- If thou wilt forgive me, and never more grieve me
- With fasting and praying, and Hail Mary saying.
- From black purgatory a penance right sorry,
- Friar Thomas will warm you, it shall never harm you.
- Come, leave off your rabble—sirs, hang up this lozel.
- For charity I beg his life, Saint Francis’ chiefest friar,
- The best in all our convent, sir, to keep a winter’s fire.
- O strangle not the good old man, my hostess’ oldest guest,
- And I will bring you, by and by, unto the prior’s chest.
- Aye, say’st thou so, and if thou wilt the friar is at liberty;
- If not, as I am honest man, I’ll hang you both for company.
- Come hither; this is the chest, though simple to behold,
- That wanteth not a thousand pound in silver and in gold.
- Myself will warrant full so much—I know the abbot’s store—
- I’ll pawn my life there is no less to have whate’er is more.
- I take thy word, the overplus unto thy share shall come,
- But if there want of full so much, thy neck shall pay the sum.
- Break up the coffer, friar.
- Oh I am undone; fair Alice the nun
- Hath took up her rest in the abbot’s chest.
- Sancte benedicite, pardon my simplicity.
- Fie, Alice, confession will not salve this transgression.
- What have we here—a holy nun? So keep me God in health,
- A smooth-faced nun—for aught I know—is all the abbot’s wealth.
- Is this the nunnery’s chastity? Beshrew me but I think
- They go as oft to venery as niggards to their drink.
- Why paltry friar and pandar too, ye shameless shaven crown,
- Is this the chest that held a hoard, at least a thousand pound?
- And is the hoard a holy whore? Well be the hangman nimble,
- He’ll take the pain to pay you home, and teach you to dissemble.
- O spare the friar Anthony; a better never was
- To sing a dirge solemnly, or read a morning mass.
- If money be the means of this, I know an ancient nun,
- That hath a hoard this seven years, did never see the sun;
- And that is yours, and what is ours, so favor now be shown,
- You shall command as commonly, as if it were your own.
- Your honor excepted.
- Aye, Thomas, I mean so.
- From all save from friars.
- Good sir, do not think so.
- I think and see so: why how cam’st thou here?
- To hide her from laymen.
- ‘Tis true, sir, for fear.
- For fear of the laity—a pitiful dread
- When a nun flies for succor to a fat friar’s bed.
- But now for your ransom, my cloister-bred coney,
- To the chest that you speak of where lies so much money.
- Fair sir, within this press, of plate and money is
- The value of a thousand marks, and other things by gis.
- Let us alone, and take it all, ‘tis yours, sir, now you know it.
- Come on, sir friar, pick the lock, this gear doth cotton handsome,
- That covetousness so cunningly must pay the lecher’s ransom.
- What is in the hoard?
- Friar Lawrence, my lord, now holy water help us,
- Some witch, or some devil is sent to delude us.
- Haud credo laurentius, that thou shouldst be penned thus
- In the press of a nun we are all undone,
- And brought to discredence if thou be Friar Lawrence.
- Amor vincit omnia, so Cato affirmeth,
- And therefore a friar whose fancy soon burneth,
- Because he is mortal and made of mold,
- He omits what he ought and doth more than he should.
- How goes this gear? the friar’s chest filled with a fausen nun,
- The nun again locks friar up, to keep him from the sun.
- Belike the press is purgatory, or penance passing grievous:
- The friars’ chest a hell for nuns. How do these dolts deceive us?
- Is this the labor of their lives to feed and live at ease,
- To revel so lasciviously as often as they please?
- I’ll mend the fault or fault my aim, if I do miss amending.
- ‘Tis better burn the cloisters down than leave them for offending.
- But holy you, to you I speak, to you religious devil,
- Is this the press that holds the sum to quite you for your evil?
- I cry peccavi, parce me; good sir, I was beguiled.
- Absolve, sir, for charity she would be reconciled.
- And so I shall—sirs, bind them fast, this is their absolution.
- Go hang them up for hurting them, haste them to execution.
- O tempus edax rerum,
- Give children books, they tear them.
- O vanitas vanitatis, in this waning aetatis,
- At threescore well near to go to this gear,
- To my conscience a clog to die like a dog.
- Exaudi me Domine, si vis me parce
- Dabo pecuniam, si habeo veniam.
- To go and fetch it, I will dispatch it,
- A hundred pound sterling for my lives’ sparing.
Enter Peter a prophet, with people.
- Ho, who is here? Saint Francis be your speed,
- Come in, my flock, and follow me, your fortunes I will read.
- Come hither boy, go get thee home, and climb not overhigh:
- For from aloft thy fortunes stand in hazard; thou shalt die.
- God be with you, Peter, I pray you come to our house a Sunday.
- My boy, show me thy hand; bless thee my boy,
- For in thy palm I see a many troubles are ybent to dwell,
- But thou shalt scape them all and do full well.
- I thank you Peter—there’s a cheese for your labor. My sister
- prays ye to come home, and tell her how many husbands she shall
- have, and she’ll give you a rib of bacon.
- My masters, stay at the town’s end for me; I’ll come to you all
- anon. I must dispatch some business with a friar, and then I’ll
- read your fortunes.
- How now, a prophet? Sir prophet whence are ye?
- I am of the world and in the world, but live not as others by the
- world. What I am I know, and what thou wilt be I know. If thou
- knowest me now be answered; if not, enquire no more what I am.
- Sir, I know you will be a dissembling knave, that deludes the
- people with blind prophecies. You are him I look for; you shall
- away with me; bring away all the rabble, and you Friar Lawrence,
- remember your ransom, a hundred pound, and a pardon for yourself,
- and the rest come on. Sir prophet, you shall with me, to receive
- a prophet’s reward.
Scene 12 
Enter Hubert de Burgh with three men.
- My masters, I have showed you what warrant I have for this attempt;
- I perceive by your heavy countenances, you had rather be otherwise
- employed, and for my own part, I would the king had made choice of
- some other executioner. Only this is my comfort, that a king commands,
- whose precepts neglected or omitted, threat’neth torture for the default.
- Therefore in brief, leave me, and be ready to attend the adventure; stay
- within that entry, and when you hear me cry, “God save the king,” issue
- suddenly forth, lay hands on Arthur, set him in this chair, wherein—once
- fast bound—leave him with me to finish the rest.
- We go, though loath.
- My lord, will it please your honor to take the benefit of the fair evening?
Enter Arthur to Hubert de Burgh.
- Gramercie, Hubert, for thy care of me.
- In or to whom restraint is newly known
- The joy of walking is small benefit,
- Yet will I take thy offer with small thanks.
- I would not lose the pleasure of the eye.
- But tell me courteous keeper, if you can,
- How long the king will have me tarry here.
- I know not, prince, but as I guess, not long.
- God send you freedom, and God save the king.
They issue forth.
- Why how now, sirs; what may this outrage mean?
- O help me, Hubert, gentle keeper, help!
- God send this sudden mutinous approach
- Tend not to reave a wretched guiltless life.
- So, sirs, depart, and leave the rest for me.
- Then Arthur, yield; death frowneth in thy face—
- What meaneth this? Good Hubert, plead the case.
- Patience, young lord, and listen words of woe,
- Harmful and harsh, hell’s horror to be heard—
- A dismal tale fit for a fury’s tongue—
- I faint to tell, deep sorrow is the sound.
- What, must I die?
- No news of death, but tidings of more hate,
- A wrathful doom, and most unlucky fate;
- Death’s dish were dainty at so fell a feast,
- Be deaf, hear not, it’s hell to tell the rest.
- Alas, thou wrong’st my youth with words of fear—
- ‘Tis hell, ‘tis horror, not for one to hear—
- What is it, man? If it must needs be done,
- Act it and end it, that the pain were gone.
- I will not chant such dolor with my tongue,
- Yet must I act the outrage with my hand.
- My heart, my head, and all my powers beside,
- Peruse this letter, lines of treble woe,
- Read o’er my charge, and pardon when you know.
- Hubert, these are to command thee, as thou tend’rest our quiet in
- mind and the estate of our person, that presently upon the receipt
- of our command, thou put out the eyes of Arthur Plantagenet.
- Ah monstrous damned man, his very breath infects the elements,
- Contagious venom dwelleth in his heart,
- Effecting means to poison all the world.
- Unreverent may I be to blame the heavens
- Of great injustice, that the miscreant
- Lives to oppress the innocents with wrong.
- Ah, Hubert, makes he thee his instrument
- To sound the tromp that causeth hell triumph?
- Heaven weeps, the saints do shed celestial tears,
- They fear thy fall, and cite thee with remorse,
- They knock thy conscience, moving pity there,
- Willing to fence thee from the rage of hell—
- Hell, Hubert, trust me, all the plagues of hell
- Hangs on performance of this damned deed.
- This seal, the warrant of the body’s bliss,
- Ensureth Satan chieftain of thy soul;
- Subscribe not, Hubert, give not God’s part away.
- I speak not only for eyes’ privilege,
- The chief exterior that I would enjoy;
- But for thy peril, far beyond my pain,
- Thy sweet soul’s loss, more than my eyes’ vain lack;
- A cause internal, and eternal too.
- Advise thee Hubert, for the case is hard,
- To lose salvation for a king’s reward.
- My lord, a subject dwelling in the land
- Is tied to execute the king’s command.
- Yet God commands, whose power reacheth further,
- That no command should stand in force to murther.
- But this same essence hath ordained a law,
- A death for guilt, to keep the world in awe.
- I plead not guilty, treasonless and free.
- But that appeal, my lord, concerns not me.
- Why, thou art he that may’st omit the peril.
- Aye, if my sovereign would remit his quarrel.
- His quarrel is unhallowed false and wrong.
- Then be the blame to whom it doth belong.
- Why that’s to thee if thou as they proceed,
- Conclude their judgement with so vile a deed.
- Why then no execution can be lawful,
- If judge’s dooms must be reputed doubtful.
- Yes where in form of law in place and time,
- The offender is convicted of the crime.
- My lord, my lord, this long expostulation
- Heaps up more grief than promise of redress.
- For this I know, and so resolved I end,
- That subjects’ lives on kings’ commands depend.
- I must not reason why he is your foe,
- But do his charge since he commands it so.
- Then do thy charge, and charged be thy soul
- With wrongful persecution done this day.
- You rowling eyes, whose superficies yet
- I do behold with eyes that nature lent,
- Send forth the terror of your mover’s frown,
- To wreak my wrong upon the murderers
- That rob me of your fair reflecting view:
- Let hell to them—as earth thy wish to me—
- Be dark and direfull guerdon for their guilt,
- And let the black tormenters of deep Tartary
- Upbraid them with this damned enterprise,
- Inflicting change of tortures on their souls.
- Delay not Hubert, my orisons are ended,
- Begin I pray thee, reave me of my sight;
- But to perform a tragedy indeed,
- Conclude the period with a mortal stab.
- Constance farewell, tormentor come away,
- Make my dispatch the tyrant’s feasting day.
- I faint, I fear, my conscience bids desist!
- Faint, did I say? Fear was it that I named?
- My king commands, that warrant sets me free:
- But God forbids, and he commandedeth kings.
- That great commander counterchecks my charge,
- He stays my hand, he maketh soft my heart.
- Go cursed tools, your office is exempt,
- Cheer thee young lord, thou shalt not lose an eye,
- Though I shold purchase it with loss of life.
- I’ll to the king, and say his will is done,
- And of the langor tell him thou art dead.
- Go in with me, for Hubert was not born
- To blind those lamps that nature polished so.
- Hubert, if ever Arthur be in state,
- Look for amends of this received gift;
- I took my eyesight by thy courtesy,
- Thou lent’st them me, I will not be ingrate.
- But now procrastination may offend
- Depart we Hubert to prevent the worst.
Scene 13 
Enter King John, Essex, Salisbury, Pembroke.
- Now warlike followers resteth aught undone
- That may impeach us of fond oversight?
- The French have felt the temper of our swords,
- Cold terror keeps possession in their souls,
- Checking their overdaring arrogance
- For buckling with so great an overmatch.
- The arch proud titled priest of Italy,
- That calls himself grand vicar under God
- Is busied now with trental obsequies,
- Mass and months mind, dirge and I know not what
- To ease their souls in painful purgatory,
- That have miscarried in these bloody wars.
- Heard you not, lords, when first his Holiness
- Had tidings of our small account of him,
- How with a taunt vaunting upon his toes
- He urged a reason why the English ass
- Disdained the blessed ordinance of Rome?
- The title—reverently might I infer—
- Became the kings that erst have borne the load,
- The slavish weight of that controlling priest,
- Who at his pleasure tempered them like wax
- To carry arms on danger of his curse,
- Banding their souls with warrants of his hand.
- I grieve to think how kings in ages past,
- Simply devoted to the see of Rome,
- Have run into a thousand acts of shame.
- But now for confirmation of our state,
- Sith we have proyned the more than needful branch
- That did oppress the true well-growing stock,
- It resteth we throughout our territories
- Be reproclaimed and invested king.
- My liege, that were to busy men with doubts.
- Once were you crowned, proclaimed, and with applause
- Your city streets have echoed to the ear,
- “God save the king, God save our sovereign John!”
- Pardon my fear; my censure doth infer
- Your Highness not deposed from regal state,
- Would breed a mutiny in people’s minds,
- What it should mean to have you crowned again.
- Pembroke, perform what I have bid thee do,
- Thou know’st not what induceth me to this.
- Essex, go in, and lordings all be gone
- About this task; I will be crowned anon.
Enter the Bastard.
- Philip, what news, how do the abbots’ chests?
- Are friars fatter than the nuns are fair?
- What cheer with churchmen—had they gold or no?
- Tell me how hath thy office tooke effect?
- My lord, I have performed your Highness’ charge:
- The ease-bred abbots and the barefoot friars,
- The monks, the priors and holy cloistered nuns
- Are all in health, and were, my lord, in wealth,
- Till I had tithed and told their holy hoards.
- I doubt not when your Highness sees thy prize,
- You may proportion all their former pride.
- Why so, now sorts it, Philip, as it should:
- This small intrusion into abbey trunks
- Will make the popelings excommunicate,
- Curse, ban, and breathe out damned orisons,
- As thick as hailstones ‘fore the spring’s approach;
- But yet as harmless and without effect,
- As is the echo of a cannon’s crack
- Discharged against the battlements of heaven.
- But what news else befell there, Philip?
- Strange news, my lord: within your territories,
- Near Pomfret is a prophet new sprung up,
- Whose divination volleys wonders forth;
- To him the commons throng with country gifts.
- He sets a date unto the beldame’s death,
- Prescribes how long the virgin’s state shall last,
- Distinguisheth the moving of the heavens,
- Gives limits unto holy nuptial rites,
- Foretelleth famine, aboundeth plenty forth,
- Of fate, of fortune, life and death he chats,
- With such assurance, scruples put apart,
- As if he knew the certain dooms of heaven,
- Or kept a register of all the destinies.
- Thou tell’st me marvels, would thou hadst brought the man;
- We might have questioned him of things to come.
- My lord, I took a care of “had I wist,”
- And brought the prophet with me to the court.
- He stays, my lord, but at the presence door;
- Pleaseth your Highness, I will call him in.
- Nay, stay awhile; we’ll have him here anon.
- A thing of weight is first to be performed.
Enter the nobles and crown King John, and then cry “God save the king”.
- Lordings and friends, supporters of our state,
- Admire not at this unaccustomed course,
- Nor in your thoughts blame not this deed of yours.
- Once ere this time was I invested king,
- Your fealty sworn as liegemen to our state;
- Once since that time ambitious weeds have sprung
- To stain the beauty of our garden plot;
- But heavens in our conduct rooting thence
- The false intruders, breakers of world’s peace,
- Have to our joy, made sunshine chase the storm.
- After the which, to try your constancy
- That now I see is worthy of your names,
- We craved once more your helps for to invest us
- Into the right that envy sought to wrack.
- Once was I not deposed, your former choice,
- Now twice been crowned and applauded king;
- Your cheered action to install me so,
- Infers assured witness of your loves,
- And binds me over in a kingly care
- To render love with love, rewards of worth
- To balance down requital to the full.
- But thanks the while, thanks, lordings, to you all;
- Ask me and use me, try me and find me yours.
- A boon, my lord, at vantage of your words
- We ask to guerdon all our loyalties.
- We take the time your Highness bids us ask:
- Please it you grant, you make your promise good,
- With lesser loss than one superfluous hair
- That not remembered falleth from your head.
- My word is past; receive your boon, my lords.
- What may it be? Ask it, and it is yours.
- We crave, my lord, to please the commons with
- The liberty of Lady Constance’ son:
- Whose durance darkeneth your Highness’ right,
- As if you kept him prisoner, to the end
- Yourself were doubtful of the thing you have.
- Dismiss him thence; your Highness needs not fear,
- Twice by consent you are proclaimed our king.
- This, if you grant, were all unto your good;
- For simple people muse you keep him close.
- Your words have searched the center of my thoughts
- Confirming warrant of your loyalties,
- Dismiss your counsel, sway my state,
- Let John do nothing but by your consents.
- Why how now, Philip—what ecstasy is this?
- Why casts thou up thy eyes to heaven so?
- There the five moons appear.
- See, see my lord, strange apparitions.
- Glancing mine eye to see the diadem
- Placed by the bishops on your Highness’ head,
- From forth a gloomy cloud, which curtain-like
- Displayed itself, I suddenly espied
- Five moons reflecting, as you see them now.
- Even in the moment that the crown was placed
- Gan they appear, holding the course you see.
- What might portend these apparitions,
- Unusual signs, forerunners of event,
- Presagers of strange terror to the world?
- Believe me, lords, the object fears me much.
- Philip, thou told’st me of me of [sic] wizard late.
- Fetch in the man to descant of this show.
- The heavens frown upon the sinful earth,
- When with prodigious unaccustomed signs
- They spot their superficies with such wonder.
- Before the ruins of Jerusalem,
- Such meteors were the ensigns of his wrath
- That hast’ned to destroy the faultful town.
Enter the Bastard with the Prophet.
- Is this the man?
- It is, my lord.
- Prophet of Pomfret, for so I hear thou art,
- That calculat’st of many things to come:
- Who by a power replete with heavenly gift
- Can’st blab the counsel of thy maker’s will.
- If fame be true, or truth be wronged by thee,
- Decide in ciphering what these five moons
- Portend this clime, if they presage at all.
- Breathe out thy gift, and if I live to see
- Thy divination take a true effect,
- I’ll honor thee above all earthly men.
- The sky wherein these moons have residence
- Presenteth Rome, the great metropolis
- Where sits the Pope in all his holy pomp.
- Four of the moons present four provinces,
- To wit, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and France,
- That bear the yoke of proud commanding Rome,
- And stand in fear to tempt the prelate’s curse.
- The smallest moon that whirls about the rest,
- Impatient of the place he holds with them,
- Doth figure forth this island Albion,
- Who ‘gins to scorn the see and state of Rome,
- And seeks to shun the edicts of the Pope.
- This shows the heaven, and this I do aver
- Is figured in these apparitions.
- Why then it seems the heavens smile on us,
- Giving applause for leaving of the Pope.
- But for they chance in our meridian,
- Do they effect no private growing ill
- To be inflicted on us in this clime?
- The moons effect no more than what I said;
- But on some other knowledge that I have
- By my prescience, ere Ascension day
- Have brought the sun unto his usual height,
- Of crown, estate, and royal dignity,
- Thou shalt be clean despoiled and dispossessed.
- False dreamer, perish with thy witched news,
- Villain, thou wound’st me with thy fallacies;
- If it be true, die for thy tidings’ price;
- If false, for fearing me with vain suppose.
- Hence with the witch, hell’s damned secretary.
- Lock him up sure: for by my faith I swear,
- True or not true, the wizard shall not live.
- Before Ascension day—who should be cause hereof?
- Cut off the cause and then the effect will die.
- Tut, tut, my mercy serves to maim myself,
- The root doth live, from whence these thorns spring up,
- Aye, and my promise past for his deliv’ry?
- Frown friends, fail faith, the devil go withal,
- The brat shall die that terrifies me thus.
- Pembroke and Essex, I recall my grant;
- I will not buy your favors with my fear.
- Nay, murmur not, my will is law enough;
- I love you well, but if I loved you better,
- I would not buy it with my discontent.
- How now, what news with thee?
- According to your Highness’ strict command
- Young Arthur’s eyes are blinded and extinct.
- Why so, then he may feel the crown, but never see it.
- Nor see nor feel, for of the extreme pain,
- Within one hour gave he up the ghost.
- What, is he dead?
- He is, my lord.
- Then with him die my cares.
- Now joy betide thy soul.
- And heavens revenge thy death.
- What have you done, my lord? Was ever heard
- A deed of more inhumane consequence?
- Your foes will curse, your friends will cry revenge.
- Unkindly rage more rough than northern wind,
- To chip the beauty of so sweet a flower.
- What hope in us for mercy on a fault,
- When kinsman dies without impeach of cause,
- As you have done, so come to cheer you with,
- The guilt shall never be cast me in my teeth.
- And are you gone? The devil be your guide:
- Proud rebels as you are to brave me so:
- Saucy, uncivil, checkers of my will.
- Your tongues give edge unto the fatal knife:
- That shall have passage through your trait’rous throats.
- But hush’t, breathe not bug’s words too soon abroad,
- Lest time prevent the issue of thy reach.
- Arthur is dead, aye, there the corzie grows,
- But while he lived, the danger was the more;
- His death hath freed me from a thousand fears,
- But it hath purchased me ten times ten thousand foes.
- Why all is one; such luck shall haunt his game,
- To whom the devil owes an open shame.
- His life a foe that leveled at my crown,
- His death a frame to pull my building down.
- My thoughts harped still on quiet by his end,
- Who living aimed shrewdly at my room:
- But to prevent that plea twice was I crowned,
- Twice did my subjects swear me fealty,
- And in my conscience loved me as their liege,
- In whose defense they would have pawned their lives.
- But now they shun me as a serpent’s sting,
- A tragic tyrant stern and pitiless,
- And not a title follows after John,
- But butcher, bloodsucker and murderer.
- What planet governed my nativity,
- To bode me sovereign types of high estate,
- So interlaced with hellish discontent,
- Wherein fell fury hath no interest?
- Cursed be the crown, chief author of my care—
- Nay, cursed my will that made the crown my care:
- Cursed be my birthday, cursed ten times the womb
- That yielded me alive into the world.
- Art thou there, villain? Furies haunt thee still,
- For killing him whom all the world laments.
- Why here’s my lord your Highness’ hand and seal,
- Charging on live’s regard to do the deed.
- Ah dull conceited peasant, know’st thou not
- It was a damned execrable deed.
- Show’st me a seal? Oh villain, both our souls
- Have sold their freedom to the thrall of hell,
- Under the warrant of that cursed seal.
- Hence villain, hang thyself, and say in hell
- That I am coming for a kingdom there.
- My lord, attend the happy tale I tell,
- For heaven’s health send Satan packing hence
- That instigates your Highness to despair.
- If Arthur’s death be dismal to be heard,
- Bandy the news for rumors of untruth:
- He lives, my lord, the sweetest youth alive,
- In health, with eyesight, not a hair amiss.
- This heart took vigor from this forward hand,
- Making it weak to execute your charge.
- What, lives he? Then sweet hope come home again.
- Chase hence despair, the purveyor for hell.
- Hie Hubert, tell these tidings to my lords
- That throb in passions for young Arthur’s death;
- Hence Hubert, stay not till thou hast revealed
- The wished news of Arthur’s happy health.
- I go myself, the joyfull’st man alive
- To story out this new supposed crime.
Scene 14 
Enter young Arthur on the walls.
- Now help good hap to further mine intent,
- Cross not my youth with any more extremes;
- I venture life to gain my liberty,
- And if I die, world’s troubles have an end.
- Fear ‘gins dissuade the strength of my resolve—
- My hold will fail, and then alas I fall,
- And if I fall, no question death is next.
- Better desist, and live in prison still.
- Prison said I? Nay, rather death than so;
- Comfort and courage come again to me.
- I’ll venture sure—‘tis but a leap for life.
He leaps, and bruising his bones, after he was from his trance, speaks thus:
- Ho, who is nigh? Somebody take me up.
- Where is my mother? Let me speak with her.
- Who hurts me thus? Speak ho—where are you gone?
- Aye me, poor Arthur; I am here alone.
- Why called I mother? How did I forget?
- My fall, my fall, hath killed my mother’s son.
- How will she weep at tidings of my death?
- My death indeed; O God my bones are burst.
- Sweet Jesu save my soul, forgive my rash attempt.
- Comfort my mother, shield her from despair,
- When she shall hear my tragic overthrow.
- My heart controls the office of my tongue,
- My vital powers forsake my bruised trunk,
- I die, I die, heaven take my fleeting soul,
- And lady mother all good hap to thee.
Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, Essex.
- My lords of Pembroke and of Salisbury,
- We must be careful in our policy
- To undermine the keepers of this place,
- Else shall we never find the prince’s grave.
- My lord of Essex, take no care for that,
- I warrant you it was not closely done.
- But who is this? Lo, lords, the withered flower
- Who in his life shined like the morning’s blush,
- Cast out a door, denied his burial right,
- A prey for birds and beasts to gorge upon.
- O ruthful spectacle! O damned deed!
- My sinews shake; my very heart doth bleed.
- Leave childish tears, brave lords of England,
- If water-floods could fetch his life again,
- My eyes should conduit forth a sea of tears;
- If sobs would help, or sorrows serve the turn,
- My heart should volley out deep-piercing plaints.
- But bootless wer’t to breathe as many sighs
- As might eclipse the brightest summer’s sun;
- Here rests the help, a service to his ghost.
- Let not the tyrant, causer of this dole,
- Live to triumph in ruthful massacres.
- Give hand and heart, and Englishmen to arms,
- ‘Tis God’s decree to wreak us of these harms.
- The best advice—but who comes posting here?
- Right noble lords, I speak unto you all:
- The king entreats your soonest speed
- To visit him, who on your present want
- Did band and curse his birth, himself, and me,
- For executing of his strict command.
- I saw his passion, and at fittest time
- Assured him of his cousin’s being safe,
- Whom pity would not let me do to death.
- He craves your company my lords in haste,
- To whom I will conduct young Arthur straight,
- Who is in health under my custody.
- In health, base villain? Wer’t not I leave thy crime
- To God’s revenge, to whom revenge belongs,
- Here shouldst thou perish on my rapier’s point.
- Call’st thou this health? Such health betide thy friends,
- And all that are of thy condition.
- My lords, but hear me speak, and kill me then,
- If here I left not this young prince alive,
- Maugre the hasty edict of the king,
- Who gave me charge to put out both his eyes,
- That God that gave me living to this hour,
- Thunder revenge upon me in this place:
- And as I tendered him with earnest love,
- So God love me, and then I shall be well.
- Hence traitor, hence; thy counsel is herein.
- Some in this place appointed by the king
- Have thrown him from this lodging here above,
- And sure the murder hath been newly done,
- For yet the body is not fully cold.
- How say you lords, shall we with speed dispatch
- Under our hands a packet into France
- To bid the dolphin enter with his force
- To claim the kingdom for his proper right?
- His title maketh lawful strength thereto.
- Besides, the pope, on peril of his curse,
- Hath barred us of obedience unto John.
- This hateful murder, Lewis his true descent,
- The holy charge that we received from Rome,
- Are weighty reasons if you like my rede,
- To make us all persevere in this deed.
- My lord of Essex, well have you advised,
- I will accord to further you in this.
- And Salisbury will not gainsay the same,
- But aid that course set forth as he can.
- Then each of us send straight to his allies,
- To win them to this famous enterprise,
- And let us all yclad in palmer’s weed,
- The tenth of April at Saint Edmondsbury
- Meet to confer, and on the altar there
- Swear secrecy and aid to this advice.
- Meanwhile let us convey this body hence,
- And give him burial as befits his state,
- Keeping his month’s mind and his obsequies
- With solemn intercession for his soul.
- How say you lordings; are you all agreed?
- The tenth of April at Saint Edmondsbury,
- God letting not, I will not fail the time.
- Then let us convey the body hence.
Scene 15 
Enter King John with two or three and the Prophet.
- Disturbed thoughts, foredoomers of mine ill,
- Distracted passions, signs of growing harms,
- Strange prophecies of imminent mishaps,
- Confound my wits, and dull my senses so,
- That every object these mine eyes behold
- Seem instruments to bring me to my end.
- Ascension day is come, John fear not then
- The prodigies this prattling prophet threats.
- ‘Tis come, indeed; ah were it fully past,
- Then were I careless of a thousand fears.
- The dial tells me, it is twelve at noon.
- Were twelve at midnight past, then might I vaunt
- False seer’s prophecies of no import.
- Could I as well wish this right hand of mine
- Remove the sun from our meridian,
- Unto the moonsted circle of th’ antipodes,
- As turn this steel from twelve to twelve again.
- Then John the date of fatal prophecies
- Should with the prophet’s life together end.
- But multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra.
- Peter, unsay thy foolish doting dream,
- And by the crown of England here, I swear,
- To make thee great, and greatest of thy kin.
- King John, although the time I have prescribed
- Be but twelve hours remaining yet behind,
- Yet do I know by inspiration,
- Ere that fixed time be fully come about,
- King John shall not be king as heretofore.
- Vain buzzard, what mischance can chance so soon
- To set a king beside his regal seat?
- My heart is good, my body passing strong,
- My land in peace, my enemies subdued;
- Only my enemies storm at Arthur’s death—
- But Arthur lives. Aye, there the challenge grows.
- Were he dispatched unto his longest home,
- Then were the king secure of thousand foes.
- Hubert, what news with thee; where are my lords?
- Hard news, my lord: Arthur the lovely prince
- Seeking to escape over the castle walls,
- Fell headlong down, and in the cursed fall
- He brake his bones, and there before the gate
- Your barons found him dead, and breathless quite.
- Is Arthur dead?
- Then Hubert without more words hang the prophet.
- Away with peter, villain out of my sight,
- I am deaf, begone, let him not speak a word.
- Now John, thy fears are vanished into smoke;
- Arthur is dead, thou guiltless of his death.
- Sweet youth, but that I strived for a crown,
- I could have well afforded to thine age
- Long life, and happiness to thy content.
Enter the Bastard.
- Philip, what news with thee?
- The news I heard was Peter’s prayers,
- Who wished like fortune to befall us all:
- And with that word, the rope his latest friend,
- Kept him from falling headlong to the ground.
- There let him hang, and be the ravens’ food,
- While John triumphs in spite of prophecies.
- But what’s the tidings from the popelings now?
- What say the monks and priests to our proceedings?
- Or where’s the barons that so suddenly
- Did leave the king upon a false surmise?
- The prelates storm and thirst for sharp revenge,
- But please your Majesty, were that the worst,
- It little skilled: a greater danger grows,
- Which must be weeded out by careful speed,
- Or all is lost, for all is leveled at.
- More frights and fears, whate’er thy tidings be,
- I am prepared: then Philip, quickly say,
- Mean they to murder, or imprison me,
- To give my crown away to Rome or France?
- Or will they each of them become a king?
- Worse than I think it is, it cannot be.
- Not worse my lord, but every whit as bad.
- The nobles have elected Lewis king,
- In right of Lady Blanche your niece, his wife.
- His landing is expected every hour.
- The nobles, commons, clergy, all estates,
- Incited chiefly by the cardinal,
- Pandulph that lies here legate for the pope,
- Thinks long to see their new-elected king.
- And for undoubted proof, see here my liege
- Letters to me from your nobility,
- To be a party in this action;
- Who under show of feigned holiness,
- Appoint their meeting at Saint Edmondsbury,
- There to consult, conspire, and conclude
- The overthrow and downfall of your state.
- Why so it must be: one hour of content
- Matched with a month of passionate effects.
- Why shines the sun to favor this consort?
- Why do the winds not break their brazen gates,
- And scatter all these perjured complices,
- With all their counsels and their damned drifts?
- But see the welkin rolleth gently on,
- There’s not a low’ring cloud to frown on them;
- The heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon and all
- Conspire with those confederates my decay.
- Then hell for me if any power be there,
- Forsake that place, and guide me step by step
- To poison, strangle, murder in their steps
- These traitors—oh, that name is too good for them,
- And death is easy! Is there nothing worse
- To wreak me on this proud peace-breaking crew?
- What say’st thou, Philip? Why assists thou not?
- These curses, good my lord, fit not the season:
- Help must descend from heaven against this treason.
- Nay, thou wilt prove a traitor with the rest,
- Go get thee to them, shame come to you all.
- I would be loath to leave your Highness thus,
- Yet you command, and I though grieved will go.
- Ah Philip, whither goest thou? Come again.
- My lord, these motions are as passions of a madman.
- A madman, Philip; I am mad indeed—
- My heart is mazed, my senses all foredone.
- And John of England now is quite undone.
- Was ever king as I oppressed with cares?
- Dame Eleanor, my noble mother queen,
- My only hope and comfort in distress,
- Is dead, and England excommunicate,
- And I am interdicted by the pope,
- All churches cursed, their doors are sealed up,
- And for the pleasure of the Romish priest,
- The service of the Highest is neglected;
- The multitude—a beast of many heads—
- Do wish confusion to their sovereign;
- The nobles, blinded with ambition’s fumes,
- Assemble powers to beat mine empire down,
- And more than this, elect a foreign king.
- O England, wert thou ever miserable;
- King John of England sees thee miserable,
- John, ‘tis thy sins that makes it miserable,
- Quicquid delirunt reges, plectuntur achivi.
- Philip, as thou hast ever loved thy king,
- So show it now; post to Saint Edmondsbury,
- Dissemble with the nobles, know their drifts,
- Confound their devilish plots, and damned devices.
- Though John be faulty, yet let subjects bear,
- He will amend and right the people’s wrongs.
- A mother though she were unnatural,
- Is better than the kindest stepdame is:
- Let never Englishman trust foreign rule.
- Then, Philip, show thy fealty to thy king,
- And ‘mongst the nobles plead thou for the king.
- I go my lord. See how he is distraught,
- This is the cursed priest of Italy
- Hath heaped these mischiefs on this hapless land.
- Now Philip, hadst thou Tully’s eloquence,
- Then might’st thou hope to plead with good success.
- And art thou gone? Success may follow thee;
- Thus hast thou showed thy kindness to thy king.
- Sirrah, in haste go greet the cardinal,
- Pandulph I mean, the legate from the pope.
- Say that the king desires to speak with him.
- Now John, bethink thee how thou may’st resolve,
- And if thou wilt continue England’s king,
- Then cast about to keep thy diadem,
- For life and land, and all is leveled at.
- The pope of Rome, ‘tis he that is the cause,
- He curseth thee, he sets thy subjects free
- From due obedience to their sovereign;
- He animates the nobles in their wars,
- He gives away the crown to Philip’s son,
- And pardons all that seek to murder thee—
- And thus blind zeal is still predominant.
- Then John, there is no way to keep thy crown,
- But finely to dissemble with the pope;
- That hand that gave the wound must give the salve
- To cure the hurt, else quite incurable.
- Thy sins are far too great to be the man
- T’ abolish pope, and popery from thy realm,
- But in thy seat, if I may guess at all,
- A king shall reign that shall suppress them all.
- Peace John, here comes the legate of the pope;
- Dissemble thou, and whatsoe’er thou say’st,
- Yet with thy heart wish their confusion.
Enter [Cardinal] Pandulph.
- Now John, unworthy man to breathe on earth,
- That dost oppugn against thy mother church,
- Why am I sent for to thy cursed self?
- Thou man of God, vicegerent for the pope,
- The holy vicar of Saint Peter’s church,
- Upon my knees, I pardon crave of thee,
- And do submit me to the see of Rome,
- And vow for penance of my high offence,
- To take on me the holy cross of Christ,
- And carry arms in holy Christian wars.
- No John, thy crouching and dissembling thus
- Cannot deceive the legate of the pope.
- Say what thou wilt, I will not credit thee:
- Thy crown and kingdom both are ta’en away,
- And thou art cursed without redemption.
- Accursed indeed to kneel to such a drudge,
- And get no help with thy submission.
- Unsheath thy sword, and stay the misproud priest
- That thus triumphs o’er thee, a mighty king.
- No John, submit again, dissemble yet,
- For priests and women must be flattered.
- Yet holy father, thou thyself dost know
- No time too late for sinners to repent,
- Absolve me then, and John doth swear to do
- The uttermost whatever thou demand’st.
- John, now I see thy hearty penitence,
- I rue and pity thy distressed estate,
- One way is left to reconcile thyself,
- And only one which I shall show to thee.
- Thou must surrender to the see of Rome
- Thy crown and diadem, then shall the pope
- Defend thee from th’ invasion of thy foes.
- And where his Holiness hath kindled France,
- And set thy subjects hearts at war with thee,
- Then shall he curse thy foes, and beat them down,
- That seek the discontentment of the king.
- From bad to worse! Or I must lose my realm,
- Or give my crown for penance unto Rome!
- A misery more piercing than the darts
- That break from burning exhalation’s power.
- What? Shall I give my crown with this right hand?
- No! With this hand defend thy crown and thee.
- What news with thee?
- Please it your Majesty, there is descried on the coast of Kent an
- hundred sail of ships, which of all men is thought to be the French
- fleet, under the conduct of the dolphin, so that it puts the country
- in a mutiny, so they send to your grace for succor.
- How now Lord Cardinal, what’s your best advice?
- These mutinies must be allayed in time
- By policy or headstrong rage at least.
- O John, these troubles tire thy wearied soul,
- And like to Luna in a sad eclipse,
- So are thy thoughts and passions for this news.
- Well may it be when kings are grieved so,
- The vulgar sort work princes overthrow.
- King John, for not effecting of thy plighted vow,
- This strange annoyance happens to thy land;
- But yet be reconciled unto the church,
- And nothing shall be grievous to thy state.
- O Pandulph, be it as thou hast decreed,
- John will not spurn against thy sound advice.
- Come let’s away, and with thy help I trow
- My realm shall flourish and my crown in peace.
Scene 16 
Enter the nobles, Pembroke, Essex, Chester, Beauchamp, Clare, with others.
- Now sweet Saint Edmond, holy saint in heaven,
- Whose shrine is sacred, high esteemed on earth,
- Infuse a constant zeal in all our hearts
- To prosecute this act of mickel weight,
- Lord Beauchamp say, what friends have you procured.
- The Lord Fitzwater, Lord Percy and Lord Ross,
- Vowed meeting here this day the ‘leventh hour.
- Under the cloak of holy pilgrimage,
- By that same hour on warrant of their faith,
- Philip Plantagent, a bird of swiftest wing,
- Lord Eustace, Vesey, Lord Cressy, and Lord Mowbray,
- Appointed meeting at Saint Edmond’s shrine.
- Until their presence I’ll conceal my tale,
- Sweet complices in holy Christian acts,
- That venture for the purchase of renown,
- Thrice welcome to the league of high resolve,
- That pawn their bodies for their souls’ regard.
- Now wanteth but the rest to end this work,
- In pilgrim’s habit comes our holy troop
- A furlong hence with swift unwonted pace,
- Maybe they are the persons you expect.
- With swift unwonted gait, see what a thing is zeal,
- That spurs them on with fervence to this shrine,
- Now joy come to them for their true intent
- And in good time here come the war-men all
- That sweat in body by the mind’s disease
- Hap and heart’s-ease brave lordings be your lot.
Enter the Bastard Philip, etc.
- Amen my lords, the like betide your luck,
- And all that travel in a Christian cause.
- Cheerly replied, brave branch of kingly stock,
- A right Plantagenet should reason so.
- But silence lords, attend our coming’s cause;
- The servile yoke that pained us with toil,
- On strong instinct hath framed this conventicle
- To ease our necks of servitude’s contempt.
- Should I not name the foeman of our rest,
- Which of you all so barren in conceit,
- As cannot level at the man I mean?
- But lest enigmas shadow shining truth
- Plainly to paint as truth requires no art.
- Th’ effect of this resort importeth this,
- To root and clean extirpate tyrant John,
- Tyrant I say, appealing to the man,
- If any here that loves him, and I ask
- What kindship, lenity, or Christian reign
- Rules in the man, to bar this foul impeach?
- First I infer the Chesters’ banishment,
- For reprehending him in most unchristian crimes,
- Was special notice of a tyrant’s will.
- But were this all, the devil should be saved,
- But this the least of many thousand faults,
- That circumstance with leisure might display.
- Our private wrongs, no parcel of my tale
- Which now in presence, but for some great cause
- Might wish to him as to a mortal foe.
- But shall I close the period with an act
- Abhorring in the ears of Christian men,
- His cousin’s death, that sweet unguilty child,
- Untimely butchered by the tyrant’s means.
- Here is my proofs, as clear as gravel brook,
- And on the same I further must infer,
- That who upholds a tyrant in is course,
- Is culpable of all his damned guilt.
- To show the which, is yet to be described.
- My lord of Pembroke, show what is behind,
- Only I say, that were there nothing else
- To move us but the pope’s most dreadful curse,
- Whereof we are assured if we fail,
- It were enough to instigate us all
- With earnestness of spirit to seek a mean
- To dispossess John of his regiment.
- Well hath my lord of Essex told his tale,
- Which I aver for most substantial truth,
- And more to make the matter to our mind,
- I say that Lewis in challenge of his wife,
- Hath title of an uncontrolled plea
- To all that ‘longeth to an English crown.
- Short tale to make, the see apostolic
- Hath offered dispensation for the fault.
- If any be, as trust me none I know
- By planting Lewis in the usurper’s room:
- This is the cause of all our presence here,
- That on the holy altar we protest
- To aid the right of Lewis with goods and life,
- Who on our knowledge is in arms for England.
- What say you, lords?
- As Pembroke say’th, affirmeth Salisbury:
- Fair Lewis of France that ‘spoused Lady Blanche,
- Hath title of an uncontrolled strength
- To England, and what ‘longeth to the crown:
- In right whereof, as we are true informed,
- The prince is marching hitherward in arms.
- Our purpose, to conclude that with a word,
- Is to invest him as we may devise
- King of our country in the tyrant’s stead;
- And so the warrant on the altar sworn,
- And so the intent for which we hither came.
- My lord of Salisbury, I cannot couch
- My speeches with the needful words of art,
- As doth beseem in such a weighty work,
- But what my conscience and my duty will
- I purpose to impart.
- For Chester’s exile, blame his busy wit,
- That meddled where his duty quite forbade;
- For any private causes that you have,
- Methinks they should not mount to such a height,
- As to depose a king in their revenge.
- For Arthur’s death King John was innocent,
- He, desperate, was the deathsman to himself,
- Which you to make a color to your crime
- Injustly do impute to his default,
- But where fell traitorism hath residence,
- There want no words to set despite on work.
- I say ‘tis shame, and worthy all reproof,
- To wrest such petty wrongs in terms of right,
- Against a king anointed by the Lord.
- Why Salisbury, admit the wrongs are true,
- Yet subjects may not take in hand revenge,
- And rob the heavens of their proper power,
- Where sitteth he to whom revenge belongs.
- And doth a pope, a priest, a man of pride
- Give charters for the lives of lawful kings?
- What can he bless, or who regards his curse,
- But such as give to man, and takes from God?
- I speak it in the sight of God above,
- There’s not a man that dies in your belief,
- But sells his soul perpetually to pain.
- Aid Lewis, leave God, kill John, please hell,
- Make havoc of the welfare of your souls,
- For here I leave you in the sight of heaven,
- A troop of traitors, food for hellish fiends.
- If you desist, then follow me as friends,
- If not, then do your worst as hateful traitors.
- For Lewis his right, alas, ‘tis too too lame,
- A senseless claim, if truth be title’s friend.
- In brief, if this be cause of our resort,
- Our pilgrimage is to the devil’s shrine.
- I came not lords to troop as traitors do,
- Nor will I counsel in so bad a cause.
- Please you return, we go again as friends,
- If not, I to my king, and you where traitors please.
- A hot young man, and so, my lords, proceed,
- Aye let him go, and better lost than found.
- What say you lords, will all the rest proceed,
- Will you all with me swear upon the altar
- That you will to the death be aid to Lewis and enemy to John?
- Every man lay his hand by mine, in witness of his heart’s accord.
- Well then, every man to arms to meet the king
- Who is already before London.
- What news, herald?
- The right Christian prince my master, Lewis of France, is at hand,
- coming to visit your honors, directed hither by the right honorable
- Richard Earl of Bigot, to confer with your honors.
- Fair lords of England, Lewis salutes you all
- As friends and firm wellwishers of his weal,
- At whose request from plenty flowing France
- Crossing the ocean with a southern gale,
- He is in person come at your commands
- To undertake and gratify withal
- The fullness of your favors proffered him.
- But world’s brave men, omitting promises,
- Till time be minister of more amends,
- I must acquaint you with our fortune’s course.
- The heavens dewing favors on my head,
- Have in their conduct safe with victory,
- Brought me along your well manured bounds,
- With small repulse, and little cross of chance.
- Your city Rochester with great applause
- By some divine instinct laid arms aside;
- And from the hollow holes of Thamesis
- Echo apace replied, Vive le roi.
- From thence, along the wanton rowling glade
- To Troynovant, your fair metropolis,
- With luck came Lewis to show his troops of France,
- Waving our ensigns with the dallying winds,
- The fearful object of fell frowning war;
- Where after some assault, and small defence,
- Heavens, may I say, and not my warlike troop,
- Tempered their hearts to take a friendly foe
- Within the compass of their high built walls,
- Giving me title as it seemed they wish.
- Thus fortune, lords, acts to your forwardness
- Means of content in lieu of former grief;
- And may I live but to requite you all,
- World’s wish were mine in dying noted yours.
- Welcome the balm that closeth up our wounds,
- The sovereign med’cine for our quick recure,
- The anchor of our hope, the only prop,
- Whereon depends our lives, our lands, our weal,
- Without the which, as sheep without their herd,
- (Except a shepherd winking at the wolf)
- We stray, we pine, we run to thousand harms.
- No marvel then, though with unwonted joy,
- We welcome him that beateth woes away.
- Thanks to you all of this religious league,
- A holy knot of catholic consent.
- I cannot name you, lordings, man by man,
- But like a stranger unacquainted yet,
- In general I promise faithful love.
- Lord Bigot brought me to Saint Edmond’s shrine,
- Giving me warrant of a Christian oath,
- That this assembly came devoted here,
- To swear according as your packets showed,
- Homage and loyal service to ourself.
- I need not doubt the surety of your wills;
- Since well I know for many of your sakes
- The towns have yielded on their own accords;
- Yet for a fashion, not for misbelief,
- My eyes must witness, and these ears must hear
- Your oath upon the holy altar sworn,
- And after march to end our coming’s cause.
- That we intend no other than good truth,
- All that are present of this holy league,
- For confirmation of our better trust,
- In presence of his Highness swear with me,
- The sequel that myself shall utter here.
- I Thomas Plantagenet, earl of Salisbury, swear upon the altar, and
- by the holy army of saints, homage and allegiance to the right
- Christian prince, Lewis of France, as true and rightful king to
- England, Cornwall and Wales, and to their territories, in the
- defense whereof I upon the holy altar swear all forwardness.
All the English lords swear.
- As the noble earl hath sworn, so swear we all.
- I rest assured on your holy oath,
- And on this altar in like sort I swear
- Love to you all, and princely recompense
- To guerdon your good wills unto the full.
- And since I am at this religious shrine,
- My good wellwishers, give us leave awhile
- To use some orisons ourselves apart
- To all the holy company of heaven,
- That they will smile upon our purposes,
- And bring them to a fortunate event.
- We leave your Highness to your good intent.
Exeunt Lords of England.
- Now Viscount Meloun, what remains behind?
- Trust me these traitors to their sovereign state
- Are not to be believed in any sort.
- Indeed my lord, they that infringe their oaths,
- And play the rebels ‘gainst their native king,
- Will for as little cause revolt from you,
- If ever opportunity incite them so;
- For once forsworn, and never after sound,
- There’s no affiance after perjury.
- Well Meloun well, let’s smooth with them awhile,
- Until we have as much as they can do;
- And when their virtue is exhaled dry,
- I’ll hang them for the guerdon of their help.
- Meanwhile we’ll use them as a precious poison
- To undertake the issue of our hope.
- ‘Tis policy, my lord, to bait our hooks
- With merry smiles, and promise of much weight;
- But when your Highness needeth them no more,
- ‘Tis good make sure work with them, lest indeed
- They prove to you as to their natural king.
- Trust me my lord, right well have you advised,
- Venom for use, but never for a sport
- Is to be dallied with, lest it infect.
- Were you installed, as soon I hope you shall,
- Be free from traitors, and dispatch them all.
- That so I mean, I swear before you all
- On this same altar, and by heaven’s power,
- There’s not an English traitor of them all,
- John once dispatched, and I fair England’s king,
- Shall on his shoulders bear his head one day,
- But I will crop it for their guilt’s desert.
- Nor shall their heirs enjoy their signories,
- But perish by their parents’ foul amiss.
- This have I sworn, and this will I perform,
- If e’er I come unto the height I hope.
- Lay down your hands, and swear the same with me.
The French Lords swear.
- Why so, now call them in, and speak them fair;
- A smile of France will feed an English fool.
- Bear them in hand as friends, for so they be;
- But in the heart like traitors as they are.
Enter the English Lords.
- Now famous followers, chieftains of the world,
- Have we solicited with hearty prayer
- The heaven in favor of our high attempt.
- Leave we this place, and march we with our power
- To rouse the tyrant from his chiefest hold;
- And when our labors have a prosp’rous end,
- Each man shall reap the fruit of his desert.
- And so resolved, brave followers, let us hence.
Scene 17 
Enter King John, Bastard, [Cardinal] Pandulph, and a many priests with them.
- Thus, John, thou art absolved from all thy sins,
- And freed by order from our father’s curse.
- Receive thy crown again, with this proviso,
- That thou remain true liegeman to the pope,
- And carry arms in right of holy Rome.
- I hold the same as tenant to the pope,
- And thank your Holiness for your kindness shown.
- A proper jest, when kings must stoop to friars;
- Need hath no law, when friars must be kings.
Enter a Messenger.
- Please it your Majesty, the prince of France
- With all the nobles of your grace’s land,
- Are marching hitherward in good array.
- Where e’er they set their foot, all places yield;
- Thy land is theirs, and not a foot holds out
- But Dover Castle, which is hard besieged.
- Fear not, King John, thy kingdom is the pope’s,
- And they shall know his Holiness hath power
- To beat them soon from whence he hath to do.
Drums and trumpets. Enter Lewis, Meloun, Salisbury, Essex, Pembroke, and all
the nobles from France, and England.
- Pandulph, as gave his Holiness in charge,
- So hath the Dolphin mustered up his troops
- And won the greatest part of all this land.
- But ill becomes your grace, Lord Cardinal,
- Thus to converse with John that is accursed.
- Lewis of France, victorious conqueror,
- Whose sword hath made this island quake for fear:
- Thy forwardness to fight for holy Rome,
- Shall be remunerated to the full.
- But know, my lord, King John is now absolved;
- The pope is pleased, the land is blessed again,
- And thou hast brought each thing to good effect.
- It resteth then that thou withdraw thy powers
- And quietly return to France again,
- For all is done the pope would wish thee do.
- But all’s not done that Lewis came to do.
- Why, Pandulph, hath King Philip sent his son
- And been at such excessive charge in wars,
- To be dismissed with words? King John shall know
- England is mine, and he usurps my right.
- Lewis, I charge thee and thy complices,
- Upon the pain of Pandulph’s holy curse,
- That thou withdraw thy powers to France again
- And yield up London and the neighbor towns
- That thou has ta’en in England by the sword.
- Lord Cardinal, by Lewis’ princely leave,
- It can be nought but usurpation
- In thee, the pope, and all the church of Rome,
- Thus to insult on kings of Christendom,
- Now with a word to make them carry arms,
- Then with a word to make them leave their arms.
- This must not be: prince Lewis, keep thine own,
- Let pope and popelings curse their bellies’ full.
- My lord of Meloun, what title had the prince
- To England and the crown of Albion,
- But such a title as the pope confirmed?
- The prelate now lets fall his feigned claim:
- Lewis is but the agent for the pope,
- Then must the dolphin cease, sith he hath ceased;
- But cease or no, it greatly matters not,
- If you, my lords and barons of the land
- Will leave the French, and cleave unto your king.
- For shame, ye peers of England, suffer not
- Yourselves, your honors, and your land to fall:
- But with resolved thoughts beat back the French,
- And free the land from yoke of servitude.
- Philip, not so, Lord Lewis is our king,
- And we will follow him unto the death.
- Then in the name of Innocent the pope,
- I curse the prince and all that take his part,
- And excommunicate the rebel peers
- As traitors to the king, and to the pope.
- Pandulph, our swords shall bless ourselves again;
- Prepare thee, John; lords, follow me your king.
- Accursed John, the devil owes thee shame,
- Resisting Rome, or yielding to the pope, all’s one.
- The devil take the pope, the peers, and France!
- Shame be my share for yielding to the priest.
- Comfort thyself, King John, the cardinal goes
- Upon his curse to make them leave their arms.
- Comfort, my lord, and curse the cardinal,
- Betake yourself to arms, my troops are pressed
- To answer Lewis with a lusty shock;
- The English archers have their quivers full,
- Their bows are bent, the pikes are pressed to push.
- God cheer my lord, King Richard’s fortune hangs
- Upon the plume of warlike Philip’s helm.
- Then let them know his brother and his son
- Are leaders of the Englishmen at arms.
- Philip, I know not how to answer thee;
- But let us hence, to answer Lewis’ pride.
Scene 18 
Excursions; enter Meloun with English lords.
- O, I am slain, nobles, Salisbury, Pembroke,
- My soul is charged, hear me; for what I say
- Concerns the peers of England, and their state.
- Listen, brave lords, a fearful mourning tale
- To be delivered by a man of death.
- Behold these scars, the dole of bloody Mars,
- Are harbingers from nature’s common foe,
- Citing this trunk to Tellus’ prison house.
- Life’s charter, lordings, lasteth not an hour:
- And fearful thoughts, forerunners of my end,
- Bids me give physic to a sickly soul.
- O peers of England, know you what you do?
- There’s but a hair that sunders you from harm,
- The hook is baited, and the train is made,
- And simply you run doting to your deaths.
- But lest I die, and leave my tale untold,
- With silence slaughtering so brave a crew,
- This I aver, if Lewis win the day,
- There’s not an Englishman that lifts his hand
- Against King John to plant the heir of France,
- But is already damned to cruel death.
- I heard it vowed; myself amongst the rest
- Swore on the altar aid to this edict.
- Two causes, lords, make me display this drift,
- The greatest for the freedom of my soul,
- That longs to leave this mansion free from guilt;
- The other on a natural instinct,
- For that my grandsire was an Englishman.
- Misdoubt not lords the truth of my discourse,
- No frenzy, nor no brainsick idle fit,
- But well advised, and wotting what I say.
- Pronounce I here before the face of heaven,
- That nothing is discovered but a truth.
- ‘Tis time to fly, submit yourselves to John,
- The smiles of France shade in the frowns of death.
- Lift up your swords, turn face against the French,
- Expel the yoke that’s framed for your necks.
- Back war-men, back, embowel not the clime,
- Your seat, your nurse, your birthday’s breathing place,
- That bred you, bears you, brought you up in arms.
- Ah, be not so ingrate to dig your mother’s grave,
- Preserve your lambs and beat away the wolf.
- My soul hath said, contrition’s penitence
- Lays hold on man’s redemption for my sin.
- Farewell my lords; witness my faith when we are met in heaven
- And for my kindness give me grave room here.
- My soul doth fleet; world’s vanities farewell.
- Now joy betide thy soul well-meaning man.
- How now my lords, what cooling card is this?
- A greater grief grows now than erst hath been.
- What counsel give you, shall we stay and die?
- Or shall we home, and kneel unto the king.
- My heart misgave this sad accursed news:
- What have we done? Fie lords, what frenzy moved
- Our hearts to yield unto the pride of France?
- If we persever, we are sure to die;
- If we desist, small hope again of life.
- Bear hence the body of this wretched man,
- That made us wretched with his dying tale,
- And stand not wailing on our present harms,
- As women wont: but seek our harms’ redress.
- As for myself, I will in haste be gone,
- And kneel for pardon to our sovereign John.
- Aye, there’s the way, let’s rather kneel to him,
- Than to the French that would confound us all.
Scene 19 
Enter King John carried between 2 lords.
- Set down, set down the load not worth your pain,
- For done I am with deadly wounding grief;
- Sickly and succorless, hopeless of any good,
- The world hath wearied me, and I have wearied it.
- It loathes I live, I live and loathe myself.
- Who pities me? To whom have I been kind?
- But to a few; a few will pity me.
- Why die I not? Death scorns so vile a prey.
- Why live I not? Life hates so sad a prize.
- I sue to both to be retained of either,
- But both are deaf, I can be heard of neither.
- Nor death nor life, yet life and ne’er the near,
- Ymixt with death, biding I wot not where.
- How fares my lord, that he is carried thus?
- Not all the awkward fortunes yet befall’n,
- Made such impression of lament in me.
- Nor ever did my eye attaint my heart
- With any object moving more remorse,
- Than now beholding of a mighty king,
- Born by his lords in such distressed state.
- What news with thee? If bad, report it straight;
- If good, be mute, it doth but flatter me.
- Such as it is, and heavy though it be
- To glut the world with tragic elegies,
- Once will I breathe to aggravate the rest,
- Another moan to make the measure full.
- The bravest bowman had not yet sent forth
- Two arrows from the quiver at his side,
- But that a rumor went throughout our camp,
- That John was fled, the king had left the field.
- At last the rumor scaled these ears of mine,
- Who rather chose as sacrifice for Mars,
- Than ignominious scandal by retire.
- I cheered the troops as did the prince of Troy
- His weary followers ‘gainst the Myrmidons,
- Crying aloud, “Saint George, the day is ours!”
- But fear had captivated courage quite,
- And like the lamb before the greedy wolf,
- So heartless fled our war-men from the field.
- Short tale to make, myself amongst the rest,
- Was fain to fly before the eager foe.
- By this time night had shadowed all the earth,
- With sable curtains of the blackest hue,
- And fenced us from the fury of the French,
- As Io from the jealous Juno’s eye,
- When in the morning our troops did gather head,
- Passing the washes with our carriages,
- The impartial tide deadly and inexorable,
- Came raging in with billows threat’ning death,
- And swallowed up the most of all our men.
- Myself upon a Galloway right free, well paced,
- Outstripped the floods that followed wave by wave,
- I so escaped to tell this tragic tale.
- Grief upon grief, yet none so great a grief,
- To end this life, and thereby rid my grief.
- Was ever any so infortunate,
- The right idea of a cursed man,
- As I, poor I, a triumph for despite.
- My fever grows, what ague shakes me so?
- How far to Swinstead, tell me do you know?
- Present unto the abbot word of my repair.
- My sickness rages, to tyrannize upon me,
- I cannot live unless this fever leave me.
- Good cheer my lord, the abbey is at hand.
- Behold my lord, the churchmen come to meet you.
Enter the Abbot and certain 'Monks.
- All health and happiness to our sovereign lord the king.
- No health nor happiness hath John at all.
- Say abbot, am I welcome to thy house?
- Such welcome as our abbey can afford,
- Your Majesty shall be assured of.
- The king thou seest is weak and very faint;
- What victuals hast thou to refresh his grace?
- Good store my lord, of that you need not fear,
- For Lincolnshire, and these our abbey grounds
- Were never fatter, nor in better plight.
- Philip, thou never need’st to doubt of cates,
- Nor king nor lord is seated half so well,
- As are the abbeys throughout all the land.
- If any plot of ground do pass another,
- The friars fasten on it straight.
- But let us in to taste of their repast,
- It goes against my heart to feed with them,
- Or be beholding to such abbey grooms.
Manet the Monk.
- Is this the king that never loved a friar?
- Is this the man that doth contemn the pope?
- Is this the man that robbed the holy church,
- And yet will fly unto a friary?
- Is this the king that aims at abbeys’ lands?
- Is this the man whom all the world abhors,
- And yet will fly unto a friary?
- Accursed be Swinstead Abbey, abbot, friars,
- Monks, nuns, and clerks, and all that dwells therein,
- If wicked John escape alive away.
- Now if that thou wilt look to merit heaven,
- And be canonized for a holy saint,
- To please the world with a deserving work,
- Be thou the man to set thy country free,
- And murder him that seeks to murder thee.
Enter the Abbot.
- Why are not you within to cheer the king?
- He now begins to mend, and will to meat.
- What if I say to strangle him in his sleep?
- What, at thy mumpsimus? away,
- And seek some means for to pastime the king.
- I’ll set a dudgeon dagger at his heart,
- And with a mallet knock him on the head.
- Alas, what means this monk, to murder me?
- Dare lay my life he’ll kill me for my place.
- I’ll poison him, and it shall ne’er be known,
- And then shall I be chiefest of my house.
- If I were dead, indeed he is the next,
- But I’ll away, for why the monk is mad,
- And in his madness he will murder me.
- My lord, I cry your lordship mercy, I saw you not.
- Alas, good Thomas, do not murder me, and thou shalt have my place with thousand thanks.
- I murder you? God shield from such a thought.
- If thou wilt needs, yet let me say my prayers.
- I will not hurt your lordship, good my lord,
- But if you please, I will impart a thing
- That shall be beneficial to us all.
- Wilt thou not hurt me, holy monk? say on.
- You know, my lord, the king is in our house.
- You know likewise the king abhors a friar.
- And he that loves not a friar is our enemy.
- Thou say’st true.
- Then the king is our enemy.
- Why then should we not kill our enemy, and the king being our
- enemy, why then should we not kill the king?
- O blessed monk, I see God moves thy mind
- To free this land from tyrant’s slavery.
- But who dare venture for to do this deed?
- Who dare? Why I my lord dare do the deed;
- I’ll free my country and the church from foes,
- And merit heaven by killing of a king.
- Thomas, kneel down, and if thou art resolved,
- I will absolve thee here from all thy sins,
- For why the deed is meritorious.
- Forward and fear not, man, for every month
- Our friars shall sing a mass for Thomas’ soul.
- God and Saint Francis prosper my attempt,
- For now my lord I go about my work.
Scene 20 
Enter Lewis and his army.
- Thus victory in bloody laurel clad,
- Follows the fortune of young Lodowick,
- The Englishmen as daunted at our sight,
- Fall as the fowl before the eagle’s eyes.
- Only two crosses of contrary change
- Do nip my heart, and vex me with unrest.
- Lord Meloun’s death, the one part of my soul,
- A braver man did never live in France.
- The other grief, aye, that’s a gall indeed
- To think that Dover Castle should hold out
- Gainst all assaults, and rest impregnable.
- Ye warlike race of Francus, Hector’s son,
- Triumph in conquest of that tyrant John.
- The better half of England is our own,
- And towards the conquest of the other part,
- We have the face of all the English lords,
- What then remains but overrun the land?
- Be resolute, my warlike followers,
- And if good fortune serve as she begins,
- The poorest peasant of the realm of France
- Shall be a master o’er an English lord.
Enter a Messenger.
- Fellow, what news?
- Pleaseth your grace, the earl of Salisbury, Pembroke, Essex, Clare,
- and Arundel, with all the barons that did fight for thee, are on a
- sudden fled with all their powers, to join with John, to drive thee
- back again.
Enter another Messenger.
- Lewis, my lord, why stand’st thou in a maze?
- Gather thy troops, hope not of help from France,
- For all thy forces being fifty sail,
- Containing twenty thousand soldiers,
- With victual and munition for the war,
- Putting from Calais in unlucky time,
- Did cross the seas, and on the Goodwin sands,
- The men, munition, and the ships are lost.
Enter another Messenger.
- More news? Say on.
- John, my lord, with all his scattered troops,
- Flying the fury of your conquering sword,
- As Pharaoh erst within the bloody sea,
- So he and his environed with the tide,
- On Lincoln washes all were overwhelmed,
- The barons fled, our forces cast away.
- Was ever heard such unexpected news?
- Yet Lodowick, revive thy dying heart;
- King John and all his forces are consumed.
- The less thou need’st the aid of English earls,
- The less thou need’st to grieve thy navy’s wrack,
- And follow time’s advantage with success.
- Brave Frenchmen, armed with magnanimity,
- March after Lewis who will lead you on
- To chase the barons’ power that wants a head,
- For John is drowned, and I am England’s king.
- Though our munition and our men be lost,
- Philip of France will send us fresh supplies.
Scene 21 
Enter two Friars laying a cloth.
- Dispatch, dispatch, the king desires to eat. Would a might eat
- his last for the love he bears to churchmen.
- I am of thy mind too, and so it should be and we might be our
- own carvers. I marvel why they dine here in the orchard.
- I know not, nor I care not. The king comes.
- Come on, Lord Abbot, shall we sit together?
- Pleaseth your grace sit down.
- Take your places, sirs, no pomp in penury, all beggars and friends
- may come; where necessity keeps the house, courtesy is barred the
- table. Sit down, Philip.
- My lord, I am loath to allude so much to the proverb, “honors
- change manners”; a king is a king, though fortune do her worst,
- and we as dutiful in despite of her frown, as if your highness
- were now in the highest type of dignity.
- Come, no more ado, and you tell me much of dignity, you’ll mar my
- appetite in a surfeit of sorrow. What cheer, Lord Abbot? Methinks
- you frown like an host that knows his guest hath no money to pay the
- No, my liege; if I frown at all, it is for I fear this cheer too homely
- to entertain so mighty a guest as your Majesty.
- I think rather, my Lord Abbot, you remember my last being here, when
- I went in progress for pouches—and the rancor of his heart breaks out
- in his countenance, to show he hath not forgot me.
- Not so, my lord; you—and the meanest follower of his Majesty—are heartily
- welcome to me.
- Wassail, my liege, and as a poor monk may say, welcome to Swinstead.
- Begin, monk, and report hereafter thou wast taster to a king.
- As much health to your Highness as to my own heart.
- I pledge thee, kind monk.
- The merriest draught that ever was drunk in England. Am I not too bold
- with your Highness?
- Not a whit; all friends and fellows for a time.
- If the inwards of a toad be a compound of any proof—why so it works.
- Stay Philip, where’s the monk?
- He is dead, my lord.
- Then drink not Philip for a world of wealth.
- What cheer, my liege? Your color ‘gins to change.
- So doth my life! O Philip, I am poisoned.
- The monk, the devil, the poison ‘gins to rage;
- It will depose myself a king from reign.
- This abbot hath an interest in this act—
- At all adventures take thou that from me.
- There lie the abbot, abbey, lubber, devil.
- March with the monk unto the gates of hell.
- How fares my lord?
- Philip, some drink! Oh for the frozen Alps
- To tumble on and cool this inward heat
- That rageth as the furnace sevenfold hot
- To burn the holy three in Babylon.
- Power after power forsake their proper power;
- Only the heart impugns with faint resist
- The fierce invade of him that conquers kings.
- Help, God! O pain! Die John—O plague
- Inflicted on thee for thy grievous sins.
- Philip, a chair, and by and by a grave,
- My legs disdain the carriage of a king.
- Ah, good my liege, with patience conquer grief,
- And bear this pain with kingly fortitude.
- Methinks I see a catalogue of sin
- Wrote by a fiend in marble characters,
- The least enough to lose my part in heaven.
- Methinks the devil whispers in mine ears
- And tells me ‘tis in vain to hope for grace,
- I must be damned for Arthur’s sudden death.
- I see—I see a thousand thousand men
- Come to accuse me for my wrong on earth,
- And there is none so mercifull a god
- That will forgive the number of my sins.
- How have I lived, but by another’s loss?
- What have I loved but wrack of other’s weal?
- When have I vowed, and not infringed mine oath?
- Where have I done a deed deserving well?
- Who, what, when, and where, have I bestowed a day
- That tended not to some notorious ill?
- My life replete with rage and tyranny,
- Craves little pity for so strange a death.
- Or who will say that John deceased too soon,
- Who will not say he rather lived too long?
- Dishonor did attaint me in my life,
- And shame attendeth John unto his death.
- Why did I scape the fury of the French,
- And died not by the temper of their swords?
- Shameless my life, and shamefully it ends,
- Scorned by my foes, disdained of my friends.
- Forgive the world and all your earthly foes,
- And call on Christ, who is your latest friend.
- My tongue doth falter; Philip, I tell thee man,
- Since John did yield unto the priest of Rome,
- Nor he nor his have prospered on the earth.
- Cursed are his blessings, and his curse is bliss.
- But in the spirit I cry unto my God,
- As did the kingly prophet David cry,
- (Whose hands, as mine, with murder were attaint)
- I am not he shall build the lord a house,
- Or root these locusts from the face of earth;
- But if my dying heart deceive me not,
- From out these loins shall spring a kingly branch
- Whose arms shall reach unto the gates of Rome,
- And with his feet treads down the strumpet’s pride,
- That sits upon the chair of Babylon.
- Philip, my heart strings break, the poison’s flame
- Hath overcome in me weak nature’s power,
- And in the faith of Jesu John doth die.
- See how he strives for life, unhappy lord,
- Whose bowels are divided in themselves.
- This is the fruit of popery, when true kings
- Are slain and shouldered out by monks and friars.
Enter a Messenger.
- Please it your grace, the barons of the land,
- Which all this while bare arms against the king,
- Conducted by the legate of the pope,
- Together with the prince his Highness’ son,
- Do crave to be admitted to the presence of the king.
- Your son, my lord, young Henry craves to see
- Your Majesty, and brings with him beside
- The barons that revolted from your grace.
- O piercing sight, he fumbleth in the mouth,
- His speech doth fail; lift up yourself, my lord,
- And see the prince to comfort you in death.
Enter [Cardinal] Pandulph, young Henry, the Barons with daggers in their hands.
- O let me see my father ere he die—
- O uncle, were you here, and suffered him
- To be thus poisoned by a damned monk?
- Ah he is dead—father, sweet father, speak!
- His speech doth fail; he hasteth to his end.
- Lords, give me leave to joy the dying king
- With sight of these his nobles kneeling here
- With daggers in their hands, who offer up
- Their lives for ransom of their foul offence.
- Then good my lord, if you forgive them all,
- Lift up your hand in token you forgive.
- We humbly thank your royal Majesty,
- And vow to fight for England and her king;
- And in the sight of John our sovereign lord,
- In spite of Lewis and the power of France,
- Who hitherward are marching in all haste,
- We crown young Henry in his father’s stead.
- Help, help, he dies! Ah, father, look on me.
Legate [Cardinal Pandulph]
- King John, farewell; in token of thy faith,
- And sign thou diest the servant of the lord,
- Lift up thy hand, that we may witness here
- Thou died’st the servant of our savior Christ.
- Now joy betide thy soul—what noise is this?
Enter a Messenger.
- Help lords, the dolphin maketh hitherward
- With ensigns of defiance in the wind,
- And all our army standeth at a gaze,
- Expecting what their leaders will command.
- Let’s arm ourselves in young King Henry’s right,
- And beat the power of France to sea again.
Legate [Cardinal Pandulph]
- Philip, not so, but I will to the prince,
- And bring him face to face to parley with you.
- Lord Salisbury, yourself shall march with me,
- So shall we bring these troubles to an end.
- Sweet uncle, if thou love thy sovereign,
- Let not a stone of Swinstead Abbey stand,
- But pull the house about the friars’ ears:
- For thy have killed my father and my king.
Scene 22 
A parley sounded: Lewis, [Cardinal] Pandulph, Salisbury, etc.
- Lewis of France, young Henry, England’s king
- Requires to know the reason of the claim
- That thou canst make to anything of his.
- King John that did offend is dead and gone—
- See where his breathless trunk in presence lies—
- And he as heir apparent to the crown
- Is now succeeded in his father’s room.
- Lewis, what law of arms doth lead thee thus
- To keep possession of my lawful right?
- Answer in fine if thou wilt take a peace,
- And make surrender of my right again,
- Or try thy title with the dint of sword.
- I tell thee, Dolphin, Henry fears thee not,
- For now the barons cleave unto their king,
- And what thou hast in England they did get.
- Henry of England, now that John is dead,
- That was the chiefest enemy to France,
- I may the rather be induced to peace.
- But Salisbury, and you, barons of the realm,
- This strange revolt agrees not with the oath
- That you on Bury altar lately sware.
- Nor did the oath your Highness there did take
- Agree with honor of the prince of France.
- My lord, what answer make you to the king?
- Faith, Philip, this I say: it boots not me,
- Nor any prince, nor power of Christendom
- To seek to win this island Albion,
- Unless he have a party in the realm
- By treason for to help him in his wars.
- The peers which were the party on my side
- Are fled from me; then boots not me to fight,
- But on conditions, as mine honor wills,
- I am contented to depart the realm.
- On what conditions will your Highness yield?
- That shall we think upon by more advice.
- Then kings and princes, let these broils have end,
- And at more leisure talk upon the league.
- Meanwhile to Worster let us bear the king,
- And there inter his body, as beseems.
- But first, in sight of Lewis, heir of France,
- Lords, take the crown and set it on his head,
- That by succession is our lawful king.
They crown young Henry.
- Thus England’s peace begins in Henry’s reign,
- And bloody wars are closed with happy league.
- Let England live but true within itself,
- And all the world can never wrong her state.
- Lewis, thou shalt be bravely shipped to France,
- For never Frenchman got of English ground
- The twentieth part that thou hast conquered.
- Dolphin, thy hand; to Worster we will march.
- Lords all lay hands to bear your sovereign
- With obsequies of honor to his grave.
- If England’s peers and people join in one,
- Nor Pope, nor France, nor Spain can do them wrong.