The Life and Death of King John
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DRAMATIS PERSONAE (Persons Represented):
- KING JOHN.
- PRINCE HENRY, his son; afterwards KING HENRY III.
- ARTHUR, Duke of Brittany, son to Geoffrey, late Duke of Brittany,
- the elder brother to King John.
- WILLIAM MARSHALL, Earl of Pembroke.
- GEOFFREY FITZ-PETER, Earl of Essex, Chief Justiciary of England.
- WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury.
- ROBERT BIGOT, Earl of Norfolk.
- HUBERT DE BURGH, Chamberlain to the King.
- ROBERT FALCONBRIDGE, son to Sir Robert Falconbridge.
- BASTARD, Philip Falconbridge, his half-brother, natural
- natural son to King Richard I.
- JAMES GURNEY, servant to Lady Falconbridge.
- PETER OF POMFRET, a prophet
- PHILIP, King of France.
- LOUIS, the Dauphin.
- ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA.
- CARDINAL PANDULPH, the Pope's legate.
- MELUN, a French lord.
- CHATILLON, Ambassador from France to King John.
- ELEANOR, Widow of King Henry II and Mother to King John.
- CONSTANCE, Mother to Arthur.
- BLANCH OF SPAIN, Daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and Niece
- to King John.
- LADY FALCONBRIDGE, Mother to the Bastard and Robert Falconbridge.
- Lords, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers,
- Messengers, Attendants, and other Attendants.
SCENE: Sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.
SCENE 1. Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
[Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELEANOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.]
- Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?
- Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France,
- In my behaviour, to the majesty,
- The borrow'd majesty of England here.
- A strange beginning:—borrow'd majesty!
- Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.
- Philip of France, in right and true behalf
- Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
- Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
- To this fair island and the territories,—
- To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine;
- Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
- Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
- And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
- Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.
- What follows if we disallow of this?
- The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
- To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
- Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
- Controlment for controlment;—so answer France.
- Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
- The farthest limit of my embassy.
- Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:
- Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
- For ere thou canst report I will be there,
- The thunder of my cannon shall be heard:
- So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
- And sullen presage of your own decay.—
- An honourable conduct let him have:—
- Pembroke, look to 't. Farewell, Chatillon.
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.]
- What now, my son! Have I not ever said
- How that ambitious Constance would not cease
- Till she had kindled France and all the world
- Upon the right and party of her son?
- This might have been prevented and made whole
- With very easy arguments of love;
- Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
- With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
- Our strong possession and our right for us.
- Your strong possession much more than your right,
- Or else it must go wrong with you and me:
- So much my conscience whispers in your ear,
- Which none but heaven and you and I shall hear.
[Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers to Essex.]
- My liege, here is the strangest controversy,
- Come from the country to be judg'd by you,
- That e'er I heard: shall I produce the men?
- Let them approach.—
- Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
- This expedition's charge.
[Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE and PHILIP, his bastard Brother.]
- What men are you?
- Your faithful subject I, a gentleman
- Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,
- As I suppose, to Robert Falconbridge,—
- A soldier by the honour-giving hand
- Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
- What art thou?
- The son and heir to that same Falconbridge.
- Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
- You came not of one mother then, it seems.
- Most certain of one mother, mighty king,—
- That is well known; and, as I think, one father:
- But for the certain knowledge of that truth
- I put you o'er to heaven and to my mother:—
- Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.
- Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother,
- And wound her honour with this diffidence.
- I, madam? no, I have no reason for it,—
- That is my brother's plea, and none of mine;
- The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out
- At least from fair five hundred pound a-year:
- Heaven guard my mother's honour and my land!
- A good blunt fellow.—Why, being younger born,
- Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
- I know not why, except to get the land.
- But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
- But whe'er I be as true begot or no,
- That still I lay upon my mother's head;
- But that I am as well begot, my liege,—
- Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!—
- Compare our faces and be judge yourself.
- If old Sir Robert did beget us both,
- And were our father, and this son like him,—
- O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee
- I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!
- Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!
- He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face;
- The accent of his tongue affecteth him:
- Do you not read some tokens of my son
- In the large composition of this man?
- Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
- And finds them perfect Richard.—Sirrah, speak,
- What doth move you to claim your brother's land?
- Because he hath a half-face, like my father;
- With half that face would he have all my land:
- A half-fac'd groat five hundred pound a-year!
- My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd,
- Your brother did employ my father much,—
- Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:
- Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.
- And once despatch'd him in an embassy
- To Germany, there with the emperor
- To treat of high affairs touching that time.
- The advantage of his absence took the King,
- And in the meantime sojourn'd at my father's;
- Where how he did prevail I shame to speak,—
- But truth is truth: large lengths of seas and shores
- Between my father and my mother lay,—
- As I have heard my father speak himself,—
- When this same lusty gentleman was got.
- Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd
- His lands to me; and took it, on his death,
- That this, my mother's son, was none of his;
- And if he were, he came into the world
- Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
- Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
- My father's land, as was my father's will.
- Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
- Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him;
- And if she did play false, the fault was hers;
- Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
- That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
- Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
- Had of your father claim'd this son for his?
- In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
- This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world;
- In sooth, he might; then, if he were my brother's,
- My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
- Being none of his, refuse him. This concludes,—
- My mother's son did get your father's heir;
- Your father's heir must have your father's land.
- Shall then my father's will be of no force
- To dispossess that child which is not his?
- Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
- Than was his will to get me, as I think.
- Whether hadst thou rather be a Falconbridge,
- And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
- Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
- Lord of thy presence and no land beside?
- Madam, an if my brother had my shape
- And I had his, Sir Robert's his, like him;
- And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
- My arms such eel-skins stuff'd, my face so thin
- That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose
- Lest men should say 'Look where three-farthings goes!'
- And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,
- Would I might never stir from off this place,
- I would give it every foot to have this face;
- I would not be Sir Nob in any case.
- I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
- Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
- I am a soldier, and now bound to France.
- Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance:
- Your face hath got five hundred pound a-year;
- Yet sell your face for fivepence and 'tis dear.—
- Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.
- Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
- Our country manners give our betters way.
- What is thy name?
- Philip, my liege, so is my name begun;
- Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son.
- From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bear'st:
- Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,—
- Arise Sir Richard and Plantagenet.
- Brother by the mother's side, give me your hand:
- My father gave me honour, yours gave land.—
- Now blessed be the hour, by night or day,
- When I was got, Sir Robert was away!
- The very spirit of Plantagenet!—
- I am thy grandam, Richard; call me so.
- Madam, by chance, but not by truth; what though?
- Something about, a little from the right,
- In at the window, or else o'er the hatch;
- Who dares not stir by day must walk by night;
- And have is have, however men do catch:
- Near or far off, well won is still well shot;
- And I am I, howe'er I was begot.
- Go, Falconbridge; now hast thou thy desire:
- A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.—
- Come, madam,—and come, Richard; we must speed
- For France, for France, for it is more than need.
- Brother, adieu. Good fortune come to thee!
- For thou wast got i' th' way of honesty.
[Exeunt all but the BASTARD.]
- A foot of honour better than I was;
- But many a many foot of land the worse.
- Well, now can I make any Joan a lady:—
- 'Good den, Sir Richard:'—'God-a-mercy, fellow:'—
- And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter:
- For new-made honour doth forget men's names:
- 'Tis too respective and too sociable
- For your conversion. Now your traveller,—
- He and his toothpick at my worship's mess;—
- And when my knightly stomach is suffic'd,
- Why then I suck my teeth, and catechize
- My picked man of countries:—'My dear sir,'—
- Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin,—
- 'I shall beseech you'—that is question now;
- And then comes answer like an ABC-book:—
- 'O sir,' says answer 'at your best command;
- At your employment; at your service, sir:'—
- 'No, sir,' says question 'I, sweet sir, at yours:
- And so, ere answer knows what question would,—
- Saving in dialogue of compliment,
- And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
- The Pyrenean and the river Po,—
- It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
- But this is worshipful society,
- And fits the mounting spirit like myself:
- For he is but a bastard to the time,
- That doth not smack of observation,—
- And so am I, whether I smack or no;
- And not alone in habit and device,
- Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
- But from the inward motion to deliver
- Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth;
- Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
- Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
- For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.—
- But who comes in such haste in riding-robes?
- What woman-post is this? hath she no husband
- That will take pains to blow a horn before her?
[Enter LADY FALCONBRIDGE, and JAMES GURNEY.]
- O me, 'tis my mother!—w now, good lady!
- What brings you here to court so hastily?
- Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he
- That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
- My brother Robert? old Sir Robert's son?
- Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
- Is it Sir Robert's son that you seek so?
- Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
- Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at Sir Robert?
- He is Sir Robert's son, and so art thou.
- James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?
- Good leave, good Philip.
- There's toys abroad:—anon I'll tell thee more.
- Madam, I was not old Sir Robert's son;
- Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
- Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his fast.
- Sir Robert could do well: marry, to confess,
- Could not get me; Sir Robert could not do it,—
- We know his handiwork:—therefore, good mother,
- To whom am I beholding for these limbs?
- Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.
- Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
- That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour?
- What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
- Knight, knight, good mother,—Basilisco-like;
- What! I am dubb'd; I have it on my shoulder.
- But, mother, I am not Sir Robert's son:
- I have disclaim'd Sir Robert and my land;
- Legitimation, name, and all is gone:
- Then, good my mother, let me know my father,—
- Some proper man, I hope: who was it, mother?
- Hast thou denied thyself a Falconbridge?
- As faithfully as I deny the devil.
- King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father:
- By long and vehement suit I was seduc'd
- To make room for him in my husband's bed:—
- Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!—
- Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
- Which was so strongly urg'd, past my defence.
- Now, by this light, were I to get again,
- Madam, I would not wish a better father.
- Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
- And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:
- Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,—
- Subjected tribute to commanding love,—
- Against whose fury and unmatched force
- The aweless lion could not wage the fight
- Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand:
- He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
- May easily win a woman's. Ay, my mother,
- With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
- Who lives and dares but say, thou didst not well
- When I was got, I'll send his soul to hell.
- Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;
- And they shall say when Richard me begot,
- If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
- Who says it was, he lies; I say 'twas not.
SCENE 1. France. Before the walls of Angiers.
[Enter, on one side, the ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA and Forces; on the other, PHILIP, King of France, LOUIS, CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and Forces.]
- Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.—
- Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
- Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart,
- And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
- By this brave duke came early to his grave:
- And, for amends to his posterity,
- At our importance hither is he come
- To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf;
- And to rebuke the usurpation
- Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
- Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
- God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's death
- The rather that you give his offspring life,
- Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
- I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
- But with a heart full of unstained love,—
- Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.
- A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?
- Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
- As seal to this indenture of my love,—
- That to my home I will no more return,
- Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
- Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
- Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides,
- And coops from other lands her islanders,—
- Even till that England, hedg'd in with the main,
- That water-walled bulwark, still secure
- And confident from foreign purposes,—
- Even till that utmost corner of the west
- Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,
- Will I not think of home, but follow arms.
- O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
- Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
- To make a more requital to your love!
- The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
- In such a just and charitable war.
- Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent
- Against the brows of this resisting town.—
- Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
- To cull the plots of best advantages:
- We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
- Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
- But we will make it subject to this boy.
- Stay for an answer to your embassy,
- Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood:
- My Lord Chatillon may from England bring
- That right in peace which here we urge in war;
- And then we shall repent each drop of blood
- That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.
- A wonder, lady!—lo, upon thy wish,
- Our messenger Chatillon is arriv'd.
- What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;
- We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.
- Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
- And stir them up against a mightier task.
- England, impatient of your just demands,
- Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,
- Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
- To land his legions all as soon as I;
- His marches are expedient to this town,
- His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
- With him along is come the mother-queen,
- An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife;
- With her her neice, the Lady Blanch of Spain;
- With them a bastard of the king's deceas'd:
- And all the unsettled humours of the land,—
- Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
- With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens,—
- Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
- Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
- To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
- In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
- Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er
- Did never float upon the swelling tide
- To do offence and scathe in Christendom.
[Drums beat within.]
- The interruption of their churlish drums
- Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand;
- To parley or to fight: therefore prepare.
- How much unlook'd-for is this expedition!
- By how much unexpected, by so much
- We must awake endeavour for defence;
- For courage mounteth with occasion:
- Let them be welcome, then; we are prepar'd.
[Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD, PEMBROKE, Lords, and Forces.]
- Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
- Our just and lineal entrance to our own!
- If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,
- Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
- Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven!
- Peace be to England, if that war return
- From France to England, there to live in peace!
- England we love; and for that England's sake
- With burden of our armour here we sweat.
- This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
- But thou from loving England art so far
- That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king,
- Cut off the sequence of posterity,
- Outfaced infant state, and done a rape
- Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
- Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face:—
- These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his:
- This little abstract doth contain that large
- Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of time
- Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
- That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
- And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
- And this is Geffrey's: in the name of God,
- How comes it then, that thou art call'd a king,
- When living blood doth in these temples beat,
- Which owe the crown that thou o'er-masterest?
- From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
- To draw my answer from thy articles?
- From that supernal judge that stirs good thoughts
- In any breast of strong authority,
- To look into the blots and stains of right.
- That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
- Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong;
- And by whose help I mean to chastise it.
- Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
- Excus,—it is to beat usurping down.
- Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?
- Let me make answer;—thy usurping son.
- Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,
- That thou mayst be a queen, and check the world!
- My bed was ever to thy son as true
- As thine was to thy husband; and this boy
- Liker in feature to his father Geffrey
- Than thou and John in manners,—being as like
- As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
- My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think
- His father never was so true begot:
- It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.
- There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.
- There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
- Hear the crier.
- What the devil art thou?
- One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
- An 'a may catch your hide and you alone.
- You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
- Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard:
- I'll smoke your skin-coat an I catch you right;
- Sirrah, look to 't; i' faith I will, i' faith.
- O, well did he become that lion's robe
- That did disrobe the lion of that robe!
- It lies as sightly on the back of him
- As great Alcides' shows upon an ass:—
- But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back,
- Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
- What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
- With this abundance of superfluous breath?
- Louis, determine what we shall do straight.
- Women and fools, break off your conference.—
- King John, this is the very sum of all,—
- England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
- In right of Arthur, do I claim of thee:
- Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms?
- My life as soon:—I do defy thee, France.
- Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
- And out of my dear love, I'll give thee more
- Than e'er the coward hand of France can win:
- Submit thee, boy.
- Come to thy grandam, child.
- Do, child, go to it' grandam, child;
- Give grandam kingdom, and it' grandam will
- Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig.
- There's a good grandam!
- Good my mother, peace!
- I would that I were low laid in my grave:
- I am not worth this coil that's made for me.
- His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
- Now, shame upon you, whe'er she does or no!
- His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames,
- Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
- Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee:
- Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib'd
- To do him justice, and revenge on you.
- Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!
- Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
- Call not me slanderer: thou and thine usurp
- The dominations, royalties, and rights,
- Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eldest son's son,
- Infortunate in nothing but in thee:
- Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
- The canon of the law is laid on him,
- Being but the second generation
- Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.
- Bedlam, have done.
- I have but this to say,—
- That he is not only plagued for her sin,
- But God hath made her sin and her the plague
- On this removed issue, plagu'd for her
- And with her plague, her sin; his injury
- Her injury,—the beadle to her sin;
- All punish'd in the person of this child,
- And all for her: a plague upon her!
- Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
- A will that bars the title of thy son.
- Ay, who doubts that? a will, a wicked will;
- A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!
- Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:
- It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
- To these ill-tuned repetitions.—
- Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
- These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak
- Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.
[Trumpet sounds. Enter citizens upon the walls.]
- Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls?
- 'Tis France, for England.
- England for itself:—
- You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,—
- You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,
- Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle.
- For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
- These flags of France, that are advanced here
- Before the eye and prospect of your town,
- Have hither march'd to your endamagement;
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
- And ready mounted are they to spit forth
- Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls:
- All preparation for a bloody siege
- And merciless proceeding by these French
- Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates;
- And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones
- That as a waist doth girdle you about,
- By the compulsion of their ordinance
- By this time from their fixed beds of lime
- Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
- For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
- But, on the sight of us, your lawful king,—
- Who, painfully, with much expedient march,
- Have brought a countercheck before your gates,
- To save unscratch'd your city's threatn'd cheeks,—
- Behold, the French, amaz'd, vouchsafe a parle;
- And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire,
- To make a shaking fever in your walls,
- They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke,
- To make a faithless error in your ears:
- Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
- And let us in, your king; whose labour'd spirits,
- Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
- Craves harbourage within your city-walls.
- When I have said, make answer to us both.
- Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
- Is most divinely vow'd upon the right
- Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
- Son to the elder brother of this man,
- And king o'er him and all that he enjoys:
- For this down-trodden equity we tread
- In war-like march these greens before your town;
- Being no further enemy to you
- Than the constraint of hospitable zeal
- In the relief of this oppressed child
- Religiously provokes. Be pleased then
- To pay that duty which you truly owe
- To him that owes it, namely, this young prince:
- And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
- Save in aspect, hath all offence seal'd up;
- Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent
- Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;
- And with a blessed and unvex'd retire,
- With unhack'd swords and helmets all unbruis'd,
- We will bear home that lusty blood again
- Which here we came to spout against your town,
- And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.
- But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
- 'Tis not the roundure of your old-fac'd walls
- Can hide you from our messengers of war,
- Though all these English, and their discipline,
- Were harbour'd in their rude circumference.
- Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord
- In that behalf which we have challeng'd it?
- Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
- And stalk in blood to our possession?
- In brief: we are the King of England's subjects:
- For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
- Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.
- That can we not; but he that proves the king,
- To him will we prove loyal: till that time
- Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.
- Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
- And if not that, I bring you witnesses,
- Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,—
- Bastards, and else.
- To verify our title with their lives.
- As many and as well-born bloods as those,—
- Some bastards too.
- Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.
- Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
- We for the worthiest hold the right from both.
- Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
- That to their everlasting residence,
- Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
- In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
- Amen, Amen!—Mount, chevaliers; to arms!
- Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
- Sits on his horse' back at mine hostess' door,
- Teach us some fence!—Sirrah [To AUSTRIA.], were I at home,
- At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
- I would set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
- And make a monster of you.
- Peace! no more.
- O, tremble, for you hear the lion roar.
- Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth
- In best appointment all our regiments.
- Speed, then, to take advantage of the field.
- It shall be so;—[To LOUIS.] and at the other hill
- Command the rest to stand.—God and our right!
[After excursions, enter a French Herald, with trumpets, to the gates.]
- You men of Angiers, open wide your gates
- And let young Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, in,
- Who, by the hand of France, this day hath made
- Much work for tears in many an English mother,
- Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground;
- Many a widow's husband grovelling lies,
- Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth;
- And victory, with little loss, doth play
- Upon the dancing banners of the French,
- Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
- To enter conquerors, and to proclaim
- Arthur of Bretagne England's king and yours.
[Enter an ENGLISH HERALD, with trumpets.]
- Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells:
- King John, your king and England's, doth approach,
- Commander of this hot malicious day:
- Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright,
- Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood;
- There stuck no plume in any English crest
- That is removed by a staff of France,
- Our colours do return in those same hands
- That did display them when we first march'd forth;
- And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come
- Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
- Dy'd in the dying slaughter of their foes:
- Open your gates and give the victors way.
- Heralds, from off our towers, we might behold,
- From first to last, the onset and retire
- Of both your armies; whose equality
- By our best eyes cannot be censured:
- Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd blows;
- Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power:
- Both are alike, and both alike we like.
- One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even,
- We hold our town for neither; yet for both.
[Enter, on one side, KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD, and Forces; at the other, KING PHILIP, LOUIS, AUSTRIA, and Forces.]
- France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
- Say, shall the current of our right run on?
- Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
- Shall leave his native channel, and o'erswell
- With course disturb'd even thy confining shores,
- Unless thou let his silver water keep
- A peaceful progress to the ocean.
- England, thou hast not sav'd one drop of blood
- In this hot trial, more than we of France;
- Rather, lost more: and by this hand I swear,
- That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
- Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
- We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,
- Or add a royal number to the dead,
- Gracing the scroll that tells of this war's loss
- With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.
- Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers
- When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
- O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel;
- The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;
- And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
- In undetermin'd differences of kings.—
- Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?
- Cry, havoc, kings! back to the stained field,
- You equal potents, fiery-kindled spirits!
- Then let confusion of one part confirm
- The other's peace: till then, blows, blood, and death!
- Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
- Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?
- The King of England, when we know the king.
- Know him in us, that here hold up his right.
- In us, that are our own great deputy,
- And bear possession of our person here;
- Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
- A greater power than we denies all this;
- And till it be undoubted, we do lock
- Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates;
- King'd of our fears, until our fears, resolv'd,
- Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd.
- By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,
- And stand securely on their battlements
- As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
- At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
- Your royal presences be rul'd by me:—
- Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
- Be friends awhile, and both conjointly bend
- Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town:
- By east and west let France and England mount
- Their battering cannon, charged to the mouths,
- Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd down
- The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
- I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
- Even till unfenced desolation
- Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
- That done, dissever your united strengths,
- And part your mingled colours once again:
- Turn face to face, and bloody point to point;
- Then, in a moment, fortune shall cull forth
- Out of one side her happy minion,
- To whom in favour she shall give the day,
- And kiss him with a glorious victory.
- How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
- Smacks it not something of the policy?
- Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
- I like it well.—France, shall we knit our powers,
- And lay this Angiers even with the ground;
- Then, after, fight who shall be king of it?
- An if thou hast the mettle of a king,—
- Being wrong'd, as we are, by this peevish town,—
- Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
- As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
- And when that we have dash'd them to the ground,
- Why then defy each other, and, pell-mell,
- Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell!
- Let it be so.—Say, where will you assault?
- We from the west will send destruction
- Into this city's bosom.
- I from the north.
- Our thunder from the south
- Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
- O prudent discipline! From north to south,—
- Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth:
- I'll stir them to it.[Aside.]—Come, away, away!
- Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to stay,
- And I shall show you peace and fair-fac'd league;
- Win you this city without stroke or wound;
- Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds
- That here come sacrifices for the field:
- Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
- Speak on with favour; we are bent to hear.
- That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,
- Is niece to England:—look upon the years
- Of Louis the Dauphin and that lovely maid:
- If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
- Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
- If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
- Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
- If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
- Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
- Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
- Is the young Dauphin every way complete,—
- If not complete of, say he is not she;
- And she again wants nothing, to name want,
- If want it be not, that she is not he:
- He is the half part of a blessed man,
- Left to be finished by such a she;
- And she a fair divided excellence,
- Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
- O, two such silver currents, when they join
- Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
- And two such shores to two such streams made one,
- Two such controlling bounds, shall you be, kings,
- To these two princes, if you marry them.
- This union shall do more than battery can
- To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,
- With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
- The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
- And give you entrance; but without this match,
- The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
- Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
- More free from motion; no, not Death himself
- In mortal fury half so peremptory
- As we to keep this city.
- Here's a stay
- That shakes the rotten carcase of old Death
- Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed,
- That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas;
- Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
- As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
- What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
- He speaks plain cannon,—fire and smoke and bounce;
- He gives the bastinado with his tongue;
- Our ears are cudgell'd; not a word of his
- But buffets better than a fist of France.
- Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
- Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
- Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;
- Give with our niece a dowry large enough;
- For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
- Thy now unsur'd assurance to the crown,
- That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
- The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.
- I see a yielding in the looks of France;
- Mark how they whisper: urge them while their souls
- Are capable of this ambition,
- Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
- Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
- Cool and congeal again to what it was.
- Why answer not the double majesties
- This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town?
- Speak England first, that hath been forward first
- To speak unto this city: what say you?
- If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
- Can in this book of beauty read 'I love,'
- Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen;
- For Anjou, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
- And all that we upon this side the sea,—
- Except this city now by us besieg'd,—
- Find liable to our crown and dignity,
- Shall gild her bridal bed; and make her rich
- In titles, honours, and promotions,
- As she in beauty, education, blood,
- Holds hand with any princess of the world.
- What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's face.
- I do, my lord, and in her eye I find
- A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
- The shadow of myself form'd in her eye;
- Which, being but the shadow of your son,
- Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow:
- I do protest I never lov'd myself
- Till now infixed I beheld myself
- Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
[Whispers with BLANCH.]
- [Aside.] Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!—
- Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow,
- And quarter'd in her heart!—he doth espy
- Himself love's traitor! This is pity now,
- That, hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd, there should be
- In such a love so vile a lout as he.
- My uncle's will in this respect is mine.
- If he see aught in you that makes him like,
- That anything he sees, which moves his liking
- I can with ease translate it to my will;
- Or if you will, to speak more properly,
- I will enforce it easily to my love.
- Further, I will not flatter you, my lord,
- That all I see in you is worthy love,
- Than this,—that nothing do I see in you,
- Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,—
- That I can find should merit any hate.
- What say these young ones?—What say you, my niece?
- That she is bound in honour still to do
- What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.
- Speak then, Prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?
- Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;
- For I do love her most unfeignedly.
- Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,
- Poictiers, and Anjou, these five provinces,
- With her to thee; and this addition more,
- Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.—
- Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal,
- Command thy son and daughter to join hands.
- It likes us well.—Young princes, close your hands.
- And your lips too; for I am well assur'd
- That I did so when I was first assur'd.
- Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,
- Let in that amity which you have made;
- For at Saint Mary's chapel presently
- The rites of marriage shall be solemniz'd.—
- Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
- I know she is not; for this match made up
- Her presence would have interrupted much:
- Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.
- She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.
- And, by my faith, this league that we have made
- Will give her sadness very little cure.—
- Brother of England, how may we content
- This widow lady? In her right we came;
- Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way,
- To our own vantage.
- We will heal up all;
- For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne,
- And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
- We make him lord of.—Call the Lady Constance:
- Some speedy messenger bid her repair
- To our solemnity:—I trust we shall,
- If not fill up the measure of her will,
- Yet in some measure satisfy her so
- That we shall stop her exclamation.
- Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,
- To this unlook'd-for, unprepared pomp.
[Exeunt all but the BASTARD. The Citizens retire from the Walls.]
- Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!
- John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
- Hath willingly departed with a part;
- And France,—whose armour conscience buckled on,
- Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
- As God's own soldier,—rounded in the ear
- With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil;
- That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith;
- That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
- Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,—
- Who having no external thing to lose
- But the word maid, cheats the poor maid of that;
- That smooth-fac'd gentleman, tickling commodity,—
- Commodity, the bias of the world;
- The world, who of itself is peised well,
- Made to run even upon even ground,
- Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
- This sway of motion, this commodity,
- Makes it take head from all indifferency,
- From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
- And this same bias, this commodity,
- This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
- Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
- Hath drawn him from his own determin'd aid,
- From a resolv'd and honourable war,
- To a most base and vile-concluded peace.—
- And why rail I on this commodity?
- But for because he hath not woo'd me yet:
- Not that I have the power to clutch my hand
- When his fair angels would salute my palm;
- But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
- Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
- Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,
- And say, There is no sin but to be rich;
- And being rich, my virtue then shall be,
- To say, There is no vice but beggary:
- Since kings break faith upon commodity,
- Gain, be my lord!—for I will worship thee.
SCENE 1. France. The FRENCH KING'S tent.
[Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY.]
- Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
- False blood to false blood join'd! gone to be friends!
- Shall Louis have Blanch? and Blanch those provinces?
- It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard;
- Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again:
- It cannot be; thou dost but say 'tis so;
- I trust I may not trust thee; for thy word
- Is but the vain breath of a common man:
- Believe me, I do not believe thee, man;
- I have a king's oath to the contrary.
- Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me,
- For I am sick and capable of fears;
- Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears;
- A widow, husbandless, subject to fears;
- A woman, naturally born to fears;
- And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
- With my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce,
- But they will quake and tremble all this day.
- What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
- Why dost thou look so sadly on my son?
- What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
- Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum,
- Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds?
- Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
- Then speak again,—not all thy former tale,
- But this one word, whether thy tale be true.
- As true as I believe you think them false
- That give you cause to prove my saying true.
- O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,
- Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die;
- And let belief and life encounter so
- As doth the fury of two desperate men,
- Which in the very meeting fall and die!—
- Louis marry Blanch! O boy, then where art thou?
- France friend with England! what becomes of me?—
- Fellow, be gone: I cannot brook thy sight;
- This news hath made thee a most ugly man.
- What other harm have I, good lady, done,
- But spoke the harm that is by others done?
- Which harm within itself so heinous is,
- As it makes harmful all that speak of it.
- I do beseech you, madam, be content.
- If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim,
- Ugly, and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
- Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
- Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
- Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks,
- I would not care, I then would be content;
- For then I should not love thee; no, nor thou
- Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown.
- But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy,
- Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great:
- Of nature's gifts thou mayst with lilies boast,
- And with the half-blown rose; but Fortune, O!
- She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee;
- She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John;
- And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on France
- To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
- And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
- France is a bawd to Fortune and king John—
- That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!—
- Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
- Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
- And leave those woes alone, which I alone
- Am bound to under-bear.
- Pardon me, madam,
- I may not go without you to the kings.
- Thou mayst, thou shalt; I will not go with thee:
- I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
- For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout.
- To me, and to the state of my great grief,
- Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
- That no supporter but the huge firm earth
- Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
- Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
[Seats herself on the ground.]
[Enter KING JOHN, KING PHILIP, LOUIS, BLANCH, ELINOR, BASTARD, AUSTRIA, and attendants.]
- 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
- Ever in France shall be kept festival:
- To solemnize this day the glorious sun
- Stays in his course and plays the alchemist,
- Turning, with splendour of his precious eye,
- The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
- The yearly course that brings this day about
- Shall never see it but a holiday.
- [Rising.] A wicked day, and not a holy day!
- What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done
- That it in golden letters should be set
- Among the high tides in the calendar?
- Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,
- This day of shame, oppression, perjury:
- Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child
- Pray that their burdens may not fall this day,
- Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross'd:
- But on this day let seamen fear no wreck;
- No bargains break that are not this day made:
- This day, all things begun come to ill end,—
- Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change!
- By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
- To curse the fair proceedings of this day.
- Have I not pawn'd to you my majesty?
- You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit
- Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd and tried,
- Proves valueless; you are forsworn, forsworn:
- You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
- But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:
- The grappling vigour and rough frown of war
- Is cold in amity and painted peace,
- And our oppression hath made up this league.—
- Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur'd kings!
- A widow cries: be husband to me, heavens!
- Let not the hours of this ungodly day
- Wear out the day in peace; but, ere sunset,
- Set armed discord 'twixt these perjur'd kings!
- Hear me, O, hear me!
- Lady Constance, peace!
- War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.
- O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame
- That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward!
- Thou little valiant, great in villainy!
- Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
- Thou Fortune's champion that dost never fight
- But when her humorous ladyship is by
- To teach thee safety!—thou art perjur'd too,
- And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou,
- A ramping fool, to brag, and stamp. and swear
- Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
- Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
- Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend
- Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
- And dost thou now fall over to my foes?
- Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
- And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs!
- O that a man should speak those words to me!
- And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.
- Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life.
- And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.
- We like not this: thou dost forget thyself.
- Here comes the holy legate of the Pope.
- Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!—
- To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
- I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
- And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
- Do in his name religiously demand
- Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
- So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce
- Keep Stephen Langton, chosen Archbishop
- Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
- This, in our foresaid holy father's name,
- Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.
- What earthly name to interrogatories
- Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
- Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
- So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous,
- To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
- Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England
- Add thus much more,—that no Italian priest
- Shall tithe or toll in our dominions:
- But as we under heaven are supreme head,
- So, under him, that great supremacy,
- Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
- Without the assistance of a mortal hand:
- So tell the pope, all reverence set apart
- To him and his usurp'd authority.
- Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.
- Though you and all the kings of Christendom
- Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,
- Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
- And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
- Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
- Who in that sale sells pardon from himself;
- Though you and all the rest, so grossly led,
- This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish;
- Yet I, alone, alone do me oppose
- Against the pope, and count his friends my foes.
- Then by the lawful power that I have,
- Thou shalt stand curs'd and excommunicate:
- And blessed shall he be that doth revolt
- From his allegiance to an heretic;
- And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
- Canonized, and worshipp'd as a saint,
- That takes away by any secret course
- Thy hateful life.
- O, lawful let it be
- That I have room with Rome to curse awhile!
- Good father Cardinal, cry thou amen
- To my keen curses: for without my wrong
- There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.
- There's law and warrant, lady, for my curse.
- And for mine too: when law can do no right,
- Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong:
- Law cannot give my child his kingdom here;
- For he that holds his kingdom holds the law:
- Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,
- How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?
- Philip of France, on peril of a curse,
- Let go the hand of that arch-heretic,
- And raise the power of France upon his head,
- Unless he do submit himself to Rome.
- Look'st thou pale, France; do not let go thy hand.
- Look to that, devil; lest that France repent
- And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.
- King Philip, listen to the cardinal.
- And hang a calf's-skin on his recreant limbs.
- Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs,
- Your breeches best may carry them.
- Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal?
- What should he say, but as the cardinal?
- Bethink you, father; for the difference
- Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,
- Or the light loss of England for a friend:
- Forgo the easier.
- That's the curse of Rome.
- O Louis, stand fast! The devil tempts thee here
- In likeness of a new uptrimmed bride.
- The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,
- But from her need.
- O, if thou grant my need,
- Which only lives but by the death of faith,
- That need must needs infer this principle,—
- That faith would live again by death of need!
- O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up;
- Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down!
- The king is mov'd, and answers not to this.
- O be remov'd from him, and answer well!
- Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.
- Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most sweet lout.
- I am perplex'd, and know not what to say.
- What canst thou say, but will perplex thee more,
- If thou stand excommunicate and curs'd?
- Good reverend father, make my person yours,
- And tell me how you would bestow yourself.
- This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
- And the conjunction of our inward souls
- Married in league, coupled and link'd together
- With all religious strength of sacred vows;
- The latest breath that gave the sound of words
- Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love,
- Between our kingdoms and our royal selves;
- And even before this truce, but new before,—
- No longer than we well could wash our hands,
- To clap this royal bargain up of peace,—
- Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and overstain'd
- With slaughter's pencil, where revenge did paint
- The fearful difference of incensed kings:
- And shall these hands, so lately purg'd of blood,
- So newly join'd in love, so strong in both,
- Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?
- Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
- Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
- As now again to snatch our palm from palm;
- Unswear faith sworn; and on the marriage-bed
- Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
- And make a riot on the gentle brow
- Of true sincerity? O, holy sir.
- My reverend father, let it not be so!
- Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose,
- Some gentle order; and then we shall be bless'd
- To do your pleasure, and continue friends.
- All form is formless, order orderless,
- Save what is opposite to England's love.
- Therefore, to arms! be champion of our church,
- Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,—
- A mother's curse,—on her revolting son.
- France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,
- A chafed lion by the mortal paw,
- A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
- Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
- I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.
- So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith;
- And, like a civil war, sett'st oath to oath,
- Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow
- First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform'd,—
- That is, to be the champion of our church.
- What since thou swor'st is sworn against thyself
- And may not be performed by thyself:
- For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss
- Is not amiss when it is truly done;
- And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
- The truth is then most done not doing it:
- The better act of purposes mistook
- Is to mistake again; though indirect,
- Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
- And falsehood falsehood cures, as fire cools fire
- Within the scorched veins of one new-burn'd.
- It is religion that doth make vows kept;
- But thou hast sworn against religion,
- By what thou swear'st against the thing thou swear'st;
- And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth
- Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure
- To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;
- Else what a mockery should it be to swear!
- But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;
- And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.
- Therefore thy latter vows against thy first
- Is in thyself rebellion to thyself;
- And better conquest never canst thou make
- Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
- Against these giddy loose suggestions:
- Upon which better part our prayers come in,
- If thou vouchsafe them; but if not, then know
- The peril of our curses fight on thee,
- So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,
- But in despair die under the black weight.
- Rebellion, flat rebellion!
- Will't not be?
- Will not a calf's-skin stop that mouth of thine?
- Father, to arms!
- Upon thy wedding-day?
- Against the blood that thou hast married?
- What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter'd men?
- Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,—
- Clamours of hell,—be measures to our pomp?
- O husband, hear me!—ay, alack, how new
- Is husband in my mouth!—even for that name,
- Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce,
- Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
- Against mine uncle.
- O, upon my knee,
- Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
- Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
- Forethought by heaven.
- Now shall I see thy love: what motive may
- Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?
- That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,
- His honour:—O, thine honour, Louis, thine honour!
- I muse your majesty doth seem so cold,
- When such profound respects do pull you on.
- I will denounce a curse upon his head.
- Thou shalt not need.—England, I will fall from thee.
- O fair return of banish'd majesty!
- O foul revolt of French inconstancy!
- France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.
- Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,
- Is it as he will? well, then, France shall rue.
- The sun's o'ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!
- Which is the side that I must go withal?
- I am with both: each army hath a hand;
- And in their rage, I having hold of both,
- They whirl asunder and dismember me.
- Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;
- Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;
- Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
- Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thrive:
- Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose;
- Assured loss before the match be play'd.
- Lady, with me: with me thy fortune lies.
- There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.
- Cousin, go draw our puissance together.—
- France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
- A rage whose heat hath this condition,
- That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,—
- The blood, and dearest-valu'd blood of France.
- Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn
- To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
- Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.
- No more than he that threats.—To arms let's hie!
SCENE 2. The same. Plains near Angiers
[Alarums. Excursions. Enter the BASTARD with AUSTRIA'S head.]
- Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot;
- Some airy devil hovers in the sky
- And pours down mischief.—Austria's head lie there,
- While Philip breathes.
[Enter KING JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT.]
- Hubert, keep this boy.—Philip, make up:
- My mother is assailed in our tent,
- And ta'en, I fear.
- My lord, I rescu'd her;
- Her highness is in safety, fear you not:
- But on, my liege; for very little pains
- Will bring this labour to an happy end.
SCENE 3. The same.
[Alarums, Excursions, Retreat. Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, ARTHUR, the BASTARD, HUBERT, and LORDS.]
- [To ELINOR] So shall it be; your grace shall stay behind,
- So strongly guarded.—
- [To ARTHUR] Cousin, look not sad;
- Thy grandam loves thee, and thy uncle will
- As dear be to thee as thy father was.
- O, this will make my mother die with grief!
- Cousin [To the BASTARD], away for England; haste before:
- And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
- Of hoarding abbots; imprison'd angels
- Set at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
- Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
- Use our commission in his utmost force.
- Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
- When gold and silver becks me to come on.
- I leave your highness.—Grandam, I will pray,—
- If ever I remember to be holy,—
- For your fair safety; so, I kiss your hand.
- Farewell, gentle cousin.
- Coz, farewell.
- Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.
[She takes Arthur aside.]
- Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
- We owe thee much! within this wall of flesh
- There is a soul counts thee her creditor,
- And with advantage means to pay thy love:
- And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
- Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
- Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,—
- But I will fit it with some better time.
- By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd
- To say what good respect I have of thee.
- I am much bounden to your majesty.
- Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet:
- But thou shalt have; and creep time ne'er so slow,
- Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
- I had a thing to say,—but let it go:
- The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
- Attended with the pleasures of the world,
- Is all too wanton and too full of gawds
- To give me audience:—if the midnight bell
- Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
- Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
- If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
- And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
- Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
- Had bak'd thy blood and made it heavy-thick,
- Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
- Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
- And strain their cheeks to idle merriment—
- A passion hateful to my purposes;—
- Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
- Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
- Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
- Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words,—
- Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
- I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:
- But, ah, I will not!—yet I love thee well;
- And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well.
- So well that what you bid me undertake,
- Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
- By heaven, I would do it.
- Do not I know thou wouldst?
- Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
- On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
- He is a very serpent in my way;
- And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread,
- He lies before me: dost thou understand me?
- Thou art his keeper.
- And I'll keep him so
- That he shall not offend your majesty.
- My lord?
- A grave.
- He shall not live.
- I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;
- Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee:
- Remember.—Madam, fare you well:
- I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
- My blessing go with thee!
- For England, cousin, go:
- Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
- With all true duty.—On toward Calais, ho!
SCENE 4. The same. The FRENCH KING's tent.
[Enter KING PHILIP, LOUIS, PANDULPH, and Attendants.]
- So, by a roaring tempest on the flood
- A whole armado of convicted sail
- Is scattered and disjoin'd from fellowship.
- Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.
- What can go well, when we have run so ill.
- Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
- Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?
- And bloody England into England gone,
- O'erbearing interruption, spite of France?
- What he hath won, that hath he fortified:
- So hot a speed with such advice dispos'd,
- Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,
- Doth want example: who hath read or heard
- Of any kindred action like to this?
- Well could I bear that England had this praise,
- So we could find some pattern of our shame.—
- Look who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
- Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,
- In the vile prison of afflicted breath.
- I pr'ythee, lady, go away with me.
- Lo, now! now see the issue of your peace!
- Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!
- No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
- But that which ends all counsel, true redress,
- Death, death:—O amiable lovely death!
- Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness!
- Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
- Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
- And I will kiss thy detestable bones;
- And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows;
- And ring these fingers with thy household worms;
- And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust,
- And be a carrion monster like thyself:
- Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil'st,
- And buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love,
- O, come to me!
- O fair affliction, peace!
- No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:—
- O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
- Then with a passion would I shake the world;
- And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy
- Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
- Which scorns a modern invocation.
- Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
- Thou art not holy to belie me so;
- I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;
- My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
- Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
- I am not mad:—I would to heaven I were!
- For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
- O, if I could, what grief should I forget!—
- Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
- And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
- For, being not mad, but sensible of grief,
- My reasonable part produces reason
- How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
- And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
- If I were mad I should forget my son,
- Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
- I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
- The different plague of each calamity.
- Bind up those tresses.—O, what love I note
- In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
- Where but by a chance a silver drop hath fallen,
- Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
- Do glue themselves in sociable grief;
- Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
- Sticking together in calamity.
- To England, if you will.
- Bind up your hairs.
- Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it?
- I tore them from their bonds, and cried aloud,
- 'O that these hands could so redeem my son,
- As they have given these hairs their liberty!'
- But now I envy at their liberty,
- And will again commit them to their bonds,
- Because my poor child is a prisoner.—
- And, father cardinal, I have heard you say
- That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
- If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
- For since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
- To him that did but yesterday suspire,
- There was not such a gracious creature born.
- But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
- And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
- And he will look as hollow as a ghost,
- As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
- And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
- When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
- I shall not know him: therefore never, never
- Must I behold my pretty Arthur more!
- You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
- He talks to me that never had a son.
- You are as fond of grief as of your child.
- Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
- Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
- Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
- Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
- Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
- Then have I reason to be fond of grief.
- Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
- I could give better comfort than you do.—
- I will not keep this form upon my head,
[Tearing off her head-dress.]
- When there is such disorder in my wit.
- O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
- My life, my joy, my food, my ail the world!
- My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!
- I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.
- There's nothing in this world can make me joy:
- Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
- Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
- And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste,
- That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.
- Before the curing of a strong disease,
- Even in the instant of repair and health,
- The fit is strongest; evils that take leave
- On their departure most of all show evil;
- What have you lost by losing of this day?
- All days of glory, joy, and happiness.
- If you had won it, certainly you had.
- No, no; when Fortune means to men most good,
- She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
- 'Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost
- In this which he accounts so clearly won.
- Are not you griev'd that Arthur is his prisoner?
- As heartily as he is glad he hath him.
- Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
- Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit;
- For even the breath of what I mean to speak
- Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
- Out of the path which shall directly lead
- Thy foot to England's throne; and therefore mark.
- John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be
- That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins,
- The misplac'd John should entertain an hour,
- One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest:
- A sceptre snatch'd with an unruly hand
- Must be boisterously maintain'd as gain'd:
- And he that stands upon a slippery place
- Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
- That John may stand then, Arthur needs must fall:
- So be it, for it cannot be but so.
- But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?
- You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife,
- May then make all the claim that Arthur did.
- And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
- How green you are, and fresh in this old world!
- John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;
- For he that steeps his safety in true blood
- Shall find but bloody safety and untrue.
- This act, so evilly borne, shall cool the hearts
- Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal,
- That none so small advantage shall step forth
- To check his reign, but they will cherish it;
- No natural exhalation in the sky,
- No scope of nature, no distemper'd day,
- No common wind, no customed event,
- But they will pluck away his natural cause
- And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
- Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven,
- Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
- May be he will not touch young Arthur's life,
- But hold himself safe in his prisonment.
- O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
- If that young Arthur be not gone already,
- Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts
- Of all his people shall revolt from him,
- And kiss the lips of unacquainted change;
- And pick strong matter of revolt and wrath
- Out of the bloody fingers' ends of john.
- Methinks I see this hurly all on foot:
- And, O, what better matter breeds for you
- Than I have nam'd!—The bastard Falconbridge
- Is now in England, ransacking the church,
- Offending charity: if but a dozen French
- Were there in arms, they would be as a call
- To train ten thousand English to their side:
- Or as a little snow, tumbled about
- Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
- Go with me to the king:—'tis wonderful
- What may be wrought out of their discontent,
- Now that their souls are topful of offence:
- For England go:—I will whet on the king.
- Strong reasons makes strong actions: let us go:
- If you say ay, the king will not say no.
SCENE 1. Northampton. A Room in the Castle.
[Enter HUBERT and two Attendants.]
- Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand
- Within the arras: when I strike my foot
- Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth
- And bind the boy which you shall find with me
- Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.
- I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
- Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you; look to't.—
- [Exeunt ATTENDANTS.]
- Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.
- Good morrow, Hubert.
- Good morrow, little prince.
- As little prince, having so great a tide
- To be more prince, as may be.—You are sad.
- Indeed I have been merrier.
- Mercy on me!
- Methinks no body should be sad but I:
- Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
- Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
- Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
- So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
- I should be as merry as the day is long;
- And so I would be here, but that I doubt
- My uncle practises more harm to me:
- He is afraid of me, and I of him:
- Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son?
- No, indeed, is't not; and I would to heaven
- I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
- [Aside.] If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
- He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
- Therefore I will be sudden and despatch.
- Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day:
- In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
- That I might sit all night and watch with you:
- I warrant I love you more than you do me.
- [Aside.] His words do take possession of my bosom.—
- Read here, young Arthur.
[Showing a paper.]
[Aside.] How now, foolish rheum!
- Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
- I must be brief, lest resolution drop
- Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.—
- Can you not read it? is it not fair writ?
- Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect.
- Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?
- Young boy, I must.
- And will you?
- And I will.
- Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,
- I knit my handkerchief about your brows,—
- The best I had, a princess wrought it me,—
- And I did never ask it you again;
- And with my hand at midnight held your head;
- And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
- Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time,
- Saying 'What lack you?' and 'Where lies your grief?'
- Or 'What good love may I perform for you?'
- Many a poor man's son would have lien still,
- And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
- But you at your sick service had a prince.
- Nay, you may think my love was crafty love,
- And call it cunning.—do, an if you will:
- If heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
- Why, then you must.—Will you put out mine eyes,
- These eyes that never did nor never shall
- So much as frown on you?
- I have sworn to do it!
- And with hot irons must I burn them out.
- Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!
- The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
- Approaching near these eyes would drink my tears,
- And quench his fiery indignation,
- Even in the matter of mine innocence;
- Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
- But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
- Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron?
- An if an angel should have come to me
- And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
- I would not have believ'd him,—no tongue but Hubert's.
- [Stamps.] Come forth.
[Re-enter Attendants, with cords, irons, &c.]
- Do as I bid you do.
- O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out
- Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
- Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
- Alas, what need you be so boist'rous rough?
- I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
- For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
- Nay, hear me, Hubert!—drive these men away,
- And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;
- I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
- Nor look upon the iron angerly:
- Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
- Whatever torment you do put me to.
- Go, stand within; let me alone with him.
- I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed.
- Alas, I then have chid away my friend!
- He hath a stern look but a gentle heart:—
- Let him come back, that his compassion may
- Give life to yours.
- Come, boy, prepare yourself.
- Is there no remedy?
- None, but to lose your eyes.
- O heaven!—that there were but a mote in yours,
- A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
- Any annoyance in that precious sense!
- Then, feeling what small things are boisterous there,
- Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
- Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.
- Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
- Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes:
- Let me not hold my tongue,—let me not, Hubert;
- Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
- So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes,
- Though to no use but still to look on you!—
- Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold
- And would not harm me.
- I can heat it, boy.
- No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief,
- Being create for comfort, to be us'd
- In undeserv'd extremes: see else yourself;
- There is no malice in this burning coal;
- The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,
- And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.
- But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
- An if you do, you will but make it blush,
- And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert.
- Nay, it, perchance will sparkle in your eyes;
- And, like a dog that is compell'd to fight,
- Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
- All things that you should use to do me wrong,
- Deny their office: only you do lack
- That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,
- Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
- Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye
- For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:
- Yet I am sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
- With this same very iron to burn them out.
- O, now you look like Hubert! all this while
- You were disguised.
- Peace; no more. Adieu!
- Your uncle must not know but you are dead;
- I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports:
- And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure
- That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
- Will not offend thee.
- O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.
- Silence; no more: go closely in with me:
- Much danger do I undergo for thee.
SCENE 2.The same. A Room of State in the Palace.
[Enter KING JOHN, crowned, PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other LORDS. The KING takes his State.]
- Here once again we sit, once again crown'd,
- And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.
- This once again, but that your highness pleas'd,
- Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before,
- And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off;
- The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt;
- Fresh expectation troubled not the land
- With any long'd-for change or better state.
- Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
- To guard a title that was rich before,
- To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
- To throw a perfume on the violet,
- To smooth the ice, or add another hue
- Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
- To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
- Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
- But that your royal pleasure must be done,
- This act is as an ancient tale new told;
- And, in the last repeating troublesome,
- Being urged at a time unseasonable.
- In this, the antique and well-noted face
- Of plain old form is much disfigured;
- And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,
- It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about;
- Startles and frights consideration;
- Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,
- For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.
- When workmen strive to do better than well,
- They do confound their skill in covetousness;
- And oftentimes excusing of a fault
- Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,—
- As patches set upon a little breach
- Discredit more in hiding of the fault
- Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.
- To this effect, before you were new-crown'd,
- We breath'd our counsel: but it pleas'd your highness
- To overbear it; and we are all well pleas'd,
- Since all and every part of what we would
- Doth make a stand at what your highness will.
- Some reasons of this double coronation
- I have possess'd you with, and think them strong;
- And more, more strong, when lesser is my fear,
- I shall indue you with: meantime but ask
- What you would have reform'd that is not well,
- And well shall you perceive how willingly
- I will both hear and grant you your requests.
- Then I,—as one that am the tongue of these,
- To sound the purposes of all their hearts,—
- Both for myself and them,—but, chief of all,
- Your safety, for the which myself and them
- Bend their best studies,—heartily request
- The enfranchisement of Arthur, whose restraint
- Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
- To break into this dangerous argument,—
- If what in rest you have in right you hold,
- Why then your fears,—which, as they say, attend
- The steps of wrong,—should move you to mew up
- Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
- With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
- The rich advantage of good exercise?
- That the time's enemies may not have this
- To grace occasions, let it be our suit
- That you have bid us ask his liberty;
- Which for our goods we do no further ask
- Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
- Counts it your weal he have his liberty.
- Let it be so: I do commit his youth
- To your direction.
- Hubert, what news with you?
- This is the man should do the bloody deed;
- He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine:
- The image of a wicked heinous fault
- Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
- Doth show the mood of a much-troubled breast;
- And I do fearfully believe 'tis done
- What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.
- The colour of the king doth come and go
- Between his purpose and his conscience,
- Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set.
- His passion is so ripe it needs must break.
- And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence
- The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
- We cannot hold mortality's strong hand:—
- Good lords, although my will to give is living,
- The suit which you demand is gone and dead:
- He tells us Arthur is deceas'd to-night.
- Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past cure.
- Indeed, we heard how near his death he was,
- Before the child himself felt he was sick:
- This must be answer'd either here or hence.
- Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
- Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
- Have I commandment on the pulse of life?
- It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame
- That greatness should so grossly offer it:
- So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.
- Stay yet, Lord Salisbury, I'll go with thee
- And find th' inheritance of this poor child,
- His little kingdom of a forced grave.
- That blood which ow'd the breadth of all this isle
- Three foot of it doth hold:—bad world the while!
- This must not be thus borne: this will break out
- To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt.
- They burn in indignation. I repent:
- There is no sure foundation set on blood;
- No certain life achiev'd by others' death.—
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood
- That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?
- So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
- Pour down thy weather:—how goes all in France?
- From France to England.—Never such a power
- For any foreign preparation
- Was levied in the body of a land.
- The copy of your speed is learn'd by them;
- For when you should be told they do prepare,
- The tidings comes that they are all arriv'd.
- O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
- Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care,
- That such an army could be drawn in France,
- And she not hear of it?
- My liege, her ear
- Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April died
- Your noble mother; and as I hear, my lord,
- The Lady Constance in a frenzy died
- Three days before; but this from rumour's tongue
- I idly heard,—if true or false I know not.
- Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
- O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd
- My discontented peers!—What! mother dead!
- How wildly, then, walks my estate in France!—
- Under whose conduct came those powers of France
- That thou for truth giv'st out are landed here?
- Under the Dauphin.
- Thou hast made me giddy
- With these in tidings.
[Enter the BASTARD and PETER OF POMFRET.]
- Now! What says the world
- To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
- My head with more ill news, for it is full.
- But if you be afear'd to hear the worst,
- Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head.
- Bear with me, cousin, for I was amaz'd
- Under the tide: but now I breathe again
- Aloft the flood; and can give audience
- To any tongue, speak it of what it will.
- How I have sped among the clergymen,
- The sums I have collected shall express.
- But as I travell'd hither through the land,
- I find the people strangely fantasied;
- Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams.
- Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear;
- And here's a prophet that I brought with me
- From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
- With many hundreds treading on his heels;
- To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
- That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
- Your highness should deliver up your crown.
- Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?
- Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.
- Hubert, away with him; imprison him;
- And on that day at noon, whereon he says
- I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd.
- Deliver him to safety; and return,
- For I must use thee.
[Exit HUBERT with PETER.]
- O my gentle cousin,
- Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd?
- The French, my lord; men's mouths are full of it;
- Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,—
- With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,
- And others more, going to seek the grave
- Of Arthur, whom they say is kill'd to-night
- On your suggestion.
- Gentle kinsman, go
- And thrust thyself into their companies:
- I have a way to will their loves again:
- Bring them before me.
- I will seek them out.
- Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
- O, let me have no subject enemies
- When adverse foreigners affright my towns
- With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!
- Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,
- And fly like thought from them to me again.
- The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
- Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman!
- Go after him; for he perhaps shall need
- Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
- And be thou he.
- With all my heart, my liege.
- My mother dead!
- My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;
- Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
- The other four in wondrous motion.
- Five moons!
- Old men and beldams in the streets
- Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
- Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
- And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
- And whisper one another in the ear;
- And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
- Whilst he that hears makes fearful action
- With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
- I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
- The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
- With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
- Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
- Standing on slippers,—which his nimble haste
- Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,—
- Told of a many thousand warlike French
- That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent.
- Another lean unwash'd artificer
- Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
- Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?
- Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
- Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause
- To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
- No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?
- It is the curse of kings to be attended
- By slaves that take their humours for a warrant
- To break within the bloody house of life;
- And, on the winking of authority,
- To understand a law; to know the meaning
- Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
- More upon humour than advis'd respect.
- Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
- O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth
- Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
- Witness against us to damnation!
- How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
- Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
- A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
- Quoted and sign'd to do a deed of shame,
- This murder had not come into my mind:
- But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
- Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
- Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger,
- I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
- And thou, to be endeared to a king,
- Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.
- My lord,—
- Hadst thou but shook thy head or made pause,
- When I spake darkly what I purpos'd,
- Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
- As bid me tell my tale in express words,
- Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
- And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me:
- But thou didst understand me by my signs,
- And didst in signs again parley with sin;
- Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
- And consequently thy rude hand to act
- The deed which both our tongues held vile to name.—
- Out of my sight, and never see me more!
- My nobles leave me; and my state is brav'd,
- Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers;
- Nay, in the body of the fleshly land,
- This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
- Hostility and civil tumult reigns
- Between my conscience and my cousin's death.
- Arm you against your other enemies,
- I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
- Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine
- Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
- Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
- Within this bosom never enter'd yet
- The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;
- And you have slander'd nature in my form,—
- Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
- Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
- Than to be butcher of an innocent child.
- Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,
- Throw this report on their incensed rage,
- And make them tame to their obedience!
- Forgive the comment that my passion made
- Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
- And foul imaginary eyes of blood
- Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
- O, answer not; but to my closet bring
- The angry lords with all expedient haste:
- I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.
SCENE 3. The same. Before the castle.
[Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls.]
- The wall is high, and yet will I leap down:—
- Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!—
- There's few or none do know me: if they did,
- This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
- I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
- If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
- I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
- As good to die and go, as die and stay.
- O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones:—
- Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!
[Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and BIGOT.]
- Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmunds-Bury;
- It is our safety, and we must embrace
- This gentle offer of the perilous time.
- Who brought that letter from the cardinal?
- The Count Melun, a noble lord of France,
- Whose private with me of the Dauphin's love
- Is much more general than these lines import.
- To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
- Or rather then set forward; for 'twill be
- Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet.
[Enter the BASTARD.]
- Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords!
- The king by me requests your presence straight.
- The King hath dispossess'd himself of us.
- We will not line his thin bestained cloak
- With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
- That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks.
- Return and tell him so: we know the worst.
- Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best.
- Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.
- But there is little reason in your grief;
- Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.
- Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
- 'Tis true,—to hurt his master, no man else.
- This is the prison:—what is he lies here?
- O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!
- The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
- Murder, as hating what himself hath done,
- Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.
- Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,
- Found it too precious-princely for a grave.
- Sir Richard, what think you? Have you beheld,
- Or have you read or heard, or could you think?
- Or do you almost think, although you see,
- That you do see? could thought, without this object,
- Form such another? This is the very top,
- The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
- Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
- The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
- That ever wall-ey'd wrath or staring rage
- Presented to the tears of soft remorse.
- All murders past do stand excus'd in this;
- And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
- Shall give a holiness, a purity,
- To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
- And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
- Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
- It is a damned and a bloody work;
- The graceless action of a heavy hand,—
- If that it be the work of any hand.
- If that it be the work of any hand?—
- We had a kind of light what would ensue.
- It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
- The practice and the purpose of the king:—
- From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
- Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
- And breathing to his breathless excellence
- The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
- Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
- Never to be infected with delight,
- Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
- Till I have set a glory to this hand,
- By giving it the worship of revenge.
PEMBROKE. and BIGOT.
- Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
- Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
- Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.
- O, he is bold, and blushes not at death:—
- Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!
- I am no villain.
- Must I rob the law?
[Drawing his sword.]
- Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.
- Not till I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.
- Stand back, Lord Salisbury,—stand back, I say;
- By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours:
- I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
- Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
- Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
- Your worth, your greatness, and nobility.
- Out, dunghill! dar'st thou brave a nobleman?
- Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
- My innocent life against an emperor.
- Thou art a murderer.
- Do not prove me so;
- Yet I am none: whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
- Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
- Cut him to pieces.
- Keep the peace, I say.
- Stand by, or I shall gall you, Falconbridge.
- Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
- If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
- Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
- I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime:
- Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron
- That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
- What wilt thou do, renowned Falconbridge?
- Second a villain and a murderer?
- Lord Bigot, I am none.
- Who kill'd this prince?
- 'Tis not an hour since I left him well:
- I honour'd him, I lov'd him, and will weep
- My date of life out for his sweet life's loss.
- Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
- For villainy is not without such rheum;
- And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
- Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
- Away with me, all you whose souls abhor
- Th' uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;
- For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
- Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!
- There tell the king he may inquire us out.
- Here's a good world!—Knew you of this fair work?
- Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
- Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
- Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
- Do but hear me, sir.
- Ha! I'll tell thee what;
- Thou'rt damn'd as black—nay, nothing is so black;
- Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer:
- There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
- As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
- Upon my soul,—
- If thou didst but consent
- To this most cruel act, do but despair;
- And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
- That ever spider twisted from her womb
- Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be a beam
- To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
- Put but a little water in a spoon
- And it shall be as all the ocean,
- Enough to stifle such a villain up.
- I do suspect thee very grievously.
- If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
- Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
- Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
- Let hell want pains enough to torture me!
- I left him well.
- Go, bear him in thine arms.—
- I am amaz'd, methinks, and lose my way
- Among the thorns and dangers of this world.—
- How easy dost thou take all England up!
- From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
- The life, the right, and truth of all this realm
- Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
- To tug and scamble, and to part by the teeth
- The unow'd interest of proud-swelling state.
- Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
- Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest,
- And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
- Now powers from home and discontents at home
- Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
- As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast,
- The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
- Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can
- Hold out this tempest.—Bear away that child,
- And follow me with speed: I'll to the king;
- A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
- And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.
SCENE 1. Northampton. A Room in the Palace.
[Enter KING JOHN, PANDULPH with the crown, and Attendants.]
- Thus have I yielded up into your hand
- The circle of my glory.
PANDULPH. [Give KING JOHN the crown.]
- Take again
- From this my hand, as holding of the pope,
- Your sovereign greatness and authority.
- Now keep your holy word: go meet the French;
- And from his holiness use all your power
- To stop their marches 'fore we are inflam'd.
- Our discontented counties do revolt;
- Our people quarrel with obedience;
- Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
- To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
- This inundation of mistemper'd humour
- Rests by you only to be qualified.
- Then pause not; for the present time's so sick
- That present medicine must be ministr'd
- Or overthrow incurable ensues.
- It was my breath that blew this tempest up,
- Upon your stubborn usage of the pope:
- But since you are a gentle convertite,
- My tongue shall hush again this storm of war
- And make fair weather in your blustering land.
- On this Ascension-day, remember well,
- Upon your oath of service to the pope,
- Go I to make the French lay down their arms.
- Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet
- Say that before Ascension-day at noon
- My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
- I did suppose it should be on constraint;
- But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.
[Enter the BASTARD.]
- All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out
- But Dover Castle: London hath receiv'd,
- Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:
- Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone
- To offer service to your enemy;
- And wild amazement hurries up and down
- The little number of your doubtful friends.
- Would not my lords return to me again
- After they heard young Arthur was alive?
- They found him dead, and cast into the streets;
- An empty casket, where the jewel of life
- By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away.
- That villain Hubert told me he did live.
- So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.
- But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?
- Be great in act, as you have been in thought;
- Let not the world see fear and sad distrust
- Govern the motion of a kingly eye:
- Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
- Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow
- Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,
- That borrow their behaviours from the great,
- Grow great by your example, and put on
- The dauntless spirit of resolution.
- Away, and glister like the god of war
- When he intendeth to become the field:
- Show boldness and aspiring confidence.
- What, shall they seek the lion in his den,
- And fright him there? and make him tremble there?
- O, let it not be said!—Forage, and run
- To meet displeasure farther from the doors,
- And grapple with him ere he come so nigh.
- The legate of the pope hath been with me,
- And I have made a happy peace with him;
- And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers
- Led by the Dauphin.
- O inglorious league!
- Shall we, upon the footing of our land,
- Send fair-play orders, and make compromise,
- Insinuation, parley, and base truce,
- To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
- A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
- And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
- Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
- And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms;
- Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;
- Or, if he do, let it at least be said
- They saw we had a purpose of defence.
- Have thou the ordering of this present time.
- Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know
- Our party may well meet a prouder foe.
SCENE 2. Near Saint Edmunds-bury. The French Camp.
[Enter, in arms, LOUIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and soldiers.]
- My Lord Melun, let this be copied out
- And keep it safe for our remembrance:
- Return the precedent to these lords again;
- That, having our fair order written down,
- Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes,
- May know wherefore we took the sacrament,
- And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.
- Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
- And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
- A voluntary zeal and an unurg'd faith
- To your proceedings; yet, believe me, prince,
- I am not glad that such a sore of time
- Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt,
- And heal the inveterate canker of one wound
- By making many. O, it grieves my soul
- That I must draw this metal from my side
- To be a widow-maker! O, and there
- Where honourable rescue and defence
- Cries out upon the name of Salisbury!
- But such is the infection of the time,
- That, for the health and physic of our right,
- We cannot deal but with the very hand
- Of stern injustice and confused wrong.—
- And is't not pity, O my grieved friends!
- That we, the sons and children of this isle,
- Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
- Wherein we step after a stranger-march
- Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up
- Her enemies' ranks—I must withdraw and weep
- Upon the spot of this enforc'd cause—
- To grace the gentry of a land remote,
- And follow unacquainted colours here?
- What, here?—O nation, that thou couldst remove!
- That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about,
- Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
- And grapple thee unto a pagan shore,
- Where these two Christian armies might combine
- The blood of malice in a vein of league,
- And not to spend it so unneighbourly!
- A noble temper dost thou show in this;
- And great affections wrestling in thy bosom
- Doth make an earthquake of nobility.
- O, what a noble combat hast thou fought
- Between compulsion and a brave respect!
- Let me wipe off this honourable dew
- That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks:
- My heart hath melted at a lady's tears,
- Being an ordinary inundation;
- But this effusion of such manly drops,
- This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,
- Startles mine eyes and makes me more amaz'd
- Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven
- Figur'd quite o'er with burning meteors.
- Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
- And with a great heart heave away this storm:
- Commend these waters to those baby eyes
- That never saw the giant world enrag'd,
- Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
- Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
- Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep
- Into the purse of rich prosperity
- As Louis himself:—so, nobles, shall you all,
- That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.—
- And even there, methinks, an angel spake:
- Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
- To give us warrant from the hand of heaven
- And on our actions set the name of right
- With holy breath.
[Enter PANDULPH, attended.]
- Hail, noble prince of France!
- The next is this,—King John hath reconcil'd
- Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in,
- That so stood out against the holy church,
- The great metropolis and see of Rome:
- Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up,
- And tame the savage spirit of wild war,
- That, like a lion foster'd up at hand,
- It may lie gently at the foot of peace
- And be no further harmful than in show.
- Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back:
- I am too high-born to be propertied,
- To be a secondary at control,
- Or useful serving-man and instrument
- To any sovereign state throughout the world.
- Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
- Between this chastis'd kingdom and myself,
- And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
- And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
- With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
- You taught me how to know the face of right,
- Acquainted me with interest to this land,
- Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
- And come ye now to tell me John hath made
- His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
- I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
- After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
- And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back
- Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
- Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
- What men provided, what munition sent,
- To underprop this action? Is't not I
- That undergo this charge? Who else but I,
- And such as to my claim are liable,
- Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
- Have I not heard these islanders shout out,
- 'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd their towns?
- Have I not here the best cards for the game,
- To will this easy match, play'd for a crown?
- And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
- No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.
- You look but on the outside of this work.
- Outside or inside, I will not return
- Till my attempt so much be glorified
- As to my ample hope was promised
- Before I drew this gallant head of war,
- And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
- To outlook conquest, and to will renown
- Even in the jaws of danger and of death.—
- What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
[Enter the BASTARD, attended.]
- According to the fair play of the world,
- Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:—
- My holy lord of Milan, from the king
- I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
- And, as you answer, I do know the scope
- And warrant limited unto my tongue.
- The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
- And will not temporize with my entreaties;
- He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms.
- By all the blood that ever fury breath'd,
- The youth says well.—Now hear our English king;
- For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
- He is prepar'd; and reason too he should:
- This apish and unmannerly approach,
- This harness'd masque and unadvised revel
- This unhair'd sauciness and boyish troops,
- The king doth smile at; and is well prepar'd
- To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
- From out the circle of his territories.
- That hand which had the strength, even at your door,
- To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch;
- To dive, like buckets, in concealed wells;
- To crouch in litter of your stable planks;
- To lie, like pawns, lock'd up in chests and trunks;
- To hug with swine; to seek sweet safety out
- In vaults and prisons; and to thrill and shake
- Even at the crying of your nation's crow,
- Thinking this voice an armed Englishman;—
- Shall that victorious hand be feebled here
- That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
- No: know the gallant monarch is in arms
- And like an eagle o'er his aery towers
- To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.—
- And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
- You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
- Of your dear mother England, blush for shame;
- For your own ladies and pale-visag'd maids,
- Like Amazons, come tripping after drums,—
- Their thimbles into armed gauntlets chang'd,
- Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts
- To fierce and bloody inclination.
- There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;
- We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
- We hold our time too precious to be spent
- With such a brabbler.
- Give me leave to speak.
- No, I will speak.
- We will attend to neither.—
- Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war,
- Plead for our interest and our being here.
- Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will cry out;
- And so shall you, being beaten: do but start
- And echo with the clamour of thy drum,
- And even at hand a drum is ready brac'd
- That shall reverberate all as loud as thine:
- Sound but another, and another shall,
- As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear,
- And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand,—
- Not trusting to this halting legate here,
- Whom he hath us'd rather for sport than need,—
- Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
- A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
- To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
- Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.
- And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.
SCENE 3. The same. The Field of Battle.
[Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT.]
- How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert.
- Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?
- This fever that hath troubled me so long
- Lies heavy on me;—O, my heart is sick!
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- My lord, your valiant kinsman, Falconbridge,
- Desires your majesty to leave the field
- And send him word by me which way you go.
- Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the abbey there.
- Be of good comfort; for the great supply
- That was expected by the Dauphin here
- Are wreck'd three nights ago on Goodwin Sands.
- This news was brought to Richard but even now:
- The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.
- Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up
- And will not let me welcome this good news.—
- Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
- Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.
SCENE 4. The same. Another part of the same.
[Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, and others.]
- I did not think the king so stor'd with friends.
- Up once again; put spirit in the French;
- If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
- That misbegotten devil, Falconbridge,
- In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
- They say King John, sore sick, hath left the field.
[Enter MELUN wounded, and led by Soldiers.]
- Lead me to the revolts of England here.
- When we were happy we had other names.
- It is the Count Melun.
- Wounded to death.
- Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;
- Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,
- And welcome home again discarded faith.
- Seek out King John, and fall before his feet;
- For if the French be lords of this loud day,
- He means to recompense the pains you take
- By cutting off your heads: thus hath he sworn,
- And I with him, and many more with me,
- Upon the altar at Saint Edmunds-bury;
- Even on that altar where we swore to you
- Dear amity and everlasting love.
- May this be possible? may this be true?
- Have I not hideous death within my view,
- Retaining but a quantity of life,
- Which bleeds away even as a form of wax
- Resolveth from his figure 'gainst the fire?
- What in the world should make me now deceive,
- Since I must lose the use of all deceit?
- Why should I then be false, since it is true
- That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
- I say again, if Louis do will the day,
- He is forsworn if e'er those eyes of yours
- Behold another day break in the east:
- But even this night,—whose black contagious breath
- Already smokes about the burning crest
- Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,—
- Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire;
- Paying the fine of rated treachery
- Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
- If Louis by your assistance win the day.
- Commend me to one Hubert, with your king;
- The love of him,—and this respect besides,
- For that my grandsire was an Englishman,—
- Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
- In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
- From forth the noise and rumour of the field,
- Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
- In peace, and part this body and my soul
- With contemplation and devout desires.
- We do believe thee:—and beshrew my soul
- But I do love the favour and the form
- Of this most fair occasion, by the which
- We will untread the steps of damned flight;
- And like a bated and retired flood,
- Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
- Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd,
- And calmly run on in obedience
- Even to our ocean, to our great King John.—
- My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
- For I do see the cruel pangs of death
- Right in thine eye.—Away, my friends! New flight,
- And happy newness, that intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading off MELUN.]
SCENE 5. The same. The French camp.
[Enter LEWIS and his train.]
- The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to set,
- But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush,
- When the English measur'd backward their own ground
- In faint retire. O, bravely came we off,
- When with a volley of our needless shot,
- After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
- And wound our tattrring colours clearly up,
- Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- Where is my prince, the Dauphin?
- Here:—what news?
- The Count Melun is slain; the English lords
- By his persuasion are again falln off:
- And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
- Are cast away and sunk on Goodwin Sands.
- Ah, foul shrewd news!—beshrew thy very heart!—
- I did not think to be so sad to-night
- As this hath made me.—Who was he that said
- King John did fly an hour or two before
- The stumbling night did part our weary powers?
- Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
- Keep good quarter and good care to-night;
- The day shall not be up so soon as I,
- To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.
SCENE 6. An open place in the neighborhood of Swinstead Abbey.
[Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, meeting.]
- Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.
- A friend.—What art thou?
- Of the part of England.
- Whither dost thou go?
- What's that to thee? Why may I not demand
- Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?
- Hubert, I think.
- Thou hast a perfect thought:
- I will, upon all hazards, well believe
- Thou art my friend that know'st my tongue so well.
- Who art thou?
- Who thou wilt: and if thou please,
- Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think
- I come one way of the Plantagenets.
- Unkind remembrance! thou and eyeless night
- Have done me shame:—brave soldier, pardon me,
- That any accent breaking from thy tongue
- Should scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
- Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?
- Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night,
- To find you out.
- Brief, then; and what's the news?
- O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
- Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
- Show me the very wound of this ill news;
- I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
- The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk:
- I left him almost speechless and broke out
- To acquaint you with this evil, that you might
- The better arm you to the sudden time,
- Than if you had at leisure known of this.
- How did he take it; who did taste to him?
- A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
- Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
- Yet speaks, and peradventure may recover.
- Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?
- Why, know you not? The lords are all come back,
- And brought Prince Henry in their company;
- At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
- And they are all about his majesty.
- Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
- And tempt us not to bear above our power!—
- I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
- Passing these flats, are taken by the tide,—
- These Lincoln washes have devoured them;
- Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap'd.
- Away, before! conduct me to the king;
- I doubt he will be dead or ere I come.
SCENE 7. The orchard of Swinstead Abbey.
[Enter PRINCE HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT.]
- It is too late: the life of all his blood
- Is touch'd corruptibly, and his pure brain,—
- Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house,—
- Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
- Foretell the ending of mortality.
- His Highness yet doth speak; and holds belief
- That, being brought into the open air,
- It would allay the burning quality
- Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
- Let him be brought into the orchard here.—
- Doth he still rage?
- He is more patient
- Than when you left him; even now he sung.
- O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes
- In their continuance will not feel themselves.
- Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
- Leaves them invisible; and his siege is now
- Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
- With many legions of strange fantasies,
- Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
- Confound themselves. 'Tis strange that death should sing.—
- I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
- Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
- And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings
- His soul and body to their lasting rest.
- Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born
- To set a form upon that indigest
- Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
[Re-enter BIGOT and Attendants, who bring in KING JOHN in a chair.]
- Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;
- It would not out at windows nor at doors.
- There is so hot a summer in my bosom
- That all my bowels crumble up to dust;
- I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen,
- Upon a parchment; and against this fire
- Do I shrink up.
- How fares your majesty?
- Poison'd,—ill-fare;—dead, forsook, cast off;
- And none of you will bid the winter come,
- To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
- Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
- Through my burn'd bosom; nor entreat the north
- To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
- And comfort me with cold:—I do not ask you much;
- I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait,
- And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
- O, that there were some virtue in my tears,
- That might relieve you!
- The salt in them is hot.—
- Within me is a hell; and there the poison
- Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize
- On unreprievable condemned blood.
[Enter the BASTARD.]
- O, I am scalded with my violent motion
- And spleen of speed to see your majesty!
- O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
- The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd;
- And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail,
- Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
- My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
- Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
- And then all this thou seest is but a clod,
- And module of confounded royalty.
- The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
- Where heaven he knows how we shall answer him;
- For in a night the best part of my power,
- As I upon advantage did remove,
- Were in the washes all unwarily
- Devoured by the unexpected flood.
[The KING dies.]
- You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.
- My liege! my lord!—But now a king,—now thus.
- Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
- What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
- When this was now a king, and now is clay?
- Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind
- To do the office for thee of revenge,
- And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
- As it on earth hath been thy servant still.—
- Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres,
- Where be your powers? Show now your mended faiths;
- And instantly return with me again,
- To push destruction and perpetual shame
- Out of the weak door of our fainting land.
- Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
- The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
- It seems you know not, then, so much as we:
- The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
- Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,
- And brings from him such offers of our peace
- As we with honour and respect may take,
- With purpose presently to leave this war.
- He will the rather do it when he sees
- Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
- Nay, 'tis in a manner done already;
- For many carriages he hath despatch'd
- To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
- To the disposing of the cardinal:
- With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
- If you think meet, this afternoon will post
- To consummate this business happily.
- Let it be so:—And you, my noble prince,
- With other princes that may best be spar'd,
- Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
- At Worcester must his body be interr'd;
- For so he will'd it.
- Thither shall it, then:
- And happily may your sweet self put on
- The lineal state and glory of the land!
- To whom, with all submission, on my knee,
- I do bequeath my faithful services
- And true subjection everlastingly.
- And the like tender of our love we make,
- To rest without a spot for evermore.
- I have a kind soul that would give you thanks,
- And knows not how to do it but with tears.
- O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
- Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.—
- This England never did, nor never shall,
- Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
- But when it first did help to wound itself.
- Now these her princes are come home again,
- Come the three corners of the world in arms,
- And we shall shock them: nought shall make us rue,
- If England to itself do rest but true.