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Who painfully with much expedient march
Have brought a countercheck before your gates,
To save unscratch'd your city's threaten'd
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,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.
K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
That to their everlasting residence,
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
K. Phi. Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! to arms!
Bast. Saint George, that swing'd the dragon, and e'er since
Sits on his horse back at mine hostess' door, Teach us some fence! To AUSTRIA. Sirrah, were I at home,
At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide, 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, have 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?
First Cit. In brief, we are the King of England's subjects:
For him, and in his right, we hold this town. K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.
First Cit. That can we not; but he that proves the king,
270 To him will we prove loyal: till that time Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world. K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
And if not that, I bring you witnesses, Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,
Bast. Bastards, and else.
K. John. To verify our title with their lives. K. Phi. As many and as well-born bloods as those,-
Bust. Some bastards too.
K. Phi. Stand in his face to contradict his claim.
First Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We for the worthiest hold the right from both.
And make a monster of you.
Peace! no more.
Bast. O tremble, for you hear the lion roar.
K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll
In best appointment all our regiments.
Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the field.
K. Phi. It shall be so; and at the other hill Command the rest to stand. God, and our right! Exeunt.
Alarums and excursions; then a retreat. Enter
the Herald of France, with trumpets, to the gates.
F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your
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 English Herald, with trumpets.
E. Her. 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-
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
And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come
Dy'd in the dying slaughter of their foes.
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
Open your gates and give the victors way.
First Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we
From first to last, the onset and retire
Of both your armies; whose equality
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have
By our best eyes cannot be censured:
Strength march'd with strength, and power confronted power:
Both are alike; and both alike we like.
K. Phi. 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.
Bast. Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers When the rich blood of kings is set on fire! 351 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!
K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?
Firat Cit. The King of England, when we know the king.
K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up his right.
K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy, And bear possession of our person here, Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
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; 390
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?
K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers
And lay this Angiers even with the ground;
Then after fight who shall be king of it?
Bust. 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
Why then defy each other, and pell-mell
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.
K. Phi. Let it be so. Say, where will you
K. John. We from the west will send destruction
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.
K. John. Speak on with favour: we are bent
First Cit. That daughter there of Spain, the
Is niece to England: look upon the years
First Cit. A greater power than we denies all Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
And till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates, 370
Kings of ourselves; until our fears, resolv'd,
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd.
Bast. 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. 380
By east and west let France and England mount
Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,
Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd
The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
Even till unfenced desolation
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty, Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch? If zealous love should go in search of virtue, Where should he find it purer than in Blanch? If love ambitious sought a match of birth, Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
If not complete of, say he is not she;
And she again wants nothing, to name want,
If want it be not that she is not he :
He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
O! two such silver currents, when they join,
Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
And two such shores to two such streams made
Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke, and
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
Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
Eli. Son, list to this conjunction, make this
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
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.
Bast. 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
In such a love so vile a lout as he.
Blanch. My uncle's will in this respect is mine:
If he see aught in you that makes him like,
That any thing he sees, which moves his liking,
I can with case 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
That I can find should merit any hate.
K. John. What say these young ones? What
Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do
What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.
K. John. Speak then, Prince Dauphin: can
you love this lady?
Lew. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;
For I do love her most unfeignedly.
K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine,
Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces,
470 With her to thee; and this addition more,
Full thirty thousand marks of English coin. 53)
Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal,
Command thy son and daughter to join hands.
K. Phi. It likes us well. Young princes, close
First Cit. Why answer not the double majesties
This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town?
K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath been
To speak unto this city: what say you?
K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy
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.
K. Phi. What say'st thou, boy look in the lady's face.
Lew. 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.
Aust. And your lips too; for I am well assur'd
That I did so when I was first assur'd.
K. Phi. 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.
Lew. She is sad and passionate at your high-
K. Phi. And, by my faith, this league that we
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; 55
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.
Bast. Mad world! mad kings! mad composi-
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; 500
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 I.-France. The French King's Tent. Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY. Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
False blood to false blood join'd gone to be friends!
Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch those provinces ?
It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard;
Be well 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
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.
Sal. As true as I believe you think them false
That give you cause to prove my saying true.
Const. O if thou teach me to believe this
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die; so
And let belief and life encounter so
As doth the fury of two desperate men
Which in the very meeting fall and die.
Lewis marry Blanch! O boy! then where art
France friend with England what becomes of me?
Fellow, be gone! I cannot brook thy sight:
This news hath made thee a most ugly mau.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But spoke the harm that is by others done?
Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is
As it makes harmful all that speak of it.
Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content. Const. If thou, that bidd'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. 50
But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune join'd to make thee great :
Of Nature's gifts thou may'st 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
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to Fortune and King John, 60
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 underbear.
I may not go without you to the kings. Const. Thou may'st, thou shalt: I will not go with thee.
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop.
To me and to the state of my great grief
Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
Seats herself on the ground.
Enter King JOHN, King PHILIP, LEWIS, BLANCH
ELINOR, the Bastard, Duke of AUSTRIA, and
K. Phi. '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: so
The yearly course that brings this day about
Shall never see it but a holiday.
Const. 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, 90
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!
K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no
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, 110
Set armed discord 'twixt these perjur'd kings!
Hear me, O! hear me.
O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame
That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch,
Thou little valiant, great in villany!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Thou Fortune's champion, that dost never fight
But when her humorous ladyship is by
To teach thee safety! thou art perjur'd too, 120
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.
Aust. O! that a man should speak those words
Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.
Aust. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life. Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.
K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget thyself.
K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope. Pand. 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.
K. John. 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
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.
K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme
K. John. Though you and all the kings of
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.
Pand. 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. Const. 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. Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my
Const. 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? 190
Pand. 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.
Eli. Look'st thou pale, France? do not let go thy hand.
Const. Look to that, devil, lest that France repent,
And by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.
Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.