Page images

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, 50
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 warm of blood, of mirth. of gossiping.
Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as


Into the purse of rich prosperity
As Lewis himself so, nobles, shall you all,
That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.



Bast. 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.

Pand. The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
And will not temporize with my entreaties:
He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms.


Bast. 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

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

Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome

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 roy as I have bank'd their towns?
Have I not here the best cards for the game
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?

And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.
Pand. You look but on the outside of this


Lew. Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook conquest and to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.
Trumpet sounds.
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
Enter the Bastard, attended.

Enter PANDULPH, attended.

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.
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 threat'ning 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.

To cudgel you and make you take the hatch;

Lew. Your grace shall pardon me; I will not To dive like buckets in concealed wells; back:

To crouch in litter of your stable planks;


I am too high-born to be propertied,

To be a secondary at control,

Or useful servingman 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

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. 150
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 change,
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.

Lew. There end thy brave, and turn thy face
in peace;


We grant thou can'st outscold us: fare thee well;
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.

Give me leave to speak.

Bast. 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.

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

And so shall you, being beaten. Do but start

An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready 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,


By cutting off your heads. Thus hath he sworn,
And I with him, and many more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;
Even on that altar where we swore to you
Dear amity and everlasting love.


Sal. May this be possible? may this be true!
Mel. Have I not hideous death within my view,
Retaining but a quantity of life,
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolveth from his figure 'gainst the fire?
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit ?
Why should I then be false, since it is true
That I must die here and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of yours
Behold another day break in the east:
But even this night, whose black contagious

Not trusting to this halting legate here,
Whom he hath us'd rather for sport than need,
Is war-like John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
Lew. Strike up our drums, to find this danger


Bast. And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt. Exeunt. 180

SCENE III.-The Same. A Field of Battle.
Alarums. Enter King JOHN and HUBERT.
K. John. How goes the day with us? O! tell
me, Hubert.

Hub. Badly, I fear. How fares your majesty?
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so

Lies heavy on me: O! my heart is sick.
Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulcon-

Desires your majesty to leave the field,
And send him word by me which way you go.
K. John. Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the
abbey there.


Mess. 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.

K. John. Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let me welcome this good news.
Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]


Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
Paying the fine of rated treachery
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert with your king;
The love of him, and this respect besides,
For that my grandsire was an Englishman,
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the field,
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
In peace, and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.


Sal. 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
And happy newness,

that intends old right. Exeunt, leading off MELUN.

[blocks in formation]

And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away and sunk, on Goodwin sands.
Lew. 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?
Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lew. Well; keep good quarter and good care


The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.


SCENE VI.-An open Place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

[blocks in formation]

Bast. Who thou wilt: and if thou please, Thou may'st befriend me so much as to think 10 I come one way of the Plantagenets.

Hub. 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. Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?

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

Bast. Brief then; and what's the news? Hub. O my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.


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

Hub. 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.

Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him? Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain, Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king Yet speaks, and peradventure may recover.


Bast. Whom didst thou leave to tend his majesty?

Hub. 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.

Bast. 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 e'er I come. Exeunt.

SCENE VII-The Orchard of Swinstead Abbey.

P. Hen. 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-

Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
Foretell the ending of mortality.


Pem. 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.

P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here.

Doth he still rage?


Exit BIGOT. He is more patient Than when you left him: even now he sung. P. Hen. 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.

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.

Sal. 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.


'Tis strange that death


[blocks in formation]

P. Hen. O that there were some virtue in my tears,

That might relieve you.
K. John.

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.

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


K. John. O cousin! thou art come to set Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.

[blocks in formation]

Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought:

The Dauphin rages at our very heels.


Sal. 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.

Bast. He will the rather do it when he sees

[blocks in formation]

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.

Sal. And the like tender of our love we make.
To rest without a spot for evermore.

P. Hen. I have a kind soul that would give you thanks,



And knows not how to do it but with tears.
Bast. 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.


[blocks in formation]


SCENE L-London. A Room in the Palace. Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN OF GAUNT, and other Nobles, with him.

K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd, Lancaster,

Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son, Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? Gaunt. I have, my liege.

K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,

[ocr errors]


If he appeal the duke on ancient malice,
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him?
Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that

Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and
other Attendants.

SCENE.-Dispersedly in England and Wales.

On some apparent danger seen in him
Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face
to face,




And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser and the accused freely speak: Exeunt some Attendants. High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.




Captain of a Band of Welshmen.



Lady attending on the Queen.

Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and MOWBRAY.

Boling. Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

Mow. Each day still better other's happiness; Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!

In the devotion of a subject's love,
Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appellant to this princely presence.
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
And mark my greeting well; for what I speak
My body shall make good upon this earth,
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor and a miscreant ;
Too good to be so and too bad to live,
Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat;


K. Rich. We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,

As well appeareth by the cause you come; Namely, to appeal each other of high treason. Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? Boling. First, heaven be the record to my speech!


« PreviousContinue »