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To these ill-tuned repetitions.-
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to't; i'faith, I will, i'faith.
Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe, These men of Angiers; let us hear them speak,
That did disrobe the lion of that robe!
Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.
Trumpets sound. Enter Citizens upon the walls.
1 Cit. Who is it, that hath warn'd us to the
K. Phi. 'Tis France, for England. [walls?
K. John. England, for itself:
You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,—
K. Phi. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's
Bast. It lies as slightly on the back of him, As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass :— But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back; Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our With this abundance of superfluous breath? [ears K. Phi. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight. [ference. Lew. Women and fools, break off your conKing 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? K. John. My life as soon:-I do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand; And, out of my dear love, I'll give thee more Than e'er the coward hand of France can win : Submit thee, boy.
Eli. Come to thy grandam, child.
Const. 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.
Arth. 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. Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps. [or no, Const. Now shame upon you, whe'r she does, His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, [eyes, Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor 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.
Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth! [earth!
Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and 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.
K. John. Bedlam, have done.
Const. I have but this to say,-
That he's 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!
Eli. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
A will, that bars the title of thy son.
Const. Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked
A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!
K. Phi. Peace, lady; pause, or be more temIt ill beseems this presence, to cry aim [perate:
Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle. K. John. For our first advantage :-therefora 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,
Confront your city's eyes, your winking gates;
And, but for our approach, these sleeping stones,
That as a waist do 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 threaten'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,
For wearied in this action of swift speed,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.
K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us Lo, in this right hand, whose protection Is most divinely vow'd upon the right Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet; Son to the elder brother of this man,
And king o'er him, and all that he enjoys;
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In warlike march these greens before your town
Being no further enemy to you,
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,
In the relief of this oppressed child,
Religiously provokes. Be pleased, then,
To pay that duty, which you truly owe,
To him that owes it; namely, this young princes
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
Save in aspéct, 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'
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? [subjects;
1 Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's
For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let
1 Cit. That can we not: but he, that proves the 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,―
Bast. Some bastards too.
K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim [worthiest,
1 Cit. Till you compound whose right is We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both. K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those That to their everlasting residence, [souls, Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet, In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
K. Phi. Amen, amen!-Mount, chevaliers! to arms! [e'er since,
Bast. St. George, that swing'd the dragon, and Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door, Teach us some fence!-Sirrah, were I at home, At your den, sirrah [to Austria], with your lioness, I'd set an ox head to your lion's hide, And make a monster of you.
Aust. Peace; no more.
Bast. O, tremble: for you hear the lion roar. K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth,
In best appointment, all our regiments.
Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the field. K. Phil. It shall be so ;-[to Lewis] and at the
Enter an English Herald, with trumpets E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells; [proach, King John, your king and England's, doth apCommander 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 ciest, 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, Died in the dying slaughter of their foes: Open your gates, and give the victors way.
Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we might 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 Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power:
Both are alike; aud both alike we like.
One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even,.
We hold our town for neither; yet for both.
Enter, at one side, King John, with his power;
Elinor, Blanch, and the Bastard; at the other,
King Philip, Lewis, Austria, and forces.
K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to
SCENE II. THE SAME.
Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!
Alarums and excursions; then a retreat. Enter a
French Herald, 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 lye 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.
Say, shall the current of our right run on?
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'er-swell
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores;
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress to the ocean.
K. Phi. England, thou hast not sav'd one drop 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 Or add a royal number to the dead, [bear, 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! O, now doth death line his dead chaps with steel, The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs ; And now he feasts, mouthing 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; admit? K. John. Whose part do the townsmen yet K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England: who's your king? [king.
1 Cit. The king of England, when we know the 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.
1 Cit. A greater power than we, denies all this; | Where should he find it purer than in Blanch? And, 'till it be undoubted we do lock If love ambitious sought a match of birth, Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates: Whose veins bound richer blood than lady Blanch? King'd of our fears; until our fears, resolv'd, Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth, 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;
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? [our heads,
K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above 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?
Bast. And 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.
K. Phi. Let it be so:-say, where will you
K. John. We from the west will send destrucInto this city's bosom.
Aust. I from the north.
K. Phi. Our thunder from the south, Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
Bast. O prudent discipline! From north to south; Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth: [aside.
I'll stir them to it:-Come, away, away! [stay,
1 Cit. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to
And I shall show you peace, and fair-faced league;
Win you this city without stroke, or wound;
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
That here come sacrifices for the field:
Perséver not, but hear me, mighty kings.
K. John. Speak on, with favour; we are bent
1 Cit. That daughter there of Spain, the lady Is near to England; look upon the years Of Lewis the Dauphin, and that lovely maid; If lusty love should go in quest of beauty, Where should he find it fairer, thau in Blanch; If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
If not complete, O 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.
Bast. 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
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions,
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
What cannoneer begot this lusty blood? [bounce;
He speaks plain cannon, fire, and smoke, and
He gives the bastinado with his tongue;
Our ears are cudgel'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.
Eli. 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; [soul
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.
1 Cit. Why answer not the double majesties This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town? K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath beer forward first
To speak unto this city: What say you?
K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely Can in this book of beauty read, I love, [son, Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen: For Anjou, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictlers, And all that we ve 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
Lew. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love; For I do love her most unfeignedly. [Maine,
In such a love, so vile a lout as he
Blanch. My uncle's will, in this respect, is mine:
If he see aught in you, that makes him like,
That any thing he sees, which moves his liking,
I can with ease translate it to my will;
Or, if you will (to speak more properly),
I will enforce it easily to my love.
Further I will not flatter you, my lord,
That all I see in you is worthy love,
Than this, that nothing do I see in you
(Though churlish thoughts themselves should be
Who having no external thing to lose
But the word maid,-cheats the poor maid of that;
That I can find should merit any hate.
K. John. What say these young ones? What That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling commo say you, my niece? Commodity, the bias of the world; [dity,
Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do The world, who of itself is peised well, What you in wisdom shall vouchsafe to say.
K. John. Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?
K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine,
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.
K. Phi. It likes us well:-Young princes,
close your hands.
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
Let in that amity, which you have made; [gates,
For at saint Mary's chapel, presently,
The rites of marriage shall be solemniz'd.—
1s 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 highness
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.
K. John. We will heal up all;
For we'll create young Arthur duke of Bretagne
And earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
We make him lord of.-Call the lady Constance;
Some speedy messenger bid her repair
To our solemnity:- I trust we shall,
If not fill up the measure of her will,
Yet in some measure satisfy her so,
That we shall stop her exclamation.
Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,
To this unlook'd for, unprepared pomp.
[exit all but Bast.
Bast. Mad world! mad kings! mad composi-
John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole, [tion!
Hath willingly departed with a part:
And France (whose armour conscience buckled
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,
SCENE I. 1HE SAME. THE FRENCH KING'S TENT.
Enter Constance, Arthur, and Salisbury.
Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a
False blood to false blood join'd! Gone to be
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!
Shall Lewis have Blanch and Blanch
It is not so: thou hast mis-spoke, mis-heard;
Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again :
It cannot be; thou dost but say, 'tis ao :
I trust, I may not trust thee; for thy word
Is but the vain breath of a common mau:
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.
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 sorrow,
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die;
And let belief and life encounter so,
As doth the fury of two desperate men,
Which, in the very meeting, fall and die.-
Lewis marry Blanch! O, boy, then where art
France friend with England! what becomes of
Fellow, begone; I cannot brook thy sight;
This news hath made thee a most ugly man.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But spoke the harin, 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 bid'st me be content, wert grim,
Ugly, and sland'rous 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 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 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.
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 sorrow sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
[she throws herself on the ground
Enter King John, Philip, Lewis, Blanch, Elinor
Bastard, Austria, and Attendants.
K. Phi. 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed
Ever in France shall be kept festival: [day
To solemnize this day, the glorious sun
Stays in his course, and plays the alchemist;
Turning, with splendor of his precious eye,
The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
The yearly course, that brings this day about,
Shall never see it but a holyday.
Const. A wicked day, and not a holyday!
What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done;
That it in golden letters should be set,
Among the high tides, in the kalendar?
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!
K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
To curse the fair proceedings of this day:
Have I not pawn'd to you iny majesty?
Const. 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
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!
Aust. Lady Constance, peace.
Const. War! war! no peace! peace is to me
O Lymoges! O Austria; thou dost shame
That bloody spoil thou slave, thou wretch, thou
Thou little valiant, great in villainy! [coward;
'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?
Sal. Pardon me, madam,
I may not go without you to the kings.
Const. Thou may'st, thou shalt, I will not go Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
And dost thou now fall over to my fors