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Scene I.-Before Angiers. The French King's
Lewis marry Blanch! O boy, then where art thou? France friend with England! what becomes of
Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY.
peace! False blood to false blood joined! gone to be
friends! Shall Lewis have Blanch; and Blanch those
provinces ? It is not so; thou hast mis-spoke, mis-heard : Be well advised, tell o'er thy tale again. It cannot be : thou dost but say 't is 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 punished for thus frighting me : For I am sick, and capable of fears ; Oppressed 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 vexed 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.
Fellow, be gone: I cannot brook thy sight:
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, Patched 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 joined to make thee great : Of nature's gifts thou mayst with lilies boast, And with the half-blown rose. But fortune, 0! She is corrupted, changed, and won from thee; She adulterates hourly with thy uncle John; And with her golden hand hath plucked 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.
Sal. Pardon me, madam, I
to the kings. Const. 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.
Stays in his course, and plays the alchymist;
K.Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause To curse the fair proceedings of this day. Have I not pawned to you my majesty ?
Const. You have beguiled me with a counterfeit, Resembling majesty; which, being touched and
Proves valueless. You are forsworn, forsworn :
Aust. Lady Constance, peace.
Const. War, war! no peace: peace is to me a war.
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side ?
to me! 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
Enter PANDULPH. 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 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 usurped authority. K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme in
this. K. John. 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 cherislı, 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 cursed and excommunicate:
Const. 0, lawful let it be
curse. 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 ?
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
Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.
liinbs. Aust. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these
Bast. Your breeches best may carry them. K. John. Philip, what sayst thou to the cardinal? Const. What should he say but as the cardinal ?
Lew. Bethink you, father : for the difference Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome, Or the light loss of England for a friend. Forego the easier.
Blanch. That's the curse of Rome. Const. O Lewis, stand fast: the devil tempts
thee here In likeness of a new untrimméd bride. Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from
her faith, But from her need.
Const. 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
K. John. The King is moved, and answers not
to this. Const. O be removed from him, and answer well. Aust. Do so, King Philip; hang no more in
doubt. Bast. Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most
sweet lout. K. Phi. I am perplexed, and know not what to
say. Pand. What canst thou say but will perplex
If thou stand excommunicate and cursed ?
stained With slaughter's pencil; where revenge did paint The fearful difference of incenséd kings. And shall these hands, so lately purged of blood, So newly joined 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 palı; 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 ?-0 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 blessed To do your pleasure, and continue friends.
Pand. 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 caséd lion by the mortal paw, A fasting tiger safer by the tooth, Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
K. Phi. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.
Pand. 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 performed !
That is, to be the champion of our church.
Aust. Rebellion, flat rebellion !
Bast. Will 't not be? Will not a calf's-skin stop that mouth of thine?
Lew. Father, to arms!
Blanch. Upon thy wedding day; Against the blood that thou hast married ? What, shall our feast be kept with slaughtered men? Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums (Clamours of hell) be measures to our pomp? O husband, hear me !-ah, alack, how new Is husband in my mouth!—even for that name, Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pro
Const. 0, upon my knee,
Blanch. Now shall I see thy love. What
Be stronger with thee than the name of wife? Const. That which upholdeth him that thee
upholds; His honour. O thine honour, Lewis, thine honour! Bast. My lord, I rescued her: Her highness is in safety, fear you not. But on, my liege; for
little pains Will bring this labour to an happy end. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.- The same.
Lew. I muse your majesty doth seem so cold, When such profound respects do pull you on.
Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head. K. Phi. Thou shall not need :— England, I 'll
fall from thee. Const. O fair return of banished majesty ! Eli. O foul revolt of French inconstancy! K. John. France, thou shalt rue this hour
within this hour. Bast. Old time the clock-setter, that bald sex
ton, time, Is it as he will ? well then, France shall rue. Blanch. 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 : Assuréd loss before the match be played !
Lew. Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies. Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there
my life dies.
K. John. Cousin, go draw our puissance together.
[Exit Bastard. France, I am burned up with inflaming wrath; A rage whose heat hath this condition, That nothing can allay, nothing but blood, The blood, and dearest valued blood, of France. K. Phi. 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. K. John. No more than he that threats. To arms let's hie !
Alarums; Excursions ; Retreat. Enter King
John, Elinor, ARTHUR, the Bastard, Hu-
shall stay behind,
[To Elinor. So strongly guarded.--Cousin, look not sad:
[To Arthur. Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will As dear be to thee as thy father was. Arth. O, this will make my mother die with grief! K. John. Cousin [To the Bastard), away for
England; haste before : And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags Of hoarding abbots; angels imprisoned Set thou at liberty. The fat ribs of peace Must by the hungry now be fed upon : Use our commission in his utmost force. Bast. 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. Eli. Farewell, my gentle cousin. K. John. Coz, farewell. [Exit Bastard. Eli. Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.
[Takes Arthur aside. K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle
Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty.
say so yet :