Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

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 work.

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.

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,

on the shores of the Thames. In the old “King John” Lewis thus mentions “ Rochester" as having submitted, and in Shakespeare the same character may allude to that and other places on the river :

“ Your city, Rochester, with great applause,

By some divine instinct laid arms aside;
And from the hollow holes of Thamesis
Echo apace replied Vire le roi.”

This unheard 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 aiery 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 change,
Their needl's to lances“, and their gentle hearts

1 This UNHEARD sauciness, and boyish troops,] So the old copies without exception, and we adhere to the ancient and most intelligible text, notwithstanding Theobald's suggestion, that “ unheard” ought to be unhaird. Some modern editors have unscrupulously printed unhaird, without the slightest intimation that it was not the old reading.

and make you take the hatch ;] i. e. leap over the hatch of the door. 3 Even at the crying of your nation's crow,] Malone thinks that this line refers to “the voice or caw of the French crow," but Douce truly contends that the allusion is to the “crow” of a cock, that being the national bird of France ; "gallus meaning both a cock and a Frenchman.”

4 Their NEEDL's to lances,] So printed in the old copies of 1623 and 1632, to show that “needles” was to be read in the time of a monosyllable. Modern editors have taken the liberty of printing it neelds, a form of the word which, as far as we can judge, Shakespeare never employed; for when it occurs elsewhere in his works, even if it be to be read as one syllable, we find it printed needles. See “Midsummer Night's Dream,” Vol. ii. p. 433, note 4.

To fierce and bloody inclination.

Lew. 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.
Pand.

Give me leave to speak.
Bast. No, I will speak.
Lew.

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 (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.

Lew. Strike up our drums to find this danger out. Bast. And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.

[Exeunt.

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 long, Lies heavy on me : 0! my heart is sick.

Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,
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. Ah 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.

SCENE IV.

The Same. Another Part of the Same.

Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Others. Sal. I did not think the king so stor'd with friends.

Pem. Up once again; put spirit in the French : If they miscarry, we miscarry too.

Sal. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge, In spite of spite, alone upholds the day. Pem. They say, king John sore sick bath left the

field.

Enter MELUN wounded, and led by Soldiers. Mel. Lead me to the revolts of England here. Sal. When we were happy we had other names.

5

toward Swinstead,] i. e. Svineshead, but called Swinstead also in the old “King John,” and in ballads of the time.

[ocr errors]

Pem. It is the count Melun.
Sal.

Wounded to death.
Mel. 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.

heads. Thus hath he sworn,
And I with him, and many more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's Bury;
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 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 Lewis by your assistance win the day.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

6 RESOLVETH from his figure 'gainst the fire ?] To “resolve” of old was the same as to dissolte. “This is said,” remarks Steevens, “in allusion to the images made by witches. Holinshed observes, that it was alleged against dame Eleanor Cobham and her confederates, that they had devised “ an image of wax, representing the king, which, by their sorcerie, by little and little consumed, intending thereby, in conclusion, to waste and destroy the king's person.' »

« EdellinenJatka »