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Cover Photo Credit: "Shakespeare's King John at Drury Lane Theatre" by Uncredited - The Illustrated London News, Dec. 9, 1865, p. 556. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The life and death of King John
Actus Primus, Scaena Prima.
Enter King Iohn, Queene Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, and Salisbury,
Chattylion of France.
King Iohn. Now say Chatillion, what would France with vs?
Chat. Thus (after greeting) speakes the King
In my behauiour to the Maiesty,
The borrowed Maiesty of England heere
Elea. A strange beginning: borrowed Maiesty?
K.Iohn. Silence (good mother) heare the Embassie
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalfe
Of thy deceased brother, Geffreyes sonne,
Arthur Plantaginet, laies most lawfull claime
To this faire Iland, and the Territories:
To Ireland, Poyctiers, Aniowe, Torayne, Maine,
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
Which swaies vsurpingly these seuerall titles,
And put the same into yong Arthurs hand,
Thy Nephew, and right royall Soueraigne
K.Iohn. What followes if we disallow of this?
Chat. The proud controle of fierce and bloudy warre,
To inforce these rights, so forcibly with-held,
K.Io. Heere haue we war for war, & bloud for bloud,
Controlement for controlement: so answer France
Chat. Then take my Kings defiance from my mouth,
The farthest limit of my Embassie
K.Iohn. Beare mine to him, and so depart in peace,
Be thou as lightning in the eies of France;
For ere thou canst report, I will be there:
The thunder of my Cannon shall be heard.
So hence: be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
And sullen presage of your owne decay:
An honourable conduct let him haue,
Pembroke looke too't: farewell Chattillion.
Exit Chat. and Pem.
Ele. What now my sonne, haue I not euer said
How that ambitious Constance would not cease
Till she had kindled France and all the world,
Vpon the right and party of her sonne.
This might haue beene preuented, and made whole
With very easie arguments of loue,
Which now the mannage of two kingdomes must
With fearefull bloudy issue arbitrate
K.Iohn. Our strong possession, and our right for vs
Eli. Your strong possessio[n] much more then your right,
Or else it must go wrong with you and me,
So much my conscience whispers in your eare,
Which none but heauen, and you, and I, shall heare.
Enter a Sheriffe.
Essex. My Liege, here is the strangest controuersie
Come from the Country to be iudg'd by you
That ere I heard: shall I produce the men?
K.Iohn. Let them approach:
Our Abbies and our Priories shall pay
This expeditions charge: what men are you?
Enter Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip.
Philip. Your faithfull subiect, I a gentleman,
Borne in Northamptonshire, and eldest sonne
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
A Souldier by the Honor-giuing-hand
Of Cordelion, Knighted in the field
K.Iohn. What art thou?
Robert. The son and heire to that same Faulconbridge
K.Iohn. Is that the elder, and art thou the heyre?
You came not of one mother then it seemes
Philip. Most certain of one mother, mighty King,
That is well knowne, and as I thinke one father:
But for the certaine knowledge of that truth,
I put you o're to heauen, and to my mother;
Of that I doubt, as all mens children may
Eli. Out on thee rude man, y dost shame thy mother,
And wound her honor with this diffidence
Phil. I Madame? No, I haue no reason for it,
That is my brothers plea, and none of mine,
The which if he can proue, a pops me out,
At least from faire fiue hundred pound a yeere:
Heauen guard my mothers honor, and my Land
K.Iohn. A good blunt fellow: why being yonger born
Doth he lay claime to thine inheritance?
Phil. I know not why, except to get the land:
But once he slanderd me with bastardy:
But where I be as true begot or no,
That still I lay vpon my mothers head,
But that I am as well begot my Liege
(Faire fall the bones that tooke the paines for me)
Compare our faces, and be Iudge your selfe
If old Sir Robert did beget vs both,
And were our father, and this sonne like him:
O old sir Robert Father, on my knee
I giue heauen thankes I was not like to thee
K.Iohn. Why what a mad-cap hath heauen lent vs here?
Elen. He hath a tricke of Cordelions face,
The accent of his tongue affecteth him:
Doe you not read some tokens of my sonne
In the large composition of this man?
K.Iohn. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
And findes them perfect Richard: sirra speake,
What doth moue you to claime your brothers land
Philip. Because he hath a half-face like my father?
With halfe that face would he haue all my land,
A halfe-fac'd groat, fiue hundred pound a yeere?
Rob. My gracious Liege, when that my father liu'd,
Your brother did imploy my father much
Phil. Well sir, by this you cannot get my land,
Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother
Rob. And once dispatch'd him in an Embassie
To Germany, there with the Emperor
To treat of high affaires touching that time:
Th' aduantage of his absence tooke the King,
And in the meane time soiourn'd at my fathers;
Where how he did preuaile, I shame to speake:
But truth is truth, large lengths of seas and shores
Betweene my father, and my mother lay,
As I haue heard my father speake himselfe
When this same lusty gentleman was got:
Vpon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd
His lands to me, and tooke it on his death
That this my mothers sonne was none of his;
And if he were, he came into the world
Full fourteene weekes before the course of time:
Then good my Liedge let me haue what is mine,
My fathers land, as was my fathers will
K.Iohn. Sirra, your brother is Legittimate,
Your fathers wife did after wedlocke beare him:
And if she did play false, the fault was hers,
Which fault lyes on the hazards of all husbands
That marry wiues: tell me, how if my brother
Who as you say, tooke paines to get this sonne,
Had of your father claim'd this sonne for his,
Insooth, good friend, your father might haue kept
This Calfe, bred from his Cow from all the world:
Insooth he might: then if he were my brothers,
My brother might not claime him, nor your father
Being none of his, refuse him: this concludes,
My mothers sonne did get your fathers heyre,
Your fathers heyre must haue your fathers land
Rob. Shal then my fathers Will be of no force,
To dispossesse that childe which is not his
Phil. Of no more force to dispossesse me sir,
Then was his will to get me, as I think
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge,
And like thy brother to enioy thy land:
Or the reputed sonne of Cordelion,
Lord of thy presence, and no land beside
Bast. Madam, and if my brother had my shape
And I had his, sir Roberts his like him,
And if my legs were two such riding rods,
My armes, such eele skins stuft, my face so thin,
That in mine eare I durst not sticke a rose,
Lest men should say, looke where three farthings goes,
And to his shape were heyre to all this land,
Would I might neuer stirre from off this place,
I would giue it euery foot to haue this face:
It would not be sir nobbe in any case
Elinor. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
I am a Souldier, and now bound to France
Bast. Brother, take you my land, Ile take my chance;
Your face hath got fiue hundred pound a yeere,
Yet sell your face for fiue pence and 'tis deere:
Madam, Ile follow you vnto the death
Elinor. Nay, I would haue you go before me thither
Bast. Our Country manners giue our betters way
K.Iohn. What is thy name?
Bast. Philip my Liege, so is my name begun,
Philip, good old Sir Roberts wiues eldest sonne
K.Iohn. From henceforth beare his name
Whose forme thou bearest:
Kneele thou downe Philip, but rise more great,
Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet
Bast. Brother by th' mothers side, giue me your hand,
My father gaue me honor, yours gaue land:
Now blessed be the houre by night or day
When I was got, Sir Robert was away
Ele. The very spirit of Plantaginet:
I am thy grandame Richard, call me so
Bast. Madam by chance, but not by truth, what tho;
Something about a little from the right,
In at the window, or else ore the hatch:
Who dares not stirre by day, must walke by night,
And haue is haue, how euer men doe catch:
Neere or farre off, well wonne is still well shot,
And I am I, how ere I was begot
K.Iohn. Goe, Faulconbridge, now hast thou thy desire,
A landlesse Knight, makes thee a landed Squire:
Come Madam, and come Richard, we must speed
For France, for France, for it is more then need
Bast. Brother adieu, good fortune come to thee,
For thou wast got i'th way of honesty.
Exeunt. all but bastard.
Bast. A foot of Honor better then I was,
But many a many foot of Land the worse.
Well, now can I make any Ioane a Lady,
Good den Sir Richard, Godamercy fellow,
And if his name be George, Ile call him Peter;
For new made honor doth forget mens names:
'Tis two respectiue, and too sociable
For your conuersion, now your traueller,
Hee and his tooth-picke at my worships messe,
And when my knightly stomacke is suffis'd,
Why then I sucke my teeth, and catechize
My picked man of Countries: my deare sir,
Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin,
I shall beseech you; that is question now,
And then comes answer like an Absey booke:
O sir, sayes answer, at your best command,
At your employment, at your seruice sir:
No sir, saies question, I sweet sir at yours,
And so ere answer knowes what question would,
Sauing in Dialogue of Complement,
And talking of the Alpes and Appenines,
The Perennean and the riuer Poe,
It drawes toward supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipfull society,
And fits the mounting spirit like my selfe;
For he is but a bastard to the time
That doth not smoake of obseruation,
And so am I whether I smacke or no:
And not alone in habit and deuice,
Exterior forme, outward accoutrement;
But from the inward motion to deliuer
Sweet, sweet, sweet poyson for the ages tooth,
Which though I will not practice to deceiue,
Yet to auoid deceit I meane to learne;
For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising:
But who comes in such haste in riding robes?
What woman post is this? hath she no husband
That will take paines to blow a horne before her?
O me, 'tis my mother: how now good Lady,
What brings you heere to Court so hastily?
Enter Lady Faulconbridge and Iames Gurney.
Lady. Where is that slaue thy brother? where is he?
That holds in chase mine honour vp and downe
Bast. My brother Robert, old Sir Roberts sonne:
Colbrand the Gyant, that same mighty man,
Is it Sir Roberts sonne that you seeke so?
Lady. Sir Roberts sonne, I thou vnreuerend boy,
Sir Roberts sonne? why scorn'st thou at sir Robert?
He is Sir Roberts sonne, and so art thou
Bast. Iames Gournie, wilt thou giue vs leaue a while?
Gour. Good leaue good Philip
Bast. Philip, sparrow, Iames,
There's toyes abroad, anon Ile tell thee more.
Madam, I was not old Sir Roberts sonne,
Sir Robert might haue eat his part in me
Vpon good Friday, and nere broke his fast:
Sir Robert could doe well, marrie to confesse
Could get me sir Robert could not doe it;
We know his handy-worke, therefore good mother
To whom am I beholding for these limmes?
Sir Robert neuer holpe to make this legge
Lady. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
That for thine owne gaine shouldst defend mine honor?
What meanes this scorne, thou most vntoward knaue?
Bast. Knight, knight good mother, Basilisco-like:
What, I am dub'd, I haue it on my shoulder:
But mother, I am not Sir Roberts sonne,
I haue disclaim'd Sir Robert and my land,
Legitimation, name, and all is gone;
Then good my mother, let me know my father,
Some proper man I hope, who was it mother?
Lady. Hast thou denied thy selfe a Faulconbridge?
Bast. As faithfully as I denie the deuill
Lady. King Richard Cordelion was thy father,
By long and vehement suit I was seduc'd
To make roome for him in my husbands bed:
Heauen lay not my transgression to my charge,
That art the issue of my deere offence
Which was so strongly vrg'd past my defence
Bast. Now by this light were I to get againe,
Madam I would not wish a better father:
Some sinnes doe beare their priuiledge on earth,
And so doth yours: your fault, was not your follie,
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
Subiected tribute to commanding loue,
Against whose furie and vnmatched force,
The awlesse Lion could not wage the fight,
Nor keepe his Princely heart from Richards hand:
He that perforce robs Lions of their hearts,
May easily winne a womans: aye my mother,
With all my heart I thanke thee for my father:
Who liues and dares but say, thou didst not well
When I was got, Ile send his soule to hell.
Come Lady I will shew thee to my kinne,
And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst sayd him nay, it had beene sinne;
Who sayes it was, he lyes, I say twas not.
Enter before Angiers, Philip King of France, Lewis, Daulphin,
Lewis. Before Angiers well met braue Austria,
Arthur that great fore-runner of thy bloud,
Richard that rob'd the Lion of his heart,
And fought the holy Warres in Palestine,
By this braue Duke came early to his graue:
And for amends to his posteritie,
At our importance hether is he come,
To spread his colours boy, in thy behalfe,
And to rebuke the vsurpation
Of thy vnnaturall Vncle, English Iohn,
Embrace him, loue him, giue him welcome hether
Arth. God shall forgiue you Cordelions death
The rather, that you giue his off-spring life,
Shadowing their right vnder your wings of warre:
I giue you welcome with a powerlesse hand,
But with a heart full of vnstained loue,
Welcome before the gates Angiers Duke
Lewis. A noble boy, who would not doe thee right?
Aust. Vpon thy cheeke lay I this zelous kisse,
As seale to this indenture of my loue:
That to my home I will no more returne
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
Whose foot spurnes backe the Oceans roaring tides,
And coopes from other lands her Ilanders,
Euen till that England hedg'd in with the maine,
That Water-walled Bulwarke, still secure
And confident from forreine purposes,
Euen till that vtmost corner of the West
Salute thee for her King, till then faire boy
Will I not thinke of home, but follow Armes
Const. O take his mothers thanks, a widdows thanks,
Till your strong hand shall helpe to giue him strength,
To make a more requitall to your loue
Aust. The peace of heauen is theirs y lift their swords
In such a iust and charitable warre
King. Well, then to worke our Cannon shall be bent
Against the browes of this resisting towne,
Call for our cheefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best aduantages:
Wee'll lay before this towne our Royal bones,
Wade to the market-place in French-mens bloud,
But we will make it subiect to this boy
Con. Stay for an answer to your Embassie,
Lest vnaduis'd you staine your swords with bloud,
My Lord Chattilion may from England bring
That right in peace which heere we vrge in warre,
And then we shall repent each drop of bloud,
That hot rash haste so indirectly shedde.
King. A wonder Lady: lo vpon thy wish
Our Messenger Chattilion is arriu'd,
What England saies, say breefely gentle Lord,
We coldly pause for thee, Chatilion speake,
Chat. Then turne your forces from this paltry siege,
And stirre them vp against a mightier taske:
England impatient of your iust demands,
Hath put himselfe in Armes, the aduerse windes
Whose leisure I haue staid, haue giuen him time
To land his Legions all as soone as I:
His marches are expedient to this towne,
His forces strong, his Souldiers confident:
With him along is come the Mother Queene,
An Ace stirring him to bloud and strife,
With her her Neece, the Lady Blanch of Spaine,
With them a Bastard of the Kings deceast,
And all th' vnsetled humors of the Land,
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
With Ladies faces, and fierce Dragons spleenes,
Haue sold their fortunes at their natiue homes,
Bearing their birth-rights proudly on their backs,
To make a hazard of new fortunes heere:
In briefe, a brauer choyse of dauntlesse spirits
Then now the English bottomes haue waft o're,
Did neuer flote vpon the swelling tide,
To doe offence and scathe in Christendome:
The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off more circumstance, they are at hand,
To parlie or to fight, therefore prepare
Kin. How much vnlook'd for, is this expedition
Aust. By how much vnexpected, by so much
We must awake indeuor for defence,
For courage mounteth with occasion,
Let them be welcome then, we are prepar'd.
Enter K[ing]. of England, Bastard, Queene, Blanch, Pembroke, and
K.Iohn. Peace be to France: If France in peace permit
Our iust and lineall entrance to our owne;
If not, bleede France, and peace ascend to heauen.
Whiles we Gods wrathfull agent doe correct
Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heauen
Fran. Peace be to England, if that warre returne
From France to England, there to liue in peace:
England we loue, and for that Englands sake,
With burden of our armor heere we sweat:
This toyle of ours should be a worke of thine;
But thou from louing England art so farre,
That thou hast vnder-wrought his lawfull King,
Cut off the sequence of posterity,
Out-faced Infant State, and done a rape
Vpon the maiden vertue of the Crowne:
Looke heere vpon thy brother Geffreyes face,
These eyes, these browes, were moulded out of his;
This little abstract doth containe that large,
Which died in Geffrey: and the hand of time,
Shall draw this breefe into as huge a volume:
That Geffrey was thy elder brother borne,
And this his sonne, England was Geffreys right,
And this is Geffreyes in the name of God:
How comes it then that thou art call'd a King,
When liuing blood doth in these temples beat
Which owe the crowne, that thou ore-masterest?
K.Iohn. From whom hast thou this great commission France,
To draw my answer from thy Articles?
Fra. Fro[m] that supernal Iudge that stirs good thoughts
In any breast of strong authoritie,
To looke into the blots and staines of right,
That Iudge hath made me guardian to this boy,
Vnder whose warrant I impeach thy wrong,
And by whose helpe I meane to chastise it
K.Iohn. Alack thou dost vsurpe authoritie
Fran. Excuse it is to beat vsurping downe
Queen. Who is it thou dost call vsurper France?
Const. Let me make answer: thy vsurping sonne
Queen. Out insolent, thy bastard shall be King,
That thou maist be a Queen, and checke the world
Con. My bed was euer to thy sonne as true
As thine was to thy husband, and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey
Then thou and Iohn, in manners being as like,
As raine to water, or deuill to his damme;
My boy a bastard? by my soule I thinke
His father neuer was so true begot,
It cannot be, and if thou wert his mother
Queen. Theres a good mother boy, that blots thy father
Const. There's a good grandame boy
That would blot thee
Bast. Heare the Cryer
Aust. What the deuill art thou?
Bast. One that wil play the deuill sir with you,
And a may catch your hide and you alone:
You are the Hare of whom the Prouerb goes
Whose valour plucks dead Lyons by the beard;
Ile smoake your skin-coat and I catch you right,
Sirra looke too't, yfaith I will, yfaith
Blan. O well did he become that Lyons robe,
That did disrobe the Lion of that robe
Bast. It lies as sightly on the backe of him
As great Alcides shooes vpon an Asse:
But Asse, Ile take that burthen from your backe,
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders cracke
Aust. What cracker is this same that deafes our eares
With this abundance of superfluous breath?
King Lewis, determine what we shall doe strait
Lew. Women & fooles, breake off your conference.
King Iohn, this is the very summe of all:
England and Ireland, Angiers, Toraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur doe I claime of thee:
Wilt thou resigne them, and lay downe thy Armes?
Iohn. My life as soone: I doe defie thee France,
Arthur of Britaine, yeeld thee to my hand,
And out of my deere loue Ile giue thee more,
Then ere the coward hand of France can win;
Submit thee boy
Queen. Come to thy grandame child
Cons. Doe childe, goe to yt grandame childe,
Giue grandame kingdome, and it grandame will
Giue yt a plum, a cherry, and a figge,
There's a good grandame
Arthur. Good my mother peace,
I would that I were low laid in my graue,
I am not worth this coyle that's made for me
Qu.Mo. His mother shames him so, poore boy hee weepes
Con. Now shame vpon you where she does or no,
His grandames wrongs, and not his mothers shames
Drawes those heauen-mouing pearles fro[m] his poor eies,
Which heauen shall take in nature of a fee:
I, with these Christall beads heauen shall be brib'd
To doe him Iustice, and reuenge on you
Qu. Thou monstrous slanderer of heauen and earth
Con. Thou monstrous Iniurer of heauen and earth,
Call not me slanderer, thou and thine vsurpe
The Dominations, Royalties, and rights
Of this oppressed boy; this is thy eldest sonnes sonne,
Infortunate in nothing but in thee:
Thy sinnes are visited in this poore childe,
The Canon of the Law is laide on him,
Being but the second generation
Remoued from thy sinne-conceiuing wombe
Iohn. Bedlam haue done
Con. I haue but this to say,
That he is not onely plagued for her sin,
But God hath made her sinne and her, the plague
On this remoued issue, plagued for her,
And with her plague her sinne: his iniury
Her iniurie the Beadle to her sinne,
All punish'd in the person of this childe,
And all for her, a plague vpon her
Que. Thou vnaduised scold, I can produce
A Will, that barres the title of thy sonne
Con. I who doubts that, a Will: a wicked will,
A womans will, a cankred Grandams will
Fra. Peace Lady, pause, or be more temperate,
It ill beseemes this presence to cry ayme
To these ill-tuned repetitions:
Some Trumpet summon hither to the walles
These men of Angiers, let vs heare them speake,
Whose title they admit, Arthurs or Iohns.
Trumpet sounds. Enter a Citizen vpon the walles.
Cit. Who is it that hath warn'd vs to the walles?
Fra. 'Tis France, for England
Iohn. England for it selfe:
You men of Angiers, and my louing subiects
Fra. You louing men of Angiers, Arthurs subiects,
Our Trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle
Iohn. For our aduantage, therefore heare vs first:
These flagges of France that are aduanced heere
Before the eye and prospect of your Towne,
Haue hither march'd to your endamagement.
The Canons haue their bowels full of wrath,
And ready mounted are they to spit forth
Their Iron indignation 'gainst your walles:
All preparation for a bloody siedge
And merciles proceeding, by these French.
Comfort your Citties eies, your winking gates:
And but for our approch, those sleeping stones,
That as a waste doth girdle you about
By the compulsion of their Ordinance,
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had bin dishabited, and wide hauocke made
For bloody power to rush vppon your peace.
But on the sight of vs your lawfull King,
Who painefully with much expedient march
Haue brought a counter-checke before your gates,
To saue vnscratch'd your Citties threatned cheekes:
Behold the French amaz'd vouchsafe a parle,
And now insteed of bulletts wrapt in fire
To make a shaking feuer in your walles,
They shoote but calme words, folded vp in smoake,
To make a faithlesse errour in your eares,
Which trust accordingly kinde Cittizens,
And let vs in. Your King, whose labour'd spirits
Fore-wearied in this action of swift speede,
Craues harbourage within your Citie walles
France. When I haue saide, make answer to vs both.
Loe in this right hand, whose protection
Is most diuinely vow'd vpon the right
Of him it holds, stands yong Plantagenet,
Sonne to the elder brother of this man,
And King ore him, and all that he enioyes:
For this downe-troden equity, we tread
In warlike march, these greenes before your Towne,
Being no further enemy to you
Then the constraint of hospitable zeale,
In the releefe of this oppressed childe,
Religiously prouokes. Be pleased then
To pay that dutie which you truly owe,
To him that owes it, namely, this yong Prince,
And then our Armes, like to a muzled Beare,
Saue in aspect, hath all offence seal'd vp:
Our Cannons malice vainly shall be spent
Against th' involnerable clouds of heauen,
And with a blessed and vn-vext retyre,
With vnhack'd swords, and Helmets all vnbruis'd,
We will beare home that lustie blood againe,
Which heere we came to spout against your Towne,
And leaue your children, wiues, and you in peace.
But if you fondly passe our proffer'd offer,
'Tis not the rounder of your old-fac'd walles,
Can hide you from our messengers of Warre,
Though all these English, and their discipline
Were harbour'd in their rude circumference:
Then tell vs, Shall your Citie call vs Lord,
In that behalfe which we haue challeng'd it?
Or shall we giue the signall to our rage,
And stalke in blood to our possession?
Cit. In breefe, we are the King of Englands subiects
For him, and in his right, we hold this Towne
Iohn. Acknowledge then the King, and let me in
Cit. That can we not: but he that proues the King
To him will we proue loyall, till that time
Haue we ramm'd vp our gates against the world
Iohn. Doth not the Crowne of England, prooue the
And if not that, I bring you Witnesses
Twice fifteene thousand hearts of Englands breed
Bast. Bastards and else
Iohn. To verifie our title with their liues
Fran. As many and as well-borne bloods as those
Bast. Some Bastards too
Fran. Stand in his face to contradict his claime
Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We for the worthiest hold the right from both
Iohn. Then God forgiue the sinne of all those soules,
That to their euerlasting residence,
Before the dew of euening fall, shall fleete
In dreadfull triall of our kingdomes King
Fran. Amen, Amen, mount Cheualiers to Armes
Bast. Saint George that swindg'd the Dragon,
And ere since sit's on's horsebacke at mine Hostesse dore
Teach vs some sence. Sirrah, were I at home
At your den sirrah, with your Lionnesse,
I would set an Oxe-head to your Lyons hide:
And make a monster of you
Aust. Peace, no more
Bast. O tremble: for you heare the Lyon rore
Iohn. Vp higher to the plaine, where we'l set forth
In best appointment all our Regiments
Bast. Speed then to take aduantage of the field
Fra. It shall be so, and at the other hill
Command the rest to stand, God and our right.
Heere after excursions, Enter the Herald of France with Trumpets to the gates.
F.Her. You men of Angiers open wide your gates,
And let yong Arthur Duke of Britaine in,
Who by the hand of France, this day hath made
Much worke for teares in many an English mother,
Whose sonnes lye scattered on the bleeding ground:
Many a widdowes husband groueling lies,
Coldly embracing the discoloured earth,
And victorie with little losse doth play
Vpon the dancing banners of the French,
Who are at hand triumphantly displayed
To enter Conquerors, and to proclaime
Arthur of Britaine, Englands King, and yours.
Enter English Herald with Trumpet.
E.Har. Reioyce you men of Angiers, ring your bels,
King Iohn, your king and Englands, doth approach,
Commander of this hot malicious day,
Their Armours that march'd hence so siluer bright,
Hither returne all gilt with Frenchmens blood:
There stucke no plume in any English Crest,
That is remoued by a staffe of France.
Our colours do returne in those same hands
That did display them when we first marcht forth:
And like a iolly troope of Huntsmen come
Our lustie English, all with purpled hands,
Dide in the dying slaughter of their foes,
Open your gates, and giue the Victors way
Hubert. Heralds, from off our towres we might behold
From first to last, the on-set and retyre:
Of both your Armies, whose equality
By our best eyes cannot be censured:
Blood hath bought blood, and blowes haue answerd blowes:
Strength matcht with strength, and power confronted
Both are alike, and both alike we like:
One must proue greatest. While they weigh so euen,
We hold our Towne for neither: yet for both.
Enter the two Kings with their powers, at seuerall doores.
Iohn. France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
Say, shall the currant of our right rome on,
Whose passage vext with thy impediment,
Shall leaue his natiue channell, and ore-swell
With course disturb'd euen thy confining shores,
Vnlesse thou let his siluer Water, keepe
A peacefull progresse to the Ocean
Fra. England thou hast not sau'd one drop of blood
In this hot triall more then we of France,
Rather lost more. And by this hand I sweare
That swayes the earth this Climate ouer-lookes,
Before we will lay downe our iust-borne Armes,
Wee'l put thee downe, 'gainst whom these Armes wee beare,
Or adde a royall number to the dead:
Gracing the scroule that tels of this warres losse,
With slaughter coupled to the name of kings
Bast. Ha Maiesty: how high thy glory towres,
When the rich blood of kings is set on fire:
Oh now doth death line his dead chaps with steele,
The swords of souldiers are his teeth, his phangs,
And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men
In vndetermin'd differences of kings.
Why stand these royall fronts amazed thus:
Cry hauocke kings, backe to the stained field
You equall Potents, fierie kindled spirits,
Then let confusion of one part confirm
The others peace: till then, blowes, blood, and death
Iohn. Whose party do the Townesmen yet admit?
Fra. Speake Citizens for England, whose your king
Hub. The king of England, when we know the king
Fra. Know him in vs, that heere hold vp his right
Iohn. In Vs, that are our owne great Deputie,
And beare possession of our Person heere,
Lord of our presence Angiers, and of you
Fra. A greater powre then We denies all this,
And till it be vndoubted, we do locke
Our former scruple in our strong barr'd gates:
Kings of our feare, vntill our feares resolu'd
Be by some certaine king, purg'd and depos'd
Bast. By heauen, these scroyles of Angiers flout you kings,
And stand securely on their battelments,
As in a Theater, whence they gape and point
At your industrious Scenes and acts of death.
Your Royall presences be rul'd by mee,
Do like the Mutines of Ierusalem,
Be friends a-while, and both conioyntly bend
Your sharpest Deeds of malice on this Towne.
By East and West let France and England mount.
Their battering Canon charged to the mouthes,
Till their soule-fearing clamours haue braul'd downe
The flintie ribbes of this contemptuous Citie,
I'de play incessantly vpon these Iades,
Euen till vnfenced desolation
Leaue them as naked as the vulgar ayre:
That done, disseuer your vnited strengths,
And part your mingled colours once againe,
Turne 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 fauour she shall giue the day,
And kisse him with a glorious victory:
How like you this wilde counsell mighty States,
Smackes it not something of the policie
Iohn. Now by the sky that hangs aboue our heads,
I like it well. France, shall we knit our powres,
And lay this Angiers euen 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 peeuish Towne:
Turne thou the mouth of thy Artillerie,
As we will ours, against these sawcie walles,
And when that we haue dash'd them to the ground,
Why then defie each other, and pell-mell,
Make worke vpon our selues, for heauen or hell
Fra. Let it be so: say, where will you assault?
Iohn. We from the West will send destruction
Into this Cities bosome
Aust. I from the North
Fran. Our Thunder from the South,
Shall raine their drift of bullets on this Towne
Bast. O prudent discipline! From North to South:
Austria and France shoot in each others mouth.
Ile stirre them to it: Come, away, away
Hub. Heare vs great kings, vouchsafe awhile to stay
And I shall shew you peace, and faire-fac'd league:
Win you this Citie without stroke, or wound,
Rescue those breathing liues to dye in beds,
That heere come sacrifices for the field.
Perseuer not, but heare me mighty kings
Iohn. Speake on with fauour, we are bent to heare
Hub. That daughter there of Spaine, the Lady Blanch
Is neere to England, looke vpon the yeeres
Of Lewes the Dolphin, and that louely maid.
If lustie loue should go in quest of beautie,
Where should he finde it fairer, then in Blanch:
If zealous loue should go in search of vertue,
Where should he finde it purer then in Blanch?
If loue ambitious, sought a match of birth,
Whose veines bound richer blood then Lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beautie, vertue, birth,
Is the yong Dolphin euery way compleat,
If not compleat of, say he is not shee,
And she againe wants nothing, to name want,
If want it be not, that she is not hee.
He is the halfe part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as shee,
And she a faire diuided excellence,
Whose fulnesse of perfection lyes in him.
O two such siluer currents when they ioyne
Do glorifie the bankes that bound them in:
And two such shores, to two such streames made one,
Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
To these two Princes, if you marrie them:
This Vnion shall do more then batterie can
To our fast closed gates: for at this match,
With swifter spleene then powder can enforce
The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
And giue you entrance: but without this match,
The sea enraged is not halfe so deafe,
Lyons more confident, Mountaines and rockes
More free from motion, no not death himselfe
In mortall furie halfe so peremptorie,
As we to keepe this Citie
Bast. Heeres a stay,
That shakes the rotten carkasse of old death
Out of his ragges. Here's a large mouth indeede,
That spits forth death, and mountaines, rockes, and seas,
Talkes as familiarly of roaring Lyons,
As maids of thirteene do of puppi-dogges.
What Cannoneere begot this lustie blood,
He speakes plaine Cannon fire, and smoake, and bounce,
He giues the bastinado with his tongue:
Our eares are cudgel'd, not a word of his
But buffets better then a fist of France:
Zounds, I was neuer so bethumpt with words,
Since I first cal'd my brothers father Dad
Old Qu. Son, list to this coniunction, make this match
Giue with our Neece a dowrie large enough,
For by this knot, thou shalt so surely tye
Thy now vnsur'd assurance to the Crowne,
That yon greene boy shall haue no Sunne to ripe
The bloome that promiseth a mightie fruite.
I see a yeelding in the lookes of France:
Marke how they whisper, vrge them while their soules
Are capeable of this ambition,
Least zeale now melted by the windie breath
Of soft petitions, pittie and remorse,
Coole and congeale againe to what it was
Hub. Why answer not the double Maiesties,
This friendly treatie of our threatned Towne
Fra. Speake England first, that hath bin forward first
To speake vnto this Cittie: what say you?
Iohn. If that the Dolphin there thy Princely sonne,
Can in this booke of beautie read, I loue:
Her Dowrie shall weigh equall with a Queene:
For Angiers, and faire Toraine Maine, Poyctiers,
And all that we vpon this side the Sea,
(Except this Cittie now by vs besiedg'd)
Finde liable to our Crowne and Dignitie,
Shall gild her bridall bed and make her rich
In titles, honors, and promotions,
As she in beautie, education, blood,
Holdes hand with any Princesse of the world
Fra. What sai'st thou boy? looke in the Ladies face
Dol. I do my Lord, and in her eie I find
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of my selfe form'd in her eye,
Which being but the shadow of your sonne,
Becomes a sonne and makes your sonne a shadow:
I do protest I neuer lou'd my selfe
Till now, infixed I beheld my selfe,
Drawne in the flattering table of her eie.
Whispers with Blanch.
Bast. Drawne in the flattering table of her eie,
Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow,
And quarter'd in her heart, hee doth espie
Himselfe loues traytor, this is pittie now;
That hang'd, and drawne, and quarter'd there should be
In such a loue, so vile a Lout as he
Blan. My vnckles will in this respect is mine,
If he see ought in you that makes him like,
That any thing he see's which moues his liking,
I can with ease translate it to my will:
Or if you will, to speake more properly,
I will enforce it easlie to my loue.
Further I will not flatter you, my Lord,
That all I see in you is worthie loue,
Then this, that nothing do I see in you,
Though churlish thoughts themselues should bee your
That I can finde, should merit any hate
Iohn. What saie these yong-ones? What say you my
Blan. That she is bound in honor still to do
What you in wisedome still vouchsafe to say
Iohn. Speake then Prince Dolphin, can you loue this
Dol. Nay aske me if I can refraine from loue,
For I doe loue her most vnfainedly
Iohn. Then I doe giue Volquessen, Toraine, Maine,
Poyctiers and Aniow, these fiue Prouinces
With her to thee, and this addition more,
Full thirty thousand Markes of English coyne:
Phillip of France, if thou be pleas'd withall,
Command thy sonne and daughter to ioyne hands
Fra. It likes vs well young Princes: close your hands
Aust. And your lippes too, for I am well assur'd,
That I did so when I was first assur'd
Fra. Now Cittizens of Angires ope your gates,
Let in that amitie which you haue made,
For at Saint Maries Chappell presently,
The rights of marriage shallbe solemniz'd.
Is not the Ladie Constance in this troope?
I know she is not for this match made vp,
Her presence would haue interrupted much.
Where is she and her sonne, tell me, who knowes?
Dol. She is sad and passionate at your highnes Tent
Fra. And by my faith, this league that we haue made
Will giue her sadnesse very little cure:
Brother of England, how may we content
This widdow Lady? In her right we came,
Which we God knowes, haue turn'd another way,
To our owne vantage
Iohn. We will heale vp all,
For wee'l create yong Arthur Duke of Britaine
And Earle of Richmond, and this rich faire Towne
We make him Lord of. Call the Lady Constance,
Some speedy Messenger bid her repaire
To our solemnity: I trust we shall,
(If not fill vp the measure of her will)
Yet in some measure satisfie her so,
That we shall stop her exclamation,
Go we as well as hast will suffer vs,
To this vnlook'd for vnprepared pompe.
Bast. Mad world, mad kings, mad composition:
Iohn to stop Arthurs Title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part,
And France, whose armour Conscience buckled on,
Whom zeale and charitie brought to the field,
As Gods owne souldier, rounded in the eare,
With that same purpose-changer, that slye diuel,
That Broker, that still breakes the pate of faith,
That dayly breake-vow, he that winnes of all,
Of kings, of beggers, old men, yong men, maids,
Who hauing no externall thing to loose,
But the word Maid, cheats the poore Maide of that.
That smooth-fac'd Gentleman, tickling commoditie,
Commoditie, the byas of the world,
The world, who of it selfe is peysed well,
Made to run euen, vpon euen ground;
Till this aduantage, this vile drawing byas,
This sway of motion, this commoditie,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent.
And this same byas, this Commoditie,
This Bawd, this Broker, this all-changing-word,
Clap'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawne him from his owne determin'd ayd,
From a resolu'd and honourable warre,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rayle I on this Commoditie?
But for because he hath not wooed me yet:
Not that I haue the power to clutch my hand,
When his faire Angels would salute my palme,
But for my hand, as vnattempted yet,
Like a poore begger, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a begger, I will raile,
And say there is no sin but to be rich:
And being rich, my vertue then shall be,
To say there is no vice, but beggerie:
Since Kings breake faith vpon commoditie,
Gaine be my Lord, for I will worship thee.
Enter Constance, Arthur, and Salisbury.
Con. Gone to be married? Gone to sweare a peace?
False blood to false blood ioyn'd. Gone to be freinds?
Shall Lewis haue Blaunch, and Blaunch those Prouinces?
It is not so, thou hast mispoke, misheard,
Be well aduis'd, tell ore thy tale againe.
It cannot be, thou do'st but say 'tis so.
I trust I may not trust thee, for thy word
Is but the vaine breath of a common man:
Beleeue me, I doe not beleeue thee man,
I haue a Kings oath to the contrarie.
Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me,
For I am sicke, and capeable of feares,
Opprest with wrongs, and therefore full of feares,
A widdow, husbandles, subiect to feares,
A woman naturally borne to feares;
And though thou now confesse thou didst but iest
With my vext spirits, I cannot take a Truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day.
What dost thou meane by shaking of thy head?
Why dost thou looke so sadly on my sonne?
What meanes that hand vpon that breast of thine?
Why holdes thine eie that lamentable rhewme,
Like a proud riuer peering ore his bounds?
Be these sad signes confirmers of thy words?
Then speake againe, not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true
Sal. As true as I beleeue you thinke them false,
That giue you cause to proue my saying true
Con. Oh if thou teach me to beleeue this sorrow,
Teach thou this sorrow, how to make me dye,
And let beleefe, and life encounter so,
As doth the furie of two desperate men,
Which in the very meeting fall, and dye.
Lewes marry Blaunch? O boy, then where art thou?
France friend with England, what becomes of me?
Fellow be gone: I cannot brooke thy sight,
This newes hath made thee a most vgly man
Sal. What other harme haue I good Lady done,
But spoke the harme, that is by others done?
Con. Which harme within it selfe so heynous is,
As it makes harmefull all that speake of it
Ar. I do beseech you Madam be content
Con. If thou that bidst me be content, wert grim
Vgly, and slandrous to thy Mothers wombe,
Full of vnpleasing blots, and sightlesse staines,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foule Moles, and eye-offending markes,
I would not care, I then would be content,
For then I should not loue thee: no, nor thou
Become thy great birth, nor deserue a Crowne.
But thou art faire, and at thy birth (deere boy)
Nature and Fortune ioyn'd to make thee great.
Of Natures guifts, thou mayst with Lillies boast,
And with the halfe-blowne Rose. But Fortune, oh,
She is corrupted, chang'd, and wonne from thee,
Sh' adulterates hourely with thine Vnckle Iohn,
And with her golden hand hath pluckt on France
To tread downe faire respect of Soueraigntie,
And made his Maiestie the bawd to theirs.
France is a Bawd to Fortune, and king Iohn,
That strumpet Fortune, that vsurping Iohn:
Tell me thou fellow, is not France forsworne?
Envenom him with words, or get thee gone,
And leaue those woes alone, which I alone
Am bound to vnder-beare
Sal. Pardon me Madam,
I may not goe without you to the kings
Con. Thou maist, thou shalt, I will not go with thee,
I will instruct my sorrowes to bee proud,
For greefe is proud, and makes his owner stoope,
To me and to the state of my great greefe,
Lets kings assemble: for my greefe's so great,
That no supporter but the huge firme earth
Can hold it vp: here I and sorrowes sit,
Heere is my Throne bid kings come bow to it.
Actus Tertius, Scaena prima.
Enter King Iohn, France, Dolphin, Blanch, Elianor, Philip, Austria,
Fran. 'Tis true (faire daughter) and this blessed day,
Euer in France shall be kept festiuall:
To solemnize this day the glorious sunne
Stayes in his course, and playes the Alchymist,
Turning with splendor of his precious eye
The meager cloddy earth to glittering gold:
The yearely course that brings this day about,
Shall neuer see it, but a holy day
Const. A wicked day, and not a holy day.
What hath this day deseru'd? what hath it done,
That it in golden letters should be set
Among the high tides in the Kalender?
Nay, rather turne this day out of the weeke,
This day of shame, oppression, periury.
Or if it must stand still, let wiues with childe
Pray that their burthens may not fall this day,
Lest that their hopes prodigiously be crost:
But (on this day) let Sea-men feare no wracke,
No bargaines breake that are not this day made;
This day all things begun, come to ill end,
Yea, faith it selfe to hollow falshood change
Fra. By heauen Lady, you shall haue no cause
To curse the faire proceedings of this day:
Haue I not pawn'd to you my Maiesty?
Const. You haue beguil'd me with a counterfeit
Resembling Maiesty, which being touch'd and tride,
Proues valuelesse: you are forsworne, forsworne,
You came in Armes to spill mine enemies bloud,
But now in Armes, you strengthen it with yours.
The grapling vigor, and rough frowne of Warre
Is cold in amitie, and painted peace,
And our oppression hath made vp this league:
Arme, arme, you heauens, against these periur'd Kings,
A widdow cries, be husband to me (heauens)
Let not the howres of this vngodly day
Weare out the daies in Peace; but ere Sun-set,
Set armed discord 'twixt these periur'd Kings,
Heare me, Oh, heare me
Aust. Lady Constance, peace
Const. War, war, no peace, peace is to me a warre:
O Lymoges, O Austria, thou dost shame
That bloudy spoyle: thou slaue, thou wretch, y coward,
Thou little valiant, great in villanie,
Thou euer strong vpon the stronger side;
Thou Fortunes Champion, that do'st neuer fight
But when her humourous Ladiship is by
To teach thee safety: thou art periur'd too,
And sooth'st vp greatnesse. What a foole art thou,
A ramping foole, to brag, and stamp, and sweare,
Vpon my partie: thou cold blooded slaue,
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
Beene sworne my Souldier, bidding me depend
Vpon thy starres, thy fortune, and thy strength,
And dost thou now fall ouer to my foes?
Thou weare a Lyons hide, doff it for shame,
And hang a Calues skin on those recreant limbes
Aus. O that a man should speake those words to me
Phil. And hang a Calues-skin on those recreant limbs
Aus. Thou dar'st not say so villaine for thy life
Phil. And hang a Calues-skin on those recreant limbs
Iohn. We like not this, thou dost forget thy selfe.
Fra. Heere comes the holy Legat of the Pope
Pan. Haile you annointed deputies of heauen;
To thee King Iohn my holy errand is:
I Pandulph, of faire Millane Cardinall,
And from Pope Innocent the Legate heere,
Doe in his name religiously demand
Why thou against the Church, our holy Mother,
So wilfully dost spurne; and force perforce
Keepe Stephen Langton chosen Archbishop
Of Canterbury from that holy Sea:
This in our foresaid holy Fathers name
Pope Innocent, I doe demand of thee
Iohn. What earthie name to Interrogatories
Can tast the free breath of a sacred King?
Thou canst not (Cardinall) deuise a name
So slight, vnworthy, and ridiculous
To charge me to an answere, as the Pope:
Tell him this tale, and from the mouth of England,
Adde thus much more, that no Italian Priest
Shall tythe or toll in our dominions:
But as we, vnder heauen, are supreame head,
So vnder him that great supremacy
Where we doe reigne, we will alone vphold
Without th' assistance of a mortall hand:
So tell the Pope, all reuerence set apart
To him and his vsurp'd authoritie
Fra. Brother of England, you blaspheme in this
Iohn. Though you, and all the Kings of Christendom
Are led so grossely by this medling Priest,
Dreading the curse that money may buy out,
And by the merit of vilde gold, drosse, dust,
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
Who in that sale sels pardon from himselfe:
Though you, and al the rest so grossely led,
This iugling witchcraft with reuennue cherish,
Yet I alone, alone doe me oppose
Against the Pope, and count his friends my foes
Pand. Then by the lawfull power that I haue,
Thou shalt stand curst, and excommunicate,
And blessed shall he be that doth reuolt
From his Allegeance to an heretique,
And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
Canonized and worship'd as a Saint,
That takes away by any secret course
Thy hatefull life
Con. O lawfull let it be
That I haue roome with Rome to curse a while,
Good Father Cardinall, cry thou Amen
To my keene curses; for without my wrong
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right
Pan. There's Law and Warrant (Lady) for my curse
Cons. And for mine too, when Law can do no right.
Let it be lawfull, that Law barre no wrong:
Law cannot giue my childe his kingdome heere;
For he that holds his Kingdome, holds the Law:
Therefore since Law it selfe is perfect wrong,
How can the Law forbid my tongue to curse?
Pand. Philip of France, on perill of a curse,
Let goe the hand of that Arch-heretique,
And raise the power of France vpon his head,
Vnlesse he doe submit himselfe to Rome
Elea. Look'st thou pale France? do not let go thy hand
Con. Looke to that Deuill, lest that France repent,
And by disioyning hands hell lose a soule
Aust. King Philip, listen to the Cardinall
Bast. And hang a Calues-skin on his recreant limbs
Aust. Well ruffian, I must pocket vp these wrongs,
Bast. Your breeches best may carry them
Iohn. Philip, what saist thou to the Cardinall?
Con. What should he say, but as the Cardinall?
Dolph. Bethinke you father, for the difference
Is purchase of a heauy curse from Rome,
Or the light losse of England, for a friend:
Forgoe the easier
Bla. That's the curse of Rome
Con. O Lewis, stand fast, the deuill tempts thee heere
In likenesse of a new vntrimmed Bride
Bla. The Lady Constance speakes not from her faith,
But from her need
Con. Oh, if thou grant my need,
Which onely liues but by the death of faith,
That need, must needs inferre this principle,
That faith would liue againe by death of need:
O then tread downe my need, and faith mounts vp,
Keepe my need vp, and faith is trodden downe
Iohn. The king is moud, and answers not to this
Con. O be remou'd from him, and answere well
Aust. Doe so king Philip, hang no more in doubt
Bast. Hang nothing but a Calues skin most sweet lout
Fra. I am perplext, and know not what to say
Pan. What canst thou say, but wil perplex thee more?
If thou stand excommunicate, and curst?
Fra. Good reuerend father, make my person yours,
And tell me how you would bestow your selfe?
This royall hand and mine are newly knit,
And the coniunction of our inward soules
Married in league, coupled, and link'd together
With all religous strength of sacred vowes,
The latest breath that gaue the sound of words
Was deepe-sworne faith, peace, amity, true loue
Betweene our kingdomes and our royall selues,
And euen before this truce, but new before,
No longer then we well could wash our hands,
To clap this royall bargaine vp of peace,
Heauen knowes they were besmear'd and ouer-staind
With slaughters pencill; where reuenge did paint
The fearefull difference of incensed kings:
And shall these hands so lately purg'd of bloud?
So newly ioyn'd in loue? so strong in both,
Vnyoke this seysure, and this kinde regreete?
Play fast and loose with faith? so iest with heauen,
Make such vnconstant children of our selues
As now againe to snatch our palme from palme:
Vn-sweare faith sworne, and on the marriage bed
Of smiling peace to march a bloody hoast,
And make a ryot on the gentle brow
Of true sincerity? O holy Sir
My reuerend father, let it not be so;
Out of your grace, deuise, ordaine, impose
Some gentle order, and then we shall be blest
To doe your pleasure, and continue friends
Pand. All forme is formelesse, Order orderlesse,
Saue what is opposite to Englands loue.
Therefore to Armes, be Champion of our Church,
Or let the Church our mother breathe her curse,
A mothers curse, on her reuolting sonne:
France, thou maist hold a serpent by the tongue,
A cased Lion by the mortall paw,
A fasting Tyger safer by the tooth,
Then keepe in peace that hand which thou dost hold
Fra. I may dis-ioyne my hand, but not my faith
Pand. So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith,
And like a ciuill warre setst oath to oath,
Thy tongue against thy tongue. O let thy vow
First made to heauen, first be to heauen perform'd,
That is, to be the Champion of our Church,
What since thou sworst, is sworne against thy selfe,
And may not be performed by thy selfe,
For that which thou hast sworne to doe amisse,
Is not amisse when it is truely done:
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then most done not doing it:
The better Act of purposes mistooke,
Is to mistake again, though indirect,
Yet indirection thereby growes direct,
And falshood, falshood cures, as fire cooles fire
Within the scorched veines of one new burn'd:
It is religion that doth make vowes kept,
But thou hast sworne against religion:
By what thou swear'st against the thing thou swear'st,
And mak'st an oath the suretie for thy truth,
Against an oath the truth, thou art vnsure
To sweare, sweares onely not to be forsworne,
Else what a mockerie should it be to sweare?
But thou dost sweare, onely to be forsworne,
And most forsworne, to keepe what thou dost sweare,
Therefore thy later vowes, against thy first,
Is in thy selfe rebellion to thy selfe:
And better conquest neuer canst thou make,
Then arme thy constant and thy nobler parts
Against these giddy loose suggestions:
Vpon which better part, our prayrs come in,
If thou vouchsafe them. But if not, then know
The perill of our curses light on thee
So heauy, as thou shalt not shake them off
But in despaire, dye vnder their blacke weight
Aust. Rebellion, flat rebellion
Bast. Wil't not be?
Will not a Calues-skin stop that mouth of thine?
Daul. Father, to Armes
Blanch. Vpon 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
Clamors of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband heare me: aye, alacke, how new
Is husband in my mouth? euen for that name
Which till this time my tongue did nere pronounce;
Vpon my knee I beg, goe not to Armes
Against mine Vncle
Const. O, vpon my knee made hard with kneeling,
I doe pray to thee, thou vertuous Daulphin,
Alter not the doome fore-thought by heauen
Blan. Now shall I see thy loue, what motiue may
Be stronger with thee, then the name of wife?
Con. That which vpholdeth him, that thee vpholds,
His Honor, Oh thine Honor, Lewis thine Honor
Dolph. I muse your Maiesty doth seeme so cold,
When such profound respects doe pull you on?
Pand. I will denounce a curse vpon his head
Fra. Thou shalt not need. England, I will fall fro[m] thee
Const. O faire returne of banish'd Maiestie
Elea. O foule reuolt of French inconstancy
Eng. France, y shalt rue this houre within this houre
Bast. Old Time the clocke setter, y bald sexton Time:
Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue
Bla. The Sun's orecast with bloud: faire day adieu,
Which is the side that I must goe withall?
I am with both, each Army hath a hand,
And in their rage, I hauing hold of both,
They whurle a-sunder, and dismember mee.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou maist winne:
Vncle, I needs must pray that thou maist lose:
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine:
Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thriue:
Who-euer wins, on that side shall I lose:
Assured losse, before the match be plaid
Dolph. Lady, with me, with me thy fortune lies
Bla. There where my fortune liues, there my life dies
Iohn. Cosen, goe draw our puisance together,
France, I am burn'd vp with inflaming wrath,
A rage, whose heat hath this condition;
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
The blood and deerest valued bloud of France
Fra. Thy rage shall burne thee vp, & thou shalt turne
To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
Looke to thy selfe, thou art in ieopardie
Iohn. No more then he that threats. To Arms let's hie.
Allarums, Excursions: Enter Bastard with Austria's head.
Bast. Now by my life, this day grows wondrous hot,
Some ayery Deuill houers in the skie,
And pour's downe mischiefe. Austrias head lye there,
Enter Iohn, Arthur, Hubert.
While Philip breathes
Iohn. Hubert, keepe this boy: Philip make vp,
My Mother is assayled in our Tent,
And tane I feare
Bast. My Lord I rescued her,
Her Highnesse is in safety, feare you not:
But on my Liege, for very little paines
Will bring this labor to an happy end.
Alarums, excursions, Retreat. Enter Iohn, Eleanor, Arthur Bastard,
Iohn. So shall it be: your Grace shall stay behinde
So strongly guarded: Cosen, looke not sad,
Thy Grandame loues thee, and thy Vnkle will
As deere be to thee, as thy father was
Arth. O this will make my mother die with griefe
Iohn. Cosen away for England, haste before,
And ere our comming see thou shake the bags
Of hoording Abbots, imprisoned angells
Set at libertie: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry now be fed vpon:
Vse our Commission in his vtmost force
Bast. Bell, Booke, & Candle, shall not driue me back,
When gold and siluer becks me to come on.
I leaue your highnesse: Grandame, I will pray
(If euer I remember to be holy)
For your faire safety: so I kisse your hand
Ele. Farewell gentle Cosen
Iohn. Coz, farewell
Ele. Come hether little kinsman, harke, a worde
Iohn. Come hether Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much: within this wall of flesh
There is a soule counts thee her Creditor,
And with aduantage meanes to pay thy loue:
And my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Liues in this bosome, deerely cherished.
Giue me thy hand, I had a thing to say,
But I will fit it with some better tune.
By heauen Hubert, I am almost asham'd
To say what good respect I haue of thee
Hub. I am much bounden to your Maiesty
Iohn. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet,
But thou shalt haue: and creepe time nere so slow,
Yet it shall come, for me to doe thee good.
I had a thing to say, but let it goe:
The Sunne is in the heauen, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawdes
To giue me audience: If the mid-night bell
Did with his yron tongue, and brazen mouth
Sound on into the drowzie race of night:
If this same were a Church-yard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs:
Or if that surly spirit melancholy
Had bak'd thy bloud, and made it heauy, thicke,
Which else runnes tickling vp and downe the veines,
Making that idiot laughter keepe mens eyes,
And straine their cheekes to idle merriment,
A passion hatefull to my purposes:
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Heare me without thine eares, and make reply
Without a tongue, vsing conceit alone,
Without eyes, eares, and harmefull sound of words:
Then, in despight of brooded watchfull day,
I would into thy bosome poure my thoughts:
But (ah) I will not, yet I loue thee well,
And by my troth I thinke thou lou'st me well
Hub. So well, that what you bid me vndertake,
Though that my death were adiunct to my Act,
By heauen I would doe it
Iohn. Doe not I know thou wouldst?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert throw thine eye
On yon young boy: Ile tell thee what my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way,
And wheresoere this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me: dost thou vnderstand me?
Thou art his keeper
Hub. And Ile keepe him so,
That he shall not offend your Maiesty
Hub. My Lord
Iohn. A Graue
Hub. He shall not liue
I could be merry now, Hubert, I loue thee.
Well, Ile not say what I intend for thee:
Remember: Madam, Fare you well,
Ile send those powers o're to your Maiesty
Ele. My blessing goe with thee
Iohn. For England Cosen, goe.
Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With al true duetie: On toward Callice, hoa.
Enter France, Dolphin, Pandulpho, Attendants.
Fra. So by a roaring Tempest on the flood,
A whole Armado of conuicted saile
Is scattered and dis-ioyn'd from fellowship
Pand. Courage and comfort, all shall yet goe well
Fra. What can goe well, when we haue runne so ill?
Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
Arthur tane prisoner? diuers deere friends slaine?
And bloudy England into England gone,
Ore-bearing interruption spight of France?
Dol. What he hath won, that hath he fortified:
So hot a speed, with such aduice dispos'd,
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,
Doth want example: who hath read, or heard
Of any kindred-action like to this?
Fra. Well could I beare that England had this praise,
So we could finde some patterne of our shame:
Looke who comes heere? a graue vnto a soule,
Holding th' eternall spirit against her will,
In the vilde prison of afflicted breath:
I prethee Lady goe away with me
Con. Lo; now: now see the issue of your peace
Fra. Patience good Lady, comfort gentle Constance
Con. No, I defie all Counsell, all redresse,
But that which ends all counsell, true Redresse:
Death, death, O amiable, louely death,
Thou odoriferous stench: sound rottennesse,
Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperitie,
And I will kisse thy detestable bones,
And put my eye-balls in thy vaultie browes,
And ring these fingers with thy houshold wormes,
And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust,
And be a Carrion Monster like thy selfe;
Come, grin on me, and I will thinke thou smil'st,
And busse thee as thy wife: Miseries Loue,
O come to me
Fra. O faire affliction, peace
Con. No, no, I will not, hauing breath to cry:
O that my tongue were in the thunders mouth,
Then with a passion would I shake the world,
And rowze from sleepe that fell Anatomy
Which cannot heare a Ladies feeble voyce,
Which scornes a moderne Inuocation
Pand. Lady, you vtter madnesse, and not sorrow
Con. Thou art holy to belye me so,
I am not mad: this haire I teare is mine,
My name is Constance, I was Geffreyes wife,
Yong Arthur is my sonne, and he is lost:
I am not mad, I would to heauen I were,
For then 'tis like I should forget my selfe:
O, if I could, what griefe should I forget?
Preach some Philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be Canoniz'd (Cardinall.)
For, being not mad, but sensible of greefe,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliuer'd of these woes.
And teaches mee to kill or hang my selfe:
If I were mad, I should forget my sonne,
Or madly thinke a babe of clowts were he;
I am not mad: too well, too well I feele
The different plague of each calamitie
Fra. Binde vp those tresses: O what loue I note
In the faire multitude of those her haires;
Where but by chance a siluer drop hath falne,
Euen to that drop ten thousand wiery fiends
Doe glew themselues in sociable griefe,
Like true, inseparable, faithfull loues,
Sticking together in calamitie
Con. To England, if you will
Fra. Binde vp your haires
Con. Yes that I will: and wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds, and cride aloud,
O, that these hands could so redeeme my sonne,
As they haue giuen these hayres their libertie:
But now I enuie at their libertie,
And will againe commit them to their bonds,
Because my poore childe is a prisoner.
And Father Cardinall, I haue heard you say
That we shall see and know our friends in heauen:
If that be true, I shall see my boy againe;
For since the birth of Caine, the first male-childe
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature borne:
But now will Canker-sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the natiue beauty from his cheeke,
And he will looke as hollow as a Ghost,
As dim and meager as an Agues fitte,
And so hee'll dye: and rising so againe,
When I shall meet him in the Court of heauen
I shall not know him: therefore neuer, neuer
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more
Pand. You hold too heynous a respect of greefe
Const. He talkes to me, that neuer had a sonne
Fra. You are as fond of greefe, as of your childe
Con. Greefe fils the roome vp of my absent childe:
Lies in his bed, walkes vp and downe with me,
Puts on his pretty lookes, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffes out his vacant garments with his forme;
Then, haue I reason to be fond of griefe?
Fareyouwell: had you such a losse as I,
I could giue better comfort then you doe.
I will not keepe this forme vpon my head,
When there is such disorder in my witte:
O Lord, my boy, my Arthur, my faire sonne,
My life, my ioy, my food, my all the world:
My widow-comfort, and my sorrowes cure.
Fra. I feare some out-rage, and Ile follow her.
Dol. There's nothing in this world can make me ioy,
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull eare of a drowsie man;
And bitter shame hath spoyl'd the sweet words taste,
That it yeelds nought but shame and bitternesse
Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Euen in the instant of repaire and health,
The fit is strongest: Euils that take leaue
On their departure, most of all shew euill:
What haue you lost by losing of this day?
Dol. All daies of glory, ioy, and happinesse
Pan. If you had won it, certainely you had.
No, no: when Fortune meanes to men most good,
Shee lookes vpon them with a threatning eye:
'Tis strange to thinke how much King Iohn hath lost
In this which he accounts so clearely wonne:
Are not you grieu'd that Arthur is his prisoner?
Dol. As heartily as he is glad he hath him
Pan. Your minde is all as youthfull as your blood.
Now heare me speake with a propheticke spirit:
For euen the breath of what I meane to speake,
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foote to Englands Throne. And therefore marke:
Iohn hath seiz'd Arthur, and it cannot be,
That whiles warme life playes in that infants veines,
The mis-plac'dIohn should entertaine an houre,
One minute, nay one quiet breath of rest.
A Scepter snatch'd with an vnruly hand,
Must be as boysterously maintain'd as gain'd.
And he that stands vpon a slipp'ry place,
Makes nice of no vilde hold to stay him vp:
That Iohn may stand, then Arthur needs must fall,
So be it, for it cannot be but so
Dol. But what shall I gaine by yong Arthurs fall?
Pan. You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife,
May then make all the claime that Arthur did
Dol. And loose it, life and all, as Arthur did
Pan. How green you are, and fresh in this old world?
Iohn layes you plots: the times conspire with you,
For he that steepes his safetie in true blood,
Shall finde but bloodie safety, and vntrue.
This Act so euilly borne shall coole the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze vp their zeale,
That none so small aduantage shall step forth
To checke his reigne, but they will cherish it.
No naturall exhalation in the skie,
No scope of Nature, no distemper'd day,
No common winde, no customed euent,
But they will plucke away his naturall cause,
And call them Meteors, prodigies, and signes,
Abbortiues, presages, and tongues of heauen,
Plainly denouncing vengeance vpon Iohn
Dol. May be he will not touch yong Arthurs life,
But hold himselfe safe in his prisonment
Pan. O Sir, when he shall heare of your approach,
If that yong Arthur be not gone alreadie,
Euen at that newes he dies: and then the hearts
Of all his people shall reuolt from him,
And kisse the lippes of vnacquainted change,
And picke strong matter of reuolt, and wrath
Out of the bloody fingers ends of Iohn.
Me thinkes I see this hurley all on foot;
And O, what better matter breeds for you,
Then I haue nam'd. The Bastard Falconbridge
Is now in England ransacking the Church,
Offending Charity: If but a dozen French
Were there in Armes, they would be as a Call
To traine ten thousand English to their side;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a Mountaine. O noble Dolphine,
Go with me to the King, 'tis wonderfull,
What may be wrought out of their discontent,
Now that their soules are topfull of offence,
For England go; I will whet on the King
Dol. Strong reasons makes strange actions: let vs go,
If you say I, the King will not say no.
Actus Quartus, Scaena prima.
Enter Hubert and Executioners.
Hub. Heate me these Irons hot, and looke thou stand
Within the Arras: when I strike my foot
Vpon the bosome of the ground, rush forth
And binde the boy, which you shall finde with me
Fast to the chaire: be heedfull: hence, and watch
Exec. I hope your warrant will beare out the deed
Hub. Vncleanly scruples feare not you: looke too't.
Yong Lad come forth; I haue to say with you.
Ar. Good morrow Hubert
Hub. Good morrow, little Prince
Ar. As little Prince, hauing so great a Title
To be more Prince, as may be: you are sad
Hub. Indeed I haue beene merrier
Art. 'Mercie on me:
Me thinkes no body should be sad but I:
Yet I remember, when I was in France,
Yong Gentlemen would be as sad as night
Onely for wantonnesse: by my Christendome,
So I were out of prison, and kept Sheepe
I should be as merry as the day is long:
And so I would be heere, but that I doubt
My Vnckle practises more harme to me:
He is affraid of me, and I of him:
Is it my fault, that I was Geffreyes sonne?
No in deede is't not: and I would to heauen
I were your sonne, so you would loue me, Hubert:
Hub. If I talke to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercie, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sodaine, and dispatch
Ar. Are you sicke Hubert? you looke pale to day,
Insooth I would you were a little sicke,
That I might sit all night, and watch with you.
I warrant I loue you more then you do me
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosome.
Reade heere yong Arthur. How now foolish rheume?
Turning dispitious torture out of doore?
I must be breefe, least resolution drop
Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish teares.
Can you not reade it? Is it not faire writ?
Ar. Too fairely Hubert, for so foule effect,
Must you with hot Irons, burne out both mine eyes?
Hub. Yong Boy, I must
Art. And will you?
Hub. And I will
Art. Haue you the heart? When your head did but
I knit my hand-kercher about your browes
(The best I had, a Princesse wrought it me)
And I did neuer aske it you againe:
And with my hand, at midnight held your head;
And like the watchfull minutes, to the houre,
Still and anon cheer'd vp the heauy time;
Saying, what lacke you? and where lies your greefe?
Or what good loue may I performe for you?
Many a poore mans sonne would haue lyen still,
And nere haue spoke a louing word to you:
But you, at your sicke seruice had a Prince:
Nay, you may thinke my loue was craftie loue,
And call it cunning. Do, and if you will,
If heauen be pleas'd that you must vse me ill,
Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?
These eyes, that neuer did, nor neuer shall
So much as frowne on you
Hub. I haue sworne to do it:
And with hot Irons must I burne them out
Ar. Ah, none but in this Iron Age, would do it:
The Iron of it selfe, though heate red hot,
Approaching neere these eyes, would drinke my teares,
And quench this fierie indignation,
Euen in the matter of mine innocence:
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harme mine eye:
Are you more stubborne hard, then hammer'd Iron?
And if an Angell should haue come to me,
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not haue beleeu'd him: no tongue but Huberts
Hub. Come forth: Do as I bid you do
Art. O saue me Hubert, saue me: my eyes are out
Euen with the fierce lookes of these bloody men
Hub. Giue me the Iron I say, and binde him heere
Art. Alas, what neede you be so boistrous rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone still:
For heauen sake Hubert let me not be bound:
Nay heare me Hubert, driue these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a Lambe.
I will not stirre, nor winch, nor speake a word,
Nor looke vpon the Iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and Ile forgiue you,
What euer torment you do put me too
Hub. Go stand within: let me alone with him
Exec. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deede
Art. Alas, I then haue chid away my friend,
He hath a sterne looke, but a gentle heart:
Let him come backe, that his compassion may
Giue life to yours
Hub. Come (Boy) prepare your selfe
Art. Is there no remedie?
Hub. None, but to lose your eyes
Art. O heauen: that there were but a moth in yours,
A graine, a dust, a gnat, a wandering haire,
Any annoyance in that precious sense:
Then feeling what small things are boysterous there,
Your vilde intent must needs seeme horrible
Hub. Is this your promise? Go too, hold your toong
Art. Hubert, the vtterance of a brace of tongues,
Must needes want pleading for a paire of eyes:
Let me not hold my tongue: let me not Hubert,
Or Hubert, if you will cut out my tongue,
So I may keepe mine eyes. O spare mine eyes,
Though to no vse, but still to looke on you.
Loe, by my troth, the Instrument is cold,
And would not harme me
Hub. I can heate it, Boy
Art. No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with griefe,
Being create for comfort, to be vs'd
In vndeserued extreames: See else your selfe,
There is no malice in this burning cole,
The breath of heauen, hath blowne his spirit out,
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head
Hub. But with my breath I can reuiue it Boy
Art. And if you do, you will but make it blush,
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:
Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes:
And, like a dogge that is compell'd to fight,
Snatch at his Master that doth tarre him on.
All things that you should vse to do me wrong
Deny their office: onely you do lacke
That mercie, which fierce fire, and Iron extends,
Creatures of note for mercy, lacking vses
Hub. Well, see to liue: I will not touch thine eye,
For all the Treasure that thine Vnckle owes,
Yet am I sworne, and I did purpose, Boy,
With this same very Iron, to burne them out
Art. O now you looke like Hubert. All this while
You were disguis'd
Hub. Peace: no more. Adieu,
Your Vnckle must not know but you are dead.
Ile fill these dogged Spies with false reports:
And, pretty childe, sleepe doubtlesse, and secure,
That Hubert for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee
Art. O heauen! I thanke you Hubert
Hub. Silence, no more; go closely in with mee,
Much danger do I vndergo for thee.
Enter Iohn, Pembroke, Salisbury, and other Lordes.
Iohn. Heere once againe we sit: once against crown'd
And look'd vpon, I hope, with chearefull eyes
Pem. This once again (but that your Highnes pleas'd)
Was once superfluous: you were Crown'd before,
And that high Royalty was nere pluck'd off:
The faiths of men, nere stained with reuolt:
Fresh expectation troubled not the Land
With any long'd-for-change, or better State
Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double pompe,
To guard a Title, that was rich before;
To gilde refined Gold, to paint the Lilly;
To throw a perfume on the Violet,
To smooth the yce, or adde another hew
Vnto the Raine-bow; or with Taper-light
To seeke the beauteous eye of heauen to garnish,
Is wastefull, and ridiculous excesse
Pem. But that your Royall pleasure must be done,
This acte, is as an ancient tale new told,
And, in the last repeating, troublesome,
Being vrged at a time vnseasonable
Sal. In this the Anticke, and well noted face
Of plaine old forme, is much disfigured,
And like a shifted winde vnto a saile,
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,
Startles, and frights consideration:
Makes sound opinion sicke, and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe
Pem. When Workemen striue to do better then wel,
They do confound their skill in couetousnesse,
And oftentimes excusing of a fault,
Doth make the fault the worse by th' excuse:
As patches set vpon a little breach,
Discredite more in hiding of the fault,
Then did the fault before it was so patch'd
Sal. To this effect, before you were new crown'd
We breath'd our Councell: but it pleas'd your Highnes
To ouer-beare it, and we are all well pleas'd,
Since all, and euery part of what we would
Doth make a stand, at what your Highnesse will
Ioh. Some reasons of this double Corronation
I haue possest you with, and thinke them strong.
And more, more strong, then lesser is my feare
I shall indue you with: Meane time, but aske
What you would haue reform'd, that is not well,
And well shall you perceiue, how willingly
I will both heare, and grant you your requests
Pem. Then I, as one that am the tongue of these
To sound the purposes of all their hearts,
Both for my selfe, and them: but chiefe of all
Your safety: for the which, my selfe and them
Bend their best studies, heartily request
Th' infranchisement of Arthur, whose restraint
Doth moue the murmuring lips of discontent
To breake into this dangerous argument.
If what in rest you haue, in right you hold,
Why then your feares, which (as they say) attend
The steppes of wrong, should moue you to mew vp
Your tender kinsman, and to choake his dayes
With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich aduantage of good exercise,
That the times enemies may not haue this
To grace occasions: let it be our suite,
That you haue bid vs aske his libertie,
Which for our goods, we do no further aske,
Then, whereupon our weale on you depending,
Counts it your weale: he haue his liberty.
Iohn. Let it be so: I do commit his youth
To your direction: Hubert, what newes with you?
Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed:
He shew'd his warrant to a friend of mine,
The image of a wicked heynous fault
Liues in his eye: that close aspect of his,
Do shew the mood of a much troubled brest,
And I do fearefully beleeue 'tis done,
What we so fear'd he had a charge to do
Sal. The colour of the King doth come, and go
Betweene his purpose and his conscience,
Like Heralds 'twixt two dreadfull battailes set:
His passion is so ripe, it needs must breake
Pem. And when it breakes, I feare will issue thence
The foule corruption of a sweet childes death
Iohn. We cannot hold mortalities strong hand.
Good Lords, although my will to giue, is liuing,
The suite which you demand is gone, and dead.
He tels vs Arthur is deceas'd to night
Sal. Indeed we fear'd his sicknesse was past cure
Pem. Indeed we heard how neere his death he was,
Before the childe himselfe felt he was sicke:
This must be answer'd either heere, or hence
Ioh. Why do you bend such solemne browes on me?
Thinke you I beare the Sheeres of destiny?
Haue I commandement on the pulse of life?
Sal. It is apparant foule-play, and 'tis shame
That Greatnesse should so grossely offer it;
So thriue it in your game, and so farewell
Pem. Stay yet (Lord Salisbury) Ile go with thee,
And finde th' inheritance of this poore childe,
His little kingdome of a forced graue.
That blood which ow'd the bredth of all this Ile,
Three foot of it doth hold; bad world the while:
This must not be thus borne, this will breake out
To all our sorrowes, and ere long I doubt.
Io. They burn in indignation: I repent:
There is no sure foundation set on blood:
No certaine life atchieu'd by others death:
A fearefull eye thou hast. Where is that blood,
That I haue seene inhabite in those cheekes?
So foule a skie, cleeres not without a storme,
Poure downe thy weather: how goes all in France?
Mes. From France to England, neuer such a powre
For any forraigne preparation,
Was leuied in the body of a land.
The Copie of your speede is learn'd by them:
For when you should be told they do prepare,
The tydings comes, that they are all arriu'd
Ioh. Oh where hath our Intelligence bin drunke?
Where hath it slept? Where is my Mothers care?
That such an Army could be drawne in France,
And she not heare of it?
Mes. My Liege, her eare
Is stopt with dust: the first of Aprill di'de
Your noble mother; and as I heare, my Lord,
The Lady Constance in a frenzie di'de
Three dayes before: but this from Rumors tongue
I idely heard: if true, or false I know not
Iohn. With-hold thy speed, dreadfull Occasion:
O make a league with me, 'till I haue pleas'd
My discontented Peeres. What? Mother dead?
How wildely then walkes my Estate in France?
Vnder whose conduct came those powres of France,
That thou for truth giu'st out are landed heere?
Mes. Vnder the Dolphin.
Enter Bastard and Peter of Pomfret.
Ioh. Thou hast made me giddy
With these ill tydings: Now? What sayes the world
To your proceedings? Do not seeke to stuffe
My head with more ill newes: for it is full
Bast. But if you be a-feard to heare the worst,
Then let the worst vn-heard, fall on your head
Iohn. Beare with me Cosen, for I was amaz'd
Vnder the tide; but now I breath againe
Aloft the flood, and can giue audience
To any tongue, speake it of what it will
Bast. How I haue sped among the Clergy men,
The summes I haue collected shall expresse:
But as I trauail'd hither through the land,
I finde the people strangely fantasied,
Possest with rumors, full of idle dreames,
Not knowing what they feare, but full of feare.
And here's a Prophet that I brought with me
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heeles:
To whom he sung in rude harsh sounding rimes,
That ere the next Ascension day at noone,
Your Highnes should deliuer vp your Crowne
Iohn. Thou idle Dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?
Pet. Fore-knowing that the truth will fall out so
Iohn. Hubert, away with him: imprison him,
And on that day at noone, whereon he sayes
I shall yeeld vp my Crowne, let him be hang'd
Deliuer him to safety, and returne,
For I must vse thee. O my gentle Cosen,
Hear'st thou the newes abroad, who are arriu'd?
Bast. The French (my Lord) mens mouths are ful of it:
Besides I met Lord Bigot, and Lord Salisburie
With eyes as red as new enkindled fire,
And others more, going to seeke the graue
Of Arthur, whom they say is kill'd to night, on your suggestion
Iohn. Gentle kinsman, go
And thrust thy selfe into their Companies,
I haue a way to winne their loues againe:
Bring them before me
Bast. I will seeke them out
Iohn. Nay, but make haste: the better foote before.
O, let me haue no subiect enemies,
When aduerse Forreyners affright my Townes
With dreadfull pompe of stout inuasion.
Be Mercurie, set feathers to thy heeles,
And flye (like thought) from them, to me againe
Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
Iohn. Spoke like a sprightfull Noble Gentleman.
Go after him: for he perhaps shall neede
Some Messenger betwixt me, and the Peeres,
And be thou hee
Mes. With all my heart, my Liege
Iohn. My mother dead?
Hub. My Lord, they say fiue Moones were seene to night:
Foure fixed, and the fift did whirle about
The other foure, in wondrous motion
Ioh. Fiue Moones?
Hub. Old men, and Beldames, in the streets
Do prophesie vpon it dangerously:
Yong Arthurs death is common in their mouths,
And when they talke of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the eare.
And he that speakes, doth gripe the hearers wrist,
Whilst he that heares, makes fearefull action
With wrinkled browes, with nods, with rolling eyes.
I saw a Smith stand with his hammer (thus)
The whilst his Iron did on the Anuile coole,
With open mouth swallowing a Taylors newes,
Who with his Sheeres, and Measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust vpon contrary feete,
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattailed, and rank'd in Kent.
Another leane, vnwash'd Artificer,
Cuts off his tale, and talkes of Arthurs death
Io. Why seek'st thou to possesse me with these feares?
Why vrgest thou so oft yong Arthurs death?
Thy hand hath murdred him: I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him
H. No had (my Lord?) why, did you not prouoke me?
Iohn. It is the curse of Kings, to be attended
By slaues, that take their humors for a warrant,
To breake within the bloody house of life,
And on the winking of Authoritie
To vnderstand a Law; to know the meaning
Of dangerous Maiesty, when perchance it frownes
More vpon humor, then aduis'd respect
Hub. Heere is your hand and Seale for what I did
Ioh. Oh, when the last accompt twixt heauen & earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and Seale
Witnesse against vs to damnation.
How oft the sight of meanes to do ill deeds,
Make deeds ill done? Had'st not thou beene by,
A fellow by the hand of Nature mark'd,
Quoted, and sign'd to do a deede of shame,
This murther had not come into my minde.
But taking note of thy abhorr'd Aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villanie:
Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthurs death:
And thou, to be endeered to a King,
Made it no conscience to destroy a Prince
Hub. My Lord
Ioh. Had'st thou but shooke thy head, or made a pause
When I spake darkely, what I purposed:
Or turn'd an eye of doubt vpon my face;
As bid me tell my tale in expresse words:
Deepe shame had struck me dumbe, made me break off,
And those thy feares, might haue wrought feares in me.
But, thou didst vnderstand me by my signes,
And didst in signes againe parley with sinne,
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And consequently, thy rude hand to acte
The deed, which both our tongues held vilde to name.
Out of my sight, and neuer see me more:
My Nobles leaue me, and my State is braued,
Euen at my gates, with rankes of forraigne powres;
Nay, in the body of this fleshly Land,
This kingdome, this Confine of blood, and breathe
Hostilitie, and ciuill tumult reignes
Betweene my conscience, and my Cosins death
Hub. Arme you against your other enemies:
Ile make a peace betweene your soule, and you.
Yong Arthur is aliue: This hand of mine
Is yet a maiden, and an innocent hand.
Not painted with the Crimson spots of blood,
Within this bosome, neuer entred yet
The dreadfull motion of a murderous thought,
And you haue slander'd Nature in my forme,
Which howsoeuer rude exteriorly,
Is yet the couer of a fayrer minde,
Then to be butcher of an innocent childe
Iohn. Doth Arthur liue? O hast thee to the Peeres,
Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience.
Forgiue the Comment that my passion made
Vpon thy feature, for my rage was blinde,
And foule immaginarie eyes of blood
Presented thee more hideous then thou art.
Oh, answer not; but to my Closset bring
The angry Lords, with all expedient hast,
I coniure thee but slowly: run more fast.
Enter Arthur on the walles.
Ar. The Wall is high, and yet will I leape downe.
Good ground be pittifull, and hurt me not:
There's few or none do know me, if they did,
This Ship-boyes semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
I am afraide, and yet Ile venture it.
If I get downe, and do not breake my limbes,
Ile finde a thousand shifts to get away;
As good to dye, and go; as dye, and stay.
Oh me, my Vnckles spirit is in these stones,
Heauen take my soule, and England keep my bones.
Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, & Bigot.
Sal. Lords, I will meet him at S[aint]. Edmondsbury,
It is our safetie, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perillous time
Pem. Who brought that Letter from the Cardinall?
Sal. The Count Meloone, a Noble Lord of France,
Whose priuate with me of the Dolphines loue,
Is much more generall, then these lines import
Big. To morrow morning let vs meete him then
Sal. Or rather then set forward, for 'twill be
Two long dayes iourney (Lords) or ere we meete.
Bast. Once more to day well met, distemper'd Lords,
The King by me requests your presence straight
Sal. The king hath dispossest himselfe of vs,
We will not lyne his thin-bestained cloake
With our pure Honors: nor attend the foote
That leaues the print of blood where ere it walkes.
Returne, and tell him so: we know the worst
Bast. What ere you thinke, good words I thinke
Sal. Our greefes, and not our manners reason now
Bast. But there is little reason in your greefe.
Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now
Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his priuiledge
Bast. 'Tis true, to hurt his master, no mans else
Sal. This is the prison: What is he lyes heere?
P. Oh death, made proud with pure & princely beuty,
The earth had not a hole to hide this deede
Sal. Murther, as hating what himselfe hath done,
Doth lay it open to vrge on reuenge
Big. Or when he doom'd this Beautie to a graue,
Found it too precious Princely, for a graue
Sal. Sir Richard, what thinke you? you haue beheld,
Or haue you read, or heard, or could you thinke?
Or do you almost thinke, although you see,
That you do see? Could thought, without this obiect
Forme such another? This is the very top,
The heighth, the Crest: or Crest vnto the Crest
Of murthers Armes: This is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest Sauagery, the vildest stroke
That euer wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage
Presented to the teares of soft remorse
Pem. All murthers past, do stand excus'd in this:
And this so sole, and so vnmatcheable,
Shall giue a holinesse, a puritie,
To the yet vnbegotten sinne of times;
And proue a deadly bloodshed, but a iest,
Exampled by this heynous spectacle
Bast. It is a damned, and a bloody worke,
The gracelesse action of a heauy hand,
If that it be the worke of any hand
Sal. If that it be the worke of any hand?
We had a kinde of light, what would ensue:
It is the shamefull worke of Huberts hand,
The practice, and the purpose of the king:
From whose obedience I forbid my soule,
Kneeling before this ruine of sweete life,
And breathing to his breathlesse Excellence
The Incense of a Vow, a holy Vow:
Neuer to taste the pleasures of the world,
Neuer to be infected with delight,
Nor conuersant with Ease, and Idlenesse,
Till I haue set a glory to this hand,
By giuing it the worship of Reuenge
Pem. Big. Our soules religiously confirme thy words.
Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste, in seeking you,
Arthur doth liue, the king hath sent for you
Sal. Oh he is bold, and blushes not at death,
Auant thou hatefull villain, get thee gone
Hu. I am no villaine
Sal. Must I rob the Law?
Bast. Your sword is bright sir, put it vp againe
Sal. Not till I sheath it in a murtherers skin
Hub. Stand backe Lord Salsbury, stand backe I say
By heauen, I thinke my sword's as sharpe as yours.
I would not haue you (Lord) forget your selfe,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Least I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your Worth, your Greatnesse, and Nobility
Big. Out dunghill: dar'st thou braue a Nobleman?
Hub. Not for my life: But yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an Emperor
Sal. Thou art a Murtherer
Hub. Do not proue me so:
Yet I am none. Whose tongue so ere speakes false,
Not truely speakes: who speakes not truly, Lies
Pem. Cut him to peeces
Bast. Keepe the peace, I say
Sal. Stand by, or I shall gaul you Faulconbridge
Bast. Thou wer't better gaul the diuell Salsbury.
If thou but frowne on me, or stirre thy foote,
Or teach thy hastie spleene to do me shame,
Ile strike thee dead. Put vp thy sword betime,
Or Ile so maule you, and your tosting-Iron,
That you shall thinke the diuell is come from hell
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
Second a Villaine, and a Murtherer?
Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none
Big. Who kill'd this Prince?
Hub. 'Tis not an houre since I left him well:
I honour'd him, I lou'd him, and will weepe
My date of life out, for his sweete liues losse
Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villanie is not without such rheume,
And he, long traded in it, makes it seeme
Like Riuers of remorse and innocencie.
Away with me, all you whose soules abhorre
Th' vncleanly sauours of a Slaughter-house,
For I am stifled with this smell of sinne
Big. Away, toward Burie, to the Dolphin there
P. There tel the king, he may inquire vs out.
Ba. Here's a good world: knew you of this faire work?
Beyond the infinite and boundlesse reach of mercie,
(If thou didst this deed of death) art y damn'd Hubert
Hub. Do but heare me sir
Bast. Ha? Ile tell thee what.
Thou'rt damn'd as blacke, nay nothing is so blacke,
Thou art more deepe damn'd then Prince Lucifer:
There is not yet so vgly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this childe
Hub. Vpon my soule
Bast. If thou didst but consent
To this most cruell Act: do but dispaire,
And if thou want'st a Cord, the smallest thred
That euer Spider twisted from her wombe
Will serue to strangle thee: A rush will be a beame
To hang thee on. Or wouldst thou drowne thy selfe,
Put but a little water in a spoone,
And it shall be as all the Ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villaine vp.
I do suspect thee very greeuously
Hub. If I in act, consent, or sinne of thought,
Be guiltie of the stealing that sweete breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want paines enough to torture me:
I left him well
Bast. Go, beare him in thine armes:
I am amaz'd me thinkes, and loose my way
Among the thornes, and dangers of this world.
How easie dost thou take all England vp,
From forth this morcell of dead Royaltie?
The life, the right, and truth of all this Realme
Is fled to heauen: and England now is left
To tug and scamble, and to part by th' teeth
The vn-owed interest of proud swelling State:
Now for the bare-pickt bone of Maiesty,
Doth dogged warre bristle his angry crest,
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now Powers from home, and discontents at home
Meet in one line: and vast confusion waites
As doth a Rauen on a sicke-falne beast,
The iminent decay of wrested pompe.
Now happy he, whose cloake and center can
Hold out this tempest. Beare away that childe,
And follow me with speed: Ile to the King:
A thousand businesses are briefe in hand,
And heauen it selfe doth frowne vpon the Land.
Actus Quartus, Scaena prima.
Enter King Iohn and Pandolph, attendants.
K.Iohn. Thus haue I yeelded vp into your hand
The Circle of my glory
Pan. Take againe
From this my hand, as holding of the Pope
Your Soueraigne greatnesse and authoritie
Iohn. Now keep your holy word, go meet the French,
And from his holinesse vse all your power
To stop their marches 'fore we are enflam'd:
Our discontented Counties doe reuolt:
Our people quarrell with obedience,
Swearing Allegiance, and the loue of soule
To stranger-bloud, to forren Royalty;
This inundation of mistempred humor,
Rests by you onely to be qualified.
Then pause not: for the present time's so sicke,
That present medcine must be ministred,
Or ouerthrow incureable ensues
Pand. It was my breath that blew this Tempest vp,
Vpon your stubborne vsage of the Pope:
But since you are a gentle conuertite,
My tongue shall hush againe this storme of warre,
And make faire weather in your blustring land:
On this Ascention day, remember well,
Vpon your oath of seruice to the Pope,
Goe I to make the French lay downe their Armes.
Iohn. Is this Ascension day? did not the Prophet
Say, that before Ascension day at noone,
My Crowne I should giue off? euen so I haue:
I did suppose it should be on constraint,
But (heau'n be thank'd) it is but voluntary.
Bast. All Kent hath yeelded: nothing there holds out
But Douer Castle: London hath receiu'd
Like a kinde Host, the Dolphin and his powers.
Your Nobles will not heare you, but are gone
To offer seruice to your enemy:
And wilde amazement hurries vp and downe
The little number of your doubtfull friends
Iohn. Would not my Lords returne to me againe
After they heard yong Arthur was aliue?
Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the streets,
An empty Casket, where the Iewell of life
By some damn'd hand was rob'd, and tane away
Iohn. That villaine Hubert told me he did liue
Bast. So on my soule he did, for ought he knew:
But wherefore doe you droope? why looke you sad?
Be great in act, as you haue beene in thought:
Let not the world see feare and sad distrust
Gouerne the motion of a kinglye eye:
Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire,
Threaten the threatner, and out-face the brow
Of bragging horror: So shall inferior eyes
That borrow their behauiours from the great,
Grow great by your example, and put on
The dauntlesse spirit of resolution.
Away, and glister like the god of warre
When he intendeth to become the field:
Shew boldnesse and aspiring confidence:
What, shall they seeke the Lion in his denne,
And fright him there? and make him tremble there?
Oh let it not be said: forrage, and runne
To meet displeasure farther from the dores,
And grapple with him ere he come so nye
Iohn. The Legat of the Pope hath beene with mee,
And I haue made a happy peace with him,
And he hath promis'd to dismisse the Powers
Led by the Dolphin
Bast. Oh inglorious league:
Shall we vpon the footing of our land,
Send fayre-play-orders, and make comprimise,
Insinuation, parley, and base truce
To Armes Inuasiue? Shall a beardlesse boy,
A cockred-silken wanton braue our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warre-like soyle,
Mocking the ayre with colours idlely spred,
And finde no checke? Let vs my Liege to Armes:
Perchance the Cardinall cannot make your peace;
Or if he doe, let it at least be said
They saw we had a purpose of defence
Iohn. Haue thou the ordering of this present time
Bast. Away then with good courage: yet I know
Our Partie may well meet a prowder foe.
Enter (in Armes) Dolphin, Salisbury, Meloone, Pembroke, Bigot,
Dol. My Lord Melloone, let this be coppied out,
And keepe it safe for our remembrance:
Returne the president to these Lords againe,
That hauing our faire order written downe,
Both they and we, perusing ore these notes
May know wherefore we tooke the Sacrament,
And keepe our faithes firme and inuiolable
Sal. Vpon our sides it neuer shall be broken.
And Noble Dolphin, albeit we sweare
A voluntary zeale, and an vn-urg'd Faith
To your proceedings: yet beleeue me Prince,
I am not glad that such a sore of Time
Should seeke a plaster by contemn'd reuolt,
And heale the inueterate Canker of one wound,
By making many: Oh it grieues my soule,
That I must draw this mettle from my side
To be a widdow-maker: oh, and there
Where honourable rescue, and defence
Cries out vpon the name of Salisbury.
But such is the infection of the time,
That for the health and Physicke of our right,
We cannot deale but with the very hand
Of sterne Iniustice, and confused wrong:
And is't not pitty, (oh my grieued friends)
That we, the sonnes and children of this Isle,
Was borne to see so sad an houre as this,
Wherein we step after a stranger, march
Vpon her gentle bosom, and fill vp
Her Enemies rankes? I must withdraw, and weepe
Vpon the spot of this inforced cause,
To grace the Gentry of a Land remote,
And follow vnacquainted colours heere:
What heere? O Nation that thou couldst remoue,
That Neptunes Armes who clippeth thee about,
Would beare thee from the knowledge of thy selfe,
And cripple thee vnto a Pagan shore,
Where these two Christian Armies might combine
The bloud of malice, in a vaine of league,
And not to spend it so vn-neighbourly
Dolph. A noble temper dost thou shew in this,
And great affections wrastling in thy bosome
Doth make an earth-quake of Nobility:
Oh, what a noble combat hast fought
Between compulsion, and a braue respect:
Let me wipe off this honourable dewe,
That siluerly doth progresse on thy cheekes:
My heart hath melted at a Ladies teares,
Being an ordinary Inundation:
But this effusion of such manly drops,
This showre, blowne vp by tempest of the soule,
Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amaz'd
Then had I seene the vaultie top of heauen
Figur'd quite ore with burning Meteors.
Lift vp thy brow (renowned Salisburie)
And with a great heart heaue away this storme:
Commend these waters to those baby-eyes
That neuer saw the giant-world enrag'd,
Nor met with Fortune, other then at feasts,
Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossipping:
Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deepe
Into the purse of rich prosperity
As Lewis himselfe: so (Nobles) shall you all,
That knit your sinewes to the strength of mine.
And euen there, methinkes an Angell spake,
Looke where the holy Legate comes apace,
To giue vs warrant from the hand of heauen,
And on our actions set the name of right
With holy breath
Pand. Haile noble Prince of France:
The next is this: King Iohn hath reconcil'd
Himselfe to Rome, his spirit is come in,
That so stood out against the holy Church,
The great Metropolis and Sea of Rome:
Therefore thy threatning Colours now winde vp,
And tame the sauage spirit of wilde warre,
That like a Lion fostered vp at hand,
It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmefull then in shewe
Dol. Your Grace shall pardon me, I will not backe:
I am too high-borne to be proportied
To be a secondary at controll,
Or vsefull seruing-man, and Instrument
To any Soueraigne State throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coale of warres,
Betweene this chastiz'd kingdome and my selfe,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now 'tis farre too huge to be blowne out
With that same weake winde, which enkindled it:
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this Land,
Yea, thrust this enterprize into my heart,
And come ye now to tell me Iohn hath made
His peace with Rome? what is that peace to me?
I (by the honour of my marriage bed)
After yong Arthur, claime this Land for mine,
And now it is halfe conquer'd, must I backe,
Because that Iohn hath made his peace with Rome?
Am I Romes slaue? What penny hath Rome borne?
What men prouided? What munition sent
To vnder-prop this Action? Is't not I
That vnder-goe this charge? Who else but I,
And such as to my claime are liable,
Sweat in this businesse, and maintaine this warre?
Haue I not heard these Islanders shout out
Viue le Roy, as I haue bank'd their Townes?
Haue I not heere the best Cards for the game
To winne this easie match, plaid for a Crowne?
And shall I now giue ore the yeelded Set?
No, no, on my soule it neuer shall be said
Pand. You looke but on the out-side of this worke
Dol. Out-side or in-side, I will not returne
Till my attempt so much be glorified,
As to my ample hope was promised,
Before I drew this gallant head of warre,
And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world
To out-looke Conquest, and to winne renowne
Euen in the iawes of danger, and of death:
What lusty Trumpet thus doth summon vs?
Bast. According to the faire-play of the world,
Let me haue audience: I am sent to speake:
My holy Lord of Millane, from the King
I come to learne how you haue dealt for him:
And, as you answer, I doe know the scope
And warrant limited vnto my tongue
Pand. The Dolphin is too wilfull opposite
And will not temporize with my intreaties:
He flatly saies, hee'll not lay downe his Armes
Bast. By all the bloud that euer fury breath'd,
The youth saies well. Now heare our English King,
For thus his Royaltie doth speake in me:
He is prepar'd, and reason to he should,
This apish and vnmannerly approach,
This harness'd Maske, and vnaduised Reuell,
This vn-heard sawcinesse and boyish Troopes,
The King doth smile at, and is well prepar'd
To whip this dwarfish warre, this Pigmy Armes
From out the circle of his Territories.
That hand which had the strength, euen at your dore,
To cudgell you, and make you take the hatch,
To diue like Buckets in concealed Welles,
To crowch in litter of your stable plankes,
To lye like pawnes, lock'd vp in chests and truncks,
To hug with swine, to seeke sweet safety out
In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake,
Euen at the crying of your Nations crow,
Thinking this voyce an armed Englishman.
Shall that victorious hand be feebled heere,
That in your Chambers gaue you chasticement?
No: know the gallant Monarch is in Armes,
And like an Eagle, o're his ayerie towres,
To sowsse annoyance that comes neere his Nest;
And you degenerate, you ingrate Reuolts,
You bloudy Nero's, ripping vp the wombe
Of your deere Mother-England: blush for shame:
For your owne Ladies, and pale-visag'd Maides,
Like Amazons, come tripping after drummes:
Their thimbles into armed Gantlets change,
Their Needl's to Lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination
Dol. There end thy braue, and turn thy face in peace,
We grant thou canst out-scold vs: Far thee well,
We hold our time too precious to be spent
with such a brabler
Pan. Giue me leaue to speake
Bast. No, I will speake
Dol. We will attend to neyther:
Strike vp the drummes, and let the tongue of warre
Pleade for our interest, and our being heere
Bast. Indeede your drums being beaten, wil cry out;
And so shall you, being beaten: Do but start
An eccho with the clamor of thy drumme,
And euen at hand, a drumme is readie brac'd,
That shall reuerberate all, as lowd as thine.
Sound but another, and another shall
(As lowd as thine) rattle the Welkins eare,
And mocke the deepe mouth'd Thunder: for at hand
(Not trusting to this halting Legate heere,
Whom he hath vs'd rather for sport, then neede)
Is warlike Iohn: and in his fore-head sits
A bare-rib'd death, whose office is this day
To feast vpon whole thousands of the French
Dol. Strike vp our drummes, to finde this danger out
Bast. And thou shalt finde it (Dolphin) do not doubt
Alarums. Enter Iohn and Hubert.
Iohn. How goes the day with vs? oh tell me Hubert
Hub. Badly I feare; how fares your Maiesty?
Iohn. This Feauer that hath troubled me so long,
Lyes heauie on me: oh, my heart is sicke.
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. My Lord: your valiant kinsman Falconbridge,
Desires your Maiestie to leaue the field,
And send him word by me, which way you go
Iohn. Tell him toward Swinsted, to the Abbey there
Mes. Be of good comfort: for the great supply
That was expected by the Dolphin heere,
Are wrack'd three nights ago on Goodwin sands.
This newes was brought to Richard but euen now,
The French fight coldly, and retyre themselues
Iohn. Aye me, this tyrant Feauer burnes mee vp,
And will not let me welcome this good newes.
Set on toward Swinsted: to my Litter straight,
Weaknesse possesseth me, and I am faint.
Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot.
Sal. I did not thinke the King so stor'd with friends
Pem. Vp once againe: put spirit in the French,
If they miscarry: we miscarry too
Sal. That misbegotten diuell Falconbridge,
In spight of spight, alone vpholds the day
Pem. They say King Iohn sore sick, hath left the field.
Enter Meloon wounded.
Mel. Lead me to the Reuolts of England heere
Sal. When we were happie, we had other names
Pem. It is the Count Meloone
Sal. Wounded to death
Mel. Fly Noble English, you are bought and sold,
Vnthred the rude eye of Rebellion,
And welcome home againe discarded faith,
Seeke out King Iohn, and fall before his feete:
For if the French be Lords of this loud day,
He meanes to recompence the paines you take,
By cutting off your heads: Thus hath he sworne,
And I with him, and many moe with mee,
Vpon the Altar at S[aint]. Edmondsbury,
Euen on that Altar, where we swore to you
Deere Amity, and euerlasting loue
Sal. May this be possible? May this be true?
Mel. Haue I not hideous death within my view,
Retaining but a quantity of life,
Which bleeds away, euen as a forme of waxe
Resolueth from his figure 'gainst the fire?
What in the world should make me now deceiue,
Since I must loose the vse of all deceite?
Why should I then be false, since it is true
That I must dye heere, and liue hence, by Truth?
I say againe, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworne, if ere those eyes of yours
Behold another day breake in the East:
But euen this night, whose blacke contagious breath
Already smoakes about the burning Crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied Sunne,
Euen this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
Paying the fine of rated Treachery,
Euen with a treacherous fine of all your liues:
If Lewis, by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your King;
The loue of him, and this respect besides
(For that my Grandsire was an Englishman)
Awakes my Conscience to confesse all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you beare me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the Field;
Where I may thinke the remnant of my thoughts
In peace: and part this bodie and my soule
With contemplation, and deuout desires
Sal. We do beleeue thee, and beshrew my soule,
But I do loue the fauour, and the forme
Of this most faire occasion, by the which
We will vntread the steps of damned flight,
And like a bated and retired Flood,
Leauing our ranknesse and irregular course,
Stoope lowe within those bounds we haue ore-look'd,
And calmely run on in obedience
Euen to our Ocean, to our great King Iohn.
My arme shall giue thee helpe to beare thee hence,
For I do see the cruell pangs of death
Right in thine eye. Away, my friends, new flight,
And happie newnesse, that intends old right.
Enter Dolphin, and his Traine.
Dol. The Sun of heauen (me thought) was loth to set;
But staid, and made the Westerne Welkin blush,
When English measure backward their owne ground
In faint Retire: Oh brauely came we off,
When with a volley of our needlesse shot,
After such bloody toile, we bid good night,
And woon'd our tott'ring colours clearly vp,
Last in the field, and almost Lords of it.
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Where is my Prince, the Dolphin?
Dol. Heere: what newes?
Mes. The Count Meloone is slaine: The English Lords
By his perswasion, are againe falne off,
And your supply, which you haue wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunke on Goodwin sands
Dol. Ah fowle, shrew'd newes. Beshrew thy very hart:
I did not thinke to be so sad to night
As this hath made me. Who was he that said
King Iohn did flie an houre or two before
The stumbling night did part our wearie powres?
Mes. Who euer spoke it, it is true my Lord
Dol. Well: keepe good quarter, & good care to night,
The day shall not be vp so soone as I,
To try the faire aduenture of to morrow.
Enter Bastard and Hubert, seuerally.
Hub. Whose there? Speake hoa, speake quickely, or
Bast. A Friend. What art thou?
Hub. Of the part of England
Bast. Whether doest thou go?
Hub. What's that to thee?
Why may not I demand of thine affaires,
As well as thou of mine?
Bast. Hubert, I thinke
Hub. Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will vpon all hazards well beleeue
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well:
Who art thou?
Bast. Who thou wilt: and if thou please
Thou maist be-friend me so much, as to thinke
I come one way of the Plantagenets
Hub. Vnkinde remembrance: thou, & endles night,
Haue done me shame: Braue Soldier, pardon me,
That any accent breaking from thy tongue,
Should scape the true acquaintance of mine eare
Bast. Come, come: sans complement, What newes
Hub. Why heere walke I in the black brow of night
To finde you out
Bast. Breefe then: and what's the newes?
Hub. O my sweet sir, newes fitting to the night,
Blacke, fearefull, comfortlesse, and horrible
Bast. Shew me the very wound of this ill newes,
I am no woman, Ile not swound at it
Hub. The King I feare is poyson'd by a Monke,
I left him almost speechlesse, and broke out
To acquaint you with this euill, that you might
The better arme you to the sodaine time,
Then if you had at leisure knowne of this
Bast. How did he take it? Who did taste to him?
Hub. A Monke I tell you, a resolued villaine
Whose Bowels sodainly burst out: The King
Yet speakes, and peraduenture may recouer
Bast. Who didst thou leaue to tend his Maiesty?
Hub. Why know you not? The Lords are all come
And brought Prince Henry in their companie,
At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
And they are all about his Maiestie
Bast. With-hold thine indignation, mighty heauen,
And tempt vs not to beare aboue our power.
Ile tell thee Hubert, halfe my power this night
Passing these Flats, are taken by the Tide,
These Lincolne-Washes haue deuoured them,
My selfe, well mounted, hardly haue escap'd.
Away before: Conduct me to the king,
I doubt he will be dead, or ere I come.
Enter Prince Henry, Salisburie, and Bigot.
Hen. It is too late, the life of all his blood
Is touch'd, corruptibly: and his pure braine
(Which some suppose the soules fraile dwelling house)
Doth by the idle Comments that it makes,
Fore-tell the ending of mortality.
Pem. His Highnesse yet doth speak, & holds beleefe,
That being brought into the open ayre,
It would allay the burning qualitie
Of that fell poison which assayleth him
Hen. Let him be brought into the Orchard heere:
Doth he still rage?
Pem. He is more patient
Then when you left him; euen now he sung
Hen. Oh vanity of sicknesse: fierce extreames
In their continuance, will not feele themselues.
Death hauing praide vpon the outward parts
Leaues them inuisible, and his seige is now
Against the winde, the which he prickes and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies,
Which in their throng, and presse to that last hold,
Counfound themselues. 'Tis strange y death shold sing:
I am the Symet to this pale faint Swan,
Who chaunts a dolefull hymne to his owne death,
And from the organ-pipe of frailety sings
His soule and body to their lasting rest
Sal. Be of good comfort (Prince) for you are borne
To set a forme vpon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapelesse, and so rude.
Iohn brought in.
Iohn. I marrie, now my soule hath elbow roome,
It would not out at windowes, nor at doores,
There is so hot a summer in my bosome,
That all my bowels crumble vp to dust:
I am a scribled forme drawne with a pen
Vpon a Parchment, and against this fire
Do I shrinke vp
Hen. How fares your Maiesty?
Ioh. Poyson'd, ill fare: dead, forsooke, cast off,
And none of you will bid the winter come
To thrust his ycie fingers in my maw;
Nor let my kingdomes Riuers take their course
Through my burn'd bosome: nor intreat the North
To make his bleake windes kisse my parched lips,
And comfort me with cold. I do not aske you much,
I begge cold comfort: and you are so straight
And so ingratefull, you deny me that
Hen. Oh that there were some vertue in my teares,
That might releeue you
Iohn. The salt in them is hot.
Within me is a hell, and there the poyson
Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize,
On vnrepreeuable condemned blood.
Bast. Oh, I am scalded with my violent motion
And spleene of speede, to see your Maiesty
Iohn. Oh Cozen, thou art come to set mine eye:
The tackle of my heart, is crack'd and burnt,
And all the shrowds wherewith my life should saile,
Are turned to one thred, one little haire:
My heart hath one poore string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy newes be vttered,
And then all this thou seest, is but a clod,
And module of confounded royalty
Bast. The Dolphin is preparing hither-ward,
Where heauen he knowes how we shall answer him.
For in a night the best part of my powre,
As I vpon aduantage did remoue,
Were in the Washes all vnwarily,
Deuoured by the vnexpected flood
Sal. You breath these dead newes in as dead an eare
My Liege, my Lord: but now a King, now thus
Hen. Euen so must I run on, and euen so stop.
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
When this was now a King, and now is clay?
Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behinde,
To do the office for thee, of reuenge,
And then my soule shall waite on thee to heauen,
As it on earth hath bene thy seruant still.
Now, now you Starres, that moue in your right spheres,
Where be your powres? Shew now your mended faiths,
And instantly returne with me againe.
To push destruction, and perpetuall shame
Out of the weake doore of our fainting Land:
Straight let vs seeke, or straight we shall be sought,
The Dolphine rages at our verie heeles
Sal. It seemes you know not then so much as we,
The Cardinall Pandulph is within at rest,
Who halfe an houre since came from the Dolphin,
And brings from him such offers of our peace,
As we with honor and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leaue this warre
Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Our selues well sinew'd to our defence
Sal. Nay, 'tis in a manner done already,
For many carriages hee hath dispatch'd
To the sea side, and put his cause and quarrell
To the disposing of the Cardinall,
With whom your selfe, my selfe, and other Lords,
If you thinke meete, this afternoone will poast
To consummate this businesse happily
Bast. Let it be so, and you my noble Prince,
With other Princes that may best be spar'd,
Shall waite vpon your Fathers Funerall
Hen. At Worster must his bodie be interr'd,
For so he will'd it
Bast. Thither shall it then,
And happily may your sweet selfe put on
The lineall state, and glorie of the Land,
To whom with all submission on my knee,
I do bequeath my faithfull seruices
And true subiection euerlastingly
Sal. And the like tender of our loue wee make
To rest without a spot for euermore
Hen. I haue a kinde soule, that would giue thankes,
And knowes not how to do it, but with teares
Bast. Oh let vs pay the time: but needfull woe,
Since it hath beene before hand with our greefes.
This England neuer did, nor neuer shall
Lye at the proud foote of a Conqueror,
But when it first did helpe to wound it selfe.
Now, these her Princes are come home againe,
Come the three corners of the world in Armes,
And we shall shocke them: Naught shall make vs rue,
If England to it selfe, do rest but true.
The life and death of King Iohn.