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Who painfully with much expedient march
Have brought a countercheck before your gates,
To save unscratch'd your city's threaten'd
Lo! in this right hand, whose protection
Is most divinely vow'd upon the right
Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
Son to the elder brother of this man,
And king o'er him and all that he enjoys:
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In war-like march these greens before your town,
Being no further enemy to you
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,
In the relief of this oppressed child,
Religiously provokes. Be pleased then
To pay that duty which you truly owe
To him that owes it, namely this young prince;
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
Save in aspect, have all offence seal'd up;
Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent
Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;
And with a blessed and unvex'd retire,
With unhack'd swords and helmets all unbruis'd,
We will bear home that lusty blood again
Which here we came to spout against your town,
And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.
But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
"Tis not the roundure of your old-fac'd walls
Can hide you from our messengers of war,
Though all these English and their discipline
Were harbour'd in their rude circumference.
Then tell us, shall your city call us lord,
In that behalf which we have challeng'd it?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage
And stalk in blood to our possession?
First Cit. In brief, we are the King of Eng-
For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let
First Cit. That can we not; but he that proves
To him will we prove loyal: till that time
Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.
K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove
And if not that, I bring you witnesses,
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's
Behold, the French amaz'd vouchsafe a parle;
And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire,
To make a shaking fever in your walls,
They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke,
To make a faithless error in your ears:
Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
And let us in, your king, whose labour'd spirits,
Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.
At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
And make a monster of you.
Bast. Bastards, and els
K. John. To verify our title with their lives. K. Phi. As many and as well-born bloods as those.-
K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
That to their everlasting residence,
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
K. Phi. Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! to
Bast. Saint George, that swing'd the dragou, and e'er since
Sits on his horse back at mine hostess' door, Teach us some fence! To AUSTRIA. Sirrahı, were I at home,
Peace! no more. Bast. O tremble, for you hear the lion roar. K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth
In best appointment all our regiments.
Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the
K. Phi. It shall be so; and at the other hill Command the rest to stand. God, and our right! Exeunt.
Alarums and excursions; then a retreat. Enter the Herald of France, with trumpets, to the gates.
F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
And let young Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, in,
Who by the hand of France this day hath made
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground;
Many a widow's husband grovelling lies,
Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth;
And victory, with little loss, doth play
Upon the dancing banners of the French,
Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
To enter conquerors and to proclaim
Arthur of Bretagne England's king and yours.
Enter English Herald, with trumpets.
E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells;
King John, your king and England's, doth
Commander of this hot malicious day.
Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-
Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood;
There stuck no plume in any English crest
That is removed by a staff of France;
Our colours do return in those same hands
That did display them when we first march'd
And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
Dy'd in the dying slaughter of their foes.
Open your gates and give the victors way.
First Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we
From first to last, the onset and retire
Of both your armies; whose equality
By our best eyes cannot be censured:
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have
Strength march'd with strength, and power confronted power:
Both are alike; and both alike we like.
And till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates, 370
Kings of ourselves; until our fears, resolv'd,
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd.
Bast. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers
flout you, kings,
And stand securely on their battlements,
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
Your royal presences be rul'd by me :
Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend
Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town. 380
By east and west let France and England mount
Their battering cannon charged to the mouths,
Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd
Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
That done, dissever your united strengths,
And part your mingled colours once again;
Turn face to face and bloody point to point; 390
Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth
Out of one side her happy minion,
To whom in favour she shall give the day,
And kiss him with a glorious victory.
How like you this wild counsel, mighty states ?
Smacks it not something of the policy?
K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above
I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers
And lay this Angiers even with the ground;
Then after fight who shall be king of it?
Bast. An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
Being wrong'd as we are by this peevish town,
Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
And when that we have dash'd them to the
Why then defy each other, and pell-mell
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.
K. Phi. Let it be so. Say, where will you
K. John. We from the west will send destruc-
Into this city's bosom.
K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?
First Cit. The King of England, when we know the king.
K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up
K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy,
And bear possession of our person here,
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
Is niece to England: look upon the years
First Cit. A greater power than we denies all Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
If not complete of, say he is not she;
And she again wants nothing, to name want,
If want it be not that she is not he :
He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
O! two such silver currents, when they join,
Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
And two such shores to two such streams made
Aust. I from the north.
Our thunder from the south
Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
Bast. O prudent discipline! From north to
Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth :
I'll stir them to it. Come, away, away!
First Cit. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe
awhile to stay,
And I shall show you peace and fair-fac'd
Win you this city without stroke or wound;
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
That here come sacrifices for the field.
Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
K. John. Speak on with favour: we are bent
First Cit. That daughter there of Spain, the
To these two princes, if you marry them.
This union shall do more than battery can
To our fast-closed gates; for at this match,
With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
And give you entrance; but without this match,
The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
More free from motion, no, not death himself
In mortal fury half so peremptory,
As we to keep this city.
Here's a stay
That shakes the rotten carcass of old death
Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed,
That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and
To speak unto this city: what say you?
K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy
Can in this book of beauty read, ' I love,'
Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
And all that we upon this side the sea,
Except this city now by us besieg'd,
Find liable to our crown and dignity,
Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
In titles, honours, and promotions,
As she in beauty, education, blood,
Holds hand with any princess of the world.
K. Phi. What say'st thou, boy? look in the
Lew. I do, my lord; and in her eye I find
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of myself form'd in her eye; Which, being but the shadow of your son Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow: I do protest I never lov'd myself
Till now infixed I beheld myself,
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye. Whispers with BLANCH.
Bast. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye! Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow! And quarter'd in her heart! he doth espy Himself love's traitor: this is pity now, That, hang'd and drawn and quarter'd, there should be
In such a love so vile a lout as he.
Blanch. My uncle's will in this respect is mine: If he see aught in you that makes him like, 1 That any thing he sees, which moves his liking, I can with case translate it to my will; Or if you will, to speak more properly, I will enforce it easily to my love. Further I will not flatter you, my lord, That all I see in you is worthy love, Than this that nothing do I see in you, Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge
That I can find should merit any hate.
K. John. What say these young ones? What
say you, my niece?
Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say. K. John. Speak then, Prince Dauphin: can you love this lady?
Lew. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love; For I do love her most unfeignedly.
K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,
Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces,
With her to thee; and this addition more,
Full thirty thousand marks of English coin. 53)
Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal,
Command thy son and daughter to join hands.
K. Phi. It likes us well. Young princes, close
Aust. And your lips too; for I am well assur'd That I did so when I was first assur'd.
Will give her sadness very little cure.
Brother of England, how may we content
This widow lady? In her right we came ;
Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way.
To our own vantage.
We will heal up all; 5) For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance: Some speedy messenger bid her repair To our solemnity: I trust we shall, If not fill up the measure of her will, Yet in some measure satisfy her so, That we shall stop her exclamation. Go we, as well as haste will suffer us, To this unlook'd-for unprepared pomp. Exeunt all but the Bustard. The Citizens retire from the walls. Bast. Mad world! mad kings! mad composi
John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part;
And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear
With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
That broker that still breaks the pate of faith,
That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,
Who having no external thing to lose
But the word 'maid,' cheats the poor maid of
That smooth-fac'd gentleman, tickling Commodity;
Commodity, the bias of the world;
The world, who of itself is peised well,
Made to run even upon even ground,
Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this Commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
And this same bias, this Commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determin'd aid,
From a resolv'd and honourable war,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rail I on this Commodity?
But for because he hath not woo'd me yet.
Not that I have the power to clutch my hand
When his fair angels would salute my palm; 590
But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
And say there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say there is no vice but beggary.
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee!
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears; A woman, naturally born to fears;
SCENE I.-France. The French King's Tent. Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY. Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
False blood to false blood join'd! gone to be friends!
Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch those provinces ?
It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard;
Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again :
It cannot be; thou dost but say 'tis so.
I trust I may not trust thee, for thy word
Is but the vain breath of a common man :
Believe me, I do not believe thee, man;
I have a king's oath to the contrary.
Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me,
For I am sick and capable of fears;
Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
With my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day.
What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
Why dost thou look so sadly on my son?
What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum,
Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds?
Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again; not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true.
Sal. As true as I believe you think them false That give you cause to prove my saying true. Const. O if thou teach me to believe this
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die; so
And let belief and life encounter so
As doth the fury of two desperate men
Which in the very meeting fall and die.
Lewis marry Blanch! O boy! then where art
France friend with England what becomes of me? Fellow, be gone! I cannot brook thy sight: This news hath made thee a most ugly mau.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done, But spoke the harm that is by others done? Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is As it makes harmful all that speak of it.
Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content. Const. If thou, that bidd'st me be content, wert grim,
Ugly and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks,
I would not care, I then would be content;
For then I should not love thee, no, nor thou
Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown. 50
But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune join'd to make thee great :
Of Nature's gifts thou may'st with lilies boast
And with the half-blown rose. But Fortune, O!
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee:
She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John,
And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on
To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
I, Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
Do in his name religiously demand
Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
So wilfully dost spurn; and force perforce
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop
Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
This, in our foresaid holy father's name,
Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.
K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories
Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy and ridiculous,
To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of
Add thus much more: that no Italian priest
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;
But as we under heaven are supreme head,
So under him that great supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
Without the assistance of a mortal hand:
So tell the pope; all reverence set apart
To him and his usurp'd authority.
K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme
K. John. Though you and all the kings of
Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,
Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
Who in that sale sells pardon from himself;
Though you and all the rest so grossly led
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish;
Yet I alone, alone do me oppose
Against the pope, and count his friends my foes.
Pand. Then, by the lawful power that I have, Thou shalt stand curs'd and excommunicate; And blessed shall he be that doth revolt From his allegiance to an heretic; And meritorious shall that hand be call'd, Canonized and worshipp'd as a saint, That takes away by any secret course Thy hateful life.
Const. O! lawful let it be That I have room with Rome to curse awhile. Good father cardinal, cry thou amen To my keen curses; for without my wrong There is no tongue hath power to curse him right. Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my