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The life and death of King John by William Shakespeare

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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.


Scena Secunda.

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.
Enter Hubert.

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:
Enter Mes.

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?
Enter Hubert.

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.


Scoena Tertia.

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.
Enter Bastard.

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
were best

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.
Enter Hubert.

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.

Ex. Lords.

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.
Enter Bastard.

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.


Scoena Secunda.

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.
Enter Pandulpho.

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?
Enter Bastard.

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


Scaena Tertia.

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.


Scena Quarta.

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.


Scena Quinta.

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.


Scena Sexta.

Enter Bastard and Hubert, seuerally.

Hub. Whose there? Speake hoa, speake quickely, or
I shoote

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.


Scena Septima.

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.
Enter Pembroke.

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.
Enter Bastard.

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.

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