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King John by William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

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KING JOHN

by William Shakespeare

PERSONS REPRESENTED

KING JOHN.
PRINCE HENRY, his son; afterwards KING HENRY III.
ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, son to GEFFREY, late Duke of Bretagne,
the elder brother to King John.
WILLIAM MARSHALL, Earl of Pembroke.
GEOFFREY FITZ-PETER, Earl of Essex, Chief Justiciary of England.
WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury.
ROBERT BIGOT, Earl of Norfolk.
HUBERT DE BURGH, Chamberlain to the King.
ROBERT FALCONBRIDGE, son to Sir Robert Falconbridge.
PHILIP FALCONBRIDGE, his half-brother, bastard son to King
Richard I.
JAMES GURNEY, servant to Lady Falconbridge.
PETER OF POMFRET, a prophet

PHILIP, King of France.
LOUIS, the Dauphin.
ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA.
CARDINAL PANDULPH, the Pope's legate.
MELUN, a French lord.
CHATILLON, Ambassador from France to King John.

ELINOR, Widow of King Henry II and Mother to King John.
CONSTANCE, Mother to Arthur.
BLANCH OF SPAIN, Daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and Niece
to King John.
LADY FALCONBRIDGE, Mother to the Bastard and Robert Falconbridge.

Lords, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers,
Messengers, Attendants
and other Attendants.

SCENE: Sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.

ACT I.

SCENE 1. Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.

[Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, SALISBURY, and
others, with CHATILLON.]

KING JOHN.
Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?

CHATILLON.
Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France,
In my behaviour, to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty of England here.

ELINOR.
A strange beginning:--borrow'd majesty!

KING JOHN.
Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.

CHATILLON.
Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island and the territories,--
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine;
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.

KING JOHN.
What follows if we disallow of this?

CHATILLON.
The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.

KING JOHN.
Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
Controlment for controlment;--so answer France.

CHATILLON.
Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
The farthest limit of my embassy.

KING JOHN.
Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:
Be thou as lightning in the eyes 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 own decay.--
An honourable conduct let him have:--
Pembroke, look to 't. Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.]

ELINOR.
What now, my son! Have I not ever said
How that ambitious Constance would not cease
Till she had kindled France and all the world
Upon the right and party of her son?
This might have been prevented and made whole
With very easy arguments of love;
Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

KING JOHN.
Our strong possession and our right for us.

ELINOR.
Your strong possession much more than your right,
Or else it must go wrong with you and me:
So much my conscience whispers in your ear,
Which none but heaven and you and I shall hear.

[Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers to Essex.]

ESSEX.
My liege, here is the strangest controversy,
Come from the country to be judg'd by you,
That e'er I heard: shall I produce the men?

KING JOHN.
Let them approach.--

[Exit SHERIFF.]

Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
This expedition's charge.

[Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE and PHILIP, his
bastard Brother.]

What men are you?

BASTARD.
Your faithful subject I, a gentleman
Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Falconbridge,--
A soldier by the honour-giving hand
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.

KING JOHN.
What art thou?

ROBERT.
The son and heir to that same Falconbridge.

KING JOHN.
Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
You came not of one mother then, it seems.

BASTARD.
Most certain of one mother, mighty king,--
That is well known; and, as I think, one father:
But for the certain knowledge of that truth
I put you o'er to heaven and to my mother:--
Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.

ELINOR.
Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother,
And wound her honour with this diffidence.

BASTARD.
I, madam? no, I have no reason for it,--
That is my brother's plea, and none of mine;
The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out
At least from fair five hundred pound a-year:
Heaven guard my mother's honour and my land!

KING JOHN.
A good blunt fellow.--Why, being younger born,
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

BASTARD.
I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whe'er I be as true begot or no,
That still I lay upon my mother's head;
But that I am as well begot, my liege,--
Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!--
Compare our faces and be judge yourself.
If old Sir Robert did beget us both,
And were our father, and this son like him,--
O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!

KING JOHN.
Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!

ELINOR.
He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face;
The accent of his tongue affecteth him:
Do you not read some tokens of my son
In the large composition of this man?

KING JOHN.
Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
And finds them perfect Richard.--Sirrah, speak,
What doth move you to claim your brother's land?

BASTARD.
Because he hath a half-face, like my father;
With half that face would he have all my land:
A half-fac'd groat five hundred pound a-year!

ROBERT.
My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd,
Your brother did employ my father much,--

BASTARD.
Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land:
Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.

ROBERT.
And once despatch'd him in an embassy
To Germany, there with the emperor
To treat of high affairs touching that time.
The advantage of his absence took the King,
And in the meantime sojourn'd at my father's;
Where how he did prevail I shame to speak,--
But truth is truth: large lengths of seas and shores
Between my father and my mother lay,--
As I have heard my father speak himself,--
When this same lusty gentleman was got.
Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd
His lands to me; and took it, on his death,
That this, my mother's son, was none of his;
And if he were, he came into the world
Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
My father's land, as was my father's will.

KING JOHN.
Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him;
And if she did play false, the fault was hers;
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
Had of your father claim'd this son for his?
In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world;
In sooth, he might; then, if he were my brother's,
My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
Being none of his, refuse him. This concludes,--
My mother's son did get your father's heir;
Your father's heir must have your father's land.

ROBERT.
Shall then my father's will be of no force
To dispossess that child which is not his?

BASTARD.
Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Than was his will to get me, as I think.

ELINOR.
Whether hadst thou rather be a Falconbridge,
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presence and no land beside?

BASTARD.
Madam, an if my brother had my shape
And I had his, Sir Robert's his, like him;
And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
My arms such eel-skins stuff'd, my face so thin
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose
Lest men should say 'Look where three-farthings goes!'
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,
Would I might never stir from off this place,
I would give it every foot to have this face;
I would not be Sir Nob in any case.

ELINOR.
I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
I am a soldier, and now bound to France.

BASTARD.
Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance:
Your face hath got five hundred pound a-year;
Yet sell your face for fivepence and 'tis dear.--
Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.

ELINOR.
Nay, I would have you go before me thither.

BASTARD.
Our country manners give our betters way.

KING JOHN.
What is thy name?

BASTARD.
Philip, my liege, so is my name begun;
Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son.

KING JOHN.
From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bear'st:
Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,--
Arise Sir Richard and Plantagenet.

BASTARD.
Brother by the mother's side, give me your hand:
My father gave me honour, yours gave land.--
Now blessed be the hour, by night or day,
When I was got, Sir Robert was away!

ELINOR.
The very spirit of Plantagenet!--
I am thy grandam, Richard; call me so.

BASTARD.
Madam, by chance, but not by truth; what though?
Something about, a little from the right,
In at the window, or else o'er the hatch;
Who dares not stir by day must walk by night;
And have is have, however men do catch:
Near or far off, well won is still well shot;
And I am I, howe'er I was begot.

KING JOHN.
Go, Falconbridge; now hast thou thy desire:
A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.--
Come, madam,--and come, Richard; we must speed
For France, for France, for it is more than need.

BASTARD.
Brother, adieu. Good fortune come to thee!
For thou wast got i' th' way of honesty.

[Exeunt all but the BASTARD.]

A foot of honour better than I was;
But many a many foot of land the worse.
Well, now can I make any Joan a lady:--
'Good den, Sir Richard:'--'God-a-mercy, fellow:'--
And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter:
For new-made honour doth forget men's names:
'Tis too respective and too sociable
For your conversion. Now your traveller,--
He and his toothpick at my worship's mess;--
And when my knightly stomach is suffic'd,
Why then I suck my teeth, and catechize
My picked man of countries:--'My dear sir,'--
Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin,--
'I shall beseech you'--that is question now;
And then comes answer like an ABC-book:--
'O sir,' says answer 'at your best command;
At your employment; at your service, sir:'--
'No, sir,' says question 'I, sweet sir, at yours:
And so, ere answer knows what question would,--
Saving in dialogue of compliment,
And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
The Pyrenean and the river Po,--
It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipful society,
And fits the mounting spirit like myself:
For he is but a bastard to the time,
That doth not smack of observation,--
And so am I, whether I smack or no;
And not alone in habit and device,
Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
But from the inward motion to deliver
Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth;
Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
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 pains to blow a horn before her?

[Enter LADY FALCONBRIDGE, and JAMES GURNEY.]

O me, 'tis my mother!--w now, good lady!
What brings you here to court so hastily?

LADY FALCONBRIDGE.
Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he
That holds in chase mine honour up and down?

BASTARD.
My brother Robert? old Sir Robert's son?
Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
Is it Sir Robert's son that you seek so?

LADY FalcoNBRIDGE.
Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at Sir Robert?
He is Sir Robert's son, and so art thou.

BASTARD.
James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave awhile?

GURNEY.
Good leave, good Philip.

BASTARD.
Philip--sparrow!--James,
There's toys abroad:--anon I'll tell thee more.

[Exit GURNEY.]

Madam, I was not old Sir Robert's son;
Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his fast.
Sir Robert could do well: marry, to confess,
Could not get me; Sir Robert could not do it,--
We know his handiwork:--therefore, good mother,
To whom am I beholding for these limbs?
Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.

LADY FALCONBRIDGE.
Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour?
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?

BASTARD.
Knight, knight, good mother,--Basilisco-like;
What! I am dubb'd; I have it on my shoulder.
But, mother, I am not Sir Robert's son:
I have 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 FalcoNBRIDGE.
Hast thou denied thyself a Falconbridge?

BASTARD.
As faithfully as I deny the devil.

LADY FALCONBRIDGE.
King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father:
By long and vehement suit I was seduc'd
To make room for him in my husband's bed:--
Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!--
Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urg'd, past my defence.

BASTARD.
Now, by this light, were I to get again,
Madam, I would not wish a better father.
Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,--
Subjected tribute to commanding love,--
Against whose fury and unmatched force
The aweless lion could not wage the fight
Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand:
He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
May easily win a woman's. Ay, my mother,
With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
Who lives and dares but say, thou didst not well
When I was got, I'll send his soul to hell.
Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;
And they shall say when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
Who says it was, he lies; I say 'twas not.

[Exeunt.]

ACT II.

SCENE 1. France. Before the walls of Angiers.

[Enter, on one side, the ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA and Forces; on the
other, PHILIP, King of France, LOUIS, CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and
Forces.]

KING PHILIP.
Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.--
Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart,
And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
By this brave duke came early to his grave:
And, for amends to his posterity,
At our importance hither is he come
To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf;
And to rebuke the usurpation
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.

ARTHUR.
God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's death
The rather that you give his offspring life,
Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
But with a heart full of unstained love,--
Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.

LOUIS.
A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?

AUSTRIA.
Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
As seal to this indenture of my love,--
That to my home I will no more return,
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides,
And coops from other lands her islanders,--
Even till that England, hedg'd in with the main,
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident from foreign purposes,--
Even till that utmost corner of the west
Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,
Will I not think of home, but follow arms.

CONSTANCE.
O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
To make a more requital to your love!

AUSTRIA.
The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
In such a just and charitable war.

KING PHILIP.
Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent
Against the brows of this resisting town.--
Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best advantages:
We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
But we will make it subject to this boy.

CONSTANCE.
Stay for an answer to your embassy,
Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood:
My Lord Chatillon may from England bring
That right in peace which here we urge in war;
And then we shall repent each drop of blood
That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.

KING PHILIP.
A wonder, lady!--lo, upon thy wish,
Our messenger Chatillon is arriv'd.

[Enter CHATILLON.]

What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;
We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.

CHATILLON.
Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
And stir them up against a mightier task.
England, impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I;
His marches are expedient to this town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the mother-queen,
An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her neice, the Lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the king's deceas'd:
And all the unsettled humours of the land,--
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens,--
Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er
Did never float upon the swelling tide
To do offence and scathe in Christendom.

[Drums beat within.]

The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand;
To parley or to fight: therefore prepare.

KING PHILIP.
How much unlook'd-for is this expedition!

AUSTRIA.
By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endeavour for defence;
For courage mounteth with occasion:
Let them be welcome, then; we are prepar'd.

[Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD,
PEMBROKE, Lords, and Forces.]

KING JOHN.
Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
Our just and lineal entrance to our own!
If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,
Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven!

KING PHILIP.
Peace be to England, if that war return
From France to England, there to live in peace!
England we love; and for that England's sake
With burden of our armour here we sweat.
This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
But thou from loving England art so far
That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king,
Cut off the sequence of posterity,
Outfaced infant state, and done a rape
Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face:--
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his:
This little abstract doth contain that large
Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of time
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's: in the name of God,
How comes it then, that thou art call'd a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o'er-masterest?

KING JOHN.
From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
To draw my answer from thy articles?

KING PHILIP.
From that supernal judge that stirs good thoughts
In any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of right.
That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong;
And by whose help I mean to chastise it.

KING JOHN.
Alack, thou dost usurp authority.

KING PHILIP.
Excus,--it is to beat usurping down.

ELINOR.
Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?

CONSTANCE.
Let me make answer;--thy usurping son.

ELINOR.
Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,
That thou mayst be a queen, and check the world!

CONSTANCE.
My bed was ever to thy son as true
As thine was to thy husband; and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey
Than thou and John in manners,--being as like
As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think
His father never was so true begot:
It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.

ELINOR.
There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

CONSTANCE.
There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.

AUSTRIA.
Peace!

BASTARD.
Hear the crier.

AUSTRIA.
What the devil art thou?

BASTARD.
One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
An 'a may catch your hide and you alone.
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard:
I'll smoke your skin-coat an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to 't; i' faith I will, i' faith.

BLANCH.
O, well did he become that lion's robe
That did disrobe the lion of that robe!

BASTARD.
It lies as sightly on the back of him
As great Alcides' shows upon an ass:--
But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back,
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.

AUSTRIA.
What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
With this abundance of superfluous breath?

KING PHILIP.
Louis, determine what we shall do straight.

LOUIS.
Women and fools, break off your conference.--
King John, this is the very sum of all,--
England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur, do I claim of thee:
Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms?

KING JOHN.
My life as soon:--I do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
And out of my dear love, I'll give thee more
Than e'er the coward hand of France can win:
Submit thee, boy.

ELINOR.
Come to thy grandam, child.

CONSTANCE.
Do, child, go to it' grandam, child;
Give grandam kingdom, and it' grandam will
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig.
There's a good grandam!

ARTHUR.
Good my mother, peace!
I would that I were low laid in my grave:
I am not worth this coil that's made for me.

ELINOR.
His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.

CONSTANCE.
Now, shame upon you, whe'er she does or no!
His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames,
Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee:
Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib'd
To do him justice, and revenge on you.

ELINOR.
Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!

CONSTANCE.
Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
Call not me slanderer: thou and thine usurp
The dominations, royalties, and rights,
Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eldest son's son,
Infortunate in nothing but in thee:
Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
The canon of the law is laid on him,
Being but the second generation
Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.

KING JOHN.
Bedlam, have done.

CONSTANCE.
I have but this to say,--
That he is not only plagued for her sin,
But God hath made her sin and her the plague
On this removed issue, plagu'd for her
And with her plague, her sin; his injury
Her injury,--the beadle to her sin;
All punish'd in the person of this child,
And all for her: a plague upon her!

ELINOR.
Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
A will that bars the title of thy son.

CONSTANCE.
Ay, who doubts that? a will, a wicked will;
A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!

KING PHILIP.
Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate:
It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
To these ill-tuned repetitions.--
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak
Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.

[Trumpet sounds. Enter citizens upon the walls.]

FIRST CITIZEN.
Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls?

KING PHILIP.
'Tis France, for England.

KING JOHN.
England for itself:--
You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,--

KING PHILIP.
You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,
Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle.

KING JOHN.
For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
These flags of France, that are advanced here
Before the eye and prospect of your town,
Have hither march'd to your endamagement;

The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
And ready mounted are they to spit forth
Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls:
All preparation for a bloody siege
And merciless proceeding by these French
Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates;
And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones
That as a waist doth girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordinance
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
But, on the sight of us, your lawful king,--
Who, painfully, with much expedient march,
Have brought a countercheck before your gates,
To save unscratch'd your city's threatn'd cheeks,--
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,
Craves harbourage within your city-walls.

KING PHILIP.
When I have said, make answer to us both.
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, hath 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 CITIZEN.
In brief: we are the King of England's subjects:
For him, and in his right, we hold this town.

KING JOHN.
Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.

CITIZEN.
That can we not; but he that proves the king,
To him will we prove loyal: till that time
Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.

KING JOHN.
Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
And if not that, I bring you witnesses,
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,--

BASTARD.
Bastards, and else.

KING JOHN.
To verify our title with their lives.

KING PHILIP.
As many and as well-born bloods as those,--

BASTARD.
Some bastards too.

KING PHILIP.
Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.

FIRST CITIZEN.
Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We for the worthiest hold the right from both.

KING 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!

KING PHILIP.
Amen, Amen!--Mount, chevaliers; to arms!

BASTARD.
Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
Sits on his horse' back at mine hostess' door,
Teach us some fence!--Sirrah [To AUSTRIA.], were I at home,
At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
I would set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
And make a monster of you.

AUSTRIA.
Peace! no more.

BASTARD.
O, tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

KING JOHN.
Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth
In best appointment all our regiments.

BASTARD.
Speed, then, to take advantage of the field.

KING PHILIP.
It shall be so;--[To LOUIS.] and at the other hill
Command the rest to stand.--God and our right!

[Exeunt severally.]

[After excursions, enter a French Herald, with trumpets, to the
gates.]

FRENCH HERALD.
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 an ENGLISH HERALD, with trumpets.]

ENGLISH HERALD.
Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells:
King John, your king and England's, doth approach,
Commander of this hot malicious day:
Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright,
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 forth;
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 CITIZEN.
Heralds, from off our towers, we might behold,
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 answer'd blows;
Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power:
Both are alike, and both alike we like.
One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even,
We hold our town for neither; yet for both.

[Enter, on one side, KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD, and
Forces; at the other, KING PHILIP, LOUIS, AUSTRIA, and Forces.]

KING JOHN.
France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
Say, shall the current of our right run on?
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'erswell
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores,
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress to the ocean.

KING PHILIP.
England, thou hast not sav'd one drop of blood
In this hot trial, more than we of France;
Rather, lost more: and by this hand I swear,
That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,
Or add a royal number to the dead,
Gracing the scroll that tells of this war's loss
With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.

BASTARD.
Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers
When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel;
The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;
And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
In undetermin'd differences of kings.--
Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?
Cry, havoc, kings! back to the stained field,
You equal potents, fiery-kindled spirits!
Then let confusion of one part confirm
The other's peace: till then, blows, blood, and death!

KING JOHN.
Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

KING PHILIP.
Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?

FIRST CITIZEN.
The King of England, when we know the king.

KING PHILIP.
Know him in us, that here hold up his right.

KING JOHN.
In us, that are our own great deputy,
And bear possession of our person here;
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.

FIRST CITIZEN.
A greater power than we denies all this;
And till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates;
King'd of our fears, until our fears, resolv'd,
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd.

BASTARD.
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:
By east and west let France and England mount
Their battering cannon, charged to the mouths,
Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd down
The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city:
I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
Even till unfenced desolation
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;
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?

KING JOHN.
Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
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?

BASTARD.
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 ground,
Why then defy each other, and, pell-mell,
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell!

KING PHILIP.
Let it be so.--Say, where will you assault?

KING JOHN.
We from the west will send destruction
Into this city's bosom.

AUSTRIA.
I from the north.

KING PHILIP.
Our thunder from the south
Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.

BASTARD.
O prudent discipline! From north to south,--
Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth:
I'll stir them to it.[Aside.]--Come, away, away!

FIRST CITIZEN.
Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to stay,
And I shall show you peace and fair-fac'd league;
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.

KING JOHN.
Speak on with favour; we are bent to hear.

FIRST CITIZEN.
That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch,
Is niece to England:--look upon the years
Of Louis 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 Blanch?
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 a 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 one,
Two such controlling bounds, shall you be, kings,
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.

BASTARD.
Here's a stay
That shakes the rotten carcase of old Death
Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed,
That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas;
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!
What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
He speaks plain cannon,--fire and smoke and bounce;
He gives the bastinado with his tongue;
Our ears are cudgell'd; not a word of his
But buffets better than a fist of France.
Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.

ELINOR.
Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;
Give with our niece a dowry large enough;
For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
Thy now unsur'd assurance to the crown,
That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.
I see a yielding in the looks of France;
Mark how they whisper: urge them while their souls
Are capable of this ambition,
Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
Cool and congeal again to what it was.

FIRST CITIZEN.
Why answer not the double majesties
This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town?

KING PHILIP.
Speak England first, that hath been forward first
To speak unto this city: what say you?

KING JOHN.
If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
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.

KING PHILIP.
What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's face.

LOUIS.
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.]

BASTARD.
[Aside.] 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,
That anything he sees, which moves his liking
I can with ease 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.

KING 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.

KING JOHN.
Speak then, Prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?

LOUIS.
Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;
For I do love her most unfeignedly.

KING 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.--
Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal,
Command thy son and daughter to join hands.

KING PHILIP.
It likes us well.--Young princes, close your hands.

AUSTRIA.
And your lips too; for I am well assur'd
That I did so when I was first assur'd.

KING PHILIP.
Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates,
Let in that amity which you have made;
For at Saint Mary's chapel presently
The rites of marriage shall be solemniz'd.--
Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
I know she is not; for this match made up
Her presence would have interrupted much:
Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.

LOUIS.
She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.

KING PHILIP.
And, by my faith, this league that we have made
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.

KING JOHN.
We will heal up all;
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 BASTARD. The Citizens retire from the Walls.]

BASTARD.
Mad world! mad kings! mad composition!
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;
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;
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.

[Exit.]

ACT III.

SCENE 1. France. The FRENCH KING'S tent.

[Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY.]

CONSTANCE.
Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace!
False blood to false blood join'd! gone to be friends!
Shall Louis 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 fears;
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears;
A woman, naturally born to fears;
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.

SALISBURY.
As true as I believe you think them false
That give you cause to prove my saying true.

CONSTANCE.
O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die;
And let belief and life encounter so
As doth the fury of two desperate men,
Which in the very meeting fall and die!--
Louis marry Blanch! O boy, then where art thou?
France friend with England! what becomes of me?--
Fellow, be gone: I cannot brook thy sight;
This news hath made thee a most ugly man.

SALISBURY.
What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But spoke the harm that is by others done?

CONSTANCE.
Which harm within itself so heinous is,
As it makes harmful all that speak of it.

ARTHUR.
I do beseech you, madam, be content.

CONSTANCE.
If thou, that bid'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.
But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great:
Of nature's gifts thou mayst 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 France
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to Fortune and king John--
That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John!--
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
And leave those woes alone, which I alone
Am bound to under-bear.

SALISBURY.
Pardon me, madam,
I may not go without you to the kings.

CONSTANCE.
Thou mayst, thou shalt; I will not go with thee:
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout.
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

[Seats herself on the ground.]

[Enter KING JOHN, KING PHILIP, LOUIS, BLANCH, ELINOR, BASTARD,
AUSTRIA, and attendants.]

KING PHILIP.
'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
Ever in France shall be kept festival:
To solemnize this day the glorious sun
Stays in his course and plays the alchemist,
Turning, with splendour of his precious eye,
The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
The yearly course that brings this day about
Shall never see it but a holiday.

CONSTANCE.
[Rising.] A wicked day, and not a holy day!
What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done
That it in golden letters should be set
Among the high tides in the calendar?
Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,
This day of shame, oppression, perjury:
Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child
Pray that their burdens may not fall this day,
Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross'd:
But on this day let seamen fear no wreck;
No bargains break that are not this day made:
This day, all things begun come to ill end,--
Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change!

KING PHILIP.
By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
To curse the fair proceedings of this day.
Have I not pawn'd to you my majesty?

CONSTANCE.
You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit
Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd and tried,
Proves valueless; you are forsworn, forsworn:
You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours:
The grappling vigour and rough frown of war
Is cold in amity and painted peace,
And our oppression hath made up this league.--
Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur'd kings!
A widow cries: be husband to me, heavens!
Let not the hours of this ungodly day
Wear out the day in peace; but, ere sunset,
Set armed discord 'twixt these perjur'd kings!
Hear me, O, hear me!

AUSTRIA.
Lady Constance, peace!

CONSTANCE.
War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.
O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame
That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward!
Thou little valiant, great in villainy!
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Thou Fortune's champion that dost never fight
But when her humorous ladyship is by
To teach thee safety!--thou art perjur'd too,
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool, to brag, and stamp. and swear
Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
And dost thou now fall over to my foes?
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs!

AUSTRIA.
O that a man should speak those words to me!

BASTARD.
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA.
Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life.

BASTARD.
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

KING JOHN.
We like not this: thou dost forget thyself.

KING PHILIP.
Here comes the holy legate of the Pope.

[Enter PANDULPH.]

PANDULPH.
Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!--
To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
Do in his name religiously demand
Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen Archbishop
Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
This, in our foresaid holy father's name,
Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.

KING JOHN.
What earthly name to interrogatories
Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous,
To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England
Add thus much more,--that no Italian priest
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions:
But as we under heaven are supreme head,
So, under him, that great supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
Without the assistance of a mortal hand:
So tell the pope, all reverence set apart
To him and his usurp'd authority.

KING PHILIP.
Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.

KING JOHN.
Though you and all the kings of Christendom
Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,
Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
Who in that sale sells pardon from himself;
Though you and all the rest, so grossly led,
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish;
Yet I, alone, alone do me oppose
Against the pope, and count his friends my foes.

PANDULPH.
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.

CONSTANCE.
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.

PANDULPH.
There's law and warrant, lady, for my curse.

CONSTANCE.
And for mine too: when law can do no right,
Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong:
Law cannot give my child his kingdom here;
For he that holds his kingdom holds the law:
Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,
How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?

PANDULPH.
Philip of France, on peril of a curse,
Let go the hand of that arch-heretic,
And raise the power of France upon his head,
Unless he do submit himself to Rome.

ELINOR.
Look'st thou pale, France; do not let go thy hand.

CONSTANCE
Look to that, devil; lest that France repent
And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.

AUSTRIA.
King Philip, listen to the cardinal.

BASTARD.
And hang a calf's-skin on his recreant limbs.

AUSTRIA.
Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs,
Because--

BASTARD.
Your breeches best may carry them.

KING JOHN.
Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal?

CONSTANCE.
What should he say, but as the cardinal?

LOUIS.
Bethink you, father; for the difference
Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,
Or the light loss of England for a friend:
Forgo the easier.

BLANCH.
That's the curse of Rome.

CONSTANCE.
O Louis, stand fast! The devil tempts thee here
In likeness of a new uptrimmed bride.

BLANCH.
The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,
But from her need.

CONSTANCE.
O, if thou grant my need,
Which only lives but by the death of faith,
That need must needs infer this principle,--
That faith would live again by death of need!
O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up;
Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down!

KING JOHN.
The king is mov'd, and answers not to this.

CONSTANCE.
O be remov'd from him, and answer well!

AUSTRIA.
Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.

BASTARD.
Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most sweet lout.

KING PHILIP.
I am perplex'd, and know not what to say.

PANDULPH.
What canst thou say, but will perplex thee more,
If thou stand excommunicate and curs'd?

KING PHILIP.
Good reverend father, make my person yours,
And tell me how you would bestow yourself.
This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
And the conjunction of our inward souls
Married in league, coupled and link'd together
With all religious strength of sacred vows;
The latest breath that gave the sound of words
Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love,
Between our kingdoms and our royal selves;
And even before this truce, but new before,--
No longer than we well could wash our hands,
To clap this royal bargain up of peace,--
Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and overstain'd
With slaughter's pencil, where revenge did paint
The fearful difference of incensed kings:
And shall these hands, so lately purg'd of blood,
So newly join'd in love, so strong in both,
Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?
Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
As now again to snatch our palm from palm;
Unswear faith sworn; and on the marriage-bed
Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
And make a riot on the gentle brow
Of true sincerity? O, holy sir.
My reverend father, let it not be so!
Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose,
Some gentle order; and then we shall be bless'd
To do your pleasure, and continue friends.

PANDULPH.
All form is formless, order orderless,
Save what is opposite to England's love.
Therefore, to arms! be champion of our church,
Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,--
A mother's curse,--on her revolting son.
France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,
A chafed lion by the mortal paw,
A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

KING PHILIP.
I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.

PANDULPH.
So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith;
And, like a civil war, sett'st oath to oath,
Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow
First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform'd,--
That is, to be the champion of our church.
What since thou swor'st is sworn against thyself
And may not be performed by thyself:
For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss
Is not amiss when it is truly done;
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then most done not doing it:
The better act of purposes mistook
Is to mistake again; though indirect,
Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
And falsehood falsehood cures, as fire cools fire
Within the scorched veins of one new-burn'd.
It is religion that doth make vows kept;
But thou hast sworn against religion,
By what thou swear'st against the thing thou swear'st;
And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth
Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure
To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;
Else what a mockery should it be to swear!
But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;
And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.
Therefore thy latter vows against thy first
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself;
And better conquest never canst thou make
Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
Against these giddy loose suggestions:
Upon which better part our prayers come in,
If thou vouchsafe them; but if not, then know
The peril of our curses fight on thee,
So heavy as thou shalt not shake them off,
But in despair die under the black weight.

AUSTRIA.
Rebellion, flat rebellion!

BASTARD.
Will't not be?
Will not a calf's-skin stop that mouth of thine?

LOUIS.
Father, to arms!

BLANCH.
Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter'd men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,--
Clamours of hell,--be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me!--ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth!--even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.

CONSTANCE.
O, upon my knee,
Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
Forethought by heaven.

BLANCH.
Now shall I see thy love: what motive may
Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?

CONSTANCE.
That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,
His honour:--O, thine honour, Louis, thine honour!

LOUIS.
I muse your majesty doth seem so cold,
When such profound respects do pull you on.

PANDULPH.
I will denounce a curse upon his head.

KING PHILIP.
Thou shalt not need.--England, I will fall from thee.

CONSTANCE.
O fair return of banish'd majesty!

ELINOR.
O foul revolt of French inconstancy!

KING JOHN.
France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.

BASTARD.
Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,
Is it as he will? well, then, France shall rue.

BLANCH.
The sun's o'ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!
Which is the side that I must go withal?
I am with both: each army hath a hand;
And in their rage, I having hold of both,
They whirl asunder and dismember me.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;
Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thrive:
Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose;
Assured loss before the match be play'd.

LOUIS.
Lady, with me: with me thy fortune lies.

BLANCH.
There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

KING JOHN.
Cousin, go draw our puissance together.--

[Exit BASTARD.]

France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
A rage whose heat hath this condition,
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,--
The blood, and dearest-valu'd blood of France.

KING PHILIP.
Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn
To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.

KING JOHN.
No more than he that threats.--To arms let's hie!

[Exeunt severally.]

SCENE 2. The same. Plains near Angiers

[Alarums. Excursions. Enter the BASTARD with AUSTRIA'S head.]

BASTARD.
Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot;
Some airy devil hovers in the sky
And pours down mischief.--Austria's head lie there,
While Philip breathes.

[Enter KING JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT.]

KING JOHN.
Hubert, keep this boy.--Philip, make up:
My mother is assailed in our tent,
And ta'en, I fear.

BASTARD.
My lord, I rescu'd her;
Her highness is in safety, fear you not:
But on, my liege; for very little pains
Will bring this labour to an happy end.

[Exeunt.]

SCENE 3. The same.

[Alarums, Excursions, Retreat. Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, ARTHUR,
the BASTARD, HUBERT, and LORDS.]

KING JOHN.
[To ELINOR] So shall it be; your grace shall stay behind,
So strongly guarded.--
[To ARTHUR] Cousin, look not sad;
Thy grandam loves thee, and thy uncle will
As dear be to thee as thy father was.

ARTHUR.
O, this will make my mother die with grief!

KING JOHN.
Cousin [To the BASTARD], away for England; haste before:
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Of hoarding abbots; imprison'd angels
Set at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
Use our commission in his utmost force.

BASTARD.
Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
When gold and silver becks me to come on.
I leave your highness.--Grandam, I will pray,--
If ever I remember to be holy,--
For your fair safety; so, I kiss your hand.

ELINOR.
Farewell, gentle cousin.

KING JOHN.
Coz, farewell.

[Exit BASTARD.]

ELINOR.
Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.

[She takes Arthur aside.]

KING JOHN.
Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much! within this wall of flesh
There is a soul counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love:
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,--
But I will fit it with some better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd
To say what good respect I have of thee.

HUBERT.
I am much bounden to your majesty.

KING JOHN.
Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet:
But thou shalt have; and creep time ne'er so slow,
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,--but let it go:
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton and too full of gawds
To give me audience:--if the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had bak'd thy blood and made it heavy-thick,
Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment--
A passion hateful to my purposes;--
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words,--
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:
But, ah, I will not!--yet I love thee well;
And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well.

HUBERT.
So well that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I would do it.

KING JOHN.
Do not I know thou wouldst?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me: dost thou understand me?

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