Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

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,
Confront your city's eyes, your winking gates;
And, but for our approach, these sleeping stones,
That as a waist do girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordnance

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 threaten'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,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.

K. 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,

K. John. To verify our title with their lives.
K. Phi. As many, and as well-born bloods as
Bast. Some bastards too.
[those,-
K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.
1 Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both.
K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those
That to their everlasting residence, [souls,
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!

arms!

K. Phi. Amen, Amen!-Mount, chevaliers! to
[e'er since,
Bast. St. George,-that swing'd the dragon, and
Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door,
Teach us some fence!-Sirrah, were I at home,
At your den, sirrah, (to Austria) with your lioness,
I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
And make a monster of you.

And king o'er him, and all that he enjoys:
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In warlike march these greens before your town;
Being no further enemy to you,
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,
In the relief of this oppressed child,
Religiously provokes. Be pleased, then,
To pay that duty, which you truly owe,
To him that owes it; namely, this young prince:
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
Save in aspect, have all offence seal'd up;
Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent
Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven;
And, with a blessed and unvex'd retire,
With unhack'd swords, and helmets all unbruis'd,
We will bear home that lusty blood again,
Which here we came to spout against your town,
And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.
But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
'Tis not the roundure of your old-fac'd walls
Can hide you from our messengers of war;
Though all these English, and their discipline,
Were harbour'd in their rude circumference.
Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord,
In that behalf, which we have challeng'd it?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
And stalk in blood to our possession?

1 Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's
subjects;
For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let
[king,

Aust.

Peace; no more.
Bast. O, tremble; for you hear the lion roar.
K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set
In best appointment, all our regiments. [forth,
Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the field.
K. Phi. It shall be so;-(to Lewis) and at the
other hill

Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!
[Exeunt.

SCENE II.-The same.

Alarums and Excursions; then a Retreat. Enter a
French Herald, with trumpets, to the gates.

F.Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
And let young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, in;
Who, by the hand of France, this day hath made
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground:
Many a widow's husband groveling 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.
E. Her. 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,
Died in the dying slaughter of their foes:
Open your gates, and give the victors way.

[hold,

Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we might be-
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;
[fronted power:
Strength match'd with strength, and power con-
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, at one side, King JOHN, with his power;
ELINOR, BLANCHI, and the Bastard; at the other,
King PHILIP, LEWIS, AUSTRIA, and Forces.
K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to
cast away?

me in.

1 Cit. That can we not: but he, that proves the
To him will we prove loyal; till that time,
Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.
K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove
the king?
And, if not that, I bring you witnesses,
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,- With course disturb'd even thy confining shores;
Bast. Bastards, and else.
Unless thou let his silver water keep

Say, shall the current of our right run on?
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'er-swell

[ocr errors]

A peaceful progress to the ocean.

[of blood, K. Phi. England, thou hast not sav'd one drop 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 Or add a royal number to the dead! [bear, Gracing the scroll, that tell's of this war's loss, With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.

Bast. 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, mouthing 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!

[mit?

K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet adK. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?

[king.

1 Cit. The king of England, when we know the K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up his right.

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

1 Cit. 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. Bast. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings;

And stand securely on their battlements,

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 a while, 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
Oat 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? [heads,

K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above our
I like it well;-France, shall we knit our powers,
And lay this Angiers even with the ground;
Then, after, fight who shall be king of it?

Bast. And, 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. K. Phi. Let it be so:-Say, where will you

assault?

K. John. We from the west will send destruction Into this city's bosom.

Aust. I from the north. K. Phi. Our thunder from the south, Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.

Bast. O prudent discipline! From north to south; Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth: (Aside.)

I'll stir them to it :-Come, away, away!

1 Cit. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe a while
to stay,

And I shall show you peace, and fair-faced league;
Win you this city without stroke, or wound;
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
That here come sacrifices for the field:
Perséver not, but hear me, mighty kings.

K. John. Speak on, with favour; we are bent to
hear.
[Blanch,
1 Cit. That daughter there of Spain, the lady
Is near to England; Look upon the years
Of Lewis the Dauphin, and that lovely maid:
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete:
If not complete, 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.

Bast.

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 Talks as familiarly of roaring lions, [seas; 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 cudgel'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.
Eli. 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
Are capable of this ambition:
[souls
Lest zeal, now melted, by the windy breath
Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
Cool and congeal again to what it was.

1 Cit. Why answer not the double majesties This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town? K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath been forward first To speak unto this city: What say you? [son, K.John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely

[ocr errors]

Can in this book of beauty read, I love,
Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
For Anjou, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
And all that we upon this side the sea
(Except this city now by us besieg'd,)
Find liable to our crown and dignity,
Shall gild her bridal bed; and make her rich
In titles, honours, and promotions,
As she in beauty, education, blood,
Holds hand with any princess of the world.
K.Phi. What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's
Lew. I do, my lord, and in her eye I find [face.
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of myself form'd in her eye;
Which, being but the shadow of your son,
Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow:
I do protest, I never lov'd myself,
Till now infixed I beheld myself,
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
(Whispers with Blanch.)
Bast. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!-
Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!-
And quarter'd in her heart!-he doth espy

Himself love's traitor: This is pity now,
That hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd, there should
In such a love, so vile a lout as he.
[be,
Blanch. My uncle's will, in this respect, is mine:
If he see aught in you, that makes him like,
That any thing 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. K. John. What say these young ones? What say you, my niece?

Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do What you in wisdom shall vouchsafe to say. K. John. Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?

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

K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, 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. K. Phi. It likes as well:-Young princes, close your hands.

Aust. And your lips too; for, I am well assur'd, That I did so, when I was first assur'd. K. Phi. 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. Lew. She is sad and passionate at your high. ness' tent. [have made,

K. Phi. And, by my faith, this league, that we 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.

K. 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.

[on;

[Exeunt all but the Bastard.-The Citizens retire from the walls. Bast. 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 Whom zeal and charity brought to the field, As God's own soldier,) rounded in the ear With that same purpose-charger, 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 commoCommodity, the bias of the world; [dity,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.

[ocr errors]

SCENE I.-The same. The French King's Tent. Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBury.

Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood join'd! gone to be friends! Shall Lewis have Blanch? and Blanch those provinces?

It is not so; thou hast mis-spoke, mis-heard;
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.

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

Const. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow, Teach thou this sorrow, how to make me die;

KING JOHN.

SCENE 1.]

And let belief and life encounter so,
As doth the fury of two desperate men,
Which, in the very meeting, fall and die.-
Lewis marry Blanch! O, boy, then where art 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.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But spoke the harm, that is by others done?

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

Arth. I do beseech yon, madam, be content. Const. If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim,

Ugly, and sland'rous 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 may'st with lilies boast,
And with the half-blown rose: but fortune, O!
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee;
She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John;
And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on 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.

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!

Lady Constance, peace.
Aust.
Const. 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;

Sal.

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

[thee:

Const. Thou may'st, thou shalt, I will not go with
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 sorrow sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
(She throws herself on the ground.)
Enter King JOHN, King PHILIP, LEWIS, BLANCH,
ELINOR, Bastard, AUSTRIA, and Attendants.
K. Phi. '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 alchymist;
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 holyday.

Const. A wicked day, and not a holyday!-
(Rising.)

What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done;
That it in golden letters should be set,
Among the high tides, in the kalendar?
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!

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 soldier? bidding me depend
foes?
my
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
And dost thou now fall over to
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.
Aust. O, that a man should speak these words to
[limbs.
me!
Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
Aust. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life.
Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
[self.
limbs.
K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget thy-

Enter PANDulph.

K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope.
Pand. 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?
do demand of thee.
This, in our 'foresaid holy father's name,
Pope Innocent,

K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories,
Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous,
To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of 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.

K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme in

K. Phi. 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?

Const. You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit,
Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd, and
tried,
Proves valueless: You are forsworn, forsworn :

this.

[Christendom,

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

Thou shalt stand curs'd, and excommunicate:
And blessed shall be be, that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretic;
And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
Canonized, and worship'd as a saint,
That takes away, by any secret course,
Thy hateful life.

Const.

O, lawful let it be, That I have room with Rome to curse a while! Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen, To my keen curses: for, without my wrong, There is no tongue hath power to curse him right. Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my

curse.

[right,

Const. And for mine too; when law can do no 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? Pand. 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.

[blocks in formation]

Blanch.

That's the curse of Rome.

Const. O Lewis, stand fast; the devil tempts thee here,

In likeness of a new untrimmed bride.

Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from her But from her need. [faith,

Const. 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. K. John. The king is mov'd, and answers not to this.

Const. O, be remov'd from him, and answer well. Aust. Do so, king Philip; hang no more in doubt. [lout. Bast. Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most sweet K.Phi. I am perplex'd, and know not what to say. Pand. What canst thou say, but will perplex thee more, If thou stand excommunicate, and curs'd?

K. Phi. Good reverend father, make my person

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.

Pand. 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 may'st hold a serpent by the tongue,
A cased lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,

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,

Than keep in peace that hand, which thou dost hold.

K. Ph. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.
Pand. So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith;
And, like a civil war, set'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, swear 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 can'st thou make,
Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
Against those 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 light on thee;
So heavy, as thon shalt not shake them off,
But, in despair, die under their black weight.
Aust. Rebellion, flat rebellion!
Bast.
Will't not be?
Will not a calf's-skin stop that mouth of thine?
Lew. 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 !-ah, 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.

Const.

O, upon my knee,

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

[may Blanch. Now shall I see thy love; What motive Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?

« ÎnapoiContinuă »