Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

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.

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, havock, 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!

K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?

1 Cit. The king of England, when we know the king.

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,
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 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
Out of one side her happy minion;

To whom in favour she shall give the day,
And kiss him with a glorious victory.
How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
Smacks it not something of the policy?

K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above 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?

Bast. An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
Being wrong'd, as we are, by this peevish town,
Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,

As we will ours, against these saucy walls:
And when that we have dash'd them to the 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.

[ocr errors]

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.

1 Cit. That daughter there of Spain, the lady Blanch,

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, O 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 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 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.

K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine,
Maine,

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;

Eli. Son, list to this conjunction, make this Poictiers, and Anjou, these five provinces,
match;
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 us well; Young princes, close.

Mark, how they whisper: urge them, while their souls That I did so, when I was first assur'd.
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.

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

K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath been for-
ward first

To speak unto this city: What say you?
K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely

[blocks in formation]

Lew. I do, my lord, and in her eye I find
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of myself form'd in her eye;
Which, being but the shadow of your son,
Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow:
I do protest, I never lov'd myself,
Till now infixed I beheld myself,
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
[Whispers with BLANCH.
Bast. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!·
Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!-
And quarter'd in her heart! -
he doth espy
Himself love's traitor: This is pity now,
That hang'd, and wn 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 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.

your hands. Aust. And your lips too; for, I am well assur'd,

K. Phi. Now, citizens of Angiors, 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 highness'

tent.

[ocr errors]

K. Phi. 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.

-

[ocr errors]

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'll 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.·
retire from the walls.

The Citizens

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

on;

maids;

Whom zeal and charity brought to the field,
As God's own soldier,) rounded 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,
Who having no external thing to lose
But the word maid, -cheats the poor maid of that;
That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling commo.
dity,
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?

[blocks in formation]

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 pro-
vinces ?

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, 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; And let belief and life encounter so,

[blocks in formation]

-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.

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 these woes alone, which I alone,
Am bound to under-bear.

Sal.

Pardon me, madam, I may not go without you to the kings. Const. Thou may'st, 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 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 alchemist; Turning, with splendor 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!

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 ;

[blocks in formation]

O Lymoges! O Austria! thou dost shame

That bloody spoil: Thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward;

Thou little valiant, great in villainy!

swear,

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
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.

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

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

Aust. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life. Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget thy

self.

[blocks in formation]

K. 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.
Pand. Then by the lawful power that I have,
Thou shalt stand curs'd, and excommunicate:
And blessed shall he be, that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretick;
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.

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

Eli. Look'st thou pale, France? do not let g thy hand.

Const. Look to that, devil! lest that France repent,

And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.

Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.

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

wrongs,

Aust. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these Because Bast. Your breeches best may carry them. K. John. Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal? Const. What should he say, but as the cardinal? Lew. Bethink you, father; for the difference Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome, Or the light loss of England for a friend : Forego the easier.

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 faith,

But from her need.

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.
Bas

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

lout.

K. Pht. 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
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 over-
stain'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?
Flay 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 chafed lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

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, vhat 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 thou 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.

K. Phi. 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;

――

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 churiigh 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 Fore-thought by heaven.

Blanch. Now shall I see thy love; What motive may

Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?
Const. That which upholdeth him that thee
upholds,

His honour: O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour!
Lew. I muse, your majesty doth seem so cold,
When such profound respects do pull you on.
Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head.
K. Phi. Thou shalt not need: - England, I'll

fall from thee. Const. O fair return of banish'd majesty! Eli. O foul revolt of French inconstancy! K. John. France, thou shalt rue this hour within

this hour.

Bast. 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 may'st win;
Uncle, I needs must pray that thou may'st 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.

Lew. Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies. Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

K. John. Cousin, go draw our puissance toge [Erit Bastard. France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;

ther.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »