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And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business, and maintain this war?
Have I not heard these islanders shout out,
Vive le roy! as I have bank'd their towns?
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
No, on my soul, it never shall be said.
Pand. You look but on the outside of this work.
Lew. Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook' conquest, and to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
Enter the Bastard, attended.
Bast. According to the fair play of the world,
Let me have audience; I am sent to speak :-
My holy lord of Milan, from the king'
I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
And as you answer, I do know the scope
And warrant limited unto my tongue.
Pand. The dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
And will not temporize with my entreaties;
He flatly says, he'll not lay down his arms.
Bast. By all the blood that ever fury breath'd,
The youth says well:- Now hear our English king;
For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
He is prepar'd; and reason too, he should:
This apish and unmannerly approach,
This harness'd masque, and unadvised revel,
This unhair'd sauciness, and boyish troops,
The king doth smile at; and is well prepar'd
To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
From out the circle of his territories.
That hand, which had the strength, even at your
To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch;2
To dive, like buckets, in concealed' wells;
To crouch in litter of your stable planks ;
To lie, like pawns, lock'd up in chests and trunks;
To hug with swine; to seek sweet safety out
In vaults and prisons; and to thrill, and shake,
Even at the crying of your nation's crow,
Thinking his voice an armed Englishman;-
Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
No: Know, the gallant monarch is in arms;
And like an eagle o'er his aiery towers,
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.-
And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
Of your dear mother England, blush for shame:
For your own ladies, and pale-visag'd maids,
Like Amazons, come tripping after drums;
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.
Lew. There end thy brave," and turn thy face
Plead for our interest, and our being here.
Bast. Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will
And so shall you, being beaten: Do but start
An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready brae'd,
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
Sound but another, and another shall,
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear,
And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand
(Not trusting to this halting legate here,
Whom he hath us'd rather for sport than need,)
Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
Lew. Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.
Bast. And thou shall find it, dauphin, do not
SCENE III.-The same. A field of battle,
Alarums. Enter King John and Hubert.
K. John. How goes the day with us? O, tell
Hub. Badly, I fear: How fares your majesty?
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so
Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulcon
Desires your majesty to leave the field;
And send him word by me, which way you go.
K. John. Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,
That was expected by the dauphin here,
Are wreck'd three nights ago on Goodwin sands.
This news was brought to Richard but even now;
The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.
K. John. Ah me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let me welcome this good news. ——
Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. [Exe.
SCENE IV.-The same. Another part of the
same. Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, Bigot, and
Sal. I did not think the king so stor'd with friends.
Pem. Up once again; put spirit in the French;
If they miscarry, we miscarry 100.
Sal. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,
In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
Pem. They say, king John, sore sick, hath left
Enter Melun wounded, and led by soldiers.
Mel. Lead me to the revolts of England here.
Sal. When we were happy, we had other names.
Pem. It is the count Melun.
Wounded to death.
Mel. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;"
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,
And welcome home again discarded faith.
Seek out king John, and fall before his feet;
For, if the French be lords of this loud day,
Helo means to recompense the pains you take,
By cutting off your heads: Thus ha'h he sworn,
And I with him, and many more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's-Bury;
We will attend to neither :-Even on that altar, where we swore to you
and let the tongue of war Dear amity and everlasting love.
We grant, thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.
Bast. Ne, I will speak.
Strike up the drums;
(1) Face down. (3) Covered.
(5) Nest. (6) Needles. (7) Boast. (8) Sky's. (4) The crowing of a cock. (9) A proverb intimating treachery. (10) Lewis.
Sal. May this be possible? may this be true?
Mel. Have I not hideous death within my view,]
Retaining but a quantity of life;
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolved from his figure 'gainst the fire?!
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit ?
Why should I then be false; since it is true,
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of yours
Behold another day break in the east:
And happy newness, that intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading off Melun.
SCENE V.-The same. The French camp.
Enter Lewis and his train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath
But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measur'd backward their own
In faint retire: O, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our latter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
But even this night,-whose black contagious breath
Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,-
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire;
Paying the fine of rated treachery,
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
If Lewis, by your assistance, win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your king;
The love of hin,-and this respect besides,
For that my grandsire was an Englishman,-
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the field
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
In peace, and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.
Have done me shame:-Brave soldier, pardon me,
Sa!. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul, That any accent, breaking from thy tongue,
But I do love the favour and the form
Of this most fair occasion, by the which
We will untread the steps of damned flight;
And, like a bated and retired flood,
Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what
Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd,
And calmly run on in obedience,
Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of
To find you out.
Brief, then; and what's the news?
Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Even to our ocean, to our great king John.--
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
For I do see the cruel pangs of death
Right in thine eye.-Away, my friends! New
Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news;
I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
Hub. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk:
I left him almost speechless, and broke out
To acquaint you with this evil; that you might
Than if you had at leisure known of this.
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him?
Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.
Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?
Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Where is my prince, the dauphin?
Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English
By his persuasion, are again fallen off:
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands.
Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news!-Beshrew thy very
I did not think to be so sad to-night,
As this hath made me.-Who was he, that said,
King John did flv, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers?
(1) In allusion to the images made by witches. (2) Place. (3) Ill betide. (4) Immediate. (5) Innovation. (6) Sky!
Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly,
or I shoot.
Bast. A friend:-What art thou?
Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
Hub. What's that to thee? Why may not I
Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?
Bast. Hubert, I think.
Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will, upon all hazards, well believe
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well:
Who art thou?
Who thou wilt: an if you please,
Thou may'st befriend me so much, as to think,
I come one way of the Plantagenets.
Hub. Unkind remembrance! thou, and eyeless
And brought prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
And they are all about his majesty.
Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
And tempt us not to bear above our power!-
I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide,
These Lincoln washes have devoured them;
Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap'd.
Away, before! conduct me to the king;
I doubt he will be dead, or ere I come. [Exeunt.
SCENE VII.-The orchard of Swinstead abbey.
Enter Prince Hen Salisbury, and Bigot.
P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood
Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain
(Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-
Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
(7) In your posts or stations.
Foretel the ending of mortality.
Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief,
That, being brought into the open air,
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, ings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born
To set a form upon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
Re-enter Bigot and attendants, who bring in King
John in a chair.
Doth he still rage?
He is more patient
Than when you left him; even now he sung.
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,
In their continuance, will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them insensible; and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng and press to that last hold, To push destruction, and perpetual shame,
And instantly return with me again,
Confound themselves. "Tis strange, that death Out of the weak door of our fainting land:
Straight let us seck, or straight we shall be sought,
The dauphin rages at our very heels.
Sal. It seems, you know not then so much as we:
The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the dauphin;
And rings from him such offers of our peace,
As we with honour and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leave this war.
Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust:
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment; and against this fire
Do I shrink up.
How fares your majesty?
K. John. Poison'd,-ill fare;-dead, forsook,
And none of you will bid the winter come,
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom; nor entreat the north
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
And comfort me with cold:-I do not ask you much,
I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait,1
And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my
That might relieve you!
The salt in them is hot.-
Within me is a hell; and there the poison
Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.
Enter the Bastard.
As I upon advantage did remove,
Were in the washes all unwarily,
Devoured by the unexpected flood.
Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
And spleen of speed to see your majesty.
K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd;
And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should'sail,
Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be uttered;
And then all this thou see'st, is but a clod,
And module of confounded royalty.
Bast. The dauphin is preparing hitherward;
Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer him:
For, in a night, the best part of my power,
(1) Narrow, avaricious.
[The king dies.
Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an
My liege! my lord !-But now a king,-now thus.
P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind,
To do the office for thee of revenge;
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
As it on earth hath been thy servant still.-
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right
Where be your powers? Show now your mended faiths;
For many carriages he hath despatch'd
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
To the disposing of the cardinal:
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
If you think meet, this afternoon will post
To cónsummate this business happily.
Bast. Let it be so:-And you, my noble prince,
With other princes that may best be spar'd,
Shall wait upon your father's funeral."
P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr'd;
For so he will'd it.
Thither shall it then.
And happily may your sweet self put on
The lineal state and glory of the land!
To whom, with all submission, on my knee,
And true subjection everlastingly.
I do bequeath my faithful services
Sal. And the like tender of our love we make,
To rest without a spot for evermore.
P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give you thanks,
And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Bast. O, let us pay the time but needful wo,
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.→→
This England never did (nor never shall)
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
Now these her princes are come home again,
And we shall shock them: Nought shall make us
If England to itself do rest but true.
The tragedy of King John, though not written with the utmost power of Shakspeare, is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters. The lady's grief is very affecting; and the character of the Bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity, which this author delighted to exhibit. JOHNSON.