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O, make a league with me, till I have pleased
My discontented peers! What! mother dead!
How wildly then walks my estate in France!
Under whose conduct came those powers of France
That thou for truth givest out are landed here?
Mess. Under the Dauphin.
K. John.
Thou hast made me giddy 131
With these ill tidings.

Enter the BASTARD and PETER of Pomfret.
Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Bast. But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
Then let the worst unheard fall on your head.
K. John. Bear with me, cousin; for I was

Under the tide: but now I breathe again
Aloft the flood, and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.
Bast. How I have sped among the




The sums I have collected shall express.
But as I travell'd hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams,
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear:
And here's a prophet, that I brought with me
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels;
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.
K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst
thou so?


Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall

out so.

K. John. Hubert, away with him; imprison him;

And on that day at noon, whereon he says
I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd.
Deliver him to safety; and return,

For I must use thee. [Exit Hubert with Peter.
O my gentle cousin,

Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arrived? Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full of it: 161

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Hub. My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;

Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
The other four in wondrous motion.
K. John. Five moons!

Old men and beldams in the streets
Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads
And whisper one another in the ear;

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And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist,
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
Told of a many thousand warlike French
That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent: 200
Another lean unwash'd artificer

Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur's death.

K. John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death? Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty

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K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt
heaven and earth

Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,

A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Quoted and sign'd to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger,

I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,

Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.

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Hub. My lord,



K. John. Hadst thou but shook, thy head or
made a pause

When I spake darkly what I purposed,
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words,

Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me
break off,

And those thy fears might have wrought fears in

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Out of my sight, and never see me more!
My nobles leave me; and my state is braved,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns

Between my conscience and my cousin's death.
Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,
I'll make a peace between your soul and you, 250
Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine,
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Within this bosom never enter'd yet

The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;
And you have slander'd nature in, my form,
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,

Is yet the cover of a fairer mind.

Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

K. John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee

to the peers,

Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience!
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood

Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
O, answer not, but to my closet bring
The angry lords with all expedient haste.
I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.

SCENE III. Before the castle.
Enter ARTHUR, on the walls.



Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!
There's few or none do know me: if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguised me

I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:

As good to die and go, as die and stay.

[Leaps down. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones: Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones! [Dies. 10


Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Ed-

It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.

Pem. Who brought that letter from the card-

Sal. The Count Melun, a noble lord of France;
Whose private with me of the Dauphin's love
Is much more general than these lines import.
Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
Sal. Or rather then set forward; for 'twill be
Two long days' journey, lords, or ere we meet. 20

Enter the BASTARD.

Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemp-
er'd lords!

The king by me requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us:
We will not line his thin bestained cloak
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks.
Return and tell him so: we know the worst.

Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I
think, were best.

Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, rea

son now.


Bast. But there is little reason in your grief; Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now. Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege. Bast. 'Tis true, to hurt his master, no man else. Sal. This is the prison. What is he lies here? [Seeing Arthur.

Pem. O death, made proud with pure and
princely beauty!

The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath

Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.

Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a

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Or have you read or heard? or could you think?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do, see? could thought, without this

Form such another? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,

Arth. The wall is high, and yet will I leap. That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage

Presented to the tears of soft remorse.


Pem. All murders past do stand excused in this:

And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.

Sal. If that it be the work of any hand!
We had a kind of light what would ensue :
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice and the purpose of the king:
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.

Pem. Big.


Our souls religiously confirm thy words.


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For villany is not without such rheum;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
Like rivers of remorse and innocency.

Co Away with me, all you whose souls abhor
The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.


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I say;

By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours:
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your worth, your greatness and nobility.
Big. Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a noble-

Hub. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murderer.
Do not prove me so; 90
Yet I am none; whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.

Keep the peace, I say. Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.

Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:

If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from


Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?

Second a villain and a murderer?

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Beyond the infinite and boundless reach Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death, Art thou damn'd, Hubert.


Hub. Do but hear me, sir. Bast. Ha! I'll tell thee what; Thou'rt damn'd as black-nay, nothing is so black;

Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer:
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell

As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
Hub. Upon my soul—

If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair;
And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb

Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be a beam


To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
Put but a little water in a spoon,
And it shall be as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up.
I do suspect thee very grievously,


Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
I left him well.
Go, bear him in thine arms.
I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way
Among the thorns and dangers of this world.
How easy dost thou take all England up!
From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
The life, the right and truth of all this realm
Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth
The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.
Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home and discontents at

Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
As doth a raven on a sick-fall'n beast,
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child
And follow me with speed: I'll to the king:
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.




SCENE I. KING JOHN's palace.
Enter KING JOHN, PANDULPH, and Attendants.
K. John. Thus have I yielded up into your

The circle of my glory. [Giving the crown.
Take again
From this my hand, as holding of the pope
Your sovereign greatness and authority.

K. John. Now keep your holy word:
meet the French,

And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches 'fore we are inflamed.
Our discontented counties do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience,
Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified:

Then pause not; for the present time's so sick,
That present medicine must be minister'd,

Or overthrow incurable ensues.

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O, let it not be said: forage, and run
To meet displeasure farther from the doors,
And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.
K. John. The legate of the pope hath been
with me,

go And I have made a happy peace with him;
And he hath promised to dismiss the powers
Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league! Shall we, upon the footing of our land, Send fair-play orders and make compromise,


10 Insinuation, parley and base truce
To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms:
Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;

Pand. It was my breath that blew this Or if he do, let it at least be said

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Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew. But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad? Be great in act, as you have been in thought; Let not the world see fear and sad distrust Govern the motion of a kingly eye: Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire; Threaten the threatener and outface the brow Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes, That borrow their behaviours from the great, Grow great by your example and put on The dauntless spirit of resolution.


They saw we had a purpose of defence.

K. John. Have thou the ordering of this present time.

Bast. Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know,

Our party may well meet a prouder foe. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. The DAUPHIN's camp at St

Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN,
PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers.
Lew. My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,
And keep it safe for our remembrance:
Return the precedent to these lords again;
That, having our fair order written down,
Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes,
May know wherefore we took the sacrament
And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.



Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken. And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince, I am not glad that such a sore of time Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt, And heal the inveterate canker of one wound By making many. O, it grieves my soul, That I must draw this metal from my To be a widow-maker! O, and there Where honourable rescue and defence Cries out upon the name of Salisbury! But such is the infection of the time, That, for the health and physic of our right, We cannot deal but with the very hand Of stern injustice and confused wrong. And is 't not pity, O my grieved friends, That we, the sons and children of this isle, Were born to see so sad an hour as this; Wherein we step after a stranger march Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up Her enemies' ranks,-I must withdraw and weep Upon the spot of this enforced cause,—


grace the gentry of a land remote, And follow unacquainted colours here?



What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove!
That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about,
Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
Where these two Christian armies might combine
The blood of malice in a vein of league,
And not to spend it so unneighbourly!


Lew. A noble temper dost thou show in this; And great affections wrestling in thy bosom Doth make an earthquake of nobility. O, what a noble combat hast thou fought Between compulsion and a brave respect! Let me wipe off this honourable dew, That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks: My heart hath melted at a lady's tears, Being an ordinary inundation;

But this effusion of such manly drops,

This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul, 50.
Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed
Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven
Figured quite o'er with burning meteors.
Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
And with a great heart heave away the storm:
Commend these waters to those baby eyes
That never saw the giant world enraged;
Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping,
Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand

Into the purse of rich prosperity
As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all,
That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.
And even there, methinks, an angel spake :

Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
To give us warrant from the hand of heaven,
And on our actions set the name of right
With holy breath..

Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,

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What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action? Is't not I
That undergo this charge? who else but I,
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 roi !' 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, 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 110
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.

[Trumpet sounds, What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us? Enter the BASTARD, attended.


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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.


Hail, noble prince of France!
The next is this, King John hath reconciled
Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in,
That so stood out against the holy church,
The great metropolis and see of Rome:
Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up;
And tame the savage spirit of wild war,
That, like a lion foster'd up at hand,

It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmful than in show.

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 breathed, The youth says well. Now hear our English king; For thus his royalty doth speak in me, He is prepared, 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 prepared To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms, From out the circle of his territories.

That hand which had the strength, even at your door,

To cudgel you and make you take the hatch,
To dive like buckets in concealed wells,
To crouch in litter of your stable planks,


Lew. Your grace shall pardon me, I will not To lie like pawns lock'd up in, chests and trunks,

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Or useful serving-man and instrument,
To any sovereign state throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this land,
Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
And come ye now to tell me John hath made
His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?


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 aery towers,
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest. 150
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-visaged maids,
Like Amazons come tripping after drums,.
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.

Lew. There end thy brave, and, turn thy face in peace;

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