« PreviousContinue »
And all the unsettled humours of the land,
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens,
Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits,
Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er,
Did never float
upon the swelling tide,
To do offence and scath' in Christendom.
The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand,
To parley, or to fight; therefore, prepare,
K. Phi. How much unlook'd for is this expedition!
Aust. By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endeavour for defence;
For courage mounteth with occasion :
Let them be welcome then, we are prepar’d.
Enter King John, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard,
PEMBROKE, and Forces.
K. John. Peace be to France; if France in peace
Our just and lineal entrance to our own!
If not; bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven!
Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
Their proud contempt that beat his peace to heaven.
K. Phi. Peace be to England; if that war return
From France to England, there to live in peace!
England we love; and, for that England's sake,
With burden of our armour here we sweat:
This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
But thou from loving England art so far,
That thou hast under-wrought' his lawful king,
Cut off the sequence of posterity,
Outfaced infant state, and done a rape
Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face ;-
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his :
This little abstract doth contain that large,
Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of time
Shall draw this brief? into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's : In the name of God,
How comes it then, that thou art call’d a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?
K. John. From whom hast thou this great com-
mission, France, To draw my answer from thy articles ? K. Phi. From that supernal 4 judge, that stirs good
In any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of right.
That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
Under whose warrant, I impeach thy wrong;
And, by whose help, I mean to chástise it.
K, John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
K. Phi. Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.
Eli. Who is it, thou dost call usurper, France? Const. Let me make answer;—thy usurping son.
Eli. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king ; That thou may'st be a queen, and check the world!
Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true, As thine was to thy husband: and this boy Liker in feature to his father Geffrey, Than thou and John in manners; being as like, As rain to water, or devil to his dam. My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think, His father neyer was so true begot ; It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy
father. Const. There's a good grandan, boy, that would
Bast. Hear the crier.
What the devil art thou? Bast. One that will play the devil, sir, with you, An'a may catch your
hide and you alone.
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard;
I'll smoke your skin-coat," an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to't ; i'faith, I will, i'faith.
Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe, That did disrobe the lion of that robe !
Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him,
As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass :-
But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back;
Or lay on that, shall make your shoulders crack.
5 Austria wears a lion's skin.
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our ears With this abundance of superfluous breath?
K. Phi. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight. Lew. Women and fools, break off your confer.
King John, this is the very sum of all,
England, and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur do I claim of thee :
Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms?
K. John. My life as soon :-1 do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
And, out of my dear love, I'll give thee more
Than e'er the coward hand of France can win :
Submit thee, boy.
Come to thy grandam, child.
Const. Do, child, go to it' grandam, child;
Give grandam kingdom, and it' grandam will
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig:
There's a good grandam.
Good my mother, peace!
I would, that I were low laid in my grave ;
I am not worth this coil“ that's made for me.
Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps. Const. Now shame upon you, whe'r7 she does, or
no! His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes, Which heaven'shall take in nature of a fee; Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib'd To do him justice, and revenge on you.
Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!
Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
Call not me slanderer ; thou, and thine, usurp
The dominations, royalties, and rights,
Of this oppressed boy: This is thy eldest son's son,
Infortunate in nothing but in thee;
Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
The canon of the law is laid on him,
Being but the second generation
Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.
K. John. Bedlam, have done.
I have but this to say,
That he's not only plagued for her sin,
But God hath made her sin and her the plague
On this removed issue, plagu'd for her,
And with her plague, her sin; his injury
Her injury,--the beadle to her sin;
All punish'd in the person of this child,
And all for her; A plague upon her!
Eli. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
A will, that bars the title of thy son.
Const. Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will;
A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!
K. Phi. Peace, lady; pause, or be more temperate :
It ill beseems this presence, to cry aim 8
To these ill-tuned repetitions.--
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
These men of Angiers; let us hear them speak,
Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's. ·
Trumpets sound. Enter Citizens upon the walls.
i Cit. Who is it, that hath warn'd us to the walls?