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Home > King John > ACT V - SCENE II. LEWIS's camp at St. Edmundsbury.

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ACT V - SCENE II. LEWIS's camp at St. Edmundsbury.
1    My Lord Melun, let this be copied out,
2    And keep it safe for our remembrance:
3    Return the precedent to these lords again;
4    That, having our fair order written down,
5    Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes,
6    May know wherefore we took the sacrament
7    And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.
8    Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
9    And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
10   A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith
11   To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince,
12   I am not glad that such a sore of time
13   Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt,
14   And heal the inveterate canker of one wound
15   By making many. O, it grieves my soul,
16   That I must draw this metal from my side
17   To be a widow-maker! O, and there
18   Where honourable rescue and defence
19   Cries out upon the name of Salisbury!
20   But such is the infection of the time,
21   That, for the health and physic of our right,
22   We cannot deal but with the very hand
23   Of stern injustice and confused wrong.
24   And is't not pity, O my grieved friends,
25   That we, the sons and children of this isle,
26   Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
27   Wherein we step after a stranger march
28   Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up
29   Her enemies' ranks,--I must withdraw and weep
30   Upon the spot of this enforced cause,--
31   To grace the gentry of a land remote,
32   And follow unacquainted colours here?
33   What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove!
34   That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about,
35   Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
36   And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
37   Where these two Christian armies might combine
38   The blood of malice in a vein of league,
39   And not to spend it so unneighbourly!
40   A noble temper dost thou show in this;
41   And great affections wrestling in thy bosom
42   Doth make an earthquake of nobility.
43   O, what a noble combat hast thou fought
44   Between compulsion and a brave respect!
45   Let me wipe off this honourable dew,
46   That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks:
47   My heart hath melted at a lady's tears,
48   Being an ordinary inundation;
49   But this effusion of such manly drops,
50   This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,
51   Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed
52   Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven
53   Figured quite o'er with burning meteors.
54   Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
55   And with a great heart heave away the storm:
56   Commend these waters to those baby eyes
57   That never saw the giant world enraged;
58   Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
59   Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
60   Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep
61   Into the purse of rich prosperity
62   As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all,
63   That knit your sinews to the strength of mine.
64   And even there, methinks, an angel spake:
65   Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
66   To give us warrant from the hand of heaven
67   And on our actions set the name of right
68   With holy breath.
69   Hail, noble prince of France!
70   The next is this, King John hath reconciled
71   Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in,
72   That so stood out against the holy church,
73   The great metropolis and see of Rome:
74   Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up;
75   And tame the savage spirit of wild war,
76   That like a lion foster'd up at hand,
77   It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
78   And be no further harmful than in show.
79   Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back:
80   I am too high-born to be propertied,
81   To be a secondary at control,
82   Or useful serving-man and instrument,
83   To any sovereign state throughout the world.
84   Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
85   Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
86   And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
87   And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
88   With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
89   You taught me how to know the face of right,
90   Acquainted me with interest to this land,
91   Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
92   And come ye now to tell me John hath made
93   His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
94   I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
95   After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
96   And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back
97   Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
98   Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
99   What men provided, what munition sent,
100  To underprop this action? Is't not I
101  That undergo this charge? who else but I,
102  And such as to my claim are liable,
103  Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
104  Have I not heard these islanders shout out
105  'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd their towns?
106  Have I not here the best cards for the game,
107  To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
108  And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
109  No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.
110  You look but on the outside of this work.
111  Outside or inside, I will not return
112  Till my attempt so much be glorified
113  As to my ample hope was promised
114  Before I drew this gallant head of war,
115  And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
116  To outlook conquest and to win renown
117  Even in the jaws of danger and of death.
Trumpet sounds
118  What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
Enter the BASTARD, attended

119  According to the fair play of the world,
120  Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:
121  My holy lord of Milan, from the king
122  I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
123  And, as you answer, I do know the scope
124  And warrant limited unto my tongue.
125  The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
126  And will not temporize with my entreaties;
127  He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms.
128  By all the blood that ever fury breathed,
129  The youth says well. Now hear our English king;
130  For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
131  He is prepared, and reason too he should:
132  This apish and unmannerly approach,
133  This harness'd masque and unadvised revel,
134  This unhair'd sauciness and boyish troops,
135  The king doth smile at; and is well prepared
136  To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
137  From out the circle of his territories.
138  That hand which had the strength, even at your door,
139  To cudgel you and make you take the hatch,
140  To dive like buckets in concealed wells,
141  To crouch in litter of your stable planks,
142  To lie like pawns lock'd up in chests and trunks,
143  To hug with swine, to seek sweet safety out
144  In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake
145  Even at the crying of your nation's crow,
146  Thinking his voice an armed Englishman;
147  Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
148  That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
149  No: know the gallant monarch is in arms
150  And like an eagle o'er his aery towers,
151  To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.
152  And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
153  You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
154  Of your dear mother England, blush for shame;
155  For your own ladies and pale-visaged maids
156  Like Amazons come tripping after drums,
157  Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
158  Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts
159  To fierce and bloody inclination.
160  There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace;
161  We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well;
162  We hold our time too precious to be spent
163  With such a brabbler.
164  Give me leave to speak.
165  No, I will speak.
166  We will attend to neither.
167  Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
168  Plead for our interest and our being here.
169  Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out;
170  And so shall you, being beaten: do but start
171  An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
172  And even at hand a drum is ready braced
173  That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
174  Sound but another, and another shall
175  As loud as thine rattle the welkin's ear
176  And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand,
177  Not trusting to this halting legate here,
178  Whom he hath used rather for sport than need
179  Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
180  A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
181  To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
182  Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.
183  And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.

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Scene Index

  • ACT II


  • ACT IV

  • ACT V

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