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A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
Lewis. Strike up our drums, to find this danger
Faulc. And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not
A Field of Battle. Alarums. Enter King John, and
K. John. How goes the day with us? oh, tell me,
Hub. Badly, I fear : How fares your majesty ?
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
Lies heavy on me; Oh, my heart is sick!
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. 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 abbey
Mes. 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 mel this tyrant fever burns me up, And will not let me welcome this good news.Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight; 280 Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. [Exeunt.
The French Camp. Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE,
Sal. I did not think the king so stor'd with friends.
Pemb. Up once again ; put spirit in the French; If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
Sal. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge, In spight of spight, alone upholds the day. Pemb. They say, king John, sore sick, hath left
Enter MELUN wounded, and led by Soldiers. Melun. Lead me to the revolts of England here. Sal. When we were happy, we had other names. Pemb. It is the count Melun.
290 Sal. Wounded to death.
Melun. 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, He means to recompence the pains you take,
By cutting off your heads : Thus hath he sworn,
And I with him, and many more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's-Bury ; 300
Even on that altar, where we swore to you
Dear amity and everlasting love.
Sal. May this be possible! may this be true !
Melun. Have I not hideous death within my view,
Retaining but a quantity of life;
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolveth 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 310
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say ágais, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of your's
Behold another day break in the east :
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, 320
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your king;
The love of him--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.
Sal. We do believe thee-- And beshrew my soul
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,
Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
Stoop low within those bounds we have o'er-look'd,
And calmly run on in'obedience,
Even to our ocean, to our great king John.-
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence; 340
For I do see the cruel pangs of death
Right in thine eye.-Away, my friends! New flight;
And happy newness, that intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading off MELUN.
A different Part of the French Camp. Enter LEWIS, and
Lewis. The sun of heaven, methought was loth to
But staid, and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measur'd backward their own
In faint retire : Oh, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tatter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Where is my prince, the Dauphin?
Lewis. Here :-What news ?
Mes. The count Melun is slain ; the English
By his persuasion, are again fallen off:
And your supplies, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and.sunk, on Goodwin sands.
Lewis. 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, 360
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers ?
Mes. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lewis. Well; keep good quarter, and good care
The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow. [Exeunt.