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Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
With ladies' faces, and tierce 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 tbe swelling tide,
To do offence and scath* in Christendom.
The interruption of their churlish drums [Drums beat.
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 prepared,
Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD,
PEMBROKE, and Forces.
K. John. Peace be to France: if France in peace permit
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-wroughtf 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 Getfrey'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 briefg 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 commission, France, To draw my answer from thy articles ?
K. Phi. From that supernalll judge, that stirs good thoughts 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 chastise 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 mayst 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 never 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 grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
Bast. Hear the crier.
Aust. 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.
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 conference.-
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 :- I 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.
Eli. Come to thy grandam, child. Const. Do, child, go to it grandam, child; * The Duke of Austria wore a lion's skin, in memory of his having taken Richard Ceur-de-Lion.
ho, by the hand of France, this day hath made ich work for tears in many an English mother, lose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground: iny a widow's husband grovelling lies,
ldly embracing the discolour'd earth; nud victory, with little loss, doth play pon the dancing banners of the French; bo are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
enter conquerors, and to proclaim ***hur of Bretagne, England's king, and yours.
Enter an English HERALD, with trumpets. E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells, ng John, your king and England's, doth approach, immander of this hot malicious day!
eir armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright,
fither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood;
here stuck no plume in any English crest,
inat is removed by a staff of France;
vir colours do return in those same hands
hat did display them when we first march'd forth;
ind, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come
sur lusty English, all with purpled' hands,
yed in the dying slaughter of their foes: Open your gates, and give the victors way.
Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,
From first to last, the onset and retire
ür both your armies ; whose equality
Sy our best eyes cannot be censured : *
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd blows;
Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power:
Loth are alike; and both alike we like.
One must prove greatest : while they weigh so even,
We hold our town for neither; yet for both.
Enter, at one side, KING JOHN, with his power ; ELINOR,
BLÅNCH, and the BASTARD; at the other, KING PHILIP,
LEWIS, AUSTRIA, and Forces.
K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away ?
Say, shall the current of our right run on ?
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'er-sweil
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores,
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress in the ocean.
K. Phi. England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood,
In this hot trial, more than we of France;
Rather, lost more: And by this hand I swear,
That sways the earth this climate overlooks, –
Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,
And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.
But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
'Tis not the roundure* of your old-faced walls
Can hide you from our messengers of war;
Though all these English, and their discipline,
Were harbour'd in their rude circumference.
Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord,
In that behalf which we have challenged it ?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
And stalk in blood to our possession ?
1 Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's subjects; For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.
1 Cit. That can we not: but he that proves the king, To him will we prove loyal; till that time, Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world.
K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove the king?
And, if not that, I bring you witnesses,
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,
Bast. Bastards, and else.
K. John. To verify our title with their lives.
K. Phi. As many, and as well-born bloods as those,-
Bast. Some bastards too.
K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.
i Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both.
K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those souls,
That to their everlasting residence,
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!
K. Phi. Amen, Amen!-Mount, chevaliers, to arms!
Bast. St. George,-that swing'd the dragon, and e'er since,
Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door,
Teach us some fence !-Sirrah, were I at home,
At your den, sirrah [To AUSTRIA), with your lioness,
I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
And make a monster of you.
Aust. Peace; no more.
Bast. O, tremble; for you hear the lion roar.
K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forth,
In best appointment, all our regiments.
Bast. Speed, then, to take advantage of the field.
K. Phi. It shall be so [To LEWIS], and at the other hill Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right! [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-The same.
Alarums and Excursions ; then a Retreat. Enter a French
HERALD, with trumpets, to the gates.
F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
And let young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, in;