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SCENE I.- France. Before the Walls of Angiers.
Enter, on one side, the Archduke of Austria, and forces;
on the other, Philip, King of France, and forces; Lewis, CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and attendants.
Lew. Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.-
Arthur, that great fore-runner of thy blood,
Richard, that robb’d the lion of his heart,
And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
By this brave duke came early to his grave:
And, for amends to his posterity,
At our importance hither is he come,
To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf;
And to rebuke the usurpation
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
Arth. God shall forgive you Cæur-de-lion's death,
The rather, that you give his offspring life,
Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
But with a heart full of unstained love:
Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.
Lew. A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?
Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
As seal to this indenture of my love;
That to my home I will no more return,
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides,
And coops from other lands her islanders,
Even till that England, hedg'd in with the main,
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident froin foreign purposes,
Even till that utmost corner of the west
Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,
Will I not think of home, but follow arins.
Const. O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength,
To make a more requital to your love.
Aust. The peace of heaven is theirs, that lift their
swords In such a just and charitable war. K. Phi. Well then, to work; our cannon shall be
Against the brows of this resisting town.-
Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best advantages :-
We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
But we will make it subject to this boy.
Const. Stay for an answer to your embassy,
Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood :
My lord Chatillon may from England bring
That right in peace, which here we urge in war;
And then we shall repent each drop of blood,
That hot rasb haste so indirectly shed.
K. Phi. A wonder, lady !-lo, upon thy wish,
Our messenger Chatillon is arriv'd.-
What England says, say briefly, gentle lord,
We coldly pause for thee ; Chatillon, speak.
Chat. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
And stir them up against a mightier task.
England, impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in arms; the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have staid, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I:
His marches are expedient to this town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the mother-queen,
An Até, stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the king deceas’d:
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
[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 prepar'd.
Enter King John, Elinor, BLANCH, the Bastard,
PEMBROKE, and forces. K. John. Peace be to France; if France in peace per
mit 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 commis-
sion, France, To draw my answer from thy articles ? K. Phi. From that supernal 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 never was so true begot; It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy fa
ther. Const. There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot