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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
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
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
Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!
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; Who, by the hand of France, this day hath made Much work for tears in many an English mother, Whose sons lye scatter'd on the bleeding ground: Many a widow's husband groveling lies,
Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth;
And victory, with little loss, doth play
Upon the dancing banners of the French;
Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
To enter conquerors, and to proclaim
Arthur of Bretagne, England's king, and yours.
Enter an English Herald, with trumpets. E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your
bells; King John, your king and England's, doth approach, Commander of this hot malicious day! Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright, Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen’s blood; There stuck no plume in any English crest, That is removed by a staff of France ; Our colours do return in those same hands, That did display them when we first march'd forth; And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come Our lusty English, all with purpled hands, Died 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 Of both your armies ; whose equality By 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: Both 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,
BLANCH, and the Bastard ; at the other, King Philip,
Lewis, Austria, and forces.
K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to cast
Say, shall the current of our right run on?
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'er-swell
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores ;
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress to the ocean.
K. Phi. England, thou hast not sav'd one drop of
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,
Or add a royal number to the dead :
Gracing the scroll, that tells of this war's loss,
With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.
Bast. Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers,
When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
O, now doth death line his dead chaps with steel ;
The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs;
And now he feasts, mouthing the flesh of men,
In undetermin’d differences of kings.-
Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus ?
Cry, havock, kings ! back to the stained field,
You equal potents, fiery-kindled spirits !
Then let confusion of one part confirm
The other's peace;
till then, blows, blood, and death! K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit? K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your
king ? i Cit. The king of England, when we know the
king. K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up his
K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy,
And bear possession of our person here;
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
1 Cit. A greater power than we, denies all this;
And, till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates :
King'd of our fears ; until our fears, resolv'd,
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos’d.
Bast. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you,
And stand securely on their battlements,
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
your industrious scenes and acts of death.
Your royal presences be ruld by me;
Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
Be friends a while, and both conjointly bend
Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town:
By east and west let France and England mount
Their battering cannon, charged to the mouths;
Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawld down
The Ainty ribs of this contemptuous city:
I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
Even till unfenced desolation
Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
That done, dissever your united strengths,
And part your mingled colours once again;
Turn face to face, and bloody point to point:
Then, in a moment, fortune shall cull forth
Out of one side her happy minion;
To whom in favour she shall give the day,
And kiss him with a glorious victory.
How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
Smacks it not something of the policy?
K. John. Now, by the sky, that hangs above our
I like it well ;-France, shall we knit our powers,
And lay this Angiers even with the ground;
Then, after, fight who shall be king of it?
Bast. An if thou hast the mettle of a king,-
Being wrong'd, as we are, by this peevish town,--,
Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
As we will ours, against these saucy walls :
And when that we have dash'd them to the ground,
Why, then defy each other; and, pell-mell,
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven, or hell.
K. Phi. Let it be so :-Say, where will you
assault? K. John. We from the west will send destruction Into this city's bosom.
Aust. I from the north.
K. Phi. Our thunder from the south, Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
Bast. O prudent discipline! From north to south; Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth :
[ Aside. I'll stir them to it:Come, away, away!