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With unback'd swords, and helmets all unbruis'd,
We will bear home that lusty blood again,
Which here we came to spout against your town,
And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.
But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer,
"T is not the rounder & of your old-fac'd walls
Can bide you from our messengers of war,
Though all these English, and their discipline,
Were barbour'd in their rude circumference.
Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord,
In that behalf which we have challeng'd it?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
And stalk in blood to our possession ?
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.
Cit. That can we not; but he that proves the king,
To him will we prove loyal; till that time,
Have we rammd 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. Pal. As many, and as well-born bloods as those,
Bast. Some bastards too.
K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.
Cir. 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. PAI. Amen, Amen!- Mount, chevaliers ! to arms!
Bast. St. George", that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
Sits on his horseback b at mine hostess' door,
Teach us some fence ! — Sirrah, were I at home,
At your den, sirrab, (to AUSTRJA) with your lioness,
I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide,
And make a monster of you.
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. Pai. It shall be so ;-[to LEWIS) and at the other hill
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 band of France, this day hath made
Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground;
Many a widow's husband grovelling 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 huntsmep", come
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes :
Open your gates, and give the victors way.
HUBERTS. 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 JOAN, with his Power, ELINOR, BLANCH, and the Bastard ;
at the other, King PHILIP, LEWIS, AUSTRIA, and Forces. K. JOHN. France, bast thou get more blood to cast away?
Say, shall the current of our right roam ona,
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Shall leave his native channel, and o'erswell
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores,
Unless thou let his silver water keep
A peaceful progress to the ocean?
K. PH. England, thou hast not sav'd 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,
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, mousing the flesh of men,
In undetermin'd differences of kings.
Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus ?
Cry, havoc, 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. Pui. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king ?
HUBERT. The king of England, when we know the king.
· Roam on. The editor of the second folio substituted run, which reading has been continued. Neither the poetry nor the sense appear to have gained by the fancied improvement.
· Mousing. This figurative and characteristic expression in the original was rendered by Pope into the prosaic mouthing, which has ever since usurped its place. We restore the reading.
K. Pai. Know him in us, that here hold up his right
K. Joan. In us, that are our own great deputy,
And bear possession of our person here;
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
HUBERT. A greater power than we denies all this;
And, till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scraple in our strong-barr'd gates,
Kings, of our feara; until our fears, resolv'd,
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd.
Bast. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings;
And stand securely on their battlements,
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point
At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
Your royal presences be rul'd by me;
Do like the mutines of Jerusalem 13,
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 brawl'd down
The flinty 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, • Kings, of our fear. Warburton and Johnson, disregarding the original, say, “Kings are our fears." Malone adopts Tyrwhitt's conjecture—“King'd of our fears;"—and so the passage runs in the variorum editions. We retain the original. The two kings peremptorily demand the citizens of Angiers to acknowledge the respective rights of each, England for himself, France for Arthur. The citizens reply, on account of our fear, or through our fear, or by our fear, we hold our former scruple, kings,
"until our fears, resolv'd, Be by some certain king purg'd and depos’d.” Scroyles; from Les Escrouelles, the king's evil. • Soul-fearing. To fear is often used by the old writers in the sense of to make afraid. Shakspere has several examples: Antony says,
“Thou canst not fear us, Pompey with thy sails.” But this active sense of the verb fear is not its exclusive meaning in Shakspere; and in The Taming of the Shrew' he exhibits its common use as well in the neuter as in the active acceptation:
“ Pet. Now, for my life, Hortensio fears his widow.
“ Wid. Then never trust me if I be afeard.
“ Pet. You are very sensible, and yet you miss my sense:
I meant Hortensio is a feard of you."
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 heads,
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.
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 :
I 'll stir them to it:-Come, away, away!
HUBERT. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe a while to stay,
And I shall show you peace, and fair-fac'd league;
Win you this city without stroke or wound;
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
That here come sacrifices for the field :
Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
K. Joan. Speak on, with favour; we are bent to hear.
HUBERT. That daughter there of Spain, the lady Blanch,
Is near to England; Look upon the years
Of Lewis the Dauphin, and that lovely maid :
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should be find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound ricber blood than lady Blanch?
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
Is the young Dauphin every way complete ;
If not complete of a, say, he is not she;
Complete of. So the original. Hanmer changed this reading to,
“If not complete, O say, he is not she," which is to substitute the language of the eighteenth century for that of the sixteenth.