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To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch ;
To dive, like buckets, in concealed wells ;
To crouch in litter of your stable planks ;
To lie, like pawns, lock'd up in chests and trunks ;
To hug with swine; to seek sweet safety out
In vaults and prisons; and to thrill, and shake,
Even at the crying of your nation's crow,
Thinking this voice an armed Englishman;
Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
That in your chambers gave you chastisement ?
No: Know, the gallant monarch is in arms;
And like an eagle o'er his aiery towers,
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.
And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
You bloody Neros, ripping up the womb
Of your dear mother England, blush for shame :
For your own ladies, and pale-visag'd maids,
Like Amazons, come tripping after drums ;
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.
LEW. There end thy brave a, and turn thy face in peace ;
We grant thou canst outscold us : fare thee well ;
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.
Give me leave to speak.
Bast. No, I will speak.
We will attend to neither :-
Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
Plead for our interest, and our being here.
Bast. Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will cry out;
And so shall you, being beaten : Do but start
An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready brac'd,
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine ;
Sound but another, and another sball,
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear,
And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand
(Not trusting to this balting legate here,
Whom he bas us'd rather for sport than need)
Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
LEW. Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.
Bast. And thou shalt find it, dauphin, do not doubt.
SCENE III.-The same. A Field of Battle.
Alarums. Enter KING JOHN and HUBERT.
K. John. How goes the day with us ? O, tell me, Hubert.
HUB. Badly, I fear: How fares your majesty ?
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,
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 there.
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,
That was expected by the dauphin here,
Are wrack'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 me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let me welcome this good news.
Set on toward Swinstead : to my litter straight 18;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.
SCENE IV.-The same. Another part of the same.
Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, Bigot, and others.
Sal. I did not think the king so stor'd with friends.
Pem. Up once again; put spirit in the French :
If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
Sal. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,
In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
Pem. They say, king John, sore sick, hath left the field.
Enter MELUN, wounded, and led by Soldiers.
MEL. Lead me to the revolts of England here.
SAL. When we were happy we had other names.
PEM. It is the count Melun.
Wounded to death.
MEL. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;
Unthread the rude eye a of rebellion, • Unthread the rude eye. Theobald corrupted this passage into “untread the rude way." Malone, who agrees in the restoration of the passage, says Shakspere “was evidently thinking of the eye of
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 recompense 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 19;
Even on that altar where we swore to you
Dear amity and everlasting love.
Sal. May this be possible? may this be true ?
MEL. 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
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn if e'er those eyes of yours
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,
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. Wo do believe thee, And beshrew my soul a needle," and he calls this, therefore, an humble metaphor. Nothing, it appears to us, is humble in poetry that conveys an image forcibly and distinctly; and “the eye of a needle" by the application of the poet may become dignified. But the word thread, perhaps metaphorically, is used to convey the meaning of passing through anything intricate, narrow, difficult.
“They would not thread the gates," in Coriolanus,' and
" One gains the thickets and one thrids the brake," in Dryden, have each the same meaning. The “rude eye” in the line before us is the rough and dangerous passage of “rebellion.”
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'erlook’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;
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.
SCENE V.—The same. The French Camp.
Enter LEWIS and his Train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loth to set,
But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measur'da backward their own ground,
In faint retire: 0, bravely came we off
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tottering colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
Enter a Messenger. Mess. Where is my prince, the dauphin ?
Here :- What news ?
Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English lords,
By his persuasion, are again fallen off:
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands.
LEW. Ah, foul shrewd news !-Beshrew thy very heart !
I did not think to be so sad to-night
As this hath made me.-Who was he that said,
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers ?
Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lew. Well; keep good quarter and good care to-night;
The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of tomorrow.
(Exeunt. • The original has measure, and omits the article before English.
Tottering. Steevens reads tatter'd-Malone lattering. The original tottering was the same as tattering, of which Capell gives an example in his ‘School of Shakspeare,' p. 54.
SCENE VI.-An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.
Enter the Bastard and HUBERT meeting.
HUB. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.
BAST. A friend.- What art thou ?
Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
What 's that to thee?
Why may I not demand of thine affairs,
As well as thou of mine? Bast.
Hubert, I think.
HUB. Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will, upon all hazards, well believe
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well :
Who art thou ?
Who thou wilt: an if thou please,
Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think
I come one way of the Plantagenets.
HUB. Unkind remembrance ! thou, and endless night,
Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon me,
That any accent, breaking from thy tongue,
Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?
HUB. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night,
To find you out.
Brief, then; and what's the news? HUB. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news;
I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
HUB. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk :
I left him almost speechless, and broke out
To acquaint you with this evil; that you might
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Than if you had at leisure known of this.
Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him?
HUB. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.
Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ?
HUB. Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
And brought prince Henry in their company;
• Endless night. So the original; eyeless was preferred by Theobald.