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It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmful than in show.
Lew. Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back;
I am too high-born to be propertied, *
To be a secondary at control,
Or useful serving-man, and instrument,
To any sovereign state throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars,
Between this chastised kingdom and myself,
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this land,
Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart;
And come you now to tell me, John hath made
His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me?
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back,
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome ?
Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action ? is't not I,
That undergo this charge ? who else but I,
And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business, and maintain this war?
Have I not heard these islanders shout out,
Vive le roy! as I have bank'dt their towns ?
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
And shall I now give o'er the yielded set?
No, on my soul, it never shall be said.
Pand. You look but on the outside of this work..
Lew. Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much' be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And cull’d these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook I conquest, and to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.- [Trumpet sounds.
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?
Enter the BASTARD, attended.
Bast. According to the fair play of the world,
Let me have audience; I am sent to speak :-
My holy lord of Milan, from the king
I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
And, as you answer, I do know the scope
And warrant limited unto my tongue.
* Appropriated. † Coasted along, passed.
Pand. The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite, And will not temporize with my entreaties; He flatly says, he'll not lay down his arms.
Bast. By all the blood that ever fury breathed, The youth says well :-Now hear our English king; For thus his royalty doth speak in me. He is prepared and reason too, he should: This apish and unmannerly approach, This harness'd masque, and unadvised revel, This unhair'd sauciness, and boyish troops, The king doth smile at; and is well prepared To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms, From out the circle of his territories. That hand, which had the strength, even at your door, 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 his 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 aery 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-visaged maids, Like Amazons, come tripping after drums; Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change, Their neeldst to lances, and their gentle hearts To fierce and bloody inclination.
Lew. There end thy brave, I 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.
Pand. Give me leave to speak.
Bast. No, I will speak.
Lew. 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 braced,
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
Sound but another, and another shall
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's* ear,
And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder: for at hand
(Not trusting to this halting legate here,
Whom he hath used 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.
[Exeunt. 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 Swinshead, to the abbey there.
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,
That was expected by the Dauphin here,
Are wreck'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 Swinshead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.
[Ereunt. SCENE IV.-The same. Another part of the same.
Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and others.
Sal. I did not think the king so stored with friends.
Pem. Up once again; put spirit in the French;
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.
Sal. Wounded to death. Mel. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold ; Unthread the rude eye of rebellion, 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; 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
Resolved from his figure t'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. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul
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.
Enter LEWIS and his Train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to set;
But stay'd and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measured backward their own ground,
In faint retire: O, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tatter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it !
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. Where is my prince the Dauphin ?
Lew. 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 hé, 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 to-morrow.
SCENE VI.-An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinshead
Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, meeting.
Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.
Bast. A friend :-What art thou i
Hub. Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
Hub. What's that to thee? Why may not I 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 ?