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And earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
We make him lord of. Call the lady Constance,
Some speedy messenger : bid her repair
To our solemnity. I trust we shall,
If not fill up the measure of her will,
Yet in some measure satisfy her so,
That we shall stop her exclamation. The gates of the town are opened; the kings, princes, and others of rank, enter with their attendants: a messenger moves in a different direction toward King Philip's tent. Faulconbridge stands in gaze on the passing multitude, and, when left alone, breaks out in exclamations : [Faulconb.] Mad world! mad kings! mad composition !
John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part :
And France whose armour conscience buckled on,
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
As heaven's own soldier, -rounded in the ear
With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
That broker who still cracks the pate of faith,
That daily break-vow, Interest; ay, that rogue,
That smooth-fac'd gentleman, tickling commodity,
That bias of the world, which of itself
Is poised well to run on even ground,
Till this Advantage, this vile drawing Bias,
Makes it take head from all indifférency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent ;-
This bias, clapp'd upon the eye of France,
Hath drawn him from his own-determin’d aid,
From a resolv'd and honourable war,
To a most base and vile concluded peace.
And why rail I upon Commodity,
But for because he hath not woo'd me yet ?
As a poor beggar raileth on the rich.
Well, while I am a beggar I will rail,
there is no vice but to be rich :
And being rich, my virtue then shall be,
To say there is no vice but beggary,
And break my faith, like kings, upon Commodity.
THE DESERTION OF ARTHUR's Cause; THE GRIEF AND ANGER OP
CONSTANCE; THE INTERPOSITION OP PAPAL POWER; THE EX-
COMMUNICATION OF JOHN; AND THE SERVICES OF KING PALLIP
IN FAVOUR OF THE POPE; REPRESENTED BY SCENES
WHICH ARE IMAGINED TO OCCUR IN KING PHILIP'S TENT IN
SEQUENCE OF THE FOREGOING.
HISTORICAL MEMORANDA : The events here brought together occurred in different parts of John's reign. Lewis and Blanche were married in 1200. The services of King Philip were secured by Innocent III. in 1213. It was in the same year at Dover that cardinal Pandulph had an interview with John, after the spirit of that King's opposition to the Church had been abated, and he was beginning to give way to the cowardice which was at the bottom of his character.
The tent discovers three persons,—the Messenger from the two Kings, who has just delivered his tidings; the Lady Constance ; and her Son. [Constance.) Gone to be married ! gone to swear a peace!
What, Lewis have Blanche ? and Blanche those pro-
It is not so; thou hast mis-spoke, mis-heard ; [vinces ?
I have a king's oath to the contrary.
Believe me, I do not believe thee, man:
Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me;
For I am sick, and capable of fears ;
Oppress’d with wrongs, and therefore full of fears;
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears;
A woman, naturally born to fears :
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest,
With my vex'd spi'rits I cannot take a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all the day.
What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head ?
Why dost thou look so sadly on my son ?
Are these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again; not all thy former tale,
But this one word,—whether thy tale be true. [Messenger.] As true, as, I believe, you think them false,
That give you cause to prove my saying true.
[Constance.] O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow,
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die.
Lewis marry Blanche! Oh boy, then where art thou?
France friends with England! What becomes of me?
Fellow, begone! I cannot brook thy sight. [Arthur.] I do beseech you, mother, be content. [Constance.] If thou that bidst me be content, wert grim,
Ugly, lame, foolish, swart, and patch'd with moles,
I should not care; I then would be content.
But thou art fair: and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and fortune join’d to make thee great:
Of nature's gifts thou mayst with lilies boast,
And with the half-blown rose; but fortune, oh!
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee,
And with her golden hand plucks off thy friends.
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn ?
Envenom him with words, or get thee gone,
And leave those woes alone, which I alone
Am bound to underbear.
[Messenger.) Pardon me, Madam;
I may not go without you to the kings. [Constance.] Thou mayst, thou shalt; I will not go with thee;
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud ;
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout.
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great,
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrow sit,
my throne; bid kings come bow to it. While Constance, in the madness and majesty of her sorrow, is seated on the ground, the two kings, with the dauphin and princess newly married, the duke of Austria, Faulconbridge, and others of rank, with numerous attendants, enter; the kings declaring that, in their respective dominions, the day which they celebrate shall never return but as a holiday. Constance rises at this declaration, and speaks :
A wicked day, and not a holy day,
A day of shame, oppression, perjury.
Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur'd kings;
A widow cries, be husband to me, heavens !
Let not the hours of this ungodly day
Wear out the day in peace; but ere sun-set
Put armed discord ’twixt these perjur’d kings ;
Hear me, Heaven, hear me! The Kings, taken by surprise, are mute; Austria, little delicate in his perceptions, and forward to recommend himself to those in power, advances to her. [Austria.] Lady Constance, peace! [Constance.] War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.
O Lymoges ! O Austria! thou dost shame
That bloody spoil: thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward,
Thou little valiant, great in villany,
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Hast thou not spoken like thunder in my cause ?
Been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength ?
And dost thou now fall over to my foes ?
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs. [Austria.] 0, that a man should speak those words to me!
Faulconbridge advances. [Faulconb.] And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs. [Austria.] Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life. [Faulconb.] And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs.
King John interposes, telling Faulconbridge that he likes not his behaviour—that he forgets himself: and the two frowning warriors retire. The pause which ensues is soon broken by the approach and entrance of a personage new upon the scene, the cardinal Pandulph, who, without any preface which may give opportunity for a guarded reply, at once begins his address.
[Pandulph.] Hail, you annointed deputies of heaven!
To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
I, Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
And from pope Innocent the legate here,
Do, in his name, religiously demand,
Why thou against the church, our holy mother,
So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce,
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop
Of Canterbury, from that holy see?
This, in our 'foresaid holy father's name,
Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.
[John.] What earthly name to interrogatories,
Can task the free breath of a sacred king ?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous,
To charge me to an answer, as the pope.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England,
Add thus much more,—That no Italian priest
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;
But as we, under heaven, are supreme head,
So, under Him, that high supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
Without the assistance of a mortal hand;
So tell the pope; all reve’rence set apart,
To him and his usurp'd authority.
[Pandulph.] Then, by the lawful power that I have,
Thou shalt stand curs’d and excommunicate;
And blessed shall he be, that doth revolt
From his allegiance to a heretic,
And meritorious shall that hand be call’d,
That takes away, by any secret course,
Thy hateful life.
[Constance.] 0, lawful let it be
To join a woman's curse to that of Rome!
Good father cardinal, cry thou Amen
keen curses; for without my wrong, There is no tongue hath power to curse him right. [Pandulph.] There's law, ay warrant, lady, for my curse.