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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 clamor 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-mouthed 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-ribbed 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 Swinstead, to the abbey

there. Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,'

Supply is here used as a noun of multitude, as it is again in Scene V.

VOL. III. 44

That was expected by the dauphin here,
Are wrecked 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; Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. [Exeunt.

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; 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. 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 of Saint Edmund's Bury;

2

1 The king had not long since called him by his original name of Philip, but the messenger could not take the same liberty.

2 The Frenchman, i. e. Lewis, means, &c.

hose eyes

yours

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 of
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

I
From forth the noise and rumor 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 favor 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,

2

1 i. e. dissolveth. 9 Rankness, as applied to a river, here signifies eruberant, ready lo overflow; as applied to the actions of the speaker and his party, it signifies wanton willness.

Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlooked,
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.

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2

SCENE V. The same.

The French Camp.

Enter Lewis and his Train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to set;
But staid, 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 tottering colors 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 wished 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 ?

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1 Immediate.

2 Innovation. 3 Tottering colors is the reading of the old copy, which was altered to tattered by Johnson, who is followed by the subsequent editors. To totter, in old language, was to waver, to shake with a tremulous motion, as colors would do in the wind. “To tottre (says Baret), nutare, vacillare, see shake and wagge.”

66

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. [Exeunt.

SCENE VI. An open Place in the Neighborhood 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 ?
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 ?
Bast.

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 eyeless 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. Bast.

Brief, then ; and what's the news ? Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.

.

1 i. e. keep in your allotted posts or stations. 2 i. e. a well-informed one. 3 The old copy reads “ endless night.” The emendation was made by Theobald.

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