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King John

ACT V SCENE II LEWIS's camp at St. Edmundsbury. 
 Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers. 
LEWIS My Lord Melun, let this be copied out, 
 And keep it safe for our remembrance: 
 Return the precedent to these lords again; 
 That, having our fair order written down, 5
 Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes, 
 May know wherefore we took the sacrament 
 And keep our faiths firm and inviolable. 
SALISBURY Upon our sides it never shall be broken. 
 And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear 10
 A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith 
 To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince, 
 I am not glad that such a sore of time 
 Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt, 
 And heal the inveterate canker of one wound 15
 By making many. O, it grieves my soul, 
 That I must draw this metal from my side 
 To be a widow-maker! O, and there 
 Where honourable rescue and defence 
 Cries out upon the name of Salisbury! 20
 But such is the infection of the time, 
 That, for the health and physic of our right, 
 We cannot deal but with the very hand 
 Of stern injustice and confused wrong. 
 And is't not pity, O my grieved friends, 25
 That we, the sons and children of this isle, 
 Were born to see so sad an hour as this; 
 Wherein we step after a stranger march 
 Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up 
 Her enemies' ranks,--I must withdraw and weep 30
 Upon the spot of this enforced cause,-- 
 To grace the gentry of a land remote, 
 And follow unacquainted colours here? 
 What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove! 
 That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about, 35
 Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself, 
 And grapple thee unto a pagan shore; 
 Where these two Christian armies might combine 
 The blood of malice in a vein of league, 
 And not to spend it so unneighbourly! 40
LEWIS A noble temper dost thou show in this; 
 And great affections wrestling in thy bosom 
 Doth make an earthquake of nobility. 
 O, what a noble combat hast thou fought 
 Between compulsion and a brave respect! 45
 Let me wipe off this honourable dew, 
 That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks: 
 My heart hath melted at a lady's tears, 
 Being an ordinary inundation; 
 But this effusion of such manly drops, 50
 This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul, 
 Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed 
 Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven 
 Figured quite o'er with burning meteors. 
 Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury, 55
 And with a great heart heave away the storm: 
 Commend these waters to those baby eyes 
 That never saw the giant world enraged; 
 Nor met with fortune other than at feasts, 
 Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping. 60
 Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep 
 Into the purse of rich prosperity 
 As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all, 
 That knit your sinews to the strength of mine. 
 And even there, methinks, an angel spake: 65
 Look, where the holy legate comes apace, 
 To give us warrant from the hand of heaven 
 And on our actions set the name of right 
 With holy breath. 
CARDINAL PANDULPH Hail, noble prince of France! 70
 The next is this, King John hath reconciled 
 Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in, 
 That so stood out against the holy church, 
 The great metropolis and see of Rome: 
 Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up; 75
 And tame the savage spirit of wild war, 
 That like a lion foster'd up at hand, 
 It may lie gently at the foot of peace, 
 And be no further harmful than in show. 
LEWIS Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back: 80
 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 85
 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, 90
 Acquainted me with interest to this land, 
 Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart; 
 And come ye 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, 95
 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, 100
 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 105
 'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd 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, no, on my soul, it never shall be said. 110
CARDINAL PANDULPH You look but on the outside of this work. 
LEWIS 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, 115
 And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world, 
 To outlook 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. 
BASTARD According to the fair play of the world, 120
 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. 125
CARDINAL PANDULPH The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite, 
 And will not temporize with my entreaties; 
 He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms. 
BASTARD By all the blood that ever fury breathed, 
 The youth says well. Now hear our English king; 130
 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, 135
 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, 140
 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 145
 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 150
 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 Neroes, ripping up the womb 
 Of your dear mother England, blush for shame; 155
 For your own ladies and pale-visaged maids 
 Like Amazons come tripping after drums, 
 Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change, 
 Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts 
 To fierce and bloody inclination. 160
LEWIS There end thy brave, 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. 
CARDINAL PANDULPH Give me leave to speak. 165
BASTARD No, I will speak. 
LEWIS We will attend to neither. 
 Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war 
 Plead for our interest and our being here. 
BASTARD Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out; 170
 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 175
 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 180
 A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day 
 To feast upon whole thousands of the French. 
LEWIS Strike up our drums, to find this danger out. 
BASTARD And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt. 

Next: King John, Act 5, Scene 3


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