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King John

ACT V SCENE VII The orchard in Swinstead Abbey. 
PRINCE HENRY It is too late: the life of all his blood 
 Is touch'd corruptibly, and his pure brain, 
 Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house, 
 Doth by the idle comments that it makes 5
 Foretell the ending of mortality. 
PEMBROKE His highness yet doth speak, and holds belief 
 That, being brought into the open air, 
 It would allay the burning quality 
 Of that fell poison which assaileth him. 10
PRINCE HENRY Let him be brought into the orchard here. 
 Doth he still rage? 
 Exit BIGOT. 
PEMBROKE He is more patient 
 Than when you left him; even now he sung. 
PRINCE HENRY O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes 15
 In their continuance will not feel themselves. 
 Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts, 
 Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now 
 Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds 
 With many legions of strange fantasies, 20
 Which, in their throng and press to that last hold, 
 Confound themselves. 'Tis strange that death 
 should sing. 
 I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan, 
 Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death, 25
 And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings 
 His soul and body to their lasting rest. 
SALISBURY Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born 
 To set a form upon that indigest 
 Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude. 30
 Enter Attendants, and BIGOT, carrying KING JOHN in a chair. 
KING JOHN Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room; 
 It would not out at windows nor at doors. 
 There is so hot a summer in my bosom, 
 That all my bowels crumble up to dust: 
 I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen 35
 Upon a parchment, and against this fire 
 Do I shrink up. 
PRINCE HENRY How fares your majesty? 
KING JOHN Poison'd,--ill fare--dead, forsook, cast off: 
 And none of you will bid the winter come 40
 To thrust his icy fingers in my maw, 
 Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course 
 Through my burn'd bosom, nor entreat the north 
 To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips 
 And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much, 45
 I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait 
 And so ingrateful, you deny me that. 
PRINCE HENRY O that there were some virtue in my tears, 
 That might relieve you! 
KING JOHN The salt in them is hot. 50
 Within me is a hell; and there the poison 
 Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize 
 On unreprievable condemned blood. 
 Enter the BASTARD. 
BASTARD O, I am scalded with my violent motion, 
 And spleen of speed to see your majesty! 55
KING JOHN O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye: 
 The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd, 
 And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail 
 Are turned to one thread, one little hair: 
 My heart hath one poor string to stay it by, 60
 Which holds but till thy news be uttered; 
 And then all this thou seest is but a clod 
 And module of confounded royalty. 
BASTARD The Dauphin is preparing hitherward, 
 Where heaven He knows how we shall answer him; 65
 For in a night the best part of my power, 

As I upon advantage did remove,

 Were in the Washes all unwarily 
 Devoured by the unexpected flood. 
 KING JOHN dies. 
SALISBURY You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear. 70
 My liege! my lord! but now a king, now thus. 
PRINCE HENRY Even so must I run on, and even so stop. 
 What surety of the world, what hope, what stay, 
 When this was now a king, and now is clay? 
BASTARD Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind 75
 To do the office for thee of revenge, 
 And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven, 
 As it on earth hath been thy servant still. 
 Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres, 
 Where be your powers? show now your mended faiths, 80
 And instantly return with me again, 
 To push destruction and perpetual shame 
 Out of the weak door of our fainting land. 
 Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought; 
 The Dauphin rages at our very heels. 85
SALISBURY It seems you know not, then, so much as we: 
 The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest, 
 Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin, 
 And brings from him such offers of our peace 
 As we with honour and respect may take, 90
 With purpose presently to leave this war. 
BASTARD He will the rather do it when he sees 
 Ourselves well sinewed to our defence. 
SALISBURY Nay, it is in a manner done already; 
 For many carriages he hath dispatch'd 95
 To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel 
 To the disposing of the cardinal: 
 With whom yourself, myself and other lords, 
 If you think meet, this afternoon will post 
 To consummate this business happily. 100
BASTARD Let it be so: and you, my noble prince, 
 With other princes that may best be spared, 
 Shall wait upon your father's funeral. 
PRINCE HENRY At Worcester must his body be interr'd; 
 For so he will'd it. 105
BASTARD Thither shall it then: 
 And happily may your sweet self put on 
 The lineal state and glory of the land! 
 To whom with all submission, on my knee 
 I do bequeath my faithful services 110
 And true subjection everlastingly. 
SALISBURY And the like tender of our love we make, 
 To rest without a spot for evermore. 
PRINCE HENRY I have a kind soul that would give you thanks 
 And knows not how to do it but with tears. 115
BASTARD O, let us pay the time but needful woe, 
 Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs. 
 This England never did, nor never shall, 
 Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror, 
 But when it first did help to wound itself. 120
 Now these her princes are come home again, 
 Come the three corners of the world in arms, 
 And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue, 
 If England to itself do rest but true. 

King John, Scenes


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