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King John
Act 2, scene 1

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The events in King John take place in the thirteenth century, well before Shakespeare’s other English history plays. After the death of…

Act 1, scene 1

John, King of England, is told by a messenger from the King of France that the territories held by John…

Act 2, scene 1

King Philip of France and the Duke of Austria, on behalf of Arthur, begin to lay siege to the city…

Act 3, scene 1

The league between John and Philip is attacked first by Constance, who accuses Philip of treacherously betraying Arthur’s cause, and…

Act 3, scene 2

The Bastard, having killed the Duke of Austria, reports that he has rescued Queen Eleanor. Arthur, captured by John, is…

Act 3, scene 3

John prepares to leave for England with his forces. He tells Hubert that Arthur must die. Hubert promises to kill…

Act 3, scene 4

John’s victories and his capture of Arthur lead the French to despair and Constance to wild grief. Pandulph, predicting Arthur’s…

Act 4, scene 1

Hubert prepares to put out Arthur’s eyes with hot irons. Arthur begs him to show mercy. Hubert plans to tell…

Act 4, scene 2

The nobles express their disapproval of John’s second coronation and urge that he set Arthur free. When Hubert brings word…

Act 4, scene 3

Arthur dies as he attempts to leap from the prison wall. The Bastard reaches the nobles, on their way to…

Act 5, scene 1

King John submits his royal power to the Pope in exchange for Pandulph’s intercession against the French forces. The Bastard…

Act 5, scene 2

The rebellious English nobles swear to support the Dauphin in his attack on England. Pandulph tells the Dauphin to take…

Act 5, scene 3

King John, sick with a fever, is instructed by the Bastard to leave the battle. John receives the good news…

Act 5, scene 4

While the English army continues to fight successfully under the Bastard, the rebel English nobles learn from the wounded French…

Act 5, scene 5

The Dauphin rejoices that his forces have almost defeated the English. He then learns that Count Melun has died, that…

Act 5, scene 6

Hubert brings news to the Bastard that King John has been poisoned by a monk, and that, at the urging…

Act 5, scene 7

As King John lies dying, surrounded by his newly loyal nobles and his son, Prince Henry, the Bastard brings him…

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Scene 1
Enter, before Angiers, at one side, with Forces, Philip
King of France, Louis the Dauphin, Constance, Arthur,
and Attendants; at the other side, with Forces, Austria,
wearing a lion’s skin.


DAUPHIN 
 Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.—
 Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
 Richard, that robbed the lion of his heart
 And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
5 By this brave duke came early to his grave.
 And, for amends to his posterity,
 At our importance hither is he come
 To spread his colors, boy, in thy behalf,
 And to rebuke the usurpation
10 Of thy unnatural uncle, English John.
 Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
ARTHUR 
 God shall forgive you Coeur de Lion’s death
 The rather that you give his offspring life,
 Shadowing their right under your wings of war.
15 I give you welcome with a powerless hand
 But with a heart full of unstainèd love.
 Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.
DAUPHIN 
 A noble boy. Who would not do thee right?
31

33
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

AUSTRIA, to Arthur 
 Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss
20 As seal to this indenture of my love:
 That to my home I will no more return
 Till Angiers and the right thou hast in France,
 Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
 Whose foot spurns back the ocean’s roaring tides
25 And coops from other lands her islanders,
 Even till that England, hedged in with the main,
 That water-wallèd bulwark, still secure
 And confident from foreign purposes,
 Even till that utmost corner of the West
30 Salute thee for her king. Till then, fair boy,
 Will I not think of home, but follow arms.
CONSTANCE 
 O, take his mother’s thanks, a widow’s thanks,
 Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
 To make a more requital to your love.
AUSTRIA 
35 The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
 In such a just and charitable war.
KING PHILIP 
 Well, then, to work. Our cannon shall be bent
 Against the brows of this resisting town.
 Call for our chiefest men of discipline
40 To cull the plots of best advantages.
 We’ll lay before this town our royal bones,
 Wade to the marketplace in Frenchmen’s blood,
 But we will make it subject to this boy.
CONSTANCE 
 Stay for an answer to your embassy,
45 Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood.
 My lord Chatillion may from England bring
 That right in peace which here we urge in war,
 And then we shall repent each drop of blood
 That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.

35
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

Enter Chatillion.

KING PHILIP 
50 A wonder, lady! Lo, upon thy wish
 Our messenger Chatillion is arrived.—
 What England says say briefly, gentle lord.
 We coldly pause for thee. Chatillion, speak.
CHATILLION 
 Then turn your forces from this paltry siege
55 And stir them up against a mightier task.
 England, impatient of your just demands,
 Hath put himself in arms. The adverse winds,
 Whose leisure I have stayed, have given him time
 To land his legions all as soon as I.
60 His marches are expedient to this town,
 His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
 With him along is come the Mother Queen,
 An Ate stirring him to blood and strife;
 With her her niece, the Lady Blanche of Spain;
65 With them a bastard of the King’s deceased.
 And all th’ unsettled humors of the land—
 Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
 With ladies’ faces and fierce dragons’ spleens—
 Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
70 Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
 To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
 In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
 Than now the English bottoms have waft o’er
 Did never float upon the swelling tide
75 To do offense and scathe in Christendom.
Drum beats.
 The interruption of their churlish drums
 Cuts off more circumstance. They are at hand,
 To parley or to fight, therefore prepare.
KING PHILIP 
 How much unlooked-for is this expedition.

37
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

AUSTRIA 
80 By how much unexpected, by so much
 We must awake endeavor for defense,
 For courage mounteth with occasion.
 Let them be welcome, then. We are prepared.

Enter King John of England, Bastard, Queen
Eleanor, Blanche, Salisbury, Pembroke, and others.


KING JOHN 
 Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
85 Our just and lineal entrance to our own.
 If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,
 Whiles we, God’s wrathful agent, do correct
 Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven.
KING PHILIP 
 Peace be to England, if that war return
90 From France to England, there to live in peace.
 England we love, and for that England’s sake
 With burden of our armor here we sweat.
 This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
 But thou from loving England art so far
95 That thou hast underwrought his lawful king,
 Cut off the sequence of posterity,
 Outfacèd infant state, and done a rape
 Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
 Look here upon thy brother Geoffrey’s face.
He points to Arthur.
100 These eyes, these brows, were molded out of his;
 This little abstract doth contain that large
 Which died in Geoffrey, and the hand of time
 Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
 That Geoffrey was thy elder brother born,
105 And this his son. England was Geoffrey’s right,
 And this is Geoffrey’s. In the name of God,
 How comes it then that thou art called a king,

39
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 When living blood doth in these temples beat
 Which owe the crown that thou o’ermasterest?
KING JOHN 
110 From whom hast thou this great commission,
 France,
 To draw my answer from thy articles?
KING PHILIP 
 From that supernal judge that stirs good thoughts
 In any breast of strong authority
115 To look into the blots and stains of right.
 That judge hath made me guardian to this boy,
 Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong,
 And by whose help I mean to chastise it.
KING JOHN 
 Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
KING PHILIP 
120 Excuse it is to beat usurping down.
QUEEN ELEANOR 
 Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?
CONSTANCE 
 Let me make answer: thy usurping son.
QUEEN ELEANOR 
 Out, insolent! Thy bastard shall be king
 That thou mayst be a queen and check the world.
CONSTANCE 
125 My bed was ever to thy son as true
 As thine was to thy husband, and this boy
 Liker in feature to his father Geoffrey
 Than thou and John, in manners being as like
 As rain to water or devil to his dam.
130 My boy a bastard? By my soul, I think
 His father never was so true begot.
 It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.
QUEEN ELEANOR, to Arthur 
 There’s a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

41
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

CONSTANCE 
 There’s a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
AUSTRIA 
135 Peace!
BASTARD  Hear the crier!
AUSTRIA  What the devil art thou?
BASTARD 
 One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
 An he may catch your hide and you alone.
140 You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
 Whose valor plucks dead lions by the beard.
 I’ll smoke your skin-coat an I catch you right.
 Sirrah, look to ’t. I’ faith, I will, i’ faith!
BLANCHE 
 O, well did he become that lion’s robe
145 That did disrobe the lion of that robe.
BASTARD 
 It lies as sightly on the back of him
 As great Alcides’ shoes upon an ass.—
 But, ass, I’ll take that burden from your back
 Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
AUSTRIA 
150 What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
 With this abundance of superfluous breath?
KING PHILIP 
 Louis, determine what we shall do straight.
DAUPHIN 
 Women and fools, break off your conference.—
 King John, this is the very sum of all:
155 England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
 In right of Arthur do I claim of thee.
 Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?
KING JOHN 
 My life as soon! I do defy thee, France.—
 Arthur of Brittany, yield thee to my hand,

43
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

160 And out of my dear love I’ll give thee more
 Than e’er the coward hand of France can win.
 Submit thee, boy.
QUEEN ELEANOR  Come to thy grandam, child.
CONSTANCE 
 Do, child, go to it grandam, child.
165 Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will
 Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig.
 There’s a good grandam.
ARTHUR, weeping  Good my mother, peace.
 I would that I were low laid in my grave.
170 I am not worth this coil that’s made for me.
QUEEN ELEANOR 
 His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
CONSTANCE 
 Now shame upon you whe’er she does or no!
 His grandam’s wrongs, and not his mother’s
 shames,
175 Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor
 eyes,
 Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee.
 Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be bribed
 To do him justice and revenge on you.
QUEEN ELEANOR 
180 Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and Earth!
CONSTANCE 
 Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and Earth,
 Call not me slanderer. Thou and thine usurp
 The dominations, royalties, and rights
 Of this oppressèd boy. This is thy eldest son’s son,
185 Infortunate in nothing but in thee.
 Thy sins are visited in this poor child.
 The canon of the law is laid on him,
 Being but the second generation
 Removèd from thy sin-conceiving womb.

45
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING JOHN 
190 Bedlam, have done.
CONSTANCE  I have but this to say,
 That he is not only plaguèd for her sin,
 But God hath made her sin and her the plague
 On this removèd issue, plagued for her,
195 And with her plague; her sin his injury,
 Her injury the beadle to her sin,
 All punished in the person of this child
 And all for her. A plague upon her!
QUEEN ELEANOR 
 Thou unadvisèd scold, I can produce
200 A will that bars the title of thy son.
CONSTANCE 
 Ay, who doubts that? A will—a wicked will,
 A woman’s will, a cankered grandam’s will.
KING PHILIP 
 Peace, lady. Pause, or be more temperate.
 It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
205 To these ill-tunèd repetitions.—
 Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
 These men of Angiers. Let us hear them speak
 Whose title they admit, Arthur’s or John’s.
Trumpet sounds.

Enter Citizens upon the walls.

CITIZEN 
 Who is it that hath warned us to the walls?
KING PHILIP 
210 ’Tis France, for England.
KING JOHN  England, for itself.
 You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects—
KING PHILIP 
 You loving men of Angiers, Arthur’s subjects,
 Our trumpet called you to this gentle parle—

47
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING JOHN 
215 For our advantage. Therefore hear us first.
 These flags of France that are advancèd here
 Before the eye and prospect of your town,
 Have hither marched to your endamagement.
 The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,
220 And ready mounted are they to spit forth
 Their iron indignation ’gainst your walls.
 All preparation for a bloody siege
 And merciless proceeding by these French
 Confronts your city’s eyes, your winking gates,
225 And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones,
 That as a waist doth girdle you about,
 By the compulsion of their ordinance
 By this time from their fixèd beds of lime
 Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
230 For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
 But on the sight of us your lawful king,
 Who painfully with much expedient march
 Have brought a countercheck before your gates
 To save unscratched your city’s threatened cheeks,
235 Behold, the French, amazed, vouchsafe a parle.
 And now, instead of bullets wrapped in fire
 To make a shaking fever in your walls,
 They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke
 To make a faithless error in your ears,
240 Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
 And let us in. Your king, whose labored spirits
 Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
 Craves harborage within your city walls.
KING PHILIP 
 When I have said, make answer to us both.
He takes Arthur by the hand.
245 Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
 Is most divinely vowed upon the right

49
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
 Son to the elder brother of this man,
 And king o’er him and all that he enjoys.
250 For this downtrodden equity we tread
 In warlike march these greens before your town,
 Being no further enemy to you
 Than the constraint of hospitable zeal
 In the relief of this oppressèd child
255 Religiously provokes. Be pleasèd then
 To pay that duty which you truly owe
 To him that owes it, namely, this young prince,
 And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear
 Save in aspect, hath all offense sealed up.
260 Our cannons’ malice vainly shall be spent
 Against th’ invulnerable clouds of heaven,
 And with a blessèd and unvexed retire,
 With unbacked swords and helmets all unbruised,
 We will bear home that lusty blood again
265 Which here we came to spout against your town,
 And leave your children, wives, and you in peace.
 But if you fondly pass our proffered offer,
 ’Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls
 Can hide you from our messengers of war,
270 Though all these English and their discipline
 Were harbored in their rude circumference.
 Then tell us, shall your city call us lord
 In that behalf which we have challenged it?
 Or shall we give the signal to our rage
275 And stalk in blood to our possession?
CITIZEN 
 In brief, we are the King of England’s subjects.
 For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
KING JOHN 
 Acknowledge then the King and let me in.
CITIZEN 
 That can we not. But he that proves the King,

51
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

280 To him will we prove loyal. Till that time
 Have we rammed up our gates against the world.
KING JOHN 
 Doth not the crown of England prove the King?
 And if not that, I bring you witnesses,
 Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England’s breed—
BASTARD 285Bastards and else.
KING JOHN 
 To verify our title with their lives.
KING PHILIP 
 As many and as wellborn bloods as those—
BASTARD Some bastards too.
KING PHILIP 
 Stand in his face to contradict his claim.
CITIZEN 
290 Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
 We for the worthiest hold the right from both.
KING JOHN 
 Then God forgive the sin of all those souls
 That to their everlasting residence,
 Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet
295 In dreadful trial of our kingdom’s king.
KING PHILIP 
 Amen, amen.—Mount, chevaliers! To arms!
BASTARD 
 Saint George, that swinged the dragon and e’er
 since
 Sits on ’s horseback at mine hostess’ door,
300 Teach us some fence! To Austria. Sirrah, were I at
 home
 At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
 I would set an ox head to your lion’s hide
 And make a monster of you.
AUSTRIA 305 Peace! No more.
BASTARD 
 O, tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

53
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING JOHN, to his officers 
 Up higher to the plain, where we’ll set forth
 In best appointment all our regiments.
BASTARD 
 Speed, then, to take advantage of the field.
KING PHILIP, to his officers 
310 It shall be so, and at the other hill
 Command the rest to stand. God and our right!
They exit. Citizens remain, above.

Here, after excursions, enter the Herald of France, with
Trumpets, to the gates.


FRENCH HERALD 
 You men of Angiers, open wide your gates,
 And let young Arthur, Duke of Brittany, in,
 Who by the hand of France this day hath made
315 Much work for tears in many an English mother,
 Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground.
 Many a widow’s husband groveling lies
 Coldly embracing the discolored earth,
 And victory with little loss doth play
320 Upon the dancing banners of the French,
 Who are at hand, triumphantly displayed,
 To enter conquerors and to proclaim
 Arthur of Brittany England’s king and yours.

Enter English Herald, with Trumpet.

ENGLISH HERALD 
 Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells!
325 King John, your king and England’s, doth approach,
 Commander of this hot malicious day.
 Their armors, that marched hence so silver bright,
 Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen’s blood.
 There stuck no plume in any English crest
330 That is removèd by a staff of France.

55
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Our colors do return in those same hands
 That did display them when we first marched forth,
 And like a jolly troop of huntsmen come
 Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
335 Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes.
 Open your gates, and give the victors way.
CITIZEN 
 Heralds, from off our towers we might behold
 From first to last the onset and retire
 Of both your armies, whose equality
340 By our best eyes cannot be censurèd.
 Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answered
 blows,
 Strength matched with strength, and power
 confronted power.
345 Both are alike, and both alike we like.
 One must prove greatest. While they weigh so even,
 We hold our town for neither, yet for both.

Enter the two Kings with their Powers (including the
Bastard, Queen Eleanor, Blanche, and Salisbury;
Austria, and Louis the Dauphin), at several doors.


KING JOHN 
 France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
 Say, shall the current of our right roam on,
350 Whose passage, vexed with thy impediment,
 Shall leave his native channel and o’erswell
 With course disturbed even thy confining shores,
 Unless thou let his silver water keep
 A peaceful progress to the ocean?
KING PHILIP 
355 England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood
 In this hot trial more than we of France,
 Rather lost more. And by this hand I swear
 That sways the earth this climate overlooks,

57
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
360 We’ll put thee down, ’gainst whom these arms we
 bear,
 Or add a royal number to the dead,
 Gracing the scroll that tells of this war’s loss
 With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.
BASTARD, aside 
365 Ha, majesty! How high thy glory towers
 When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!
 O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel,
 The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs,
 And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men
370 In undetermined differences of kings.
 Why stand these royal fronts amazèd thus?
 Cry havoc, kings! Back to the stainèd field,
 You equal potents, fiery-kindled spirits.
 Then let confusion of one part confirm
375 The other’s peace. Till then, blows, blood, and
 death!
KING JOHN 
 Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
KING PHILIP 
 Speak, citizens, for England. Who’s your king?
CITIZEN 
 The King of England, when we know the King.
KING PHILIP 
380 Know him in us, that here hold up his right.
KING JOHN 
 In us, that are our own great deputy
 And bear possession of our person here,
 Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
CITIZEN 
 A greater power than we denies all this,
385 And till it be undoubted, we do lock
 Our former scruple in our strong-barred gates,

59
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Kings of our fear, until our fears resolved
 Be by some certain king purged and deposed.
BASTARD 
 By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,
390 And stand securely on their battlements
 As in a theater, whence they gape and point
 At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
 Your royal presences, be ruled by me:
 Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
395 Be friends awhile, and both conjointly bend
 Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town.
 By east and west let France and England mount
 Their battering cannon chargèd to the mouths,
 Till their soul-fearing clamors have brawled down
400 The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city.
 I’d play incessantly upon these jades,
 Even till unfencèd desolation
 Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
 That done, dissever your united strengths
405 And part your mingled colors once again;
 Turn face to face and bloody point to point.
 Then in a moment Fortune shall cull forth
 Out of one side her happy minion,
 To whom in favor she shall give the day
410 And kiss him with a glorious victory.
 How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
 Smacks it not something of the policy?
KING JOHN 
 Now by the sky that hangs above our heads,
 I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers
415 And lay this Angiers even with the ground,
 Then after fight who shall be king of it?
BASTARD, to King Philip 
 An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
 Being wronged as we are by this peevish town,

61
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
420 As we will ours, against these saucy walls,
 And when that we have dashed them to the ground,
 Why, then, defy each other and pell-mell
 Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.
KING PHILIP 
 Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?
KING JOHN 
425 We from the west will send destruction
 Into this city’s bosom.
AUSTRIA I from the north.
KING PHILIP Our thunder from the south
 Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
BASTARD, aside 
430 O, prudent discipline! From north to south,
 Austria and France shoot in each other’s mouth.
 I’ll stir them to it. — Come, away, away!
CITIZEN 
 Hear us, great kings. Vouchsafe awhile to stay,
 And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league,
435 Win you this city without stroke or wound,
 Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds
 That here come sacrifices for the field.
 Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
KING JOHN 
 Speak on with favor. We are bent to hear.
CITIZEN 
440 That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanche,
 Is near to England. Look upon the years
 Of Louis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
 If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
 Where should he find it fairer than in Blanche?
445 If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
 Where should he find it purer than in Blanche?
 If love ambitious sought a match of birth,

63
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady
 Blanche?
450 Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
 Is the young Dauphin every way complete.
 If not complete of, say he is not she,
 And she again wants nothing, to name want,
 If want it be not that she is not he.
455 He is the half part of a blessèd man,
 Left to be finishèd by such as she,
 And she a fair divided excellence,
 Whose fullness of perfection lies in him.
 O, two such silver currents when they join
460 Do glorify the banks that bound them in,
 And two such shores to two such streams made one,
 Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
 To these two princes, if you marry them.
 This union shall do more than battery can
465 To our fast-closèd gates, for at this match,
 With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
 The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope
 And give you entrance. But without this match,
 The sea enragèd is not half so deaf,
470 Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
 More free from motion, no, not Death himself
 In mortal fury half so peremptory
 As we to keep this city.
King Philip and Louis the Dauphin
walk aside and talk.

BASTARD, aside  Here’s a stay
475 That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death
 Out of his rags! Here’s a large mouth indeed
 That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and
 seas;
 Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
480 As maids of thirteen do of puppy dogs.

65
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
 He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke, and
 bounce.
 He gives the bastinado with his tongue.
485 Our ears are cudgeled. Not a word of his
 But buffets better than a fist of France.
 Zounds, I was never so bethumped with words
 Since I first called my brother’s father Dad.
QUEEN ELEANOR, aside to King John 
 Son, list to this conjunction; make this match.
490 Give with our niece a dowry large enough,
 For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie
 Thy now unsured assurance to the crown
 That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
 The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.
495 I see a yielding in the looks of France.
 Mark how they whisper. Urge them while their
 souls
 Are capable of this ambition,
 Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
500 Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
 Cool and congeal again to what it was.
CITIZEN 
 Why answer not the double majesties
 This friendly treaty of our threatened town?
KING PHILIP 
 Speak England first, that hath been forward first
505 To speak unto this city. What say you?
KING JOHN 
 If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
 Can in this book of beauty read “I love,”
 Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen.
 For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poitiers,
510 And all that we upon this side the sea—
 Except this city now by us besieged—

67
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Find liable to our crown and dignity,
 Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
 In titles, honors, and promotions,
515 As she in beauty, education, blood,
 Holds hand with any princess of the world.
KING PHILIP 
 What sayst thou, boy? Look in the lady’s face.
DAUPHIN 
 I do, my lord, and in her eye I find
 A wonder or a wondrous miracle,
520 The shadow of myself formed in her eye,
 Which, being but the shadow of your son,
 Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow.
 I do protest I never loved myself
 Till now infixèd I beheld myself
525 Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
He whispers with Blanche.
BASTARD, aside 
 “Drawn in the flattering table of her eye”?
  Hanged in the frowning wrinkle of her brow
 And quartered in her heart! He doth espy
  Himself love’s traitor. This is pity now,
530 That hanged and drawn and quartered there should
 be
 In such a love so vile a lout as he.
BLANCHE, aside to Dauphin 
 My uncle’s will in this respect is mine.
 If he see aught in you that makes him like,
535 That anything he sees which moves his liking
 I can with ease translate it to my will.
 Or if you will, to speak more properly,
 I will enforce it eas’ly to my love.
 Further I will not flatter you, my lord,
540 That all I see in you is worthy love,
 Than this: that nothing do I see in you,

69
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Though churlish thoughts themselves should be
 your judge,
 That I can find should merit any hate.
KING JOHN 
545 What say these young ones? What say you, my
 niece?
BLANCHE 
 That she is bound in honor still to do
 What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.
KING JOHN 
 Speak then, Prince Dauphin. Can you love this lady?
DAUPHIN 
550 Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love,
 For I do love her most unfeignedly.
KING JOHN 
 Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,
 Poitiers and Anjou, these five provinces
 With her to thee, and this addition more:
555 Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.—
 Philip of France, if thou be pleased withal,
 Command thy son and daughter to join hands.
KING PHILIP 
 It likes us well.—Young princes, close your hands.
AUSTRIA 
 And your lips too, for I am well assured
560 That I did so when I was first assured.
Dauphin and Blanche join hands and kiss.
KING PHILIP 
 Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates.
 Let in that amity which you have made,
 For at Saint Mary’s Chapel presently
 The rites of marriage shall be solemnized.—
565 Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
 I know she is not, for this match made up
 Her presence would have interrupted much.
 Where is she and her son? Tell me, who knows.

71
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

DAUPHIN 
 She is sad and passionate at your Highness’ tent.
KING PHILIP 
570 And by my faith, this league that we have made
 Will give her sadness very little cure.—
 Brother of England, how may we content
 This widow lady? In her right we came,
 Which we, God knows, have turned another way
575 To our own vantage.
KING JOHN  We will heal up all,
 For we’ll create young Arthur Duke of Brittany
 And Earl of Richmond, and this rich, fair town
 We make him lord of.—Call the Lady Constance.
580 Some speedy messenger bid her repair
 To our solemnity. Salisbury exits. I trust we
 shall,
 If not fill up the measure of her will,
 Yet in some measure satisfy her so
585 That we shall stop her exclamation.
 Go we as well as haste will suffer us
 To this unlooked-for, unpreparèd pomp.
All but the Bastard exit.
BASTARD 
 Mad world, mad kings, mad composition!
 John, to stop Arthur’s title in the whole,
590 Hath willingly departed with a part;
 And France, whose armor conscience buckled on,
 Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
 As God’s own soldier, rounded in the ear
 With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
595 That broker that still breaks the pate of faith,
 That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
 Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids—
 Who having no external thing to lose
 But the word “maid,” cheats the poor maid of
600 that—

73
King John
ACT 2. SC. 1

 That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity,
 Commodity, the bias of the world—
 The world, who of itself is peisèd well,
 Made to run even upon even ground,
605 Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
 This sway of motion, this Commodity,
 Makes it take head from all indifferency,
 From all direction, purpose, course, intent.
 And this same bias, this Commodity,
610 This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
 Clapped on the outward eye of fickle France,
 Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,
 From a resolved and honorable war
 To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
615 And why rail I on this Commodity?
 But for because he hath not wooed me yet.
 Not that I have the power to clutch my hand
 When his fair angels would salute my palm,
 But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
620 Like a poor beggar raileth on the rich.
 Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
 And say there is no sin but to be rich;
 And being rich, my virtue then shall be
 To say there is no vice but beggary.
625 Since kings break faith upon Commodity,
 Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee!
He exits.