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King John
Act 5, scene 4

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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 4
Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot.

SALISBURY 
 I did not think the King so stored with friends.

191
King John
ACT 5. SC. 4

PEMBROKE 
 Up once again. Put spirit in the French.
 If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
SALISBURY 
 That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,
5 In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
PEMBROKE 
 They say King John, sore sick, hath left the field.

Enter Melun, wounded, led by a Soldier.

MELUN 
 Lead me to the revolts of England here.
SALISBURY 
 When we were happy, we had other names.
PEMBROKE 
 It is the Count Melun.
SALISBURY 10 Wounded to death.
MELUN 
 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,
15 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 at Saint Edmundsbury,
20 Even on that altar where we swore to you
 Dear amity and everlasting love.
SALISBURY 
 May this be possible? May this be true?
MELUN 
 Have I not hideous death within my view,
 Retaining but a quantity of life,
25 Which bleeds away even as a form of wax
 Resolveth from his figure ’gainst the fire?

193
King John
ACT 5. SC. 4

 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
30 That I must die here and live hence by truth?
 I say again, if Louis do win the day,
 He is forsworn if e’er those eyes of yours
 Behold another daybreak in the East.
 But even this night, whose black contagious breath
35 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,
40 If Louis 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.
45 In lieu whereof, I pray you bear me hence
 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.
SALISBURY 
50 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 damnèd flight,
 And like a bated and retirèd flood,
55 Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
 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,
60 For I do see the cruel pangs of death

195
King John
ACT 5. SC. 5

 Right in thine eye.—Away, my friends! New flight,
 And happy newness, that intends old right.
They exit, assisting Melun.