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King John
Act 5, scene 7

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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 7
Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot.

PRINCE HENRY 
 It is too late. The life of all his blood
 Is touched 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.

Enter Pembroke.

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.
PRINCE HENRY 
10 Let him be brought into the orchard here.
Bigot exits.
 Doth he still rage?
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 preyed 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

203
King John
ACT 5. SC. 7

 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.

King John brought in, attended by Bigot.

KING JOHN 
30 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 
 Poisoned—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 burned bosom, nor entreat the North
 To make his bleak winds kiss my parchèd 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

205
King John
ACT 5. SC. 7

 Is, as a fiend, confined to tyrannize
 On unreprievable, condemnèd blood.

Enter Bastard.

BASTARD 
 O, I am scalded with my violent motion
 And spleen of speed to see your Majesty.
KING JOHN 
55 O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye.
 The tackle of my heart is cracked and burnt,
 And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
 Are turnèd to one thread, one little hair.
 My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
60 Which holds but till thy news be utterèd,
 And then all this thou seest is but a clod
 And module of confounded royalty.
BASTARD 
 The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
 Where God 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
 Devourèd 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.—

207
King John
ACT 5. SC. 7

 Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,
 Where be your powers? Show now your mended
80 faiths
 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;
85 The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
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
90 As we with honor and respect may take,
 With purpose presently to leave this war.
BASTARD 
 He will the rather do it when he sees
 Ourselves well-sinewèd to our defense.
SALISBURY 
 Nay, ’tis in a manner done already,
95 For many carriages he hath dispatched
 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
100 To consummate this business happily.
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 interred,
105 For so he willed it.
BASTARD  Thither shall it, then,
 And happily may your sweet self put on
 The lineal state and glory of the land,

209
King John
ACT 5. SC. 7

 To whom with all submission on my knee
110 I do bequeath my faithful services
 And true subjection everlastingly.He kneels.
SALISBURY 
 And the like tender of our love we make
 To rest without a spot forevermore.
Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot kneel.
PRINCE HENRY 
 I have a kind soul that would give you thanks
115 And knows not how to do it but with tears.
They rise.
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
120 But when it first did help to wound itself.
 Now these her princes are come home again,
 Come the three corners of the world in arms
 And we shall shock them. Naught shall make us rue,
 If England to itself do rest but true.
They exit, bearing the body of King John.