Imatges de pÓgina

Hath put himself in arms; the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I:

His marches are expedienta to this town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the mother-queen,
An Até, stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the lady Blanch of Spain ;
With them a bastard of the king's deceas'd:
And all the unsettled humours of the land,-
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,

With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens,-
Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
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,
To do offence and scath in Christendom.
The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand
To parley, or to fight; therefore, prepare.
K. PHI. How much unlook'd-for is this expedition!
AUST. By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endeavour for defence;

For courage mounteth with occasion:

Let them be welcome then, we are prepar'd.

[Drums beat.

Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard, PEMBROKE, and Forces.

K. JOHN. Peace be to France; if France in peace permit

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 beat his peace to heaven.
K. PHI. Peace be to England; if that war return
From France to England, there to live in peace!
England we love; and, for that England's sake,
With burthen of our armour here we sweat:
This toil of ours should be a work of thine;

[ocr errors]

But thou from loving England art so far,

That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king,

Cut off the sequence of posterity,

Expedient. The word properly means "that disengages itself from all entanglements." To set at liberty the foot which was held fast is exped-ire.

Outfaced infant state, and done a rape

Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face;-
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his :
This little abstract doth contain that large,
Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of time
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's, in the name of God.
How comes it, then, that thou art call'd a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?

K. JOHN. From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
To draw my answer from thy articles?

K. PHI. From that supernal judge that stirs good thoughts

In any breast of strong authority,

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.
K. JOHN. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
K. PHI. Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.
ELI. Who is it thou dost call usurper, France ?
CONST. Let me make answer;-thy usurping son.
ELI. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king;

That thou mayst be a queen, and check the world!
CONST. My bed was ever to thy son as true,

As thine was to thy husband: and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey,

Than thou and John, in manners being as like
As rain to water, or devil to his dam.

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.

ELI. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

CONST. There's a good grandame, boy, that would blot thee.
AUST. Peace!



Hear the crier.

What the devil art thou?

▪ And this is Geffrey's. We have restored the punctuation of the original,—

"And this is Geffrey's, in the name of God."

Perhaps we should read, according to Monck Mason, "And his is Geffrey's." In either case, it appears to us that King Philip makes a solemn asseveration that this (Arthur) is Geffrey's son and successor, or that "Geffrey's right" is his (Arthur's) in the name of God; asserting the principle of legitimacy, by divine ordinance.

BAST. One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
An 'a may catch your hide and you alone.
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour 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.
BLANCH. O, well did he become that lion's robe,
That did disrobe the lion of that robe!
BAST. It lies as sightly on the back of him,
As great Alcides' shoes 10 upon an ass :—
But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your back;
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
AUST. What cracker is this same, that deafs our ears
With this abundance of superfluous breath?
K. PHI. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight".
LEW. Women and fools, break off your conference.
King John, this is the very sum of all,—
England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur do I claim of thee:

Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms?
K. JOHN. My life as soon:- -I do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my
And, out of my dear love, I'll give thee more
Than e'er the coward hand of France can win :
Submit thee, boy.

[blocks in formation]

Good my mother, peace!

I would that I were low laid in my grave;
I am not worth this coil that 's made for me.
ELI. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
CONST. Now shame upon you, wher she does, or no!

His grandame's wrongs, and not his mother's shames,
Draw 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 brib'd
To do him justice, and revenge on you.

ELI. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!
CONST. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
Call not me slanderer; thou, and thine, usurp

In the original this line is given to Austria, and then reads, "King,-Lewis, &c.,-appealing to Philip and the Dauphin. We agree with Mr. Collier that King is the prefix of the line.

The dominations, royalties, and rights

Of this oppressed boy: This is thy eldest son's son,
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 Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb. K. JOHN. Bedlam have done.


I have but this to say,

That he's not only plagued for her sin,

But God hath made her sin and her the plague
On this removed issue, plagued for her,
And with her plague, her sin; his injury
Her injury, the beadle to her sin;
All punish'd in the person of this child,
And all for her; A plague upon her!
ELI. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce

A will, that bars the title of thy son.
CONST. Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will;
A woman's will; a canker'd grandame's will!
K. PHI. Peace, lady; pause, or be more temperate :
It ill beseems this presence, to cry aima

To these ill-tuned 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.

CIT. Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls?

K. PHI. T is France for England.


- England for itself:
You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects!
K. PHI. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,
Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle—
K. JOHN. For our advantage ;-Therefore, hear us first.
These flags of France, that are advanced here
Before the eye and prospect of your town,
Have hither march'd to your endamagement:
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath ;
And ready mounted are they, to spit forth
Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls:
All preparation for a bloody siege

• To cry aim. See 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' Illustration 19.

And merciless proceeding, by these French,
Confronts a your city's eyes, your winking gates;
And but for our approach, those sleeping stones,
That as a waist do girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordnance,
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
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 unscratch'd your city's threaten'd cheeks,—-
Behold, the French, amaz'd, vouchsafe a parle :
And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd 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:
Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,

And let us in, your king; whose labour'd spirits,
Forwearied in this action of swift speed,

Crave harbourage within your city walls.

K. PHI. When I have said, make answer to us both.
Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
Is most divinely vow'd upon the right
Of him it holds, stands young Ptantagenet,
Son to the elder brother of this man,
And king o'er him, and all that he enjoys:
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In warlike march these greens before your
Being no further enemy to you,
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,
In the relief of this oppressed child,
Religiously provokes. Be pleased 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, have all offence seal'd up;
Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent
Against th' invulnerable clouds of heaven;
And, with a blessed and unvex'd retire,

• Confronts your city's eyes. The original edition has comfort your city's eyes. The later editions read confront, after Rowe. Preparation is here the nominative, and therefore we use confronts.

Your king, &c. In the old reading, "your king" is the nominative to "craves." If that reading be retained, "forwearied" must be used, not as a participle, but as a verb neuter.

• Owces-owns.

« AnteriorContinua »