Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King John: A Burlesque


SCENE III. -- The Court of Philip
Enter Arthur, Constance, and Herald.
Const. (C.) Lewis wed Blanche -- Oh what is to be done?
185France friends with England -- who'll protect my son?
How dare you bring such news -- I hate your sight.
Arthur. (R.) Dear madam be a little more polite.
Const. If thou that biddest me be more polite,
Were negro black, instead of lily white.
190I might obey thee -- but thou art so fair,
It's such a shame, that I could almost swear --
Fellow, I command thee get thee gone,
And leave me with my sorrows all alone.
Herald. Pardon me, madam, saying such rude things,
195But I can't go without you to the Kings.
Const. But thou shalt go without me -- do you see,
If the Kings want me, they must come to me.
It's easy, sir, to say -- move on -- but oh!
It's quite another thing to make one go.
200My load of grief is such the earth must share it,
I'll make the Globe, one porter's knot to bear it.
Here I and sorrow sit, (Throwing herself on the ground) let Kings come bow,
This is my throne, I'm ready for a row.
SONG -- Constance.
205
Air -- "A Highland lad my love was born."
To England's throne my son was born,
Your master John, I hold in scorn;
So tell him that, as soon as you can,
And now you'd better go my nice young man.
210Sing hey, my very nice young man,
Sing ho, my precious nice young man,
You may try and move me if you can,
But you won't succeed my nice young man!
(Herald helps Constance up, -- flourish of Drums and Trumpets, Enter K. John, Philip, Lewis, Blanche, Austria, Elinor, Faulconbridge, Chatillon, and Hubert, L. Guards place two chairs in front.
215Phil. (R.C.) This is a day of jollity -- by jingo,
We'll have a ball up at the Yorkshire Stingo.
Const. (R.) I'll tell you what King Philip, it is true
This business is throughout a reg'lar do.
To fight for me you promised that you came,
220You've joined the other Party -- Oh! for shame.
I'm regularly hoax'd and that's the truth.
Aust. (In R. corner.) Peace Lady Constance.
Const. Who are you forsooth?
O Austria -- thou wretch -- thou coward slave,
225Who out of danger are exceeding brave.
You who would kick the strongest man in town,
If some one else should first have got him down.
You that from real danger always shrink,
You are a nice young man, I do not think.
230That hide is quite enough to make one grin,
Thou perfect Neddy in a Lion's skin.
Aus. Oh, that a man such language would begin.
Faul. (From behind John's chair) Thou thorough Neddy in a Lion's skin.
Aus. You daren't say that again, I bet a pin.
235Faul. (advancing.) You thorough Neddy in a Lion's skin.
K. John. We like not this, such fools I never saw,
You both seem Neddys by your length of jaw.
(Trumpet sounds.)
(Enter, Cardinal Pandulph, L)
Pandulph. King John, I've got a message from the Pope.
240K. John. None of his usual nonsense, sir, I hope.
Pand. He asks why 'tis, you won't let Langton be
Install'd at once in Canterbury's see.
K. John. Go tell the pope, the king does as he pleases,
And at his holy threats he only sneezes.
245
SONG -- King John.
Air -- " Swiss Toy Girl."
I'm very glad to see
You sir, as a stranger;
But it's very clear to me,
250You'll be in some danger,
If soon you don't be
From this place a ranger.
So now you'd better go
To the pope back again.
255Pand. Philip of France, hear me when I command,
In the pope's name let go rash England's hand.
Aust. Obey the pope, Philip, withdraw your fin.
Faul. You thorough Neddy, in a lion's skin.
Phil. What must I do? I dread the papal power.
260K. John. (Rising.) Philip of France, you soon shall rue this hour.
Phil. (Rising.) I've got, I'm sure, as good a chance as you.
Aust. To arms!
Faul. Two legs would better answer you.
K. John. I'll serve you out, you parlezvouing thief!
265Phil. I do defy you, Jacky Bull, roast beef.
(Flourish -- Exeunt English L., French R.)