Internet Shakespeare Editions

Become a FriendSign in

About this text

  • Title: King John (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-410-3

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Peer Reviewed

    King John (Folio 1, 1623)

    How easie dost thou take all England vp,
    From forth this morcell of dead Royaltie?
    The life, the right, and truth of all this Realme
    2150Is fled to heauen: and England now is left
    To tug and scamble, and to part by th' teeth
    The vn-owed interest of proud swelling State:
    Now for the bare-pickt bone of Maiesty,
    Doth dogged warre bristle his angry crest,
    2155And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
    Now Powers from home, and discontents at home
    Meet in one line: and vast confusion waites
    As doth a Rauen on a sicke-falne beast,
    The iminent decay of wrested pompe.
    2160Now happy he, whose cloake and center can
    Hold out this tempest. Beare away that childe,
    And follow me with speed: Ile to the King:
    A thousand businesses are briefe in hand,
    And heauen it selfe doth frowne vpon the Land. Exit.

    2165Actus Quartus, Scæna prima.

    Enter King Iohn and Pandolph, attendants.

    K. Iohn. Thus haue I yeelded vp into your hand
    The Circle of my glory.
    Pan. Take againe
    2170From this my hand, as holding of the Pope
    Your Soueraigne greatnesse and authoritie.
    Iohn. Now keep your holy word, go meet the French,
    And from his holinesse vse all your power
    To stop their marches 'fore we are enflam'd:
    2175Our discontented Counties doe reuolt:
    Our people quarrell with obedience,
    Swearing Allegiance, and the loue of soule
    To stranger-bloud, to forren Royalty;
    This inundation of mistempred humor,
    2180Rests by you onely to be qualified.
    Then pause not: for the present time's so sicke,
    That present medcine must be ministred,
    Or ouerthrow incureable ensues.
    Pand. It was my breath that blew this Tempest vp,
    2185Vpon your stubborne vsage of the Pope:
    But since you are a gentle conuertite,
    My tongue shall hush againe this storme of warre,
    And make faire weather in your blustring land:
    On this Ascention day, remember well,
    2190Vpon your oath of seruice to the Pope,
    Goe I to make the French lay downe their Armes. Exit.
    Iohn. Is this Ascension day? did not the Prophet
    Say, that before Ascension day at noone,
    My Crowne I should giue off? euen so I haue:
    2195I did suppose it should be on constraint,
    But (heau'n be thank'd) it is but voluntary.
    Enter Bastard.
    Bast. All Kent hath yeelded: nothing there holds out
    But Douer Castle: London hath receiu'd
    2200Like a kinde Host, the Dolphin and his powers.
    Your Nobles will not heare you, but are gone
    To offer seruice to your enemy:
    And wilde amazement hurries vp and downe
    The little number of your doubtfull friends.
    2205Iohn. Would not my Lords returne to me againe
    After they heard yong Arthur was aliue?
    Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the streets,
    An empty Casket, where the Iewell of life
    By some damn'd hand was rob'd, and tane away.
    2210Iohn. That villaine Hubert told me he did liue.
    Bast. So on my soule he did, for ought he knew:
    But wherefore doe you droope? why looke you sad?
    Be great in act, as you haue beene in thought:
    Let not the world see feare and sad distrust
    2215Gouerne the motion of a kinglye eye:
    Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire,
    Threaten the threatner, and out-face the brow
    Of bragging horror: So shall inferior eyes
    That borrow their behauiours from the great,
    2220Grow great by your example, and put on
    The dauntlesse spirit of resolution.
    Away, and glister like the god of warre
    When he intendeth to become the field:
    Shew boldnesse and aspiring confidence:
    2225What, shall they seeke the Lion in his denne,
    And fright him there? and make him tremble there?
    Oh let it not be said: forrage, and runne
    To meet displeasure farther from the dores,
    And grapple with him ere he come so nye.
    2230Iohn. The Legat of the Pope hath beene with mee,
    And I haue made a happy peace with him,
    And he hath promis'd to dismisse the Powers
    Led by the Dolphin.
    Bast. Oh inglorious league:
    2235Shall we vpon the footing of our land,
    Send fayre-play-orders, and make comprimise,
    Insinuation, parley, and base truce
    To Armes Inuasiue? Shall a beardlesse boy,
    A cockred-silken wanton braue our fields,
    2240And flesh his spirit in a warre-like soyle,
    Mocking the ayre with colours idlely spred,
    And finde no checke? Let vs my Liege to Armes:
    Perchance the Cardinall cannot make your peace;
    Or if he doe, let it at least be said
    2245They saw we had a purpose of defence.
    Iohn. Haue thou the ordering of this present time.
    Bast. Away then with good courage: yet I know
    Our Partie may well meet a prowder foe. Exeunt.

    Scœna Secunda.

    2250Enter (in Armes) Dolphin, Salisbury, Meloone, Pem-
    broke, Bigot, Souldiers.

    Dol. My Lord Melloone, let this be coppied out,
    And keepe it safe for our remembrance:
    Returne the president to these Lords againe,
    2255That hauing our faire order written downe,
    Both they and we, perusing ore these notes
    May know wherefore we tooke the Sacrament,
    And keepe our faithes firme and inuiolable.
    Sal. Vpon our sides it neuer shall be broken.
    2260And Noble Dolphin, albeit we sweare
    A voluntary zeale, and an vn-urg'd Faith
    To your proceedings: yet beleeue me Prince,
    I am not glad that such a sore of Time
    Should seeke a plaster by contemn'd reuolt,
    2265And heale the inueterate Canker of one wound,