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  • 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)

    By making many: Oh it grieues my soule,
    That I must draw this mettle from my side
    To be a widdow-maker: oh, and there
    Where honourable rescue, and defence
    2270Cries out vpon the name of Salisbury.
    But such is the infection of the time,
    That for the health and Physicke of our right,
    We cannot deale but with the very hand
    Of sterne Iniustice, and confused wrong:
    2275And is't not pitty, (oh my grieued friends)
    That we, the sonnes and children of this Isle,
    Was borne to see so sad an houre as this,
    Wherein we step after a stranger, march
    Vpon her gentle bosom, and fill vp
    2280Her Enemies rankes? I must withdraw, and weepe
    Vpon the spot of this inforced cause,
    To grace the Gentry of a Land remote,
    And follow vnacquainted colours heere:
    What heere? O Nation that thou couldst remoue,
    2285That Neptunes Armes who clippeth thee about,
    Would beare thee from the knowledge of thy selfe,
    And cripple thee vnto a Pagan shore,
    Where these two Christian Armies might combine
    The bloud of malice, in a vaine of league,
    2290And not to spend it so vn-neighbourly.
    Dolph. A noble temper dost thou shew in this,
    And great affections wrastling in thy bosome
    Doth make an earth-quake of Nobility:
    Oh, what a noble combat hast fought
    2295Between compulsion, and a braue respect:
    Let me wipe off this honourable dewe,
    That siluerly doth progresse on thy cheekes:
    My heart hath melted at a Ladies teares,
    Being an ordinary Inundation:
    2300But this effusion of such manly drops,
    This showre, blowne vp by tempest of the soule,
    Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amaz'd
    Then had I seene the vaultie top of heauen
    Figur'd quite ore with burning Meteors.
    2305Lift vp thy brow (renowned Salisburie)
    And with a great heart heaue away this storme:
    Commend these waters to those baby-eyes
    That neuer saw the giant-world enrag'd,
    Nor met with Fortune, other then at feasts,
    2310Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossipping:
    Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deepe
    Into the purse of rich prosperity
    As Lewis himselfe: so (Nobles) shall you all,
    That knit your sinewes to the strength of mine.
    2315Enter Pandulpho.
    And euen there, methinkes an Angell spake,
    Looke where the holy Legate comes apace,
    To giue vs warrant from the hand of heauen,
    And on our actions set the name of right
    2320With holy breath.
    Pand. Haile noble Prince of France:
    The next is this: King Iohn hath reconcil'd
    Himselfe to Rome, his spirit is come in,
    That so stood out against the holy Church,
    2325The great Metropolis and Sea of Rome:
    Therefore thy threatning Colours now winde vp,
    And tame the sauage spirit of wilde warre,
    That like a Lion fostered vp at hand,
    It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
    2330And be no further harmefull then in shewe.
    Dol. Your Grace shall pardon me, I will not backe:
    I am too high-borne to be proportied
    To be a secondary at controll,
    Or vsefull seruing-man, and Instrument
    2335To any Soueraigne State throughout the world.
    Your breath first kindled the dead coale of warres,
    Betweene this chastiz'd kingdome and my selfe,
    And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
    And now 'tis farre too huge to be blowne out
    2340With that same weake winde, which enkindled it:
    You taught me how to know the face of right,
    Acquainted me with interest to this Land,
    Yea, thrust this enterprize into my heart,
    And come ye now to tell me Iohn hath made
    2345His peace with Rome? what is that peace to me?
    I (by the honour of my marriage bed)
    After yong Arthur, claime this Land for mine,
    And now it is halfe conquer'd, must I backe,
    Because that Iohn hath made his peace with Rome?
    2350Am I Romes slaue? What penny hath Rome borne?
    What men prouided? What munition sent
    To vnder-prop this Action? Is't not I
    That vnder-goe this charge? Who else but I,
    And such as to my claime are liable,
    2355Sweat in this businesse, and maintaine this warre?
    Haue I not heard these Islanders shout out
    Viue le Roy, as I haue bank'd their Townes?
    Haue I not heere the best Cards for the game
    To winne this easie match, plaid for a Crowne?
    2360And shall I now giue ore the yeelded Set?
    No, no, on my soule it neuer shall be said.
    Pand. You looke but on the out-side of this worke.
    Dol. Out-side or in-side, I will not returne
    Till my attempt so much be glorified,
    2365As to my ample hope was promised,
    Before I drew this gallant head of warre,
    And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world
    To out-looke Conquest, and to winne renowne
    Euen in the iawes of danger, and of death:
    2370What lusty Trumpet thus doth summon vs?
    Enter Bastard.
    Bast. According to the faire-play of the world,
    Let me haue audience: I am sent to speake:
    My holy Lord of Millane, from the King
    2375I come to learne how you haue dealt for him:
    And, as you answer, I doe know the scope
    And warrant limited vnto my tongue.
    Pand. The Dolphin is too wilfull opposite
    And will not temporize with my intreaties:
    2380He flatly saies, hee ll not lay downe his Armes.
    Bast. By all the bloud that euer fury breath'd,
    The youth saies well. Now heare our English King,
    For thus his Royaltie doth speake in me:
    He is prepar'd, and reason to he should,
    2385This apish and vnmannerly approach,
    This harness'd Maske, and vnaduised Reuell,
    This vn-heard sawcinesse and boyish Troopes,
    The King doth smile at, and is well prepar'd
    To whip this dwarfish warre, this Pigmy Armes
    2390From out the circle of his Territories.
    That hand which had the strength, euen at your dore,
    To cudgell you, and make you take the hatch,
    To diue like Buckets in concealed Welles,
    To crowch in litter of your stable plankes,
    2395To lye like pawnes, lock'd vp in chests and truncks,
    To hug with swine, to seeke sweet safety out
    In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake,