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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)

    Euen at the crying of your Nations crow,
    Thinking this voyce an armed Englishman.
    2400Shall that victorious hand be feebled heere,
    That in your Chambers gaue you chasticement?
    No: know the gallant Monarch is in Armes,
    And like an Eagle, o're his ayerie towres,
    To sowsse annoyance that comes neere his Nest;
    2405And you degenerate, you ingrate Reuolts,
    you bloudy Nero's, ripping vp the wombe
    Of your deere Mother-England: blush for shame:
    For your owne Ladies, and pale-visag'd Maides,
    Like Amazons, come tripping after drummes:
    2410Their thimbles into armed Gantlets change,
    Their Needl's to Lances, and their gentle hearts
    To fierce and bloody inclination.
    Dol. There end thy braue, and turn thy face in peace,
    We grant thou canst out-scold vs: Far thee well,
    2415We hold our time too precious to be spent
    with such a brabler.
    Pan. Giue me leaue to speake.
    Bast. No, I will speake.
    Dol. We will attend to neyther:
    2420Strike vp the drummes, and let the tongue of warre
    Pleade for our interest, and our being heere.
    Bast. Indeede your drums being beaten, wil cry out;
    And so shall you, being beaten: Do but start
    An eccho with the clamor of thy drumme,
    2425And euen at hand, a drumme is readie brac'd,
    That shall reuerberate all, as lowd as thine.
    Sound but another, and another shall
    (As lowd as thine) rattle the Welkins eare,
    And mocke the deepe mouth'd Thunder: for at hand
    2430(Not trusting to this halting Legate heere,
    Whom he hath vs'd rather for sport, then neede)
    Is warlike Iohn: and in his fore-head sits
    A bare-rib'd death, whose office is this day
    To feast vpon whole thousands of the French.
    2435Dol. Strike vp our drummes, to finde this danger out.
    Bast. And thou shalt finde it (Dolphin) do not doubt

    Scæna Tertia.

    Alarums. Enter Iohn and Hubert.

    2440Iohn. How goes the day with vs? oh tell me Hubert.
    Hub. Badly I feare; how fares your Maiesty?
    Iohn. This Feauer that hath troubled me so long,
    Lyes heauie on me: oh, my heart is sicke.
    Enter a Messenger.
    2445Mes. My Lord: your valiant kinsman Falconbridge,
    Desires your Maiestie to leaue the field,
    And send him word by me, which way you go.
    Iohn. Tell him toward Swinsted, to the Abbey there.
    Mes. Be of good comfort: for the great supply
    2450That was expected by the Dolphin heere,
    Are wrack'd three nights ago on Goodwin sands.
    This newes was brought to Richard but euen now,
    The French fight coldly, and retyre themselues.
    Iohn. Aye me, this tyrant Feauer burnes mee vp,
    2455And will not let me welcome this good newes.
    Set on toward Swinsted: to my Litter straight,
    Weaknesse possesseth me, and I am faint. Exeunt.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot.
    2460Sal. I did not thinke the King so stor'd with friends.
    Pem. Vp once againe: put spirit in the French,
    If they miscarry: we miscarry too.
    Sal. That misbegotten diuell Falconbridge,
    In spight of spight, alone vpholds the day.
    2465Pem. They say King Iohn sore sick, hath left the field.
    Enter Meloon wounded.
    Mel. Lead me to the Reuolts of England heere.
    Sal. When we were happie, we had other names.
    Pem. It is the Count Meloone.
    2470Sal. Wounded to death.
    Mel. Fly Noble English, you are bought and sold,
    Vnthred the rude eye of Rebellion,
    And welcome home againe discarded faith,
    Seeke out King Iohn, and fall before his feete:
    2475For if the French be Lords of this loud day,
    He meanes to recompence the paines you take,
    By cutting off your heads: Thus hath he sworne,
    And I with him, and many moe with mee,
    Vpon the Altar at S. Edmondsbury,
    2480Euen on that Altar, where we swore to you
    Deere Amity, and euerlasting loue.
    Sal. May this be possible? May this be true?
    Mel. Haue I not hideous death within my view,
    Retaining but a quantity of life,
    2485Which bleeds away, euen as a forme of waxe
    Resolueth from his figure 'gainst the fire?
    What in the world should make me now deceiue,
    Since I must loose the vse of all deceite?
    Why should I then be false, since it is true
    2490That I must dye heere, and liue hence, by Truth?
    I say againe, if Lewis do win the day,
    He is forsworne, if ere those eyes of yours
    Behold another day breake in the East:
    But euen this night, whose blacke contagious breath
    2495Already smoakes about the burning Crest
    Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied Sunne,
    Euen this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
    Paying the fine of rated Treachery,
    Euen with a treacherous fine of all your liues:
    2500If Lewis, by your assistance win the day.
    Commend me to one Hubert, with your King;
    The loue of him, and this respect besides
    (For that my Grandsire was an Englishman)
    Awakes my Conscience to confesse all this.
    2505In lieu whereof, I pray you beare me hence
    From forth the noise and rumour of the Field;
    Where I may thinke the remnant of my thoughts
    In peace: and part this bodie and my soule
    With contemplation, and deuout desires.
    2510Sal. We do beleeue thee, and beshrew my soule,
    But I do loue the fauour, and the forme
    Of this most faire occasion, by the which
    We will vntread the steps of damned flight,
    And like a bated and retired Flood,
    2515Leauing our ranknesse and irregular course,
    Stoope lowe within those bounds we haue ore-look'd,
    And calmely run on in obedience
    Euen to our Ocean, to our great King Iohn.
    My arme shall giue thee helpe to beare thee hence,