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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)

    It would not out at windowes, nor at doores,
    There is so hot a summer in my bosome,
    That all my bowels crumble vp to dust:
    I am a scribled forme drawne with a pen
    2640Vpon a Parchment, and against this fire
    Do I shrinke vp.
    Hen. How fares your Maiesty?
    Ioh. Poyson'd, ill fare: dead, forsooke, cast off,
    And none of you will bid the winter come
    2645To thrust his ycie fingers in my maw;
    Nor let my kingdomes Riuers take their course
    Through my burn'd bosome: nor intreat the North
    To make his bleake windes kisse my parched lips,
    And comfort me with cold. I do not aske you much,
    2650I begge cold comfort: and you are so straight
    And so ingratefull, you deny me that.
    Hen. Oh that there were some vertue in my teares,
    That might releeue you.
    Iohn. The salt in them is hot.
    2655Within me is a hell, and there the poyson
    Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize,
    On vnrepreeuable condemned blood.
    Enter Bastard.
    Bast. Oh, I am scalded with my violent motion
    2660And spleene of speede, to see your Maiesty.
    Iohn. Oh Cozen, thou art come to set mine eye:
    The tackle of my heart, is crack'd and burnt,
    And all the shrowds wherewith my life should saile,
    Are turned to one thred, one little haire:
    2665My heart hath one poore string to stay it by,
    Which holds but till thy newes be vttered,
    And then all this thou seest, is but a clod,
    And module of confounded royalty.
    Bast. The Dolphin is preparing hither-ward,
    2670Where heauen he knowes how we shall answer him.
    For in a night the best part of my powre,
    As I vpon aduantage did remoue,
    Were in the Washes all vnwarily,
    Deuoured by the vnexpected flood.
    2675Sal. You breath these dead newes in as dead an eare
    My Liege, my Lord: but now a King, now thus.
    Hen. Euen so must I run on, and euen so stop.
    What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
    When this was now a King, and now is clay?
    2680Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behinde,
    To do the office for thee, of reuenge,
    And then my soule shall waite on thee to heauen,
    As it on earth hath bene thy seruant still.
    Now, now you Starres, that moue in your right spheres,
    2685Where be your powres? Shew now your mended faiths,
    And instantly returne with me againe.
    To push destruction, and perpetuall shame
    Out of the weake doore of our fainting Land:
    Straight let vs seeke, or straight we shall be sought,
    2690The Dolphine rages at our verie heeles.
    Sal. It seemes you know not then so much as we,
    The Cardinall Pandulph is within at rest,
    Who halfe an houre since came from the Dolphin,
    And brings from him such offers of our peace,
    2695As we with honor and respect may take,
    With purpose presently to leaue this warre.
    Bast. Hc will the rather do it, when he sees
    Our selues well sinew'd to our defence.
    Sal. Nay, 'tis in a manner done already,
    2700For many carriages hee hath dispatch'd
    To the sea side, and put his cause and quarrell
    To the disposing of the Cardinall,
    With whom your selfe, my selfe, and other Lords,
    If you thinke meete, this afternoone will poast
    2705To consummate this businesse happily.
    Bast. Let it be so, and you my noble Prince,
    With other Princes that may best be spar'd,
    Shall waite vpon your Fathers Funerall.
    Hen. At Worster must his bodie be interr'd,
    2710For so he will'd it.
    Bast. Thither shall it then,
    And happily may your sweet selfe put on
    The lineall state, and glorie of the Land,
    To whom with all submission on my knee,
    2715I do bequeath my faithfull seruices
    And true subiection euerlastingly.
    Sal. And the like tender of our loue wee make
    To rest without a spot for euermore.
    Hen. I haue a kinde soule, that would giue thankes,
    2720And knowes not how to do it, but with teares.
    Bast. Oh let vs pay the time: but needfull woe,
    Since it hath beene before hand with our greefes.
    This England neuer did, nor neuer shall
    Lye at the proud foote of a Conqueror,
    2725But when it first did helpe to wound it selfe.
    Now, these her Princes are come home againe,
    Come the three corners of the world in Armes,
    And we shall shocke them: Naught shall make vs rue,
    If England to it selfe, do rest but true. Exeunt.