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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)

    What woman post is this? hath she no husband
    That will take paines to blow a horne before her?
    230O me, 'tis my mother: how now good Lady,
    What brings you heere to Court so hastily?

    Enter Lady Faulconbridge and Iames Gurney.

    Lady. Where is that slaue thy brother? where is he?
    That holds in chase mine honour vp and downe.
    235Bast. My brother Robert, old Sir Roberts sonne:
    Colbrand the Gyant, that same mighty man,
    Is it Sir Roberts sonne that you seeke so?
    Lady. Sir Roberts sonne, I thou vnreuerend boy,
    Sir Roberts sonne? why scorn'st thou at sir Robert?
    240He is Sir Roberts sonne, and so art thou.
    Bast. Iames Gournie, wilt thou giue vs leaue a while?
    Gour. Good leaue good Philip.
    Bast. Philip, sparrow, Iames,
    There's toyes abroad, anon Ile tell thee more.
    245Exit Iames.
    Madam, I was not old Sir Roberts sonne,
    Sir Robert might haue eat his part in me
    Vpon good Friday, and nere broke his fast:
    Sir Robert could doe well, marrie to confesse
    250Could get me sir Robert could not doe it;
    We know his handy-worke, therefore good mother
    To whom am I beholding for these limmes?
    Sir Robert neuer holpe to make this legge.
    Lady. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
    255That for thine owne gaine shouldst defend mine honor?
    What meanes this scorne, thou most vntoward knaue?
    Bast. Knight, knight good mother, Basilisco-like:
    What, I am dub'd, I haue it on my shoulder:
    But mother, I am not Sir Roberts sonne,
    260I haue disclaim'd Sir Robert and my land,
    Legitimation, name, and all is gone;
    Then good my mother, let me know my father,
    Some proper man I hope, who was it mother?
    Lady. Hast thou denied thy selfe a Faulconbridge?
    265Bast. As faithfully as I denie the deuill.
    Lady. King Richard Cordelion was thy father,
    By long and vehement suit I was seduc'd
    To make roome for him in my husbands bed:
    Heauen lay not my transgression to my charge,
    270That art the issue of my deere offence
    Which was so strongly vrg'd past my defence.
    Bast. Now by this light were I to get againe,
    Madam I would not wish a better father:
    Some sinnes doe beare their priuiledge on earth,
    275And so doth yours: your fault, was not your follie,
    Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
    Subiected tribute to commanding loue,
    Against whose furie and vnmatched force,
    The awlesse Lion could not wage the fight,
    280Nor keepe his Princely heart from Richards hand:
    He that perforce robs Lions of their hearts,
    May easily winne a womans: aye my mother,
    With all my heart I thanke thee for my father:
    Who liues and dares but say, thou didst not well
    285When I was got, Ile send his soule to hell.
    Come Lady I will shew thee to my kinne,
    And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
    If thou hadst sayd him nay, it had beene sinne;
    Who sayes it was, he lyes, I say twas not.

    290 Exeunt.

    Scæna Secunda.

    Enter before Angiers, Philip King of France, Lewis, Daul-
    phin, Austria, Constance, Arthur.

    Lewis. Before Angiers well met braue Austria,
    295Arthur that great fore-runner of thy bloud,
    Richard that rob'd the Lion of his heart,
    And fought the holy Warres in Palestine,
    By this braue Duke came early to his graue:
    And for amends to his posteritie,
    300At our importance hether is he come,
    To spread his colours boy, in thy behalfe,
    And to rebuke the vsurpation
    Of thy vnnaturall Vncle, English Iohn,
    Embrace him, loue him, giue him welcome hether.
    305Arth. God shall forgiue you Cordelions death
    The rather, that you giue his off-spring life,
    Shadowing their right vnder your wings of warre:
    I giue you welcome with a powerlesse hand,
    But with a heart full of vnstained loue,
    310Welcome before the gates of Angiers Duke.
    Lewis. A noble boy, who would not doe thee right?
    Aust. Vpon thy cheeke lay I this zelous kisse,
    As seale to this indenture of my loue:
    That to my home I will no more returne
    315Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
    Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
    Whose foot spurnes backe the Oceans roaring tides,
    And coopes from other lands her Ilanders,
    Euen till that England hedg'd in with the maine,
    320That Water-walled Bulwarke, still secure
    And confident from forreine purposes,
    Euen till that vtmost corner of the West
    Salute thee for her King, till then faire boy
    Will I not thinke of home, but follow Armes.
    325Const. O take his mothers thanks, a widdows thanks,
    Till your strong hand shall helpe to giue him strength,
    To make a more requitaIl to your loue.
    Aust. The peace of heauen is theirs yt lift their swords
    In such a iust and charitable warre.
    330King. Well, then to worke our Cannon shall be bent
    Against the browes of this resisting towne,
    Call for our cheefest men of discipline,
    To cull the plots of best aduantages:
    Wee'll lay before this towne our Royal bones,
    335Wade to the market-place in French-mens bloud,
    But we will make it subiect to this boy.
    Con. Stay for an answer to your Embassie,
    Lest vnaduis'd you staine your swords with bloud,
    My Lord Chattilion may from England bring
    340That right in peace which heere we vrge in warre,
    And then we shall repent each drop of bloud,
    That hot rash haste so indirectly shedde.
    Enter Chattilion.
    King. A wonder Lady: lo vpon thy wish
    345Our Messenger Chattilion is arriu'd,
    What England saies, say breefely gentle Lord,
    We coldly pause for thee, Chatilion speake,
    Chat. Then turne your forces from this paltry siege,
    And stirre them vp against a mightier taske:
    350England impatient of your iust demands,
    Hath put himselfe in Armes, the aduerse windes