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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)

    Where should he finde it fairer, then in Blanch:
    If zealous loue should go in search of vertue,
    Where should he finde it purer then in Blanch?
    745If loue ambitious, sought a match of birth,
    Whose veines bound richer blood then Lady Blanch?
    Such as she is, in beautie, vertue, birth,
    Is the yong Dolphin euery way compleat,
    If not compleat of, say he is not shee,
    750And she againe wants nothing, to name want,
    If want it be not, that she is not hee:
    He is the halfe part of a blessed man,
    Left to be finished by such as shee,
    And she a faire diuided excellence,
    755Whose fulnesse of perfection lyes in him.
    O two such siluer currents when they ioyne
    Do glorifie the bankes that bound them in:
    And two such shores, to two such streames made one,
    Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
    760To these two Princes, if you marrie them:
    This Vnion shall do more then batterie can
    To our fast closed gates: for at this match,
    With swifter spleene then powder can enforce
    The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
    765And giue you entrance: but without this match,
    The sea enraged is not halfe so deafe,
    Lyons more confident, Mountaines and rockes
    More free from motion, no not death himselfe
    In mortall furie halfe so peremptorie,
    770As we to keepe this Citie.
    Bast. Heeres a stay,
    That shakes the rotten carkasse of old death
    Out of his ragges. Here's a large mouth indeede,
    That spits forth death, and mountaines, rockes, and seas,
    775Talkes as familiarly of roaring Lyons,
    As maids of thirteene do of puppi-dogges.
    What Cannoneere begot this lustie blood,
    He speakes plaine Cannon fire, and smoake, and bounce,
    He giues the bastinado with his tongue:
    780Our eares are cudgel'd, not a word of his
    But buffets better then a fist of France:
    Zounds, I was neuer so bethumpt with words,
    Since I first cal'd my brothers father Dad.
    Old Qu. Son, list to this coniunction, make this match
    785Giue with our Neece a dowrie large enough,
    For by this knot, thou shalt so surely tye
    Thy now vnsurd assurance to the Crowne,
    That yon greene boy shall haue no Sunne to ripe
    The bloome that promiseth a mightie fruite.
    790I see a yeelding in the lookes of France:
    Marke how they whisper, vrge them while their soules
    Are capeable of this ambition,
    Least zeale now melted by the windie breath
    Of soft petitions, pittie and remorse,
    795Coole and congeale againe to what it was.
    Hub. Why answer not the double Maiesties,
    This friendly treatie of our threatned Towne.
    Fra. Speake England sirst, that hath bin forward first
    To speake vnto this Cittie: what say you?
    800Iohn. If that the Dolphin there thy Princely sonne,
    Can in this booke of beautie read, I loue:
    Her Dowrie shall weigh equall with a Queene:
    For Angiers, and faire Toraine Maine, Poyctiers,
    And all that we vpon this side the Sea,
    805(Except this Cittie now by vs besiedg'd)
    Finde liable to our Crowne and Dignitie,
    Shall gild her bridall bed and make her rich
    In titles, honors, and promotions,
    As she in beautie, education, blood,
    810Holdes hand with any Princesse of the world.
    Fra. What sai'st thou boy? looke in the Ladies face.
    Dol. I do my Lord, and in her eie I find
    A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
    The shadow of my selfe form'd in her eye,
    815Which being but the shadow of your sonne,
    Becomes a sonne and makes your sonne a shadow:
    I do protest I neuer lou'd my selfe
    Till now, infixed I beheld my selfe,
    Drawne in the flattering table of her eie.
    820 Whispers with Blanch.
    Bast. Drawne in the flattering table of her eie,
    Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow,
    And quarter'd in her heart, hee doth espie
    Himselfe loues traytor, this is pittie now;
    825That hang'd, and drawne, and quarter'd there should be
    In such a loue, so vile a Lout as he.
    Blan. My vnckles will in this respect is mine,
    If he see ought in you that makes him like,
    That any thing he see's which moues his liking,
    830I can with ease translate it to my will:
    Or if you will, to speake more properly,
    I will enforce it easlie to my loue.
    Further I will not flatter you, my Lord,
    That all I see in you is worthie loue,
    835Then this, that nothing do I see in you,
    Though churlish thoughts themselues should bee your
    That I can finde, should merit any hate.
    Iohn. What saie these yong-ones? What say you my
    Blan. That she is bound in honor still to do
    What you in wisedome still vouchsafe to say.
    Iohn. Speake then Prince Dolphin, can you loue this
    845Dol. Nay aske me if I can refraine from loue,
    For I doe loue her most vnfainedly.
    Iohn. Then I doe giue Volquessen, Toraine, Maine,
    Poyctiers and Aniow, these fiue Prouinces
    With her to thee, and this addition more,
    850Full thirty thousand Markes of English coyne:
    Phillip of France, if thou be pleas'd withall,
    Command thy sonne and daughtet to ioyne hands.
    Fra. It likes vs well young Princes: close your hands
    Aust. And your lippes too, for I am well assur'd,
    855That I did so when I was first assur'd.
    Fra. Now Cittizens of Angires ope your gates,
    Let in that amitie which you haue made,
    For at Saint Maries Chappell presently,
    The rights of marriage shall be solemniz'd.
    860Is not the Ladie Constance in this troope?
    I know she is not for this match made vp,
    Her presence would haue interrupted much.
    Where is she and her sonne, tell me, who knowes?
    Dol. She is sad and passionate at your highnes Tent.
    865Fra. And by my faith, this league that we haue made
    Will giue her sadnesse very little cure :
    Brother of England, how may we content
    This widdow Lady? In her right we came,
    Which we God knowes, haue turnd another way,
    870To our owne vantage.
    Iohn. We will heale vp all,
    For wee'l create yong Arthur Duke of Britaine
    And Earle of Richmond, and this rich faire Towne