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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)

    Actus Tertius, Scæna prima.

    Enter King Iohn, France, Dolphin, Blanch, Elianor, Philip,
    Austria, Constance.

    1000Fran. 'Tis true (faire daughter) and this blessed day,
    Euer in France shall be kept festiuall:
    To solemnize this day the glorious sunne
    Stayes in his course, and playes the Alchymist,
    Turning with splendor of his precious eye
    1005The meager cloddy earth to glittering gold:
    The yearely course that brings this day about,
    Shall neuer see it, but a holy day.
    Const. A wicked day, and not a holy day.
    What hath this day deseru'd? what hath it done,
    1010That it in golden letters should be set
    Among the high tides in the Kalender?
    Nay, rather turne this day out of the weeke,
    This day of shame, oppression, periury.
    Or if it must stand still, let wiues with childe
    1015Pray that their burthens may not fall this day,
    Lest that their hopes prodigiously be crost:
    But (on this day) let Sea-men feare no wracke,
    No bargaines breake that are not this day made;
    This day all things begun, come to ill end,
    1020Yea, faith it selfe to hollow falshood change.
    Fra. By heauen Lady, you shall haue no cause
    To curse the faire proceedings of this day:
    Haue I not pawn'd to you my Maiesty?
    Const. You haue beguil'd me with a counterfeit
    1025Resembling Maiesty, which being touch'd and tride,
    Proues valuelesse: you are forsworne, forsworne,
    You came in Armes to spill mine enemies bloud,
    But now in Armes, you strengthen it with yours.
    The grapling vigor, and rough frowne of Warre
    1030Is cold in amitie, and painted peace,
    And our oppression hath made vp this league:
    Arme, arme, you heauens, against these periur'd Kings,
    A widdow cries, be husband to me (heauens)
    Let not the howres of this vngodly day
    1035Weare out the daies in Peace; but ere Sun-set,
    Set armed discord 'twixt these periur'd Kings,
    Heare me, Oh, heare me.
    Aust. Lady Constance, peace.
    Const. War, war, no peace, peace is to me a warre:
    1040O Lymoges, O Austria, thou dost shame
    That bloudy spoyle: thou slaue thou wretch, yu coward,
    Thou little valiant, great in villanie,
    Thou euer strong vpon the stronger side;
    Thou Fortunes Champion, that do'st neuer fight
    1045But when her humourous Ladiship is by
    To teach thee safety: thou art periur'd too,
    And sooth'st vp greatnesse. What a foole art thou,
    A ramping foole, to brag, and stamp, and sweare,
    Vpon my partie: thou cold blooded slaue,
    1050Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
    Beene sworne my Souldier, bidding me depend
    Vpon thy starres, thy fortune, and thy strength,
    And dost thou now fall ouer to my foes?
    Thou weare a Lyons hide, doff it for shame,
    1055And hang a Calues skin on those recreant limbes.
    Aus. O that a man should speake those words to me.
    Phil. And hang a Calues-skin on those recreant limbs
    Aus. Thou dar'st not say so villaine for thy life.
    Phil. And hang a Calues-skin on those recreant limbs.
    1060Iohn. We like not this, thou dost forget thy selfe.
    Enter Pandulph.
    Fra. Heere comes the holy Legat of the Pope.
    Pan. Haile you annointed deputies of heauen;
    To thee King Iohn my holy errand is:
    1065I Pandulph, of faire Millane Cardinall,
    And from Pope Innocent the Legate heere,
    Doe in his name religiously demand
    Why thou against the Church, our holy Mother,
    So wilfully dost spurne; and force perforce
    1070Keepe Stephen Langton chosen Arshbishop
    Of Canterbury from that holy Sea:
    This in our foresaid holy Fathers name
    Pope Innocent, I doe demand of thee.
    Iohn. What earthie name to Interrogatories
    1075Can tast the free breath of a sacred King?
    Thou canst not (Cardinall) deuise a name
    So slight, vnworthy, and ridiculous
    To charge me to an answere, as the Pope:
    Tell him this tale, and from the mouth of England,
    1080Adde thus much more, that no Italian Priest
    Shall tythe or toll in our dominions:
    But as we, vnder heauen, are supreame head,
    So vnder him that great supremacy
    Where we doe reigne, we will alone vphold
    1085Without th'assistance of a mortall hand:
    So tell the Pope, all reuerence set apart
    To him and his vsurp'd authoritie.
    Fra. Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.
    Iohn. Though you, and all the Kings of Christendom
    1090Are led so grossely by this medling Priest,
    Dreading the curse that money may buy out,
    And by the merit of vilde gold, drosse, dust,
    Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
    Who in that sale sels pardon from himselfe:
    1095Though you, and al the rest so grossely led,
    This iugling witchcraft with reuennue cherish,
    Yet I alone, alone doe me oppose
    Against the Pope, and count his friends my foes.
    Pand. Then by the lawfull power that I haue,
    1100Thou shalt stand curst, and excommunicate,
    And blessed shall he be that doth reuolt
    From his Allegeance to an heretique,
    And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
    Canonized and worship'd as a Saint,
    1105That takes away by any secret course
    Thy hatefull life.
    Con. O lawfull let it be
    That I haue roome with Rome to curse a while,
    Good Father Cardinall, cry thou Amen
    1110To my keene curses; for without my wrong
    There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.
    Pan. There's Law and Warrant (Lady) for my curse.
    Cons. And for mine too, when Law can do no right.
    Let it be lawfull, that Law barre no wrong:
    1115Law cannot giue my childe his kingdome heere;
    For he that holds his Kingdome, holds the Law:
    Therefore since Law it selfe is perfect wrong,
    How can the Law forbid my tongue to curse?
    Pand. Philip of France, on perill of a curse,
    1120Let goe the hand of that Arch-heretique,
    And raise the power of France vpon his head,
    Vnlesse he doe submit himselfe to Rome.
    Elea. Look'st thou pale France? do not let go thy hand.
    Con. Looke to that Deuill, lest that France repent,