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About this text

  • Title: King John (Modern)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • General textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating 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
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King John (Modern)


    Enter, before Angiers, Philip King of France, Lewis [the] Dauphin, Austria, Constance, Arthur, [and soldiers].
    King Philip Before Angiers well met brave Austria. --
    295Arthur: that great forerunner of thy blood,
    Richard, that robbed the lion of his heart
    And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
    By this brave duke came early to his grave.
    And for amends to his posterity,
    300At our importance hither is he come
    To spread his colors, boy, in thy behalf,
    And to rebuke the usurpation
    Of thy unnatural uncle, English John.
    Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
    305Arthur God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's death
    The rather that you give his offspring life,
    Shadowing their right under your wings of war.
    I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
    But with a heart full of unstainèd love.
    310Welcome before the gates Angiers, Duke.
    Lewis A noble boy. Who would not do thee right?
    Austria [To Arthur] Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss
    As seal to this indenture of my love:
    That to my home I will no more return
    315Till Angiers and the right thou hast in France,
    Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
    Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides
    And coops from other lands her islanders,
    Even till that England, hedged in with the main,
    320That water-wallèd bulwark, still secure
    And confident from foreign purposes,
    Even till that utmost corner of the west
    Salute thee for her King. Till then fair boy
    Will I not think of home, but follow arms.
    325Constance O take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
    Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength
    To make a more requital to your love.
    Austria The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords
    In such a just and charitable war.
    330King Philip Well then, to work. Our canon shall be bent
    Against the brows of this resisting town.
    Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
    To cull the plots of best advantages.
    We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
    335Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
    But we will make it subject to this boy.
    Constance Stay for an answer to your embassy,
    Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood.
    My Lord Chatillon may from England bring
    340That right in peace which here we urge in war,
    And then we shall repent each drop of blood
    That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.
    Enter Chatillon.
    King Philip A wonder lady! Lo, upon thy wish
    345Our messenger Chatillon is arrived.
    What England says, say briefly gentle lord;
    We coldly pause for thee. Chatillon, speak.
    Chatillon Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
    And stir them up against a mightier task.
    350England, impatient of your just demands,
    Hath put himself in arms. The adverse winds,
    Whose leisure I have stayed, have given him time
    To land his legions all as soon as I.
    His marches are expedient to this town,
    355His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
    With him along is come the Mother Queen,
    An Atè stirring him to blood and strife;
    With her her niece, the Lady Blanche of Spain;
    With them a bastard of the King's deceased,
    360And all th'unsettled humors of the land --
    Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
    With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens --
    Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,
    Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,
    365To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
    In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
    Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er
    Did never float upon the swelling tide,
    To do offence and scathe in Christendom.
    Drum beats.
    370The interruption of their churlish drums
    Cuts off more circumstance. They are at hand,
    To parley or to fight -- therefore prepare.
    King Philip How much unlooked-for is this expedition.
    375Austria By how much unexpected, by so much
    We must awake endeavor for defense,
    For courage mounteth with occasion.
    Let them be welcome then; we are prepared.
    Enter King [John] of England, [the] Bastard, Queen [Eleanor], Blanche, Pembroke, 380and others.
    King John Peace be to France, if France in peace permit
    Our just and lineal entrance to our own;
    If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,
    Whiles we, god's wrathful agent, do correct
    385Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven.
    King Philip Peace be to England, if that war return
    From France to England, there to live in peace.
    England we love, and for that England's sake
    With burden of our armor here we sweat.
    390This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
    But thou from loving England art so far
    That thou hast under-wrought his lawful King,
    Cut off the sequence of posterity,
    Out-facèd infant state, and done a rape
    395Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.
    [Indicating Arthur] Look here upon thy brother Geoffrey's face:
    These eyes, these brows, were molded out of his;
    This little abstract doth contain that large
    Which died in Geoffrey, and the hand of time
    400Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
    That Geoffrey was thy elder brother born,
    And this his son; England was Geoffrey's right,
    And this is Geoffrey's. In the name of god,
    How comes it then that thou art called a king,
    405When living blood doth in these temples beat
    Which own the crown that thou o'ermasterest?
    King John From whom hast thou this great commission, France,
    To draw my answer from thy articles?
    King Philip From that supernal Judge that stirs good thoughts
    410In any breast of strong authority
    To look into the blots and stains of right;
    That judge hath made me guardian to this boy,
    Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong
    And by whose help I mean to chastise it.
    415King John Alack thou dost usurp authority.
    King Philip Excuse it is to beat usurping down.
    Queen Eleanor Who is it thou dost call usurper France?
    Constance Let me make answer: thy usurping son.
    Queen Eleanor Out insolent! Thy bastard shall be king
    420That thou mayest be a queen, and check the world.
    Constance My bed was ever to thy son as true
    As thine was to thy husband, and this boy
    Liker in feature to his father Geoffrey
    Than thou and John, in manners being as like
    425As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
    My boy a bastard? By my soul I think
    His father never was so true begot.
    It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.
    Queen Eleanor There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.
    430Constance There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
    Hear the crier!
    What the devil art thou?
    435Bastard One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
    An 'a may catch your hide and you alone.
    You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
    Whose valor plucks dead lions by the beard.
    I'll smoke your skin-coat an I catch you right.
    440Sirrah, look too't, i'faith I will, i'faith.
    Blanche O, well did he become that lion's robe
    That did disrobe the lion of that robe.
    Bastard It lies as sightly on the back of him
    As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass.
    445But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back,
    Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
    Austria What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
    With this abundance of superfluous breath?
    King Philip Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.
    450Lewis Women and fools, break off your conference.
    King John, this is the very sum of all:
    England and Ireland, Angiers, Touraine, Maine,
    In right of Arthur do I claim of thee.
    Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?
    455King John My life as soon. I do defy thee France. --
    [To Arthur] Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand,
    And out of my dear love I'll give thee more
    Than e'er the coward hand of France can win.
    Submit thee boy.
    460Queen Eleanor
    Come to thy grandam child.
    Constance Do, child, go to it grandam child,
    Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will
    Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig.
    There's a good grandam.
    Good my mother peace.
    I would that I were low laid in my grave;
    I am not worth this coil that's made for me.
    Queen Eleanor His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
    Constance Now shame upon you whe'er she does or no!
    470His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames
    Draws those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
    Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee.
    Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be bribed
    To do him justice, and revenge on you.
    475Queen Eleanor Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!
    Constance Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth,
    Call not me slanderer; thou and thine usurp
    The dominations, royalties, and rights
    Of this oppressèd boy. This is thy eldest son's son,
    480Infortunate in nothing but in thee.
    Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
    The canon of the law is laid on him,
    Being but the second generation
    Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.
    485King John
    Bedlam have done!
    I have but this to say,
    That he is not only plagued for her sin,
    But God hath made her sin and her the plague
    On this removèd issue, plagued for her
    490And with her plague; her sin his injury,
    Her injury, the beadle to her sin,
    All punished in the person of this child,
    And all for her. A plague upon her!
    Queen Eleanor Thou unadvisèd scold, I can produce
    495A will that bars the title of thy son.
    Constance Ay, who doubts that? A will; a wicked will,
    A woman's will, a cankered Grandam's will.
    King Philip Peace lady. Pause, or be more temperate.
    It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
    500To these ill-tunèd repetitions.
    Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
    These men of Angiers; let us hear them speak
    Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.
    Trumpet sounds. 505Enter [citizens] upon the walls.
    Citizen Who is it that hath warned us to the walls?
    King Philip
    'Tis France, for England.
    King John
    England for itself.
    You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects --
    510King Philip You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,
    Our trumpet called you to this gentle parle --
    King John For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
    These flags of France that are advancèd here
    Before the eye and prospect of your town,
    515Have hither marched to your endamagement.
    The canons have their bowels full of wrath,
    And ready mounted are they to spit forth
    Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls.
    All preparation for a bloody siege
    520And merciless proceeding by these French
    Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates;
    And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones,
    That as a waist doth girdle you about,
    By the compulsion of their ordinance
    525By this time from their fixèd beds of lime
    Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
    For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
    But on the sight of us your lawful King,
    Who painfully with much expedient march
    530Have brought a counter-check before your gates
    To save unscratched your city's threatened cheeks,
    Behold the French, amazed, vouchsafe a parle.
    And now, instead of bullets wrapped in fire
    To make a shaking fever in your walls,
    535They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke
    To make a faithless error in your ears --
    Which trust accordingly kind citizens,
    And let us in. Your king, whose labored spirits
    Fore-wearied in this action of swift speed,
    540Craves harborage within your city walls.
    King Philip When I have said, make answer to us both.
    [Taking Arthur by the hand]
    Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
    Is most divinely vowed upon the right
    Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet,
    545Son to the elder brother of this man,
    And King o'er him and all that he enjoys.
    For this down-trodden equity we tread
    In warlike march these greens before your town,
    Being no further enemy to you
    550Than the constraint of hospitable zeal
    In the relief of this oppressèd child
    Religiously provokes. Be pleasèd then
    To pay that duty which you truly owe,
    To him that owns it, namely, this young prince.
    555And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear
    Save in aspect, hath all offence sealed up.
    Our canons' malice vainly shall be spent
    Against th'invulnerable clouds of heaven,
    And with a blessèd and un-vexed retire,
    560With unhacked swords and helmets all unbruised,
    We will bear home that lusty blood again,
    Which here we came to spout against your town,
    And leave your children, wives, and you in peace.
    But if you fondly pass our proffered offer,
    565'Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls
    Can hide you from our messengers of war,
    Though all these English and their discipline
    Were harbored in their rude circumference.
    Then tell us: shall your city call us lord
    570In that behalf which we have challenged it?
    Or shall we give the signal to our rage
    And stalk in blood to our possession?
    Citizen In brief, we are the king of England's subjects.
    For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
    575King John Acknowledge then the King, and let me in.
    Citizen That can we not. But he that proves the king,
    To him will we prove loyal. Till that time
    Have we rammed up our gates against the world.
    King John Doth not the crown of England, prove the 580king?
    And if not that, I bring you witnesses:
    Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed --
    Bastard Bastards and else.
    King John -- To verify our title with their lives.
    585King Philip As many and as well-born bloods as those --
    Bastard Some bastards too.
    King Philip -- Stand in his face to contradict his claim.
    Citizen Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
    We for the worthiest hold the right from both.
    590King John Then God forgive the sin of all those souls,
    That to their everlasting residence,
    Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet
    In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king.
    King Philip Amen, Amen. Mount, chevaliers, to arms!
    595Bastard Saint George that swinged the dragon and e'er since
    Sits on's horseback at mine Hostess' door
    Teach us some fence. [To Austria] Sirrah, were I at home
    At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,
    I would set an ox-head to your lion's hide
    600And make a monster of you.
    Peace! No more.
    Bastard O tremble, for you hear the lion roar.
    King John Up higher to the plain, where we'll set forth
    In best appointment all our regiments.
    605Bastard Speed then to take advantage of the field.
    King Philip It shall be so, and at the other hill
    Command the rest to stand. God and our right!
    Exeunt [separately. The Citizen remains on the wall].
    Here, after excursions, enter the Herald of France, with trumpets, to the gates.
    610French Herald You men of Angiers open wide your gates
    And let young Arthur Duke of Bretagne in,
    Who by the hand of France this day hath made
    Much work for tears in many an English mother,
    Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground.
    615Many a widow's husband groveling lies,
    Coldly embracing the discolored earth,
    And victory with little loss doth play
    Upon the dancing banners of the French,
    Who are at hand, triumphantly displayed,
    620To enter conquerors, and to proclaim
    Arthur of Bretagne England's king and yours.
    Enter English Herald with trumpet[ers].
    English Herald Rejoice you men of Angiers, ring your bells.
    King John, your king and England's, doth approach,
    625Commander of this hot malicious day.
    Their armors, that marched hence so silver-bright,
    Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood.
    There stuck no plume in any English crest
    That is removèd by a staff of France.
    630Our colors do return in those same hands
    That did display them when we first marched forth,
    And like a jolly troop of huntsmen come
    Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
    Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes.
    635Open your gates, and give the victors way.
    Citizen Heralds, from off our towers we might behold
    From first to last the onset and retire
    Of both your armies, whose equality
    By our best eyes cannot be censurèd.
    640Blood hath bought blood and blows have answered blows;
    Strength matched with strength, and power confronted power.
    Both are alike, and both alike we like;
    One must prove greatest. While they weigh so even,
    645We hold our town for neither, yet for both.
    Enter the two Kings with their powers, at several doors [King John, the Bastard, Salisbury, Queen Eleanor, and Blanche at one door, King Philip, Lewis the Dauphin, and Austria at the other].
    King John France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?
    Say, shall the current of our right run on,
    650Whose passage, vexed with thy impediment,
    Shall leave his native channel and o'er-swell,
    With course disturbed, even thy confining shores,
    Unless thou let his silver water keep
    A peaceful progress to the ocean?
    655King Philip England thou hast not saved one drop of blood
    In this hot trial more than we of France;
    Rather lost more. And by this hand I swear,
    That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
    Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,
    660We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,
    Or add a royal number to the dead,
    Gracing the scroll that tells of this war's loss
    With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.
    Bastard Ha, majesty! How high thy glory towers
    665When the rich blood of kings is set on fire.
    O, now doth death line his dead chaps with steel;
    The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs,
    And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
    In undetermined differences of kings.
    670Why stand these royal fronts amazèd thus?
    Cry havoc kings! Back to the stainèd field
    You equal potents, fiery kindled spirits;
    Then let confusion of one part confirm
    The other's peace. Till then, blows, blood, and death.
    675King John Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
    King Philip Speak Citizens, for England. Who's your king?
    Citizen The king of England -- when we know the king.
    King Philip Know him in us that here hold up his right.
    King John In us, that are our own great deputy
    680And bear possession of our person here,
    Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
    Citizen A greater power than we denies all this,
    And till it be undoubted, we do lock
    Our former scruple in our strong-barred gates,
    685Kings of our fear, until our fears resolved
    Be by some certain king purged and deposed.
    Bastard By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings,
    And stand securely on their battlements,
    As in a theater, whence they gape and point
    690At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
    Your royal presences be ruled by me:
    Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
    Be friends awhile, and both conjointly bend
    Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town.
    695By east and west let France and England mount
    Their battering canon, chargèd to the mouths,
    Till their soul-fearing clamors have brawled down
    The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city.
    I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
    700Even till unfencèd desolation
    Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
    That done, dissever your united strengths
    And part your mingled colors once again.
    Turn face to face, and bloody point to point;
    705Then in a moment Fortune shall cull forth
    Out of one side her happy minion
    To whom in favor she shall give the day,
    And kiss him with a glorious victory.
    How like you this wild counsel mighty states?
    710Smacks it not something of the policy?
    King John Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
    I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers,
    And lay this Angiers even with the ground,
    Then after fight who shall be king of it?
    715Bastard [To King Philip] An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
    Being wronged as we are by this peevish town,
    Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,
    As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
    And when that we have dashed them to the ground,
    720Why, then defy each other and pell-mell
    Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.
    King Philip Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?
    King John We from the west will send destruction
    Into this city's bosom.
    725Austria I from the north.
    King Philip Our thunder from the south
    Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
    Bastard [Aside] O prudent discipline! From north to south
    Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth.
    730I'll stir them to it. Come, away, away.
    Citizen Hear us great kings! Vouchsafe awhile to stay,
    And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league,
    Win you this city without stroke or wound,
    Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds,
    735That here come sacrifices for the field.
    Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
    King John Speak on with favor. We are bent to hear.
    Citizen That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanche,
    Is near to England; look upon the years
    740Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
    If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
    Where should he find it fairer than in Blanche?
    If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
    Where should he find it purer than in Blanche?
    745If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
    Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanche?
    Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,
    Is the young Dauphin every way complete.
    If not complete of, say he is not she;
    750And she again wants nothing to name want,
    If want it be not, that she is not he.
    He is the half part of a blessèd man,
    Left to be finishèd by such as she,
    And she a fair divided excellence,
    755Whose fullness of perfection lies in him.
    Oh, two such silver currents when they join
    Do glorify the banks that bound them in,
    And two such shores to two such streams made one.
    Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings,
    760To these two princes, if you marry them.
    This union shall do more than battery can
    To our fast-closèd gates, for at this match,
    With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
    The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope,
    765And give you entrance. But without this match,
    The sea enragèd is not half so deaf,
    Lions more confident, mountains and rocks
    More free from motion, no not death himself
    In mortal fury half so peremptory,
    770As we to keep this city.
    Here's a stay,
    That shakes the rotten carcass of old death
    Out of his rags. Here's a large mouth indeed
    That spits forth death and mountains, rocks, and seas;
    775Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
    As maids of thirteen do of puppy dogs.
    What cannoneer begot this lusty blood?
    He speaks plain cannon-fire, and smoke, and bounce;
    He gives the bastinado with his tongue.
    780Our ears are cudgeled; not a word of his
    But buffets better than a fist of France.
    Zounds, I was never so bethumped with words,
    Since I first called my brother's father Dad.
    Queen Eleanor [Aside to King John] Son, list to this conjunction; make this match.
    785Give with our niece a dowry large enough,
    For, by this knot, thou shalt so surely tie
    Thy now unsured assurance to the crown
    That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
    The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.
    790I see a yielding in the looks of France;
    Mark how they whisper. Urge them while their souls
    Are capable of this ambition,
    Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
    Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
    795Cool and congeal again to what it was.
    Citizen Why answer not the double majesties
    This friendly treaty of our threatened town?
    King Philip Speak England first, that hath been forward first
    To speak unto this city: what say you?
    800King John [Taking Blanche by the hand] If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son,
    Can in this book of beauty read, "I love,"
    Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
    For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poitiers,
    And all that we upon this side the sea --
    805Except this city now by us besieged --
    Find liable to our crown and dignity,
    Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
    In titles, honors, and promotions,
    As she in beauty, education, blood,
    810Holds hand with any princess of the world.
    King Philip What sayest thou boy? look in the lady's face.
    Lewis [Taking her hand] I do, my lord, and in her eye I find
    A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
    The shadow of myself formed in her eye,
    815Which, being but the shadow of your son,
    Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow.
    I do protest I never loved my self
    Till now infixèd I beheld my self
    Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
    Whispers with Blanche.
    Bastard Drawn in the flattering table of her eye,
    Hanged in the frowning wrinkle of her brow,
    And quartered in her heart! He doth espy
    Himself love's traitor. This is pity now,
    825That hanged and drawn and quartered there should be
    In such a love so vile a lout as he.
    Blanche [To Lewis] My uncle's will in this respect is mine.
    If he see aught in you that makes him like,
    That anything he sees which moves his liking
    830I can with ease translate it to my will.
    Or if you will, to speak more properly,
    I will enforce it easily to my love.
    Further I will not flatter you, my lord,
    That all I see in you is worthy love,
    835Than this, that nothing do I see in you,
    Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,
    That I can find should merit any hate.
    King John What say these young ones? What say you my 840niece?
    Blanche That she is bound in honor still to do
    What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.
    King John Speak then, Prince Dauphin. Can you love this lady?
    845Lewis Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love,
    For I do love her most unfeignedly.
    King John Then I do give Volquessen, Toraine, Maine,
    Poitiers and Anjou; these five provinces
    With her to thee, and this addition more:
    850Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.
    Phillip of France, if thou be pleased withal,
    Command thy son and daughter to join hands.
    King Philip It likes us well. Young princes, close your hands.
    Austria And your lips too, for I am well assured
    855That I did so when I was first assured.
    [Lewis and Blanche join hands and kiss.]
    King Philip Now citizens of Angiers ope your gates;
    Let in that amity which you have made,
    For at Saint Mary's Chapel presently
    The rites of marriage shall be solemnized.
    860Is not the Lady Constance in this troop?
    I know she is not, for this match made up
    Her presence would have interrupted much.
    Where is she and her son? Tell me, who knows?
    Lewis She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.
    865King Philip And by my faith, this league that we have made
    Will give her sadness very little cure.
    Brother of England, how may we content
    This widow lady? In her right we came,
    Which we, God knows, have turned another way,
    870To our own vantage.
    King John
    We will heal up all,
    For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne
    And Earl of Richmond, and this rich, fair town
    We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance.
    875Some speedy messenger bid her repair
    To our solemnity.
    [Exit Salisbury.]
    I trust we shall,
    If not fill up the measure of her will,
    Yet in some measure satisfy her so
    That we shall stop her exclamation.
    880Go we as well as haste will suffer us
    To this unlooked-for, unpreparèd pomp.
    Exeunt [all but the Bastard].
    Bastard Mad world, mad kings, mad composition!
    John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
    Hath willingly departed with a part;
    885And France, whose armor Conscience buckled on,
    Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
    As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear
    With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,
    That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith,
    890That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
    Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids --
    Who having no external thing to lose
    But the word "maid" -- cheats the poor maid of that;
    That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity.
    895Commodity, the bias of the world;
    The world, who of itself is peisèd well,
    Made to run even upon even ground,
    Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
    This sway of motion, this Commodity,
    900Makes it take head from all indifferency,
    From all direction, purpose, course, intent.
    And this same bias, this Commodity,
    This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
    Clapped on the outward eye of fickle France,
    905Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,
    From a resolved and honorable war
    To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
    And why rail I on this Commodity?
    But for because he hath not wooed me yet.
    910Not that I have the power to clutch my hand
    When his fair angels would salute my palm,
    But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
    Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
    Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,
    915And say there is no sin but to be rich;
    And being rich, my virtue then shall be
    To say there is no vice but beggary.
    Since kings break faith upon Commodity,
    Gain be my lord, for I will worship thee.