Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    2550Enter [the] Bastard and Hubert, severally.
    Who's there? Speak ho! Speak quickly, or I shoot.
    A friend. What art thou?
    Of the part of England.
    Whither dost thou go?
    What's that to thee?
    Why may not I demand of thine affairs
    As well as thou of mine?
    Hubert, I think.
    Thou hast a perfect thought.
    I will upon all hazards well believe
    Thou art my friend that know'st my tongue so well.
    Who art thou?
    Who thou wilt: An if thou please
    2565Thou mayest befriend me so much as to think
    I come one way of the Plantagenets.
    Unkind remembrance! Thou, and endless night
    Have done me shame. Brave soldier, pardon me,
    That any accent breaking from thy tongue,
    2570Should scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
    Come, come, sans compliment. What news abroad?
    Why here walk I in the black brow of night
    To find you out.
    Brief then: and what's the news?
    O my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
    Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
    Show me the very wound of this ill news.
    I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
    The King, I fear, is poisoned by a monk.
    I left him almost speechless and broke out
    To acquaint you with this evil, that you might
    The better arm you to the sudden time
    Than if you had at leisure known of this.
    How did he take it? Who did taste to him?
    A monk, I tell you, a resolved villain
    Whose bowels suddenly burst out. The King
    Yet speaks and peradventure may recover.
    Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?
    Why, know you not? The lords are all come back
    And brought Prince Henry in their company,
    At whose request the king hath pardoned them,
    And they are all about his Majesty.
    Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
    And tempt us not to bear above our power!
    I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
    Passing these flats, are taken by the tide.
    These Lincoln Washes have devourèd them,
    2600My self, well mounted, hardly have escaped.
    Away before! Conduct me to the king.
    I doubt he will be dead or ere I come.