« IndietroContinua »
Then, good my Mother, let me know my father ;
Some proper man, I hope: who was it, Mother?
LADY F. Hast thou deny'd thyself a Faulconbridge ?
Bast. As faithfully as I deny the Devil.
LADY F. King Richard Cordelion was thy father :
By long and vehement suit I was seduc'd
To make room for him in my husband's bed.
Heaven lay not my transgression to thy charge,
That art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urg'd, past my defence !
Bast. Now by this light, were I to get again,
Madam, I would not wish a better father.
Some sins do bear their privilege on Earth,
And so doth your's; your fault was not your folly:
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
Subjected' tribute to commanding love,
Against whose fury and unmatched force
The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand:
He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
May easily win a woman's. Ay, my Mother ;
With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
Who lives, and dares but say thou didst not well,
When I was got, I'll send his soul to Hell.
Come, Lady, I will shew thee to my kin;
And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
it was, he lies; I say 'twas not.
SCENE I. France. Before Angiers.
Enter AUSTRIA and Forces, Drums, etc., on one side: on
the other King PHILIP OF FRANCE and his Power ; LEWIS THE DOLPHIN, ARTHUR, CONSTANCE, and Attendants.
K. Phi. Before Angiers well met, brave Austria!
Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,
Richard, that robb’d 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,
At our importance' hither is he come,
To spread his colours, Boy, in thy behalf;
And to rebuke the usurpation
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John :
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
ARTH. God shall forgive you Cordelion'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 unstained love:
Welcome before the gates of Angiers, Duke.
LEW. A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?
Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
As seal to this indenture of
That to my home I will no more return
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore,
Whose foot spurns back the Ocean's roaring tides,
And coops from other lands her islanders:
Even till that England, hedg'd in with the Main,
That water-walled 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.
Const. 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!
Aust. The peace of Heaven is their's, that lift their
In such a just and charitable war.
K, Phi. Well then, to work: our cannon shall be bent
Against the brows of this resisting Town.
Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best advantages :*
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,
But we will make it subject to this boy.
Const. Stay for an answer to your embassy,
Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood :
My Lord Chatillon may from England bring
That 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.
K. Phi. A wonder, Lady; lo, upon thy wish,
Our messenger Chatillon is arriv'd!
What England says, say briefly, gentle Lord;
We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.
Chat. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
And stir them up against a mightier task.
England, impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in arms: the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I;
His marches are expedient to this Town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the Mother-Queen,
An Até stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the King deceas'd;
And all the unsettled humours 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,
To 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.
The interruption of their churlish drums [Drum beats.
Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand
To parley or to fight; therefore prepare.
K. Phi. How much unlook'd for is this expedition !
Aust. By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endeavour for defence;
For courage mounteth with occasion :
Let them be welcome, then; we are prepar'd.
Enter King John, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard,
Lords, and Forces.
K. 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
Their proud contempt that beats his Peace to Heaven.
K. Pui. 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 armour here we sweat.
This toil of our's 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-faced infant State, and done a rape
Upon the maiden virtue of the Crown.
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face:
eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his;
This little abstract doth contain that large,
Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of Time
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's: in the name of God,
How comes it, then, that thou art callid a King,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?
K. John. From whom hast thou this great commission,
To draw my answer to thy articles ?
K. Phi. From that 'supernal Judge, that stirs good
In 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.
K. JOHN. Alack, thou dost usurp authority !
K. Phi. Excuse: it is to beat usurping down.
ELI. Who is it thou dost call usurper, France ?
Const. Let me make answer: thy usurping son.
Eli. Out, Insolent! thy bastard shall be King
That thou may'st be a Queen, and check the World!
Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true
As thine was to thy husband; and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey
Than thou and John in manners; being as like
As 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.
ELI. There's a good mother, Boy, that blots thy father.
Const. There's a good grandam, Boy, that would blot
Hear the crier !
What the Devil art thou ?
Bast. One that will play the Devil, Sir, with you,
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard :
I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to 't; i'faith, I will, i'faith.
BLANCH. O, well doth he become that lion's robe,
That did disrobe the lion of that robe !
Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him
As great Alcides' shows upon an ass :
But, Ass, I'll take that burthen from your back,
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
AUST. What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
With this abundance of superfluous breath?
King Philip, determine what we shall do straight.
K. Phi. Women and Fools, break off your conference. 150
King John, this is the very sum of all,