Immagini della pagina

Sc. II

[ocr errors]


And come ye now to tell me John hath made

with Rome? What is that peace to me?
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back
Because that John hath made his peace with Rome?
Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne,
What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action? Is 't not I
That undergo this charge? who else but I,
And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business and maintain this war?
Have I not heard these Islanders shout out
Vive le Roi! as I have bank'do their towns ?
Have I not here the best cards for the game
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
And shall I now give o'er the yielded set ?3

No, no; on my soul, it never shall be said.
Pand. You look but on the outside of this work.
LEW. Outside or inside, I will not return

Till my attempt so much be glorified
As to my ample hope was promised,
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
And culld these fiery spirits from the World,
To outlook Conquest, and to win Renown
Even in the jaws of Danger and of Death.

[Trumpet sounds What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?


1 20

Enter the Bastard, attended.
Bast. According to the fair-play of the world,

Let me have audience; I am sent to speak :
My holy Lord of Milan, from the King
I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
And, as you answer, I do know the scope

And warrant limited* unto my tongue.
Pand. The Dolphin is too wilful-opposite,

And will not temporize with my entreaties :

He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms. Bast. By all the blood that ever Fury breath’d, 1 subject.

appointed, set.


2 rowed by.

3 rubber.


IV : I

Sc. II



The youth says well Now hear our English King;

For thus his Royalty doth speak in me.
He is prepar'd; and reason too he should :
This apish and unmannerly approach,
This harness'd masque and unadvised revel,
This unhair'd sauciness and boyish troop,
The King doth smile at; and is well prepar’d
To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms,
From out the circle of his territories.
That hand which had the strength, even at your door,
To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch,
To dive like buckets in concealed wells,
To crouch in litter of your stable planks, ,
To lie like pawns lock'd up in chests and trunks,
To hug with swine, to seek sweet safety out
In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake
Even at the crowing of your nation's Cock,
Thinking his voice an armed Englishman:
Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
That in your chambers gave you chastisement ?
No; know the gallant Monarch is in arms;
And like an eagle o'er his eyrie towers
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.
And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb
Of your dear mother England, blush for shame:
For your own ladies and pale-visag'd maids,
Like Amazons, come tripping after drums;
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets chang’d,
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts

To fierce and bloody inclination.
Lew. There end thy brave,' and turn thy face in peace;

We grant thou canst outscold us : fare thee well;
We hold our time too precious to be spent

With such a brabbler.

Give me leave to speak.
Bast. No; I will speak.

We will attend to neither.
Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of War
Plead for our interest and our being here.

* pledges.






jump the half-door.

pounco upon.

4 vaunt.

Sc. II


Bast. Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will cry out;

And so shall you, being beaten : do but start
An echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And ever at hand a drum is ready brac'd,
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
Sound but another, and another shall
As loud as thine rattle the Welkin's ear,
And mock the deep-mouth'd Thunder : for at hand,
Not trusting to this halting Legate here,
Whom he hath us'd rather for sport than need,
Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb’d Death, whose office is this day

To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
LEW. Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.
Bast. And thou shalt find it, Dolphin, do not doubt.



SCENE III. The Field of Battle.

Alarums. Enter KING John and HUBERT.

K. John. How goes the day with us? O, tell me,

Hubert !
HUB. Badly, I fear. How fares your Majesty ?
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so long,
Lies heavy on me.

O, my heart is sick!



Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My Lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge,

Desires your Majesty to leave the field,

And send him word by me which way you go.
K. John. Tell him toward Swinstead,' to the Abbey there.
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,

That was expected by the Dolphin here,
Are wrack'd three nights ago on Goodwin Sands.
This news was brought to Richard but even now:

The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.
K. JOHN. Ay me, this tyrant fever burns me up,

And will not let me welcome this good news!
Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. [exeunt.

iiie. Swineshead (Lincs.).

Sc. IV

SCENE IV. Another Part of the Field.

Sal. I did not think the King so stor’d with friends.
PEM. Up once again; put spirit in the French:

If they miscarry, we miscarry too.
SAL. That misbegotten Devil, Faulconbridge,

In spite of spite alone upholds the day.
Pem. They say King John sore sick hath left the field.

Enter MELUN, wounded.


MEL. Lead me to the revolts' of England here.
SAL. When we were happy we had other names.
Pem. It is the Count Melun.

Wounded to death.
MEL. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;

Untread the rude way of Rebellion,
And welcome home again discarded Faith.
Seek out King John, and fall before his feet;
For, if the French be lord of this loud day,
He’ means to recompense the pains you take
By cutting off your heads: thus hath he sworn,
And I with him, and many moe with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;
Even on that altar where we swore to you

Dear amity and everlasting love.
SAL. May this be possible ? may this be true ?
MEL. Have I not hideous Death within my view,

Retaining but a quantity of life,
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax?
Resolveth from his figure* 'gainst the fire ?
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit?
Why should I, then, be false, since it is true
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of your's




3 i.e. a waxen effigy used in certain processes of 68

5 i.e. away from here (in the next world).

I rebels.

2 i.e. Lewis.
witchcraft. 4 likeness.

Sc. IV



Behold another day break in the East:
But even this night, whose black contagious breath
Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied Sun,
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,
Paying the fine of rated' treachery,
Even with a treacherous fine' of all your lives,
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your King:
The love of him, and this respect besides
(For that my grandsire was an Englishman)
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu: whereof, I pray you bear me hence

From forth the noise and rumour of the field;
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts

peace, and part* this body and my soul With contemplation and devout desires. SAL. We do believe thee: and beshrew


But I do love the favour and the form
Of this most fair occasion, by the which
We will untread the steps of damned flight;
And, like a bated and retiring flood,
Leaving our bankless and irregular course,
Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd,
And calmly run on in obedience
Even to our ocean, to our great King John.
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
For I do see the cruel pangs of Death
Right in thine eye. Away, my Friends! New flight
And happy newness, that intendsø old right.

[exeunt, leading off MELUN.




SCENE V. The French Camp.

Enter LEWIS and his Train.
LEw. The Sun of Heaven methought was loth to set,

But stay'd, and made the western Welkin blush,
When the English measur'd backward their own

1 appraised and priced. 2 (1) = mulct, and (2) = end.

4 gunder. 69


3 return. 6 make for.

5 even.

« IndietroContinua »