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K. Phi. 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. This 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, Outfaced infant state, and done a rape Upon the maiden virtue of the crown. Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face, These 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 called 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,
K. John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
Eli. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king;
Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true,
Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.
Const. There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
Hear the crier.
What the devil art thou? Bast. 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. Sirrah, look to't; i' faith, I will, i' faith.
Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe,
Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him,
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our ears With this abundance of superfluous breath?
K. Phi. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.
Lew. Women and fools, break off your conference.King John, this is the very sum of all, England, and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, In right of Arthur do I claim of thee. Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms ?
K. John. My life as soon.— I do defy thee, France.
Come to thy grandam, child.
Good my mother, peace !
Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.
Const. Now shame upon you, whe'r she does or no! His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draw 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.
Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth! Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth;
Call not me slanderer; thou, and thine, usurp
K. John. Beldam, have done.
I have but this to say, -
Eli. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce A will, that bars the title of thy son.
Const. Ay, who doubts that? A will! a wicked will ; A woman's will; a cankered grandam's will !
K. Phi. Peace, lady; pause, or be more temperate.
Trumpets sound. Enter Citizens upon the Walls.
England, for itself. You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,
K. Phi. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects, Our trumpet called you to this gentle parle.
K. John. For our advantage;—therefore, hear us first. — These flags of France, that are advanced here Before the eye and prospect of your town, Have hither marched to your endamagement. The cannons 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, And merciless proceeding by these French, Confront your city's eyes, your winking gates; And but for our approach those sleeping stones,
That as a waist do girdle you about,
K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us both.
old-faced walls Can hide you from our messengers of war; Though all these English, and their discipline, Were harbored in their rude circumference.
VOL. II. - 18
Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord,
1 Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's subjects; For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.
1 Cit. 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.
K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove the king ?
Bast. Bastards, and else.
. Till you compound whose right is worthiest, We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both.
K. 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!
K. Phi. Amen, Amen ! — mount, chevaliers ! to arms ! Bast. St. George, — that swinged the dragon, and e'er
since, Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door, Teach us some fence.- Sirrah, were I at home, At your den, sirrah, [To AUSTRIA.] with your lioness, I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide, And make a monster of you. Aust.
Peace; no more. Bast. O, tremble; for you hear the lion roar.
K. John. Up higher to the plain ; where we'll set forth, In best appointment, all our regiments.
Bast. Speed, then, to take advantage of the field.
K. Phi. It shall be so;-[ To LEWIS.) and at the other hill Command the rest to stand.-- God, and our right!
[Exeunt. SCENE II.
Alarums and Excursions; then
a Retreat. Enter a French Herald, with trumpets, to the gates.
F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates, And let young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, in;