« PreviousContinue »
The Pyrenean, and the river Po),
It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipful society,
And fits the mounting spirit, like myself:
For he is but a bastard to the time,
That doth not smack of observation
(And so am I, whether I smack, or no);
And not alone in habit and device,
Exterior form, outward accoutrement;
But from the inward motion to deliver
Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth:
Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.-
But who comes in such haste, in riding robes ?
What woman-post is this? hath she no husband,
That will take pains to blow a horn before her?
Enter Lady FAULCONBRIDGE and JAMES GURNEY.
O me! it is my mother:-How now, good lady!
What brings you here to court so hastily?
Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother, where is he?
That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
Bast. My brother Robert ? old Sir Robert's son ?
Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
Is it Sir Robert's son, that you seek so?
Lady F. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
Sir Robert's son: Why scorn'st thou at Sir Robert?
He is Sir Robert's son; and so art thou.
Bast. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while?
Gur. Good leave, good Philip.
Bast. Philip ?-sparrow!-James,
There's toys abroad;* anon I'll tell thee more. [Exit GURNEY.
Madam, I was not old Sir Robert's son;
Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-friday, and ne'er broke his fast:
Sir Robert could do well; Marry (to confess!)
Could he get me ? Sir Robert could not do it;
We know his handy-work:-Therefore, good mother,
To whom am I beholden for these limbs ?
Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.
Lady F. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour!
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
Bast. Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like :†
What! I am dubb'd; I have it on my shoulder.
But, mother, I am not Sir Robert's son;
I have disclaim'd Sir Robert, and my land;
Legitimation, name, and all is gone:
Then, good my mother, let me know my father;
Some proper man, I hope; Who was it, mother?
* Idle reports.
A character in an old drama called Soliman and Perseda.
Lady F. Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge ?
Bast. As faithfully as I deny the devil.
Lady F. King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father;
By long and vehement suit I was seduced
To make room for him in my husband's bed:-
Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!
Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urged, 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 yours; your fault was not your folly:
Need 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 show thee to my kin;
And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
Who says it was, he lies; I say, 'twas not.
Lew. Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.-
Arthur, that great fore-runner 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
SCENE I-France. Before the Walls of Angiers.
Enter on one side, the ARCHDUKE of Austria, and Forces; on the other, PHILIP, King of France, and Forces; LEWIS, CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and Attendants.
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
Arth. 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 unstain'd 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 my love;
That to my home I will no more return,
Till 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, hedegd 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 theirs, that lift their swords 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:* We'll lay before this town our royal bones, 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 unadvised 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 arrived.-
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,
*Best stations to overawe the town.
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 scath* in Christendom.
The interruption of their churlish drums
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 prepared.
Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard,
PEMBROKE, and Forces.
+ Undermined. Short writing.
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 beat his peace to heaven.
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 armour 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 briefs 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 call'd 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, France, To draw my answer from thy articles ?
K. Phi. From that supernal judge, that stirs good thoughts 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 mayst 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 thee.
Bast. Hear the crier.
Aust. 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 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 did 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' shoes upon an ass:
But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back;
Or lay on that, shall make your shoulders crack.
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our cars
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.
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.
Eli. Come to thy grandam, child.
Const. Do, child, go to it' grandam, child;
*The Duke of Austria wore a lion's skin, in memory of his having taken Richard Coeur-de-Lion.