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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 used 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, Dauphin, do not doubt.
SCENE III.-The same. A 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 Swinshead, to the abbey there.
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great supply,
That was expected by the Dauphin here,
Are wreck'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. Ah me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let me welcome this good news.-
Set on toward Swinshead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.
SCENE IV.-The same. Another part of the same.
Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and others.
Sal. I did not think the king so stored 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, and led by Soldiers.
Mel. Lead me to the revolts of England here.
Sal. When we were happy, we had other names.
Pem. It is the count Melun.
Sal. Wounded to death.
Mel. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold ;
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,
And welcome home again discarded faith.
Seek out king John, and fall before his feet;
For, if the French be lords 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 more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's-Bury;
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
Resolved 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 yours
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
In peace, and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.
Sal. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul
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 retired flood,
Leaving our rankness 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 intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading off MELUN.
Enter LEWIS and his Train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to set;
But stay'd and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measured backward their own ground,
In faint retire: O, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tatter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. Where is my prince the Dauphin ?
Lew. Here:-What news?
Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English lords,
By his persuasion, are again fallen off:
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands.
Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news!-Beshrew thy very heart!
I did not think to be so sad to-night,
As this hath made me.-Who was he, that said,
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers?
Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lew. Well; keep good quarter,* and good care to-night; The day shall not be up so soon as I,
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.
SCENE VI.-An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinshead
Enter the BASTARD and HUBERT, meeting.
Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot.
Bast. A friend :-What art thou?
Hub. Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
Hub. What's that to thee? Why may not I demand
Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?
Bast. Hubert, I think.
Hub. 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?
* In your posts.
Bast. Who thou wilt: an if thou please,
Thou mayst befriend me so much, as to think
I come one way of the Plantagenets.
Hub. Unkind remembrance! thou, and eyeless night,
Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon me,
That any accent, breaking from thy tongue,
Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.
Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?
Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night,
To find you out.
Bast. Brief, then; and what's the news?
Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news; I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
Hub. The king, I fear is poison'd 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.
Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him?
Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.
Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ?
Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
And brought prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
And they are all about his majesty.
Bast. 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 devour'd them;
Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escaped.
Away, before! conduct me to the king;
I doubt, he will be dead, or ere I come.
SCENE VII.—The Orchard of Swinshead Abbey.
Enter PRINCE HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT.
P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood
Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain
(Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house)
Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
Foretell the ending of mortality.
Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief,
That, being brought into the open air,
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here.Doth he still rage?
Pem. He is more patient
Than when you left him; even now he sung.
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,
In their continuance, will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them insensible; and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
Confound themselves. "Tis strange that death should sing.-
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born To set a form upon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
Re-enter BIGOT and Attendants, who bring in KING JOHN in a
K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;
It would not out at win ows, nor at doors.
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust:
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment; and against this fire
Do I shrink up.
P. Hen. How fares your majesty?
K. John. Poison'd, ill-fare;-dead, forsook, cast off:
And none of you will bid the winter come,
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom; nor entreat the north
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
And comfort me with cold :-I do not ask you much,
I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait,*
And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my tears,
That might relieve you!
K. John. The salt in them is hot.-
Within me is a hell; and there the poison
Is, as a fiend, confined to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.
Enter the BASTARD.
Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion, And spleen of speed to see your majesty.
K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:
* Narrow, avaricious.