Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dreading the curse that money may buy out ;
And, by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,
Who, in that sale, sells pardon for himself;
Though you, and all the rest, so grossly led,
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherislı ;
Yet, I alone, alone do me oppose
Against the pope, and count his friends my foes. .

Pand. Then, by the lawful power that I have,
Thou shalt stand curs'd, and excommunicate :
And blessed shall he be, that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretick;
And meritorious shall that hand be callid,
Canonized, and worship'd as a saint,
That takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.
Const.

0, lawful let it be,
That I have room with Rome to curse a while !
Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen,
To my keen curses : for, without my 8,
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.

Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my curse.

Const. And for mine too; when law can do no right, Let it be lawful, that law bar no wrong: Law cannot give my child his kingdom here; For he, that holds his kingdom, holds the law : Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong, How can the law forbid my tongue to curse ?

Pand. Philip of France, on peril of a curse, Let go the hand of that arch-heretick; And raise the power of France upon his head, Unless he do submit himself to Rome. Eli. Look'st thou pale, France ? do not let go thy

hand. Const. Look to that, devil! lest that France repent, And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.

Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.
Bast. And hang a calf's skin on his recreant limbs.

Aust. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs, Because Bast.

Your breeches best may carry them.
K. John. Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal ?
Const. What should he say, but as the cardinal ?

Lew. Bethink you, father ; for the difference
Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,
Or the light loss of England for a friend :
Forgo the easier.
Blanch.

That's the curse of Rome.
Const. O Lewis, stand fast; the devil tempts thee

here, In likeness of a new untrimmed bride'.

Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from her faith, But from her need. Const.

0, if thou grant my need,
Which only lives but by the death of faith,
That need must needs infer this principle,
That faith would live again by death of need;
0, then tread down my need, and faith mounts up;
Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down.

K. John. The king is mov'd, and answers not to this.
Const. O, be remov'd from him, and answer well.
Aust. Do so, king Philip ; hang no more in doubt.
Bast. Hang nothing but a calf's skin, most sweet lout.
K. Phi. I am perplex'd, and know not what to say.
Pand. What canst thou say, but will perplex thee

more,
If thou stand excommunicate and curs'd ?

K. Phi. Good reverend father, make my person yours, And tell me, how you would bestow yourself. This royal hand and mine are newly knit : And the conjunction of our inward souls Married in league, coupled and link'd together With all religious strength of sacred vows; The latest breath that gave the sound of words

a new untrimmed bride.) i. e, undressed.

Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love,
Between our kingdoms, and our royal selves;
And even before this truce, but new before, -
No longer than we well could wash our hands,
To clap this royal bargain up of peace,-
Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and overstain'd
With slaughter's pencil ; where revenge did paint
The fearful difference of incensed kings :
And shall these hands, so lately purg'd of blood,
So newly join'd in love, so strong in both,
Unyoke this seizure, and this kind regreetS?
Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,
Make such unconstant children of ourselves,
As now again to snatch our palm from palm ;
Unswear faith sworn ; and on the marriage bed
Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,
And make a riot on the gentle brow
Of true sincerity ? O holy sir,
My reverend father, let it not be so :
Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose
Some gentle order; and then we shall be bless'd
To do your pleasure, and continue friends.

Pand. All form is formless, order orderless,
Save what is opposite to England's love.
Therefore, to arms, be champion of our church !
Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,
A mother's curse, on her revolting son.
France, thou may'st hold a serpent by the tongue,
A chafed lion by the mortal paw,
A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.

K. Phi. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.

Pand. So mak’st thou faith an enemy to faith ;
And, like a civil war, set'st oath to oath,
Thy tongue against thy tongue. 0, let thy vow
First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform’d ;

3

this kind regreet ?) A regreet is an exchange of saluta

tion.

That is, to be the champion of our church;
What since thou swor’st, is sworn against thyself,
And may not be performed by thyself:
For that, which thou hast sworn to do amiss,
Is not amiss when it is truly done * ;
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then most done not doing it:
The better act of purposes mistook
Is, to mistake again: though indirect,
Yet indirection thereby grows direct,
And falsehood falsehood cures; as fire cools fire,
Within the scorched veins of one new burn'd.
It is religion, that doth make vows kept ;
But thou hast sworn against religion ;
By what thou swear’st, against the thing thou swear’st ;
And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth
Against an oath: The truth thou art unsure
To swear, swear only not to be forsworn;
Else, what a mockery should it be to swear?
But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;
And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.
Therefore, thy latter vows, against thy first,
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself:
And better conquest never canst thou make,
Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts
Against those giddy loose suggestions:
Upon which better part our prayers come in,
If thou vouchsafe them: but, if not, then know,
The peril of our curses light on thee;
So heavy, as thou shalt not shake them off,
But, in despair, die under their black weight.

Aust. Rebellion, flat rebellion !

* Is not amiss when it is truly done ;] i. e. that which you have sworn to do amiss, is not amiss, (i. e. becomes right) when it is done truly (that is, as he explains it, not done at all ;) and being not done, where it would be a sin to do it; the truth is most done when you do it not : Other parts of this speech have puzzled the commentators, who have, in turn, puzzled their readers.

Bast.

Will't not be?
Will not a calf's skin stop that mouth of thine?

Lew. Father, to arms!
Blanch.

Upon thy wedding day?
Against the blood that thou hast married ?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter'd men ?
Shall braying trumpets, and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell,-be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me!-ah, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth !—even for that name
Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.
Const.

0, upon my knee,
Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
Fore-thought by heaven.

Blanch. Now shall I see thy love ; What motive may Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?

Const. That which upholdeth him that thee upholds, His honour: 0, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour !

Lew. I muse', your majesty doth seem so cold,
When such profound respects do pull you on.

Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head.
K. Phi. Thou shalt not need :-England, I'll fall from

thee.
Const. O fair return of banish'd majesty!
Eli. O foul revolt of French inconstancy!
K. John. France, thou shalt rue this hour within this

hour. Bast. Old time the clock-setter, that bald sexton time, Is it as he will ? well then, France shall rue.

Blanch. The sun's o'ercast with blood: Fair day, adieu! Which is the side that I must go withal ?

5

be measures —] The measures, it has already been more than once observed, were a species of solemn dance in our author's time.

6 I muse,] i. e. I wonder.

« PreviousContinue »