« PreviousContinue »
But with a heart full of unstained love.
Lew. · A noble boy ! who would not do thee right?
Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
thanks, Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength, To make a more requital to your love.
1 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
Const. Stay for an answer to your embassy,
li. e. greater.
2 To mark the best stations to overawe the town.
Chat. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
K. Phi. How much unlooked for is this expedition ! Aust. By how much unexpected, by so much We must awake endeavor for defence; For courage mounteth with occasion, Let them be welcome then ; we are prepared.
1 Immediate, expeditious.
Enter King John, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard,
PEMBROKE, and Forces. 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 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 2 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 commis
sion, France, To draw my answer from thy articles ? K. Phi. From that supernal Judge, that stirs good
2 A short writing, abstract, or description.
Under whose warrant 1 impeach thy wrong ;
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, 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. Aust. Peace! 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.3 You are the hare of whom the proverb goes, Whose valor plucks dead lions by the beard ;
1 « Surely (says Holinshed) Queen Eleanor, the king's mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather moved thereto by envye conceyved against his mother, than upon any just occasion, given in behalfe of the childe: for that she saw, if he were king, how his mother Constance would looke to beare the most rule within the realme of Englande till her son should come of lawful age to governe of himselfe. So hard a thing it is to bring women to agree in one minde, their natures commonly being so contrary.”
2 Constance alludes to Elir r's infidelity to her husband, Louis the VIIth, when they were in tĩ Holy Land ; on account of which he was divorced from her. She afterwards, in 1151, married Henry II. of England.
3 Austria, who had imprisoned king Richard Caur-de-lion, wore, as the spoil of that prince, a lion's hide, which had belonged to him. This was the ground of the Bastard's quarrel.
4 The proverb alluded to is " Mortuo leoni et lepores insultant.”—Erasmi Adagia.
VOL. III. 36
I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right.
Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's 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 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!
weeps. Const. Now shame upon you, whe’r 3 she does
or no ! His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draw those Heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes,
1 Theobald thought that we should read Alcides shows ; but Malone has shown that the shoes of Hercules were very frequently introduced in the old comedies on much the same occasions. Theobald supposed that the shoes must be placed on the back of the ass, instead of upon his hoofs, and therefore proposed his alteration. 2 Bustle.