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King John

King John Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter AUSTRIA and forces, drums, etc. on one side: on the other KING PHILIP and his power; LEWIS, ARTHUR, CONSTANCE and attendants

LEWIS

Before Angiers well met, brave Austria. Arthur, that great forerunner 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 Of thy unnatural uncle, English John: Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.

LEWIS

A pleasure to see you here in front of Angiers, brave king of Austria. Arthur, your great relative, Richard, who robbed the lion of his heart and fought the holy wars in Palestine, was killed young by this great duke. To make up for it to Richard's relative, he's come here at my request to fight on your side, boy, and to punish your unnatural uncle the English king John for stealing your throne. Hug him, love him, and welcome him here.

ARTHUR

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 unstained love: Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.

ARTHUR

God will forgive you for Coeur-de-lion's death because you give his children life, protecting their rights by going to war. I welcome you with a powerless hand, but with a heart full of pure love. Welcome here to the gates of Angiers, duke.

LEWIS

A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?

LEWIS

You're a noble boy! Who wouldn't do what was right by you?

AUSTRIA

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, hedged 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.

AUSTRIA

I kiss you eagerly on your cheek as a seal to this contract, which I make out of love for you. I won't return to my home until Angiers and what rightfully belongs to you in France, along with that pale white-faced shore whose foot kicks back the ocean's roaring waves and keeps the islanders safe from other countries—until that England, I mean, hedged in by the sea, that water-walled fort, always safe and confident that it will not be harmed by foreign armies—until even that farthest corner of the west recognizes you as its king. Until then, dear boy, I won't think about home, but will keep fighting.

CONSTANCE

O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,Till your strong hand shall help to give him strengthTo make a more requital to your love!

CONSTANCE

Oh, his mother thanks you, a widow thanks you, until your strong hand helps give him strength to pay you back more for your love.

AUSTRIA

The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swordsIn such a just and charitable war.

AUSTRIA

Heaven's peace waits for those who fight in such a just and generous war.

KING PHILIP

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.

KING PHILIP

Well then, let's go to work. Our cannons will be turned toward the walls of this resisting town. Call for our best soldiers to figure out how we can take the advantage. We'll camp our royal bones in front of this town and wade to the market-place in the blood of Frenchmen if we have to, to make it obey this boy.

CONSTANCE

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.

CONSTANCE

Just wait for an answer to your message, in case you stain your swords with blood unnecessarily. My Lord Chatillon might bring from England an acknowledgement of your rightful claim in peace, instead of us having to fight for it here. If that happens we will regret every drop of blood that we hurried rashly to shed before getting an answer.

Enter CHATILLON

KING PHILIP

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.

KING PHILIP

What a miracle! Look, as you wished, our messenger Chatillon has arrived! Tell us briefly what the king of England says, kind lord. We've been waiting for you before we start fighting. Speak, Chatillon.

CHATILLON

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 Ate, stirring him to blood and strife; With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain; With them a bastard of the king's deceased, And all the unsettled humours of the land, 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 hazard of new fortunes here: In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er Did nearer float upon the swelling tide, To do offence and scath in Christendom.

CHATILLON

Then turn your forces away from this unimportant siege and encourage them to do a more difficult task. The king of England, annoyed by your just demands, has armed himself. The wind was against me and I had to wait for it to change. That gave him time to land his army at the same time I landed. He marches quickly toward this town. His troops are strong, his soldiers confident. The queen mother comes with him like the goddess of disorder, encouraging him to shed blood and fight. With her is her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain. And with them too is a bastard of the dead king, and all the restless passions of the country, foolhardy, unthinking, aggressive volunteers, with the faces of ladies and the guts of fierce dragons. They have sold their fortunes back home, carrying everything they own proudly on their backs to gamble for new fortunes here. In short, a braver set of fearless men than the English ships have carried over has never floated on the swelling sea to do harm and damage in Christian Europe.

Drum beats

CHATILLON

The interruption of their churlish drumsCuts off more circumstance: they are at hand,To parley or to fight; therefore prepare.

CHATILLON

The interruption of their rude drums cuts off more explanation. They are close by, either to negotiate or fight. So get ready.

KING PHILIP

How much unlook'd for is this expedition!

KING PHILIP

This attack is so unexpected!

AUSTRIA

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.

AUSTRIA

However unexpected it is, we'll have to make all the more effort to defend ourselves. Courage increases when you need it most. So let's welcome them. We are ready.

Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, BLANCH, the BASTARD, Lords, and forces

KING 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 beats His peace to heaven.

KING JOHN

May France be at peace if France allows me to enter it peacefully as its rightful owner. If not, may France bleed and peace rise up to heaven while I, God's angry representative, punish the proud disobedience that makes His peace run away to heaven.

KING PHILIP

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, Out-faced 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 call'd a king, When living blood doth in these temples beat, Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?

KING PHILIP

May England be at peace if war returns from France to England to live there at peace. I love England. For England's sake I'm sweating here in heavy armor. This work of mine should be your work too. But you're so far from loving England that you undermined its lawful king, cut off his heir from his inheritance, defied a child king, and raped the virtuous virgin crown. [Points at ARTHUR] Look here at your brother Geffrey's face; these eyes, these eyebrows, were molded out of his. This little summary contains in small the large shape of dead Geffrey, and the hand of time will draw out this brief summary into as huge a volume. Geffrey was your older brother and this is his son. England belonged to Geffrey and this is Geffrey's heir. In the name of God, why are you called a king when this boy is alive and owns the crown you have taken from him?

KING JOHN

From whom hast thou this great commission, France,To draw my answer from thy articles?

KING JOHN

Who gave you this job of forcing me to answer your questions?

KING PHILIP

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.

KING PHILIP

That heavenly judge who encourages good thoughts in anyone with power to look into crimes. That judge made me this boy's guardian. With a warrant from him I impeach you for your crime, and I mean to punish it with his help.

KING JOHN

Alack, thou dost usurp authority.

KING JOHN

Sadly, you have no right to that power.

KING PHILIP

Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.

KING PHILIP

Excuse my presumption, since I take it in order to punish you from stealing the power that rightfully belongs to someone else.

QUEEN ELINOR

Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?

QUEEN ELINOR

Who do you say has stolen power?

CONSTANCE

Let me make answer; thy usurping son.

CONSTANCE

Let me answer: your stealing son.

QUEEN ELINOR

Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king,That thou mayst be a queen, and cheque the world!

QUEEN ELINOR

You rude woman! Your bastard will be king so you can be a queen and tax the whole world!

CONSTANCE

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.

CONSTANCE

I was always as faithful to your son as you were to your husband. This boy looks more like his father Geffrey than you and John are alike in your manners. And you two are as alike as rain and water, or the devil and his mother. You call my boy a bastard! By my soul, I think his father was not conceived as legitimately. He can't have been, if you were his mother.

QUEEN ELINOR

There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.

QUEEN ELINOR

That's a good mother you have, boy, who insults your father.

CONSTANCE

There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.

CONSTANCE

That's a good grandmother you have, boy, who insults you.

AUSTRIA

Peace!

AUSTRIA

Stop!

BASTARD

Hear the crier.

BASTARD

Listen to the announcer.

AUSTRIA

What the devil art thou?

AUSTRIA

Who the devil are you?

BASTARD

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.

BASTARD

One who wants to act like a devil with you, sir, if I can catch you and your skin alone. You are the hare in that proverb who's brave enough to pull dead lions by the beard. I'll smoke you out of your skin, if I can catch you at the right time. Watch out for it, fellow. Really, I'll do it, really.

BLANCH

O, well did he become that lion's robeThat did disrobe the lion of that robe!

BLANCH

Oh, the man who took the skin from the lion looked good in that lion skin

BASTARD

It lies as sightly on the back of him As great Alcides' shows upon an as s: But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your back, Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.

BASTARD

It looks as good on him as great Hercules's would look on a donkey. But, donkey, I'll take that burden off your back or throw on one that will make your shoulders crack.

AUSTRIA

What craker is this same that deafs our earsWith this abundance of superfluous breath?

AUSTRIA

Who is this croaker who deafens us with all his excessive noise?

KING PHILIP

Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.

KING PHILIP

Lewis, decide what we will do immediately.

LEWIS

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?

LEWIS

Women and fools, stop talking. King John, this is the heart of the matter: on Arthur's behalf I claim from you England, Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, and Maine. Will you hand them over and lay down your weapons?

KING 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.

KING JOHN

I would just as soon lay down my life. I defy you, king of France. Arthur of Bretagne, surrender to me and out of my dear love for you I'll give you more than the French coward can win. Surrender to me, boy.

QUEEN ELINOR

Come to thy grandam, child.

QUEEN ELINOR

Come to your grandmother, child. 

CONSTANCE

Do, child, go to it grandam, child: Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig: There's a good grandam.

CONSTANCE

Do, child, go to grandma, child. Give grandma kingdom, and grandma will give you a plum, a cherry, and a fig. That's a good grandma.

ARTHUR

Good my mother, peace!I would that I were low laid in my grave:I am not worth this coil that's made for me.

ARTHUR

Mother, stop! I wish I were dead. I'm not worth this fight I'm causing.

QUEEN ELINOR

His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.

QUEEN ELINOR

He's so ashamed of his mother, poor boy, he's crying.

CONSTANCE

Now shame upon you, whether she does or no! His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draws 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.

CONSTANCE

Shame on you, whether he's ashamed of his mother or not! His grandmother's crimes, not being ashamed of his mother, draw those tears from his poor eyes that would convince even heaven, and which heaven will take as payment for fighting on his side. Yes, with these crystal tears heaven will be bribed to bring justice to him and take revenge on you.

QUEEN ELINOR

Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!

QUEEN ELINOR

You monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!

CONSTANCE

Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth! Call not me slanderer; thou and thine usurp The dominations, royalties and rights Of this oppressed boy: this is thy eld'st son's son, Infortunate in nothing but in thee: Thy sins are visited in this poor child; The canon of the law is laid on him, Being but the second generation Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.

CONSTANCE

You monstrous harmer of heaven and earth! Don't call me a slanderer. You and yours steal the power, royalty, and rights of this oppressed boy. This is your oldest son's son, unfortunate in nothing except being related to you. This poor child is punished for your sins. The law is punishing him for being only the second generation removed from your sinful womb.

KING JOHN

Bedlam, have done.

KING JOHN

You're crazy! Stop talking.

CONSTANCE

I have but this to say, That he is not only plagued for her sin, But God hath made her sin and her the plague On this removed issue, plague for her And with her plague; her sin his injury, Her injury the beadle to her sin, All punish'd in the person of this child, And all for her; a plague upon her!

CONSTANCE

I only have this to say: that he is not only punished for her sin, but God has made her sin and her the punishment of this child descended from her. She's punished and she punishes him. Her sin harms him, and the harm she does compounds her sin. All the punishment falls on this child, and all because of her. Damn her!

QUEEN ELINOR

Thou unadvised scold, I can produceA will that bars the title of thy son.

QUEEN ELINOR

You thoughtless scolder, I can show you a will that disinherits your son.

CONSTANCE

Ay, who doubts that? a will! a wicked will:A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will!

CONSTANCE

Yes, who doubts that? A will! A wicked will; a woman's will; a decayed grandmother's will!

KING PHILIP

Peace, lady! pause, or be more temperate: It ill beseems this presence to cry aim To these ill-tuned repetitions. Some trumpet summon hither to the walls These men of Angiers: let us hear them speak Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.

KING PHILIP

Stop, lady! Stop, or be more calm. It isn't fitting to repeat these unpleasant things in this company. [To a servant] Blow a trumpet to summon the men of Angiers here to the walls. Let's hear them say whose claim they recognize, Arthur's or John's.

Trumpet sounds. Enter certain Citizens upon the walls

FIRST CITIZEN

Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls?

FIRST CITIZEN

Who is it who calls us to the walls?

KING PHILIP

'Tis France, for England.

KING PHILIP

It's the king of France, on behalf of the king of England.

KING JOHN

England, for itself.You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects—

KING JOHN

The king of England, for myself. You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects— 

KING PHILIP

You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle—

KING PHILIP

You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects, our trumpets called you to this polite discussion—

KING 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 march'd 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 All merciless proceeding by these French Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates; And but for our approach those sleeping stones, That as a waist doth girdle you about, By the compulsion of their ordinance By this time from their fixed beds of lime Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made For bloody power to rush upon your peace. But on the sight of us your lawful king, Who painfully with much expedient march Have brought a countercheque before your gates, To save unscratch'd your city's threatened cheeks, Behold, the French amazed vouchsafe a parle; And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire, To make a shaking fever in your walls, They shoot but calm words folded up in smoke, To make a faithless error in your ears: Which trust accordingly, kind citizens, And let us in, your king, whose labour'd spirits, Forwearied in this action of swift speed, Crave harbourage within your city walls.

KING JOHN

For our advantage. So hear us first. These French flags camped here where you can see them have marched here to attack you. The cannons are loaded with anger and stand ready to spit out their iron anger at your walls. All these things are preparations for a bloody attack. You can see for yourself all of their cruel preparations. If I hadn't gotten here, these sleeping stones in the wall that surrounds your city like a waist would by this time have been detached by the force of the French guns from their limestone beds. In the terrible confusion, bloody violence would have attacked your peace. But I, your lawful king, by marching quickly and painfully, brought an opposing army to your gates to save your threatened city's cheeks from being scratched. At the sight of me, see, the French are amazed and are willing to talk. And now, instead of bullets wrapped in fire that would make your walls shake with fever, they only shoot calm words covered in smoke to convince you to make a dishonorable mistake. Don't trust them, kind citizens, and let me, your king, exhausted by his speedy march here, beg for shelter inside your city walls.

KING PHILIP

When I have said, make answer to us both. Lo, in this right hand, whose protection Is most divinely vow'd upon the right Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet, Son to the elder brother of this man, And king o'er him and all that he enjoys: For this down-trodden equity, we tread In warlike march these greens before your town, Being no further enemy to you Than the constraint of hospitable zeal In the relief of this oppressed child Religiously provokes. Be pleased then To pay that duty which you truly owe To that owes it, namely this young prince: And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear, Save in aspect, hath all offence seal'd up; Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven; And with a blessed and unvex'd retire, With unhack'd swords and helmets all unbruised, We will bear home that lusty blood again Which here we came to spout against your town, And leave your children, wives and you in peace. But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer, 'Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls Can hide you from our messengers of war, Though all these English and their discipline Were harbour'd in their rude circumference. Then tell us, shall your city call us lord, In that behalf which we have challenged it? Or shall we give the signal to our rage And stalk in blood to our possession?

KING PHILIP

When I have spoken, answer both of us. Look, held by this right hand—which God will protect when it fights for the rights of the boy it holds—stands young Plantagenet, son of this man's older brother, and king of him and everything he owns. For his ignored rights we are marching on this green land in front of your town. We're not your enemies except insofar as we have to be in our religious, kind eagerness to help this oppressed child. So agree to do what you should and obey the right person, this young prince. Then our weapons, like a muzzled bear, will not hurt you except by frightening you. Our cannons' anger will be taken out pointlessly against the clouds of heaven, which can't be harmed. And with a blessed and peaceful retreat, with swords not hacked and helmets not battered, we will carry back home the energetic blood which we came here to spout against your town and we will leave your children, your wives, and you in peace. But if you foolishly pass up our offer, the curves of your old-faced walls can't hide you from our messengers of war, even if all these English people and their army are camped around their rough edges. So tell us, will your city call this person we've threatened it for its ruler? Or will we give the signal to our anger and take the city with blood?

FIRST CITIZEN

In brief, we are the king of England's subjects:For him, and in his right, we hold this town.

FIRST CITIZEN

In short, we are the king of England's subjects. We hold this town for him, defending his rights.

KING JOHN

Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.

KING JOHN

So acknowledge the king and let me in.

FIRST CITIZEN

That can we not; but he that proves the king,To him will we prove loyal: till that timeHave we ramm'd up our gates against the world.

FIRST CITIZEN

We can't do that, but we will be loyal to whoever proves himself king. Until then we've shut our gates against the whole world.

KING JOHN

Doth not the crown of England prove the king?And if not that, I bring you witnesses,Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,—

KING JOHN

Doesn't having the crown of England prove me king? And if that doesn't, I bring you witnesses: an army of thirty thousand hearts from England—

BASTARD

Bastards, and else.

BASTARD

Bastards, and others.

KING JOHN

To verify our title with their lives.

KING JOHN

To prove my title with their lives.

KING PHILIP

As many and as well-born bloods as those,—

KING PHILIP

As many and as well-born people as those—

BASTARD

Some bastards too.

BASTARD

Some bastards too.

KING PHILIP

Stand in his face to contradict his claim.

KING PHILIP

Face him to contradict his claim.

FIRST CITIZEN

Till you compound whose right is worthiest,We for the worthiest hold the right from both.

FIRST CITIZEN

Until you agree who has the best claim, we withhold obedience from both of you to reserve it for the worthiest.

KING JOHN

Then God forgive the sin of all those soulsThat to their everlasting residence,Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king!

KING JOHN

Then may God forgive the sins of all those souls that will fly to their eternal homes before evening, to be judged terribly by our kingdom's king!

KING PHILIP

Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! to arms!

KING PHILIP

Amen, amen! On your horses, knight! To arms!

BASTARD

Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er sinceSits on his horseback at mine hostess' door,Teach us some fence!

BASTARD

Saint George, who beat the dragon, and ever since sits on horseback on the sign at my local pub, teach us some fencing!

To AUSTRIA

BASTARD

Sirrah, were I at home,At your den, sirrah, with your lionessI would set an ox-head to your lion's hide,And make a monster of you.

BASTARD

Fellow, if I were at home at your den, fellow, with your lioness, I would put an ox's head on your lion skin and make a monster out of you.

AUSTRIA

Peace! no more.

AUSTRIA

Stop! No more of that sort of talk.

BASTARD

O tremble, for you hear the lion roar.

BASTARD

Oh be afraid, because you hear the lion roar.

KING JOHN

Up higher to the plain; where we'll set forthIn best appointment all our regiments.

KING JOHN

Let's get to higher ground. There we'll put all our troops in order.

BASTARD

Speed then, to take advantage of the field.

BASTARD

Hurry, then, to get the best part of the battlefield.

KING PHILIP

It shall be so; and at the other hillCommand the rest to stand. God and our right!

KING PHILIP

That's right. And command the rest to stand at the other hill. For God and our right!

Exeunt

Here after excursions, enter the Herald of France, with trumpets, to the gates

FRENCH HERALD

You men of Angiers, open wide your gates, And let young Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, in, Who by the hand of France this day hath made Much work for tears in many an English mother, Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground; Many a widow's husband grovelling lies, Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth; And victory, with little loss, doth play Upon the dancing banners of the French, Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd, To enter conquerors and to proclaim Arthur of Bretagne England's king and yours.

FRENCH HERALD

Men of Angiers, open wide your gates and let in young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, who by the power of the king of France today gave many English mothers reason to cry because their sons lie scattered on the bloody ground. Many widows' husbands lie on the ground, passionlessly embracing the stained earth. The French have won the battle with few causalities, as you can see from their dancing banners. They are waiting triumphantly nearby to enter as conquerors and to proclaim Arthur of Bretagne your and all of England's king.

Enter English Herald, with trumpet

ENGLISH HERALD

Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells: King John, your king and England's doth approach, Commander of this hot malicious day: Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright, Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood; There stuck no plume in any English crest That is removed by a staff of France; Our colours do return in those same hands That did display them when we first march'd forth; And, like a troop of jolly huntsmen, come Our lusty English, all with purpled hands, Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes: Open your gates and gives the victors way.

ENGLISH HERALD

Be joyful, men of Angiers, ring your bells. King John, your and all of England's king, approaches, winner of this intense and deadly battle. The armors of those who marched here used to be bright silver, and they will return decorated with the blood of Frenchmen. No feather stuck in an English helmet was removed by a French spear. Our banners return in the same hands that held them when we first marched out. Our energetic Englishmen come like a band of happy hunters, with red hands dyed in the dying blood of their enemies. Open your gates and let the winners in.

FIRST CITIZEN

Heralds, from off our towers we might behold, From first to last, the onset and retire Of both your armies; whose equality By our best eyes cannot be censured: Blood hath bought blood and blows have answered blows; Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power: Both are alike; and both alike we like. One must prove greatest: while they weigh so even, We hold our town for neither, yet for both.

FIRST CITIZEN

Heralds, we could see from our towers the charge and retreat of both your armies from beginning to end. They seemed equal even to the best observer among us. Blood bought blood and hits answered hits. Strength was matched with strength and power fought power. They're both equal and we like both equally. One must prove itself to be the greatest. While they're so evenly balanced, we must keep our town safe for neither, but for both.

Re-enter KING JOHN and KING PHILIP, with their powers, severally

KING JOHN

France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away? Say, shall the current of our right run on? Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment, Shall leave his native channel and o'erswell With course disturb'd even thy confining shores, Unless thou let his silver water keep A peaceful progress to the ocean.

KING JOHN

France, do you have more blood to throw away? Will the tide of our right to the crown run on? If you try to block the tide, the water will leave its home river and flood violently over your shores, unless you let its silver water keep peacefully flowing to the ocean.

KING PHILIP

England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood, In this hot trial, more than we of France; Rather, lost more. And by this hand I swear, That sways the earth this climate overlooks, Before we will lay down our just-borne arms, We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear, Or add a royal number to the dead, Gracing the scroll that tells of this war's loss With slaughter coupled to the name of kings.

KING PHILIP

England, you haven't lost a single drop of blood less than we French have in this intense battle. Rather, you've lost more. And I swear, by this hand that rules all the land around here, before we put down our weapons carried in a just cause we'll put you down, against whom we carry these weapons. Or add a royal name to the list of the dead, decorating the scroll on which the names of people lost in this war are written by adding the name of kings.

BASTARD

Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers, When the rich blood of kings is set on fire! O, now doth Death line his dead chaps with steel; The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs; And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men, In undetermined differences of kings. Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus? Cry, 'havoc!' kings; back to the stained field, You equal potents, fiery kindled spirits! Then let confusion of one part confirm The other's peace: till then, blows, blood and death!

BASTARD

Ha, royalty! You look and act so glorious when kings get angry! Oh, now Death lines his dead jaws with steel. Soldiers' swords are his teeth, his fangs. And now he feasts, tearing the flesh of men, not distinguishing the difference between kings. Why are these royal faces staring at me blankly? Kings, shout "Go!" Go back to the blood-stained battlefield, you equal armies and angry spirits! Then let destruction of one side secure the peace of the other. Until then, blows, blood, and death!

KING JOHN

Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?

KING JOHN

Whose side are the townspeople on now?

KING PHILIP

Speak, citizens, for England; who's your king?

KING PHILIP

Speak, citizens, for England: who's your king?

FIRST CITIZEN

The king of England; when we know the king.

FIRST CITIZEN

The king of England—when we know who the king is.

KING PHILIP

Know him in us, that here hold up his right.

KING PHILIP

Recognize me as the king, since I'm fighting for his rights here.

KING JOHN

In us, that are our own great deputyAnd bear possession of our person here,Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.

KING JOHN

No, recognize me, since I do my own great work and stand here, lord of my army, Angiers, and of you.

FIRST CITIZEN

A greater power than we denies all this; And till it be undoubted, we do lock Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates; King'd of our fears, until our fears, resolved, Be by some certain king purged and deposed.

FIRST CITIZEN

A higher power than us denies all this. Until there's no dispute about it, we lock our uncertainty inside our strongly-barred gates. Our fears are our kings until our fears, resolved, are gotten rid of and deposed by a definite king.

BASTARD

By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, kings, And stand securely on their battlements, As in a theatre, whence they gape and point At your industrious scenes and acts of death. Your royal presences be ruled by me: Do like the mutines of Jerusalem, Be friends awhile and both conjointly bend Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town: By east and west let France and England mount Their battering cannon charged to the mouths, Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd down The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city: I'ld play incessantly upon these jades, Even till unfenced desolation Leave them as naked as the vulgar air. That done, dissever your united strengths, And part your mingled colours once again; Turn face to face and bloody point to point; Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth Out of one side her happy minion, To whom in favour she shall give the day, And kiss him with a glorious victory. How like you this wild counsel, mighty states? Smacks it not something of the policy?

BASTARD

By heaven, these good-for-nothings of Angiers defy you, kings, and stand safely on their walls like in a theater. From there they gawp and point at your hardworking scenes and acts of death. Take my advice, kings: follow the example of the rebels in Jerusalem. Be friends for a while and join forces to do your worst to this town. France and England can both point their fully charged cannons from east and west, until their terrifying sounds have knocked down the hard ribs of this disrespectful city. I want to keep attacking these worthless people until wall-less destruction leaves them as naked as the common air. When that's done, stop working together and separate out your banners again, which were mingled together. Turn face to face with bloody weapons. Then, in a moment, Fortune will choose a happy follower from one of the sides. She'll make him win and kiss him with a glorious victory. How do you like this wild advice, powerful kings? Doesn't it sound like good politics?

KING JOHN

Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads, I like it well. France, shall we knit our powers And lay this Angiers even to the ground; Then after fight who shall be king of it?

KING JOHN

Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads, I like it. France, shall we combine our forces and knock this Angiers to the ground, then afterward fight about who will be king of it?

BASTARD

An if thou hast the mettle of a king, Being wronged as we are by this peevish town, Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery, As we will ours, against these saucy walls; And when that we have dash'd them to the ground, Why then defy each other and pell-mell Make work upon ourselves, for heaven or hell.

BASTARD

If you have the character of a king, you won't tolerate being treated badly by this disobedient town. Turn the mouths of your cannons, as we will do with ours, against these disrespectful walls. And when we have beat them to the ground, we'll defy each other and attack each other every which way, for heaven or hell.

KING PHILIP

Let it be so. Say, where will you assault?

KING PHILIP

Very well. Where will you attack?

KING JOHN

We from the west will send destructionInto this city's bosom.

KING JOHN

We will send destruction into the city's breast from the west.

AUSTRIA

I from the north.

AUSTRIA

And I from the north.

KING PHILIP

Our thunder from the southShall rain their drift of bullets on this town.

KING PHILIP

Our thunder from the south will rain bullets on the town.

BASTARD

O prudent discipline! From north to south:Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth:I'll stir them to it. Come, away, away!

BASTARD

Oh wise strategy! From north to south, Austria and France shoot in each other's faces. I'll encourage them. Come on, let's go! Let's go!

FIRST CITIZEN

Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe awhile to stay, And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league; Win you this city without stroke or wound; Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds, That here come sacrifices for the field: Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.

FIRST CITIZEN

Listen to us, great kings: agree to wait a while and I will show you a way to make peace and an honest alliance. Win this city without violence or wounds. Rescue the people still breathing and alive who come here as sacrifices on this battlefield so they can die in bed later. Don't go on with this plan but listen to me, powerful kings.

KING JOHN

Speak on with favour; we are bent to hear.

KING JOHN

Continue to speak. We're listening.

FIRST CITIZEN

That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanch, Is niece to England: look upon the years Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid: If lusty love should go in quest of beauty, Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch? If zealous love should go in search of virtue, Where should he find it purer than in Blanch? If love ambitious sought a match of birth, Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch? Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth, Is the young Dauphin every way complete: If not complete of, say he is not she; And she again wants nothing, to name want, If want it be not that she is not he: He is the half part of a blessed man, Left to be finished by such as she; And she a fair divided excellence, Whose fulness of perfection lies in him. O, two such silver currents, when they join, Do glorify the banks that bound them in; And two such shores to two such streams made one, Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings, To these two princes, if you marry them. This union shall do more than battery can To our fast-closed gates; for at this match, With swifter spleen than powder can enforce, The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope, And give you entrance: but without this match, The sea enraged is not half so deaf, Lions more confident, mountains and rocks More free from motion, no, not Death himself In moral fury half so peremptory, As we to keep this city.

FIRST CITIZEN

That Spanish woman, the Lady Blanch, is a niece of the king of England. Compare the ages of Lewis the Dauphin and that beautiful virgin. If young love were to go looking for beauty, who is more beautiful than Blanch? If true love were to go looking for virtue, who is more pure than Blanch? If ambitious love looked for a marriage that matched its social station, who is more noble than Lady Blanch? Just as she is perfect in beauty, virtue, and family, the young Dauphin is also complete in those things. Except not complete, because he is not her. And she also lacks nothing, except one thing, which is that she is not him. He is half of a blessed man, left to be finished by someone like her. And she is half of a divided beautiful excellence, who will be fully perfect when combined with him. Two silver streams, when they join, make the banks that contain them more glorious. If you have them marry each other one stream will join two shores: you two kings will be two controlling limits to these two royals. This marriage will achieve more than attacking our tightly-closed gates can. Because once this match is made, faster than gunpowder can force us to do the same thing, we will fling the passageway open and let you in. But without this marriage, the angry sea is not half as deaf, lions half as confident, mountains and rocks more firmly stuck, no, Death himself is not half as quick to kill in his rage as we are to defend this city.

BASTARD

Here's a stay That shakes the rotten carcass of old Death Out of his rags! Here's a large mouth, indeed, That spits forth death and mountains, rocks and seas, Talks as familiarly of roaring lions As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs! What cannoneer begot this lusty blood? He speaks plain cannon fire, and smoke and bounce; He gives the bastinado with his tongue: Our ears are cudgell'd; not a word of his But buffets better than a fist of France: Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.

BASTARD

That's a sentence that shakes Death's rotten corpse out of his rags! That's a big mouth that spits out death and mountains, rocks and seas, and talks as familiarly about roaring lions as thirteen-year-old girls talk about puppy dogs! What gunman conceived this energetic man? He speaks cannon fire, and smoke, and bouncing. He beats you with his tongue. Our ears are clubbed. Every word of his hits better than a French fist. By God! I've never been so thumped with words since I first called my brother's father dad.

QUEEN ELINOR

Son, list to this conjunction, make this match; Give with our niece a dowry large enough: For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie Thy now unsured assurance to the crown, That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit. I see a yielding in the looks of France; Mark, how they whisper: urge them while their souls Are capable of this ambition, Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath Of soft petitions, pity and remorse, Cool and congeal again to what it was.

QUEEN ELINOR

Son, listen to this proposal. Make this marriage happen. Give our niece a large enough dowry. By this marriage you will certainly ensure your threatened claim to the crown. This way young Arthur won't become powerful:  he'll be like a flower that doesn't get enough sun to develop from a green bud into a fruit. The king of France looks like he'll agree. See how they're whispering. Encourage them while they are capable of being convinced to do this, so that anger, melted by weak begging, pity, and regret, can't cool and congeal back to what it was before.

FIRST CITIZEN

Why answer not the double majestiesThis friendly treaty of our threaten'd town?

FIRST CITIZEN

Why don't the two kings answer this friendly proposal from our threatened town?

KING PHILIP

Speak England first, that hath been forward firstTo speak unto this city: what say you?

KING PHILIP

Let England speak first, since before they've always insisted on speaking first to this city. What do you say?

KING JOHN

If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son, Can in this book of beauty read 'I love,' Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen: For Anjou and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers, And all that we upon this side the sea, Except this city now by us besieged, Find liable to our crown and dignity, Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich In titles, honours and promotions, As she in beauty, education, blood, Holds hand with any princess of the world.

KING JOHN

If the Dauphin there, your royal son, can read the words "I love" in this book of beauty, her dowry will be equal to a queen's. Anjou and beautiful Touraine, Maine, Poictiers, and everything on this side of the sea, except this city we're attacking now, that we find fitting for our power and dignity, will decorate her marriage bed and make her as rich in titles, honors, and rank as she is in beauty, education, family—which is to say equal to any princess in the world.

KING PHILIP

What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's face.

KING PHILIP

What do you say, boy? Look at the lady's face.

LEWIS

I do, my lord; and in her eye I find A wonder, or a wondrous miracle, The shadow of myself form'd in her eye: Which being but the shadow of your son, Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow: I do protest I never loved myself Till now infixed I beheld myself Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.

LEWIS

I am looking, my lord, and in her eye I find a wonder, or a wonderful miracle, my own shape formed in her eye. Since this is only the shadow of your son, it becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow. I swear I never loved myself until I now say myself drawn on the flattering paper of her eye.

Whispers with BLANCH

BASTARD

Drawn in the flattering table of her eye! Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow! And quarter'd in her heart! he doth espy Himself love's traitor: this is pity now, That hang'd and drawn and quartered, there should be In such a love so vile a lout as he.

BASTARD

Drawn on the flattering paper of her eye! Hanged in the frowning wrinkle of her forehead! And cut into quarters her heart! He sees himself as love's traitor. This is a pity, that such a disgusting fool as he is should be hanged, drawn, and quartered in such a love.

BLANCH

My uncle's will in this respect is mine: If he see aught in you that makes him like, That any thing he sees, which moves his liking, I can with ease translate it to my will; Or if you will, to speak more properly, I will enforce it easily to my love. Further I will not flatter you, my lord, That all I see in you is worthy love, Than this; that nothing do I see in you, Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge, That I can find should merit any hate.

BLANCH

[To the Dauphin] I will do what my uncle wants in this matter. If he sees anything in you that makes him like you, I can easily make myself see whatever he sees in you. Or I mean, to speak more properly, I can force myself to love you. I won't flatter you, my lord, by saying that everything I see in you makes me love you. But I'll say this: I can see nothing in you, although you'll have to be the judge of any bad thoughts you have, that would make me hate you.

KING JOHN

What say these young ones? What say you my niece?

KING JOHN

What do these young people say? What does my niece say?

BLANCH

That she is bound in honour still to doWhat you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.

BLANCH

That it's her duty to do what you wisely say she should.

KING JOHN

Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you love this lady?

KING JOHN

Then speak, prince Dauphin: can you love this lady?

LEWIS

Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;For I do love her most unfeignedly.

LEWIS

No, ask me if I can stop loving her, because I genuinely love her.

KING JOHN

Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine, Poictiers and Anjou, these five provinces, With her to thee; and this addition more, Full thirty thousand marks of English coin. Philip of France, if thou be pleased withal, Command thy son and daughter to join hands.

KING JOHN

Then I give the five provinces of Volquessen, Touraine, Maine, Poictiers, and Anjou to you along with her. And in addition to this, thirty thousand marks in English coins. Philip of France, if this pleases you then command your son and daughter to take each other's hands.

KING PHILIP

It likes us well; young princes, close your hands.

KING PHILIP

It does please me. Young royals, take each other's hands.

AUSTRIA

And your lips too; for I am well assuredThat I did so when I was first assured.

AUSTRIA

And kiss each other too, because I'm sure I did that when I got engaged.

KING PHILIP

Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates, Let in that amity which you have made; For at Saint Mary's chapel presently The rites of marriage shall be solemnized. Is not the Lady Constance in this troop? I know she is not, for this match made up Her presence would have interrupted much: Where is she and her son? tell me, who knows.

KING PHILIP

Now, citizens of Angiers, open your gates and let in the friendship you made. The marriage will take place soon at Saint Mary's chapel. Is the Lady Constance not in this crowd? I know she isn't, because her presence would have kept this match from being made. Where are her son and her? Tell me, if anyone knows.

LEWIS

She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent.

LEWIS

She's back at your tent, sad and angry.

KING PHILIP

And, by my faith, this league that we have made Will give her sadness very little cure. Brother of England, how may we content This widow lady? In her right we came; Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way, To our own vantage.

KING PHILIP

I bet this alliance we made won't cure her sadness. My brother of England, how can we satisfy this widowed lady? I came to fight for her. God knows, I have turned things to my own advantage.

KING JOHN

We will heal up all; For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Bretagne And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance; Some speedy messenger bid her repair To our solemnity: I trust we shall, If not fill up the measure of her will, Yet in some measure satisfy her so That we shall stop her exclamation. Go we, as well as haste will suffer us, To this unlook'd for, unprepared pomp.

KING JOHN

I will heal this all. I will make young Arthur Duke of Bretagne and Earl of Richmond and the lord of this beautiful rich town. Call Lady Constance. Have some speedy messenger ask her to come to the ceremony. I trust that even if we don't give her everything she wants we will give her enough to stop her complaining. Let's go as quickly as we can to this ceremony, which we didn't prepare for or expect.

Exeunt all but the BASTARD

BASTARD

Mad world! mad kings! mad composition! John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole, Hath willingly departed with a part, And France, whose armour conscience buckled on, Whom zeal and charity brought to the field As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil, That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith, That daily break-vow, he that wins of all, Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids, Who, having no external thing to lose But the word 'maid,' cheats the poor maid of that, That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity, Commodity, the bias of the world, The world, who of itself is peised well, Made to run even upon even ground, Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias, This sway of motion, this Commodity, Makes it take head from all indifferency, From all direction, purpose, course, intent: And this same bias, this Commodity, This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word, Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France, Hath drawn him from his own determined aid, From a resolved and honourable war, To a most base and vile-concluded peace. And why rail I on this Commodity? But for because he hath not woo'd me yet: Not that I have the power to clutch my hand, When his fair angels would salute my palm; But for my hand, as unattempted yet, Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich. Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail And say there is no sin but to be rich; And being rich, my virtue then shall be To say there is no vice but beggary. Since kings break faith upon commodity, Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee.

BASTARD

Crazy world! Crazy kings! Crazy alliance! John, to stop Arthur's claim to the whole, willingly parted with a part. France—with armor buckled on by conscience, and who was brought to the field by eagerness and charity like the soldier of God himself—was smooth-talked by that purpose-changer, that clever devil, that middleman who always hurts faithfulness's head, that daily oath-breaker who wins from everyone. It wins from kings, from beggars, old men young men, virgins—it cheats a poor virgin out of the only thing she owns, the word "virgin". That smooth-faced gentleman is tickling Convenience, Convenience. It tilts the world one way or the other, although the world left alone is equally balanced and made to run evenly on even ground. Until, that is, this advantage, that draws people to evil, this swaying, this Convenience, this pimp, this middleman, this word that changes everything, thrown in the eyes of the unreliable king of France, distracts him from the goal he had set, from a clear and honorable war to a cowardly and badly negotiated peace. Why do I complain about Convenience? Because he hasn't tried to buy my affection yet. I'm sure I wouldn't have the power to close my hand when his beautiful angels want to greet my palm. But my hand, not tested yet, complains like a poor beggar about rich people. Well, while I am a beggar, I will complain and say that being rich is the only sin. And when I'm rich, my virtue will then be to say there is no sin but begging. Since kings break alliances when it's convenient, be my lord, Profit, and I will worship you.

Exit

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