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King John

King John Translation Act 3, Scene 4

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Enter KING PHILIP, LEWIS, CARDINAL PANDULPH, and Attendants

KING PHILIP

So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,A whole armado of convicted sailIs scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship.

KING PHILIP

So, because of a roaring storm at sea, a whole fleet of ships has been scattered.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Take courage and comfort! Everything will still turn out well.

KING PHILIP

What can go well, when we have run so ill? Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost? Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain? And bloody England into England gone, O'erbearing interruption, spite of France?

KING PHILIP

What can go well when we have done so badly? Haven't we been beaten? Isn't Angiers lost? Hasn't Arthur been taken prisoner? Haven't many of our dear friends been killed? And hasn't the bloody king of England gone to England, defeating anyone standing in his way? And France couldn't stop him.

LEWIS

What he hath won, that hath he fortified: So hot a speed with such advice disposed, Such temperate order in so fierce a cause, Doth want example: who hath read or heard Of any kindred action like to this?

LEWIS

What he's won, he's protected. There's never been an example of such great speed in following such good military advice, such calm order in such a fierce battle. Who has read or heard of any action like this?

KING PHILIP

Well could I bear that England had this praise,So we could find some pattern of our shame.

KING PHILIP

I could bear for England to be paid that compliment, if only we could find another example of shame like ours.

Enter CONSTANCE

KING PHILIP

Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul; Holding the eternal spirit against her will, In the vile prison of afflicted breath. I prithee, lady, go away with me.

KING PHILIP

Look who's here! A grave for a soul, holding the eternal soul against its will in the disgusting prison of painful life. Please, lady, let me take you away from here.

CONSTANCE

Lo, now I now see the issue of your peace.

CONSTANCE

Now I see what your peace has come to.

KING PHILIP

Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!

KING PHILIP

Be patient, good lady! Don't worry, dear Constance!

CONSTANCE

No, I defy all counsel, all redress, But that which ends all counsel, true redress, Death, death; O amiable lovely death! Thou odouriferous stench! sound rottenness! Arise forth from the couch of lasting night, Thou hate and terror to prosperity, And I will kiss thy detestable bones And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows And ring these fingers with thy household worms And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust And be a carrion monster like thyself: Come, grin on me, and I will think thou smilest And buss thee as thy wife. Misery's love, O, come to me!

CONSTANCE

No, I refuse all advice, all help—except the help that ends all advice, real help, death, death. Oh friendly lovely death! You beautiful-smelling stink! Healthy rottenness! Get up off the couch of eternal night, you who are hated and feared by prosperous people, and I will kiss your hateful bones and put my eyeballs in your hollow eye sockets and put your common worms around your fingers like rings and plug this gap through which I breathe with smelly dust and be a dead monster like you. Come grin at me and I will think you smile, and kiss you like your wife. You whom miserable people love, oh, come to me!

KING PHILIP

O fair affliction, peace!

KING PHILIP

Oh, beautiful sadness, stop!

CONSTANCE

No, no, I will not, having breath to cry: O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth! Then with a passion would I shake the world; And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice, Which scorns a modern invocation.

CONSTANCE

No, no, I won't while I have breath to cry out. Oh, I wish my tongue were in the thunder's mouth! Then I would shake the world with emotion and wake that horrible skeleton, death, that can't hear a lady's weak voice and that won't answer my prayers.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Lady, you're saying crazy things, not sad ones.

CONSTANCE

Thou art not holy to belie me so; I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine; My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife; Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost: I am not mad: I would to heaven I were! For then, 'tis like I should forget myself: O, if I could, what grief should I forget! Preach some philosophy to make me mad, And thou shalt be canonized, cardinal; For being not mad but sensible of grief, My reasonable part produces reason How I may be deliver'd of these woes, And teaches me to kill or hang myself: If I were mad, I should forget my son, Or madly think a babe of clouts were he: I am not mad; too well, too well I feel The different plague of each calamity.

CONSTANCE

You aren't holy to lie about me like that. I'm not crazy. This hair I tear is mine. My name is Constance. I was Geffrey's wife. Young Arthur is my son, and he has been lost. I am not crazy. I wish to God I were! Then I would probably forget who I was. If I could do that, I would forget so much sadness! Tell me some philosophy to make me mad and you will be made a saint, cardinal. Since I'm not crazy but able to be sad, my brain thinks about how to save myself from these sorrows and tells me to kill or hang myself. If I were mad I would forget my son or crazily think a baby were him. I am not crazy. I feel too well, too well, the different tragedy in each disaster.

KING PHILIP

Bind up those tresses. O, what love I note In the fair multitude of those her hairs! Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen, Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends Do glue themselves in sociable grief, Like true, inseparable, faithful loves, Sticking together in calamity.

KING PHILIP

Tie up your hair. Oh, I see so much love in all her beautiful hair! Where by chance a silver tear falls, ten thousand wiry friends glue themselves together in friendly sorrow like true, inseparable, faithful lovers sticking together in a disaster.

CONSTANCE

To England, if you will.

CONSTANCE

Let's go to England if you want.

KING PHILIP

Bind up your hairs.

KING PHILIP

Tie up your hair.

CONSTANCE

Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it? I tore them from their bonds and cried aloud 'O that these hands could so redeem my son, As they have given these hairs their liberty!' But now I envy at their liberty, And will again commit them to their bonds, Because my poor child is a prisoner. And, father cardinal, I have heard you say That we shall see and know our friends in heaven: If that be true, I shall see my boy again; For since the birth of Cain, the first male child, To him that did but yesterday suspire, There was not such a gracious creature born. But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud And chase the native beauty from his cheek And he will look as hollow as a ghost, As dim and meagre as an ague's fit, And so he'll die; and, rising so again, When I shall meet him in the court of heaven I shall not know him: therefore never, never Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

CONSTANCE

I will. Why will I do it? I tore them out of their ties and cried aloud "I wish these hands could free my sons the way they have given these hairs their liberty!" But now I envy their liberty and will put them back in their chains because my poor child is a prisoner. Father cardinal, I have heard you say we will see and recognize our friends in heaven. If that's true, I'll see my boy again. Because from the birth of Cain, the first male child, to one born just yesterday, a more wonderful creature has never been born. But now decaying sorrow will eat that flower and chase his natural beauty from his cheek and he will look as a hollow as a ghost and as dim and thin as a fever, and he'll die. When I have been resurrected and meet him in heaven I will not recognize him. So I will never, never see my pretty Arthur again.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You hold too heinous a respect of grief.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You're giving in to your sadness too much.

CONSTANCE

He talks to me that never had a son.

CONSTANCE

The man who's talking to me never had a son.

KING PHILIP

You are as fond of grief as of your child.

KING PHILIP

You are as fond of sadness as of your child.

CONSTANCE

Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me, Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words, Remembers me of all his gracious parts, Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form; Then, have I reason to be fond of grief? Fare you well: had you such a loss as I, I could give better comfort than you do. I will not keep this form upon my head, When there is such disorder in my wit. O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son! My life, my joy, my food, my all the world! My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!

CONSTANCE

Sadness fills the space left by my absent child, lies in his bed, walks up and down with me, takes on his pretty appearance, repeats his words, reminds me of all his good qualities, stuffs his empty clothes with his shape. So do you see now why I have reason to be fond of grief? Goodbye: if you'd lost as much as I have, I could comfort you better than you do me. I won't keep order on my head when there's so much disorder in my mind. Oh Lord! My boy, my Arthur, my handsome son! My life, my joy, my food, my whole world! My comfort in being widowed and the cure to my sadness!

Exit

KING PHILIP

I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.

KING PHILIP

I'm afraid something bad will happen, so I'll follow her.

Exit

LEWIS

There's nothing in this world can make me joy: Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man; And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.

LEWIS

Nothing in this world can make me happy. Life is as boring as a story told twice, annoying the ear of a drowsy man, and terrible shame has spoiled the sweet taste of the world so it doesn't give me anything except shame and bitterness.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Before the curing of a strong disease, Even in the instant of repair and health, The fit is strongest; evils that take leave, On their departure most of all show evil: What have you lost by losing of this day?

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Before a bad disease is cured, at the very moment you're cured and made healthy, you're sickest. Evil things seem most evil as they leave. What have you lost by losing this battle?

LEWIS

All days of glory, joy and happiness.

LEWIS

All honor, joy, and happiness.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

If you had won it, certainly you had. No, no; when Fortune means to men most good, She looks upon them with a threatening eye. 'Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost In this which he accounts so clearly won: Are not you grieved that Arthur is his prisoner?

CARDINAL PANDULPH

If you had won it, you certainly would have lost those things. No, no. When Fortune means best for men she looks at them threateningly. It's strange to think how much King John has lost in this battle he thinks has been clearly won. Aren't you sad Arthur is his prisoner?

LEWIS

As heartily as he is glad he hath him.

LEWIS

As sad as he's glad to have him.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Your mind is all as youthful as your blood. Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit; For even the breath of what I mean to speak Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub, Out of the path which shall directly lead Thy foot to England's throne; and therefore mark. John hath seized Arthur; and it cannot be That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins, The misplaced John should entertain an hour, One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest. A sceptre snatch'd with an unruly hand Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd; And he that stands upon a slippery place Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up: That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall; So be it, for it cannot be but so.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Your mind is as young as your body. Listen to me tell the future, because even the breath of what I'm going to say will blow all the dust, straw, and every little obstacle, out of the path which will lead your foot directly to the throne of England, so listen. John has captured Arthur and while that child is still alive, John won't enjoy his stolen power in peace for an hour—no, not for a minute. Power grabbed by a rebellious hand has to be kept as violently as it was won. Someone standing on a slippery place is willing to grab any disgusting thing to stay standing. Arthur has to fall so John can stand. Let that happen, because that's how it has to be.

LEWIS

But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?

LEWIS

But what will I get if young Arthur falls?

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You, in the right of Lady Blanch your wife,May then make all the claim that Arthur did.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You can then make the same claim to power that Arthur did in the cause of Lady Blanch your wife.

LEWIS

And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.

LEWIS

And lose my life and everything else like Arthur did.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

How green you are and fresh in this old world! John lays you plots; the times conspire with you; For he that steeps his safety in true blood Shall find but bloody safety and untrue. This act so evilly born shall cool the hearts Of all his people and freeze up their zeal, That none so small advantage shall step forth To cheque his reign, but they will cherish it; No natural exhalation in the sky, No scope of nature, no distemper'd day, No common wind, no customed event, But they will pluck away his natural cause And call them meteors, prodigies and signs, Abortives, presages and tongues of heaven, Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You're so young and fresh in this old world! John is working for you, time is working for you. Anyone who buys safety by shedding honest blood will only find bloody and dishonest safety. This evil action will cool the affections of his people and freeze up their support, so that anyone even slightly better could step forward to end his rule and they would love him. No natural phenomenon in the sky, no wonder of nature, no disorderly day, no common wind, no customary event will happen without them discarding its natural cause and calling it a meteor, omen, and sign. Monstrous births, premonitions and voices from heaven will plainly call for revenge on John.

LEWIS

May be he will not touch young Arthur's life,But hold himself safe in his prisonment.

LEWIS

He might not harm young Arthur but instead keep him safely locked up.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach, If that young Arthur be not gone already, Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts Of all his people shall revolt from him And kiss the lips of unacquainted change And pick strong matter of revolt and wrath Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John. Methinks I see this hurly all on foot: And, O, what better matter breeds for you Than I have named! The bastard Faulconbridge Is now in England, ransacking the church, Offending charity: if but a dozen French Were there in arms, they would be as a call To train ten thousand English to their side, Or as a little snow, tumbled about, Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin, Go with me to the king: 'tis wonderful What may be wrought out of their discontent, Now that their souls are topful of offence. For England go: I will whet on the king.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Oh sir, when he hears that you're coming, if young Arthur isn't already gone, he'll die at that news. Then the hearts of all his people will revolt and kiss unknown change on the lips and find good cause for rebellion and anger in the bloody deeds done by John. I can almost see this mess happening. And oh, better things are waiting for you than I have said! The bastard Faulconbridge is now in England looting from the church, offending charity. If only a dozen Frenchmen were there with weapons, they would be able to call out ten thousand English people to train with them, in the same way a little snow tumbling around soon piles up into a mountain. Oh noble Dauphin, go with me to the king: it's amazing what can be done with the people's unhappiness now that they are offended. Go to England. I will encourage the king.

LEWIS

Strong reasons make strong actions: let us go:If you say ay, the king will not say no.

LEWIS

Strong reasons make you act strongly. Let's go. If you say yes, the king won't say no.

Exeunt

King john
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