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King John

King John Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers

LEWIS

My Lord Melun, let this be copied out, And keep it safe for our remembrance: Return the precedent to these lords again; That, having our fair order written down, Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes, May know wherefore we took the sacrament And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.

LEWIS

Lord Melun, have this copied and keep it safe for our records. [Gives paper to MELUN] Return the original to these lords so that we have the agreement written down. Then both they and we, looking over these notes, will know why we swore to remain firmly faithful to each other.

SALISBURY

Upon our sides it never shall be broken. And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear A voluntary zeal and an unurged faith To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince, I am not glad that such a sore of time Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt, And heal the inveterate canker of one wound By making many. O, it grieves my soul, That I must draw this metal from my side To be a widow-maker! O, and there Where honourable rescue and defence Cries out upon the name of Salisbury! But such is the infection of the time, That, for the health and physic of our right, We cannot deal but with the very hand Of stern injustice and confused wrong. And is't not pity, O my grieved friends, That we, the sons and children of this isle, Were born to see so sad an hour as this; Wherein we step after a stranger march Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up Her enemies' ranks,—I must withdraw and weep Upon the spot of this enforced cause,— To grace the gentry of a land remote, And follow unacquainted colours here? What, here? O nation, that thou couldst remove! That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about, Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself, And grapple thee unto a pagan shore; Where these two Christian armies might combine The blood of malice in a vein of league, And not to spend it so unneighbourly!

SALISBURY

We will never break this agreement. And, noble Dauphin, although we swear willingly and without you asking for it, believe me, prince, I'm not glad that this wound we have at this time is trying to cure itself by sinfully rebelling, which heals the endless pain of one wound by making many more. Oh, I'm sad to have to draw my sword to make wives into widows! Oh, and to kill exactly the people who should be able to call on me to honorably rescue and defend them! But that's the infection of this age, that in order to make justice healthy we have to act with terrible injustice and confused wrongdoing. And isn't it a pity, oh my sad friends, that we, the sons and children of this island, lived to see such a sad time as this. Do we have to follow a foreigner over this island's kind breast and fight for our country's enemies—I have to go apart and cry here where we are forced to do this—to help nobles from a foreign land and follow unknown flags here? What, here? Oh country, I wish you could go away! I wish the sea-god's arms that surround you could carry you away so you didn't know what was happening to you, and bring you to a non-Christian shore. There, these two Christian armies could forget their anger toward each other and fight together against non-Christians, rather than expressing their anger here in such an unneighborly way!

LEWIS

A noble temper dost thou show in this; And great affections wrestling in thy bosom Doth make an earthquake of nobility. O, what a noble combat hast thou fought Between compulsion and a brave respect! Let me wipe off this honourable dew, That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks: My heart hath melted at a lady's tears, Being an ordinary inundation; But this effusion of such manly drops, This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul, Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven Figured quite o'er with burning meteors. Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury, And with a great heart heave away the storm: Commend these waters to those baby eyes That never saw the giant world enraged; Nor met with fortune other than at feasts, Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping. Come, come; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep Into the purse of rich prosperity As Lewis himself: so, nobles, shall you all, That knit your sinews to the strength of mine. And even there, methinks, an angel spake:

LEWIS

You show a noble character in saying this, and the great emotions wrestling in your heart make a noble earthquake. Oh, you've fought such a noble battle between what you were forced to do and your brave loyalty! Let me wipe away these honorable tears that flow like silver down your cheeks. My heart has melted at a woman's tears, which are an ordinary occurrence. But this flow of manly tears, this rainstorm blown off from thunderstorms in your soul, startles me and makes me more amazed than I would be if I have seen the sky covered with burning meteors. Look up, famous Salisbury, and bravely push away the storm. Let baby eyes cry, since they've never seen the giant world get angry or had any experience other than feasts full of energy, happiness, and gossiping. Come, come. You'll get as much money out of this as Lewis himself. So will you, nobles, who put your strength behind mine. And just now, I think, an angel speaks:

Enter CARDINAL PANDULPH

LEWIS

Look, where the holy legate comes apace, To give us warrant from the hand of heaven And on our actions set the name of right With holy breath.

LEWIS

Look, the holy deputy is coming quickly to give us a warrant from God and to show us that the heavens approve of our actions.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Hail, noble prince of France! The next is this, King John hath reconciled Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in, That so stood out against the holy church, The great metropolis and see of Rome: Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up; And tame the savage spirit of wild war, That like a lion foster'd up at hand, It may lie gently at the foot of peace, And be no further harmful than in show.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Greetings, noble prince of France! This is the news: King John has been reconciled with Rome. He's changed his mind since the time he stood against the holy church, the great city and authority of Rome. So put away your threatening banners and calm the savage emotion of wild war that, like a lion raised as a pet, can lie gently at peace's foot and not cause any harm, although it looks dangerous.

LEWIS

Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back: I am too high-born to be propertied, To be a secondary at control, Or useful serving-man and instrument, To any sovereign state throughout the world. Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars Between this chastised kingdom and myself, And brought in matter that should feed this fire; And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out With that same weak wind which enkindled it. You taught me how to know the face of right, Acquainted me with interest to this land, Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart; And come ye now to tell me John hath made His peace with Rome? What is that peace to me? I, by the honour of my marriage-bed, After young Arthur, claim this land for mine; And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back Because that John hath made his peace with Rome? Am I Rome's slave? What penny hath Rome borne, What men provided, what munition sent, To underprop this action? Is't not I That undergo this charge? who else but I, And such as to my claim are liable, Sweat in this business and maintain this war? Have I not heard these islanders shout out 'Vive le roi!' as I have bank'd their towns? Have I not here the best cards for the game, To win this easy match play'd for a crown? And shall I now give o'er the yielded set? No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said.

LEWIS

I'm sorry, your grace, I won't turn back. I'm too noble to obey orders, to be second in command, or to be a useful servant and tool to any state in the world. Your breath started the fire again in the dead coals of war between this punished kingdom and me and brought wood to feed this fire. Now it's far too huge to be blown out by the same weak breath that started it. You taught me to know what was right, showed me my right to this country, made me want to start this. And are you coming now to tell me John made his peace with Rome? What does that peace have to do with me? By the honor of my marriage-bed, I claim this country as mine after young Arthur. Now it is half-conquered, must I go back because John has made his peace with Rome? Am I Rome's slave? What penny has Rome contributed, what men has it provided, what equipment has it sent to support this war? Wasn't I the one who paid for this? Who else except for me and those who follow me have sweated to do this business and fight this war? Haven't I heard these islanders shout out "Long live the king!" as I fortified their towns? Don't I have the best cards in this game to win this easy match that we play for a crown? And should I now give up the game I've won? No, no, I swear that will never be said of me.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You look but on the outside of this work.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

You're just considering this from the outside.

LEWIS

Outside or inside, I will not return Till my attempt so much be glorified As to my ample hope was promised Before I drew this gallant head of war, And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world, To outlook conquest and to win renown Even in the jaws of danger and of death.

LEWIS

Outside or inside, I won't return until I win as much as was promised to me and as much as I hoped before I drew up this army. I picked these brave men out of their ordinary lives to dare to conquer and to win fame in the jaws of danger and death.

Trumpet sounds

LEWIS

What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?

LEWIS

What loud trumpet calls for us?

Enter the BASTARD, attended

BASTARD

According to the fair play of the world, Let me have audience; I am sent to speak: My holy lord of Milan, from the king I come, to learn how you have dealt for him; And, as you answer, I do know the scope And warrant limited unto my tongue.

BASTARD

According to fair play, let me talk to you. I have been sent as a messenger. My holy lord of Milan, I come from the king to learn how you have negotiated for him. Depending on your answer, I know what I am allowed to say.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,And will not temporize with my entreaties;He flatly says he'll not lay down his arms.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

The Dauphin is stubbornly opposing me and won't do what I beg him to. He bluntly says he won't lay down his weapons.

BASTARD

By all the blood that ever fury breathed, The youth says well. Now hear our English king; For thus his royalty doth speak in me. He is prepared, and reason too he should: This apish and unmannerly approach, This harness'd masque and unadvised revel, This unhair'd sauciness and boyish troops, The king doth smile at; and is well prepared To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms, From out the circle of his territories. That hand which had the strength, even at your door, To cudgel you and make you take the hatch, To dive like buckets in concealed wells, To crouch in litter of your stable planks, To lie like pawns lock'd up in chests and trunks, To hug with swine, to seek sweet safety out In vaults and prisons, and to thrill and shake Even at the crying of your nation's crow, Thinking his voice an armed Englishman; Shall that victorious hand be feebled here, That in your chambers gave you chastisement? No: know the gallant monarch is in arms And like an eagle o'er his aery towers, To souse annoyance that comes near his nest. And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts, You bloody Neroes, ripping up the womb Of your dear mother England, blush for shame; For your own ladies and pale-visaged maids Like Amazons come tripping after drums, Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change, Their needles to lances, and their gentle hearts To fierce and bloody inclination.

BASTARD

By all the blood that anger ever breathed, the young man speaks well. Now listen to our English king because I speak for him. He is prepared, and there's good reason he should be: the king laughs at this apelike and rude approach, this costume dance with armor, this unwise game, this hairless boldness, this boyish army. He's well prepared to whip this dwarf-like war and these pygmy weapons, out of his territory.  His hand had the strength, at your own door, to beat you and make you leap out the door, to dive like buckets into wells and hide, to crouch on your dirty stable floors, to lie like pawned objects locked up in chests and trunks, to hug pigs, to look for sweet safety in tombs and prisons, and to tremble at the cry of one of your country's crows, thinking his voice was an armed Englishman. Will the conquering hand that punished you in your own rooms be made weak here? No. You should know the brave king is armed and hovers like an eagle over his nest to get rid of annoyances that come near it. You corrupted, ungrateful rebels, you bloody tyrants ripping up the womb of your dear mother England, blush with shame. Your own wives and pale-faced daughters are tripping after drums like Amazonian warriors, changing their thimbles into armored gloves, their needles into lances, and their sweet hearts into fierce and bloody tendencies.

LEWIS

There end thy brave, and turn thy face in peace; We grant thou canst outscold us: fare thee well; We hold our time too precious to be spent With such a brabbler.

LEWIS

Stop your bragging there and get away from us unharmed. I admit you're better at scolding than I am. Goodbye. My time is worth too much to be spent with such a babbler.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Give me leave to speak.

CARDINAL PANDULPH

Let me speak.

BASTARD

No, I will speak.

BASTARD

No, I will speak.

LEWIS

We will attend to neither.Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of warPlead for our interest and our being here.

LEWIS

I won't listen to either of you. Strike the drums, and let war's mouth announce my claim and my reason for being here.

BASTARD

Indeed your drums, being beaten, will cry out; And so shall you, being beaten: do but start An echo with the clamour of thy drum, And even at hand a drum is ready braced That shall reverberate all as loud as thine; Sound but another, and another shall 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.

BASTARD

Yes, your drums will cry out when they're beaten. And so will you, when you're beaten. Just start an echo with the sound of your drum and close by a drum is ready to echo it back just as loud. Beat another, and another will rattle the sky's ear as loudly as yours and imitate loud thunder. John is nearby, ready for war, not trusting this clumsy deputy he made use of because it amused him, not out of necessity. On his forehead sits a skeleton death, whose job today is to feast on thousands of the French.

LEWIS

Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.

LEWIS

Beat our drums to find this danger.

BASTARD

And thou shalt find it, Dauphin, do not doubt.

BASTARD

And you will find it, Dauphin, don't doubt it.

Exeunt

King john
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