Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey’s son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island and the territories,
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
And put these same into young Arthur’s hand,
Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.


What follows if we disallow of this?”


Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard:
So hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath
And sullen presage of your own decay.
An honourable conduct let him have:
Pembroke, look to ‘t. Farewell, Chatillon.



What is thy name?


Philip, my liege, so is my name begun,
Philip, good old sir Robert’s wife’s eldest son.


From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bear’st:
Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,
Arise sir Richard and Plantagenet.”


Go, Faulconbridge: now hast thou thy desire;
A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.
Come, madam, and come, Richard, we must speed
For France, for France, for it is more than need.”

“But, mother, I am not sir Robert’s son;
I have disclaim’d sir Robert and my land;
Legitimation, name and all is gone:
Then, good my mother, let me know my father;
Some proper man, I hope: who was it, mother?


Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?


As faithfully as I deny the devil.


King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy father:
By long and vehement suit I was seduced
To make room for him in my husband’s bed:
Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge!
Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urged past my defence.


Now, by this light, were I to get again,
Madam, I would not wish a better father.
Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
And so doth yours; your fault was not your folly:
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
Subjected tribute to commanding love,
Against whose fury and unmatched force
The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
Nor keep his princely heart from Richard’s hand.
He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
May easily win a woman’s. Ay, my mother,
With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
Who lives and dares but say thou didst not well
When I was got, I’ll send his soul to hell.
Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin;
And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin:
Who says it was, he lies; I say ‘twas not.



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.

Drum beats

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


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.”


Who is it thou dost call usurper, France?


Let me make answer; thy usurping son.


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


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.


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


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.”

First Citizen

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


Acknowledge then 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 time
Have we ramm’d up our gates against the world.


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,–


Bastards, and else.


To verify our title with their lives.


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


Some bastards too.


Stand in his face to contradict his claim.

First Citizen

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

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.”



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!”


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?


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?


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.


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


We from the west will send destruction
Into this city’s bosom.


I from the north.


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


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!”


…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.”



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


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.


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


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.

Whispers with BLANCH


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.”

* * *


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.


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


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.


She is sad and passionate at your highness’ tent.


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.


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.

Exeunt all but the 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.


“For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop.

To me and to the state of my great grief

Let kings assemble; for my grief’s so great

That no supporter but the huge firm earth

Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;

Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.”


Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!

To thee, King John, my holy errand is.

I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,

And from Pope Innocent the legate here,

Do in his name religiously demand

Why thou against the church, our holy mother,

So wilfully dost spurn; and force perforce

Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop

Of Canterbury, from that holy see?

This, in our foresaid holy father’s name,

Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee.”


Brother of England, you blaspheme in this.


Though you and all the kings of Christendom

Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,

Dreading the curse that money may buy out;

And by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust,

Purchase corrupted pardon of a man,

Who in that sale sells pardon from himself,

Though you and all the rest so grossly led

This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish,

Yet I alone, alone do me oppose

Against the pope and count his friends my foes.


Then, by the lawful power that I have,

Thou shalt stand cursed and excommunicate.

And blessed shall he be that doth revolt

From his allegiance to an heretic;

And meritorious shall that hand be call’d,

Canonized and worshipped as a saint,

That takes away by any secret course

Thy hateful life.


O, lawful let it be

That I have room with Rome to curse awhile!

Good father cardinal, cry thou amen

To my keen curses; for without my wrong

There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.”


Philip, what say’st thou to the cardinal?


What should he say, but as the cardinal?


Bethink you, father; for the difference

Is purchase of a heavy curse from Rome,

Or the light loss of England for a friend:

Forego the easier.


The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith,

But from her need.


O, if thou grant my need,

Which only lives but by the death of faith,

That need must needs infer this principle,

That faith would live again by death of need.

O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up;

Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down!


The king is moved, and answers not to this.”


Good reverend father, make my person yours,

And tell me how you would bestow yourself.

This royal hand and mine are newly knit,

And the conjunction of our inward souls

Married in league, coupled and linked together

With all religious strength of sacred vows;

The latest breath that gave the sound of words

Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love

Between our kingdoms and our royal selves,

And even before this truce, but new before,

No longer than we well could wash our hands

To clap this royal bargain up of peace,

Heaven knows, they were besmear’d and over-stain’d

With slaughter’s pencil, where revenge did paint

The fearful difference of incensed kings:

And shall these hands, so lately purged of blood,

So newly join’d in love, so strong in both,

Unyoke this seizure and this kind regreet?

Play fast and loose with faith? so jest with heaven,

Make such unconstant children of ourselves,

As now again to snatch our palm from palm,

Unswear faith sworn, and on the marriage-bed

Of smiling peace to march a bloody host,

And make a riot on the gentle brow

Of true sincerity? O, holy sir,

My reverend father, let it not be so!

Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose

Some gentle order; and then we shall be blest

To do your pleasure and continue friends.


All form is formless, order orderless,

Save what is opposite to England’s love.

Therefore to arms! be champion of our church,

Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse,

A mother’s curse, on her revolting son.

France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue,

A chafed lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,

Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.”

“It is religion that doth make vows kept;

But thou hast sworn against religion,

By what thou swear’st against the thing thou swear’st,

And makest an oath the surety for thy truth

Against an oath: the truth thou art unsure

To swear, swears only not to be forsworn;

Else what a mockery should it be to swear!

But thou dost swear only to be forsworn;

And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear.

Therefore thy later vows against thy first

Is in thyself rebellion to thyself”


Father, to arms!


Upon thy wedding-day?

Against the blood that thou hast married?

What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?

Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,

Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?

O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new

Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,

Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,

Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms

Against mine uncle.


O, upon my knee,

Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,

Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom

Forethought by heaven!”


O fair return of banish’d majesty!


O foul revolt of French inconstancy!


France, thou shalt rue this hour within this hour.


Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton Time,

Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue.


The sun’s o’ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!

Which is the side that I must go withal?

I am with both: each army hath a hand;

And in their rage, I having hold of both,

They swirl asunder and dismember me.

Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;

Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;

Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;

Grandam, I will not wish thy fortunes thrive:

Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose

Assured loss before the match be play’d.”

“There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.”


Cousin, go draw our puissance together.


France, I am burn’d up with inflaming wrath;

A rage whose heat hath this condition,

That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,

The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France.


Thy rage sham burn thee up, and thou shalt turn

To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:

Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.


No more than he that threats. To arms let’s hie!



Do not I know thou wouldst?

Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye

On yon young boy: I’ll tell thee what, my friend,

He is a very serpent in my way;

And whereso’er this foot of mine doth tread,

He lies before me: dost thou understand me?

Thou art his keeper.


And I’ll keep him so,

That he shall not offend your majesty.




My lord?


A grave.


He shall not live.



I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;

Well, I’ll not say what I intend for thee:

Remember. Madam, fare you well:

I’ll send those powers o’er to your majesty.


My blessing go with thee!


For England, cousin, go:

Hubert shall be your man, attend on you

With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!



Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand

Within the arras: when I strike my foot

Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,

And bind the boy which you shall find with me

Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.

First Executioner

I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.


Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to’t.

Exeunt Executioners

Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.



Good morrow, Hubert.”


Mercy on me!

Methinks no body should be sad but I:

Yet, I remember, when I was in France,

Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,

Only for wantonness. By my christendom,

So I were out of prison and kept sheep,

I should be as merry as the day is long;

And so I would be here, but that I doubt

My uncle practises more harm to me:

He is afraid of me and I of him:

Is it my fault that I was Geffrey’s son?

No, indeed, is’t not; and I would to heaven

I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.


[Aside] If I talk to him, with his innocent prate

He will awake my mercy which lies dead:

Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.”

“How now, foolish rheum!

Turning dispiteous torture out of door!

I must be brief, lest resolution drop

Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.

Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?


Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:

Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?


Young boy, I must.


And will you?


And I will.”

“…Will you put out mine eyes?

These eyes that never did nor never shall

So much as frown on you.


I have sworn to do it;

And with hot irons must I burn them out.


Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!

The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,

Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears

And quench his fiery indignation

Even in the matter of mine innocence;

Nay, after that, consume away in rust

But for containing fire to harm mine eye.

Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer’d iron?

An if an angel should have come to me

And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,

I would not have believed him,–no tongue but Hubert’s.


Come forth.


Re-enter Executioners, with a cord, irons, & c

Do as I bid you do.”


Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough?

I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.

For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!

Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away,

And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,

Nor look upon the iron angerly:

Thrust but these men away, and I’ll forgive you,

Whatever torment you do put me to.


Go, stand within; let me alone with him.

First Executioner

I am best pleased to be from such a deed.

Exeunt Executioners”


Is there no remedy?


None, but to lose your eyes.


O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours,

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,

Any annoyance in that precious sense!

Then feeling what small things are boisterous there,

Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.


Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.”

“Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,

So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes.

Though to no use but still to look on you!

Lo, by my truth, the instrument is cold

And would not harm me.


I can heat it, boy.


No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief,

Being create for comfort, to be used

In undeserved extremes: see else yourself;

There is no malice in this burning coal;

The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out

And strew’d repentent ashes on his head.


But with my breath I can revive it, boy.


An if you do, you will but make it blush

And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:

Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes;

And like a dog that is compell’d to fight,

Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.

All things that you should use to do me wrong

Deny their office: only you do lack

That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,

Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.


Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye

For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:

Yet am I sworn and I did purpose, boy,

With this same very iron to burn them out.


O, now you look like Hubert! all this while

You were disguised.


Peace; no more. Adieu.

Your uncle must not know but you are dead;

I’ll fill these dogged spies with false reports:

And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure,

That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,

Will not offend thee.


O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.


Silence; no more: go closely in with me:

Much danger do I undergo for thee.



Then I, as one that am the tongue of these,

To sound the purpose of all their hearts,

Both for myself and them, but, chief of all,

Your safety, for the which myself and them

Bend their best studies, heartily request

The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint

Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent

To break into this dangerous argument,–

If what in rest you have in right you hold,

Why then your fears, which, as they say, attend

The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up

Your tender kinsman and to choke his days

With barbarous ignorance and deny his youth

The rich advantage of good exercise?

That the time’s enemies may not have this

To grace occasions, let it be our suit

That you have bid us ask his liberty;

Which for our goods we do no further ask

Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,

Counts it your weal he have his liberty.



Let it be so: I do commit his youth

To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

Taking him apart


This is the man should do the bloody deed;

He show’d his warrant to a friend of mine:

The image of a wicked heinous fault

Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his

Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;

And I do fearfully believe ‘tis done,

What we so fear’d he had a charge to do.


The colour of the king doth come and go

Between his purpose and his conscience,

Like heralds ‘twixt two dreadful battles set:

His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.


And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence

The foul corruption of a sweet child’s death.


We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand:

Good lords, although my will to give is living,

The suit which you demand is gone and dead:

He tells us Arthur is deceased to-night.


Indeed we fear’d his sickness was past cure.


Indeed we heard how near his death he was

Before the child himself felt he was sick:

This must be answer’d either here or hence.


Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?

Think you I bear the shears of destiny?

Have I commandment on the pulse of life?


It is apparent foul play; and ‘tis shame

That greatness should so grossly offer it:

So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.


Stay yet, Lord Salisbury; I’ll go with thee,

And find the inheritance of this poor child,

His little kingdom of a forced grave.

That blood which owed the breadth of all this isle,

Three foot of it doth hold: bad world the while!

This must not be thus borne: this will break out

To all our sorrows, and ere long I doubt.

Exeunt Lords


They burn in indignation. I repent:

There is no sure foundation set on blood,

No certain life achieved by others’ death.

Enter a Messenger

A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood

That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?

So foul a sky clears not without a storm:

Pour down thy weather: how goes all in France?


From France to England. Never such a power

For any foreign preparation

Was levied in the body of a land.

The copy of your speed is learn’d by them;

For when you should be told they do prepare,

The tidings come that they are all arrived.”


My liege, her ear

Is stopp’d with dust; the first of April died

Your noble mother: and, as I hear, my lord,

The Lady Constance in a frenzy died

Three days before: but this from rumour’s tongue

I idly heard; if true or false I know not.”


How I have sped among the clergymen,

The sums I have collected shall express.

But as I travell’d hither through the land,

I find the people strangely fantasied;

Possess’d with rumours, full of idle dreams,

Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear:

And here a prophet, that I brought with me

From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found

With many hundreds treading on his heels;

To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,

That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,

Your highness should deliver up your crown.


Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?


Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.


Hubert, away with him; imprison him;

And on that day at noon whereon he says

I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d.

Deliver him to safety; and return,

For I must use thee.

Exeunt HUBERT with PETER

O my gentle cousin,

Hear’st thou the news abroad, who are arrived?


The French, my lord; men’s mouths are full of it:

Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,

With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,

And others more, going to seek the grave

Of Arthur, who they say is kill’d to-night

On your suggestion.


Gentle kinsman, go,

And thrust thyself into their companies:

I have a way to win their loves again;

Bring them before me.


I will seek them out.”


My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;

Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about

The other four in wondrous motion.


Five moons!


Old men and beldams in the streets

Do prophesy upon it dangerously:

Young Arthur’s death is common in their mouths:

And when they talk of him, they shake their heads

And whisper one another in the ear;

And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer’s wrist,

Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,

With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.

I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,

The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,

With open mouth swallowing a tailor’s news;

Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,

Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste

Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,

Told of a many thousand warlike French

That were embattailed and rank’d in Kent:

Another lean unwash’d artificer

Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur’s death.


Why seek’st thou to possess me with these fears?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur’s death?

Thy hand hath murder’d him: I had a mighty cause

To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.


No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?


It is the curse of kings to be attended

By slaves that take their humours for a warrant

To break within the bloody house of life,

And on the winking of authority

To understand a law, to know the meaning

Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns

More upon humour than advised respect.


Here is your hand and seal for what I did.


O, when the last account ‘twixt heaven and earth

Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal

Witness against us to damnation!

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds

Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,

A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,

Quoted and sign’d to do a deed of shame,

This murder had not come into my mind:

But taking note of thy abhorr’d aspect,

Finding thee fit for bloody villany,

Apt, liable to be employ’d in danger,

I faintly broke with thee of Arthur’s death;

And thou, to be endeared to a king,

Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.


My lord—


Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause

When I spake darkly what I purposed,

Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face,

As bid me tell my tale in express words,

Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,

And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me:

But thou didst understand me by my signs

And didst in signs again parley with sin;

Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,

And consequently thy rude hand to act

The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.

Out of my sight, and never see me more!

My nobles leave me; and my state is braved,

Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:

Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,

This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,

Hostility and civil tumult reigns

Between my conscience and my cousin’s death.


Arm you against your other enemies,

I’ll make a peace between your soul and you.

Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine

Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,

Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.

Within this bosom never enter’d yet

The dreadful motion of a murderous thought;

And you have slander’d nature in my form,

Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,

Is yet the cover of a fairer mind

Than to be butcher of an innocent child.


Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,

Throw this report on their incensed rage,

And make them tame to their obedience!

Forgive the comment that my passion made

Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,

And foul imaginary eyes of blood

Presented thee more hideous than thou art.

O, answer not, but to my closet bring

The angry lords with all expedient haste.

I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.




As good to die and go, as die and stay.

Leaps down

O me! my uncle’s spirit is in these stones:

Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!




All murders past do stand excused in this:

And this, so sole and so unmatchable,

Shall give a holiness, a purity,

To the yet unbegotten sin of times;

And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,

Exampled by this heinous spectacle.


It is a damned and a bloody work;

The graceless action of a heavy hand,

If that it be the work of any hand.”


Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:

Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.


O, he is old and blushes not at death.

Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!


I am no villain.


Must I rob the law?

Drawing his sword


Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.


Not till I sheathe it in a murderer’s skin.


Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;

By heaven, I think my sword’s as sharp as yours:

I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,

Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;

Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget

Your worth, your greatness and nobility.


Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman?


Not for my life: but yet I dare defend

My innocent life against an emperor.


Thou art a murderer.


Do not prove me so;

Yet I am none: whose tongue soe’er speaks false,

Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.


Cut him to pieces.


Keep the peace, I say.


Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.


Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:

If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,

Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,

I’ll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;

Or I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron,

That you shall think the devil is come from hell.


What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?

Second a villain and a murderer?


Lord Bigot, I am none.


Who kill’d this prince?


‘Tis not an hour since I left him well:

I honour’d him, I loved him, and will weep

My date of life out for his sweet life’s loss.


Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,

For villany is not without such rheum;

And he, long traded in it, makes it seem

Like rivers of remorse and innocency.

Away with me, all you whose souls abhor

The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;

For I am stifled with this smell of sin.


Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!


There tell the king he may inquire us out.

Exeunt Lords”


Ha! I’ll tell thee what;

Thou’rt damn’d as black–nay, nothing is so black;

Thou art more deep damn’d than Prince Lucifer:

There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell

As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.


Upon my soul–


If thou didst but consent

To this most cruel act, do but despair;

And if thou want’st a cord, the smallest thread

That ever spider twisted from her womb

Will serve to strangle thee, a rush will be a beam

To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,

Put but a little water in a spoon,

And it shall be as all the ocean,

Enough to stifle such a villain up.

I do suspect thee very grievously.


If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,

Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath

Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,

Let hell want pains enough to torture me.

I left him well.


Go, bear him in thine arms.

I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way

Among the thorns and dangers of this world.

How easy dost thou take all England up!

From forth this morsel of dead royalty,

The life, the right and truth of all this realm

Is fled to heaven; and England now is left

To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth

The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.

Now for the bare-pick’d bone of majesty

Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest

And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:

Now powers from home and discontents at home

Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,

As doth a raven on a sick-fall’n beast,

The imminent decay of wrested pomp.

Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can

Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child

And follow me with speed: I’ll to the king:

A thousand businesses are brief in hand,

And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.




On this Ascension-day, remember well,

Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Go I to make the French lay down their arms.



Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet

Say that before Ascension-day at noon

My crown I should give off? Even so I have:

I did suppose it should be on constraint:

But, heaven be thank’d, it is but voluntary.

Enter the BASTARD


All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out

But Dover castle: London hath received,

Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:

Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone

To offer service to your enemy,

And wild amazement hurries up and down

The little number of your doubtful friends.


Would not my lords return to me again,

After they heard young Arthur was alive?


They found him dead and cast into the streets,

An empty casket, where the jewel of life

By some damn’d hand was robb’d and ta’en away.


That villain Hubert told me he did live.


So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.

But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?

Be great in act, as you have been in thought;

Let not the world see fear and sad distrust

Govern the motion of a kingly eye:

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;

Threaten the threatener and outface the brow

Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,

That borrow their behaviors from the great,

Grow great by your example and put on

The dauntless spirit of resolution.

Away, and glister like the god of war,

When he intendeth to become the field:

Show boldness and aspiring confidence.

What, shall they seek the lion in his den,

And fright him there? and make him tremble there?

O, let it not be said: forage, and run

To meet displeasure farther from the doors,

And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.


The legate of the pope hath been with me,

And I have made a happy peace with him;

And he hath promised to dismiss the powers

Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league!

Shall we, upon the footing of our land,

Send fair-play orders and make compromise,

Insinuation, parley and base truce

To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,

A cocker’d silken wanton, brave our fields,

And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,

Mocking the air with colours idly spread,

And find no cheque? Let us, my liege, to arms:

Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;

Or if he do, let it at least be said

They saw we had a purpose of defence.


Have thou the ordering of this present time.”


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.”



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.”

“Trumpet sounds

What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?

Enter the BASTARD, attended”

2a vez que essa mesma sequência de três linhas sucede na peça, uma no prólogo, outra no ato final.

“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.


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.


Give me leave to speak.


No, I will speak.


We will attend to neither.

Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war

Plead for our interest and our being here.


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.


Strike up our drums, to find this danger out.


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



This fever, that hath troubled me so long,

Lies heavy on me; O, my heart is sick!

Enter a Messenger


My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge [Richard the Bastard],

Desires your majesty to leave the field

And send him word by me which way you go.“


Ay me! this tyrant fever burns me up,

And will not let me welcome this good news.

Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;

Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.


ACT 5 SCENE 4 (na íntegra)

Another part of the field.



I did not think the king so stored with friends.


Up once again; put spirit in the French:

If they miscarry, we miscarry too.


That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge,

In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.


They say King John sore sick hath left the field.

Enter MELUN, wounded


Lead me to the revolts of England here.


When we were happy we had other names.


It is the Count Melun.


Wounded to death.


Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold;

Unthread the rude eye of rebellion

And welcome home again discarded faith.

Seek out King John and fall before his feet;

For if the French be lords of this loud day,

He means to recompense the pains you take

By cutting off your heads: thus hath he sworn

And I with him, and many moe with me,

Upon the altar at Saint Edmundsbury;

Even on that altar where we swore to you

Dear amity and everlasting love.


May this be possible? may this be true?


Have I not hideous death within my view,

Retaining but a quantity of life,

Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax

Resolveth from his figure ‘gainst the fire?

What in the world should make me now deceive,

Since I must lose the use of all deceit?

Why should I then be false, since it is true

That I must die here and live hence by truth?

I say again, if Lewis do win the day,

He is forsworn, if e’er those eyes of yours

Behold another day break in the east:

But even this night, whose black contagious breath

Already smokes about the burning crest

Of the old, feeble and day-wearied sun,

Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire,

Paying the fine of rated treachery

Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,

If Lewis by your assistance win the day.

Commend me to one Hubert with your king:

The love of him, and this respect besides,

For that my grandsire was an Englishman,

Awakes my conscience to confess all this.

In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence

From forth the noise and rumour of the field,

Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts

In peace, and part this body and my soul

With contemplation and devout desires.


We do believe thee: and beshrew my soul

But I do love the favour and the form

Of this most fair occasion, by the which

We will untread the steps of damned flight,

And like a bated and retired flood,

Leaving our rankness and irregular course,

Stoop low within those bounds we have o’erlook’d

And cabby run on in obedience

Even to our ocean, to our great King John.

My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;

For I do see the cruel pangs of death

Right in thine eye. Away, my friends! New flight;

And happy newness, that intends old right.

Exeunt, leading off MELUN”


Here: what news?


The Count Melun is slain; the English lords

By his persuasion are again fall’n off,

And your supply, which you have wish’d so long,

Are cast away and sunk on Goodwin Sands.


Ah, foul shrewd news! beshrew thy very heart!

I did not think to be so sad to-night

As this hath made me. Who was he that said

King John did fly an hour or two before

The stumbling night did part our weary powers?”


O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,

Black, fearful, comfortless and horrible.


Show me the very wound of this ill news:

I am no woman, I’ll not swoon at it.


The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk:

I left him almost speechless; and broke out

To acquaint you with this evil, that you might

The better arm you to the sudden time,

Than if you had at leisure known of this.


How did he take it? who did taste to him?”


Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty?


Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,

And brought Prince Henry in their company;

At whose request the king hath pardon’d them,

And they are all about his majesty.”


It is too late: the life of all his blood

Is touch’d corruptibly, and his pure brain,

Which some suppose the soul’s frail dwelling-house,

Doth by the idle comments that it makes

Foretell the ending of mortality.



O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes

In their continuance will not feel themselves.

Death, having prey’d upon the outward parts,

Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now

Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds

With many legions of strange fantasies,

Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,

Confound themselves. ‘Tis strange that death

should sing.

I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,

Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,

And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings

His soul and body to their lasting rest.”

“There is so hot a summer in my bosom,

That all my bowels crumble up to dust:

I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen

Upon a parchment, and against this fire

Do I shrink up.”


O that there were some virtue in my tears,

That might relieve you!


The salt in them is hot.

Within me is a hell; and there the poison

Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize

On unreprievable condemned blood.

Enter the BASTARD”

“O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye:

The tackle of my heart is crack’d and burn’d,

And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail

Are turned to one thread, one little hair:

My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,

Which holds but till thy news be uttered;

And then all this thou seest is but a clod

And module of confounded royalty.”



You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.

My liege! my lord! but now a king, now thus.”

“What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,

When this was now a king, and now is clay?”


It seems you know not, then, so much as we:

The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,

Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,

And brings from him such offers of our peace

As we with honour and respect may take,

With purpose presently to leave this war.


He will the rather do it when he sees

Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.


Nay, it is in a manner done already;

For many carriages he hath dispatch’d

To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel

To the disposing of the cardinal:

With whom yourself, myself and other lords,

If you think meet, this afternoon will post

To consummate this business happily.


Let it be so: and you, my noble prince,

With other princes that may best be spared,

Shall wait upon your father’s funeral.


At Worcester must his body be interr’d;

For so he will’d it.”



This England never did, nor never shall,

Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,

But when it first did help to wound itself.

Now these her princes are come home again,

Come the three corners of the world in arms,

And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,

If England to itself do rest but true.