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Confront your city's eyes, your winking gates;
And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones
That as a waist do girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordnance
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had been dishabited, and wide havock 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 countercheck before your gates,
To save unscratch'd your city's threaten'd cheeks,
Behold, the French, amaz’d, 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,
Forwearied24 in this action of swift speed,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.
K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us

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 him that owes25 it; namely, this young prince:
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,
Save in aspect, have all offence seal'd up:

To pay the prorokhis opprospitable

24 Worn out. 25 OWAS.

in Thelish, anangers of cowall

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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 unbruis'd,
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 roundure26 of your old-fac'd 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 challeng'd it ?
Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
And stalk in blood to our possession ?
1 Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's sub-

For him, and in his right, we hold this town.

K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in. 1 Cit. 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. K. 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, Bast. Bastards, and else. K. John. To verify our title with their lives. K. Phi. As many, and as well born bloods as

those,-Bast. Some bastards too. K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim. 1 Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest, We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both.

26 Roundure, from rondare, Fr.; circle. Thus in Shakspeare's twenty-first Sonnet :

-----all things rare,
That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.'

K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those

souls, That to their everlasting residence, Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet, In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king! K. Phi. Amen, Amen!- Mount, chevaliers ! to

arms! Bast. St. George,—that swing'd the dragon, and

e'er since, Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door, Teach us some fence ;-Sirrah, were I at home, At your den, sirrah [To Austria), with your lioness, I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide27, And make a monster of you. Aust.

Peace; no more. Bast. O, tremble; for you hear the lion roar. K. John. Up higher to the plain; where we'll set

forth, In best appointment, all our regiments. Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the field. K. Phi. It shall be so;- [TO LEWIS] and at the

other hill Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!


SCENE II. The same.

Alarums and Excursions; then a Retreat. Enter

a French Herald, with trumpets to the gates. F. Her.1 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

37 So in the old play of King John:

"But let the frolic Frenchman take no scorn

If Philip fronts him with an English horn.' 1 Johnson observes, “This speech is very poetical and smooth, and, except the conceit of the widow's husband chibracing the earth, is just and beautiful.'

sband for the blecerilish mother

Much work for tears in many an English mother,
Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground:
Many a widow's husband groveling 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.

Enter an English Herald, with trumpets.
E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your

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 blood3;
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 jolly troop of huntsmenį, come
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes:

Open your gates, and give the victors way.
Job Cit. Heralds, from off our towers we might be-


2 Shakspeare has used this image again in Macbeth, Act ii. Sc. 3:

---Here lay Duncan,

His silver skin laced with his golden blood.' It occurs also in Chapman's translation of the sixteenth Iliad :"The curets from great Hector's breast all gilded with

his gore.' Again in the same translator's version of the nineteenth Odys. sey:

And show'd his point gilt with the gushing gore.'
3 It was anciently one of the savage practices of the chase for
all to stain their hands in the blood of the deer as a trophy.
Shakspeare alludes to the practice again in Julius Caesar :-

---Here thy hunters stand,
Sign'd in thy spoil, and crimson'd in thy lethe.'

From first to last, the onset and retire
Of both your armies; whose equality
By our best eyes cannot be censured4:
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd

blows; Strength match'd with strength, and power con

fronted 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. Enter, at one side, King John, with his Power; ELINOR, BLANCH, and the Bastard; at the other, King Philip, Lewis, AUSTRIA, and Forces. K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to

cast away? Say, shall the current of our right runon? 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. K. Phi. England, thou hast not sav'd 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

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.

Bast. Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers, When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!

T'habier, lost mnial, mo

4 Estimated, judged, determined. Shakspeare should have written, 'whose superiority, or whose inequality cannot be censured.'

5 The first folio reads roam: the change was made in the second folio.

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