Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thou little valiant, great in villainy!

Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!
Thou fortune's champion, that dost never fight
But when her humorous ladyship is by

To teach thee safety! thou art perjur'd too,
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool; to brag, and stamp, and swear,
Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
Been sworn my solder? bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
And dost thou now fall over to my foes?
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame,
And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs.
Aust. O, that a man should speak those words to

me!

Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.

Aust. Thou dar'st not.say so, villain, for thy life. Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant

limbs.

K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget thy. self.

Enter Pandulph.

K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope. Pand. 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.

⚫ Do off.

K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories,
Can task the free breath of a sacred king?
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous,

To charge me to an answer, as the pope.

Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England,

Add thus much more,-That no Italian priest
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions;
Bnt as we under heaven are supreme head,
So, under him, that great supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold,
Without the assistance of a mortal hand:
So tell the pope; all reverence set apart,
To him, and his usurp'd authority.

K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme in
this.

K. John. Though you, and all the kings of Christendom,

Are led so grossly by this meddling priest,

Dreading the curse that money may buy out;
Aud, 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.
Pand. Then, by the lawful power that I have,
Thou shalt stand curs'd, and excommunicate:
And blessed shall he be, that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretick;
And meritorious shall that hand be call'd,
Canonized, and worshipp'd as a saint,
That takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.

Const.

O, lawful let it be,
That I have room with Rome to curse a while!
Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen,

To my keen curses; for, without my wrong,
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right.

Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my

curse.

Const. And for mine too; when law can do no

right,

Let it be lawful, that law bar no wrong:

Law cannot give my child his kingdom here;
For he, that holds his kingdom, holds the law:
Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong,
How can the law forbid my tongue to curse?
Pand. Philip of France, on peril of a curse,
Let go the hand of that arch-heretick;

And raise the power of France upon his head,
Unless he do submit himself to Rome.

Eli. Look'st thou pale, France? do not let go thy
hand.

Const. Look to that, devil! lest that France re

pent,

And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul.

Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal.

Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on his recreant limbs.
Aust. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these
wrongs,

Because

Bast.
Your breeches best may carry them.
K. John. Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal?
Const. What should he say, but as the cardinal?
Lew. 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.

Blanch.

That's the curse of Rome.
Const. O Lewis, stand fast; the devil tempts thee

here,

In likeness of a new untrimmed bride.

Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from her
faith,

But from her need.

• When unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.'

Thomson's Autumn, 206.

1

J

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

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 bless'd
To do your pleasure, and continue friends.
Pund. 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 may'st hold a serpent by the tongue,
A cased lion by the mortal paw,

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,

Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
K. Phi. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith.
Pand. So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith;
And, like a civil war, set'st oath to oath, "
Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow
First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform'd;
That is, to be the champion of our church!
What since thou swor'st, is sworn against thyself,
And may not be performed by thyself:

For that, which thou hast sworn to do amiss,
Is not amiss when it is truly done;

And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then most done not doing it:
The better act of purposes mistook
Is, to mistake again; though indirect,
Yet indirection thereby grows direct,

And falsehood falsehood cures; as fire cools fire,
Within the scorched veins of one new bura'd.

It is religion, that doth make vows kept;
But thou hast sworn against religion;

[ocr errors]

By what thou swear'st, against the thing thou

swear'st;

And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth

Against an oath: The truth thou art unsure

« PreviousContinue »