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ACT III Const. You have beguild me with a counterfeit
Sc. I Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd and tried,
Proves valueless: you are forsworn, forsworn;
You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with your's:
The grappling vigour and rough frown of War
Is clos'd in amity and painted peace,
And our oppression hath made up this league.
Arm, arm, you Heavens, against these perjur'd
A widow cries; be husband to me, Heavens !
Let not the hours of this ungodly day
Wear out the day in peace; but, ere Sun set,
Set armed discord 'twixt these perjur'd Kings !
Hear me, O, hear me!
Lady Constance, peace !
Const. War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.
O Lymoges ! O Austria! thou dost shame
That bloody spoil :: thou Slave, thou Wretch, thou
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's too,
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool, to brag, and stamp, and swear
Upon my party 16 Thou cold-blooded Slave,
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
Been sworn my soldier ? 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 thyself.
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.
K. JOHN. What earthy 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;
But 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;
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.
PAND. Then, by the lawful power that I have,
And blessed shall he be that doth revolt
From his allegiance to an heretic;
And meritorious shall that hand be callid,
Canonized, and worshipp'd as a Saint,
That takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.
0, 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.
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-heretic;
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 repent,
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, 200
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.
That's the curse of Rome.
Const. O Lewis, stand fast! the Devil tempts thee
BLANCH. The Lady Constance speaks not from her faith, ACT III But from her need.
Sc. I CONST.
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;
and Faith is trodden down!
K. JOHN. The King is movd, and answers not to this.
CONST. O, be remov'd from him, and answer well!
Aust. Do so, King Philip; hang no more in doubt.
Bast. Hang nothing but a calf's-skin, most sweet Lout.
K. Phi. I am perplex'd, and know not what to say.
PAND. What canst thou say but will perplex thee more,
If thou stand excommunicate and curs'd ?
K. Phl. Good reverend Father, make my person your's,
And tell me how you would bestow yourself.
This royal hand and mine are newly knit,
And the conjunction of our inward souls
Marry'd in league, coupled and link'd 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
Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and overstain'd
With Slaughter's pencil, where Revenge did paint
The fearful difference of incensed Kings:
And shall these hands, so lately purg'd 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,
2 a cheating game; by some identified with prick-the-garter.
1 renewal of greeting.
IV : E
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.
Pand. 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 chafed 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, sett'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 sworst 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-burn'd.
It is Religion that doth make vows kept:
But thou hast sworn against Religion;
By that thou swear’st against the thing thou swor’st,
And mak’st 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 vow against thy first
1 actively inimical.