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King John - Act 5, scene 7
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Navigate this workKing John - Act 5, scene 7
Act 5, scene 7
As King John lies dying, surrounded by his newly loyal nobles and his son, Prince Henry, the Bastard brings him news of French victories and English losses. The Bastard then learns that Pandulph has brought an offer of peace from the Dauphin. After John dies, the Bastard and the nobles offer their allegiance to Prince Henry, soon to be crowned King Henry III.Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot.
2565 It is too late. The life of all his blood
2566 Is touched corruptibly, and his pure brain,
2567 Which some suppose the soul’s frail dwelling-house,
2568 Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
2569 5 Foretell the ending of mortality.
2570 His Highness yet doth speak, and holds belief
2571 That being brought into the open air
2572 It would allay the burning quality
2573 Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
2574 10 Let him be brought into the orchard here.
2575 Doth he still rage?
PEMBROKE 2576 He is more patient
2577 Than when you left him. Even now he sung.
2578 O vanity of sickness! Fierce extremes
2579 15 In their continuance will not feel themselves.
2580 Death, having preyed upon the outward parts,
2581 Leaves them invisible, and his siege is now
2582 Against the ⌜mind,⌝ the which he pricks and wounds
2583 With many legions of strange fantasies,
2584 20 Which in their throng and press to that last hold
p. 2032585 Confound themselves. ’Tis strange that Death should
2587 I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
2588 Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,
2589 25 And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings
2590 His soul and body to their lasting rest.
2591 Be of good comfort, prince, for you are born
2592 To set a form upon that indigest
2593 Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
⌜King⌝ John brought in, ⌜attended by Bigot.⌝
2594 30 Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room.
2595 It would not out at windows nor at doors.
2596 There is so hot a summer in my bosom
2597 That all my bowels crumble up to dust.
2598 I am a scribbled form drawn with a pen
2599 35 Upon a parchment, and against this fire
2600 Do I shrink up.
PRINCE HENRY 2601 How fares your Majesty?
2602 Poisoned—ill fare—dead, forsook, cast off,
2603 And none of you will bid the winter come
2604 40 To thrust his icy fingers in my maw,
2605 Nor let my kingdom’s rivers take their course
2606 Through my burned bosom, nor entreat the North
2607 To make his bleak winds kiss my parchèd lips
2608 And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much.
2609 45 I beg cold comfort, and you are so strait
2610 And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
2611 O, that there were some virtue in my tears
2612 That might relieve you!
KING JOHN 2613 The salt in them is hot.
2614 50 Within me is a hell, and there the poison
p. 2052615 Is, as a fiend, confined to tyrannize
2616 On unreprievable, condemnèd blood.
2617 O, I am scalded with my violent motion
2618 And spleen of speed to see your Majesty.
2619 55 O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye.
2620 The tackle of my heart is cracked and burnt,
2621 And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
2622 Are turnèd to one thread, one little hair.
2623 My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
2624 60 Which holds but till thy news be utterèd,
2625 And then all this thou seest is but a clod
2626 And module of confounded royalty.
2627 The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,
2628 Where ⌜God⌝ He knows how we shall answer him.
2629 65 For in a night the best part of my power,
2630 As I upon advantage did remove,
2631 Were in the Washes all unwarily
2632 Devourèd by the unexpected flood.
⌜King John dies.⌝
2633 You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.—
2634 70 My liege! My lord!—But now a king, now thus.
2635 Even so must I run on, and even so stop.
2636 What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
2637 When this was now a king and now is clay?
2638 Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind
2639 75 To do the office for thee of revenge,
2640 And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
2641 As it on Earth hath been thy servant still.—
p. 2072642 Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,
2643 Where be your powers? Show now your mended
2644 80 faiths
2645 And instantly return with me again
2646 To push destruction and perpetual shame
2647 Out of the weak door of our fainting land.
2648 Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
2649 85 The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
2650 It seems you know not, then, so much as we.
2651 The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
2652 Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,
2653 And brings from him such offers of our peace
2654 90 As we with honor and respect may take,
2655 With purpose presently to leave this war.
2656 He will the rather do it when he sees
2657 Ourselves well-sinewèd to our defense.
2658 Nay, ’tis in a manner done already,
2659 95 For many carriages he hath dispatched
2660 To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
2661 To the disposing of the Cardinal,
2662 With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
2663 If you think meet, this afternoon will post
2664 100 To consummate this business happily.
2665 Let it be so.—And you, my noble prince,
2666 With other princes that may best be spared,
2667 Shall wait upon your father’s funeral.
2668 At Worcester must his body be interred,
2669 105 For so he willed it.
BASTARD 2670 Thither shall it, then,
2671 And happily may your sweet self put on
2672 The lineal state and glory of the land,
p. 2092673 To whom with all submission on my knee
2674 110 I do bequeath my faithful services
2675 And true subjection everlastingly.⌜He kneels.⌝
2676 And the like tender of our love we make
2677 To rest without a spot forevermore.
⌜Salisbury, Pembroke, and Bigot kneel.⌝
2678 I have a kind soul that would give ⌜you⌝ thanks
2679 115 And knows not how to do it but with tears.
2680 O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
2681 Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
2682 This England never did nor never shall
2683 Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror
2684 120 But when it first did help to wound itself.
2685 Now these her princes are come home again,
2686 Come the three corners of the world in arms
2687 And we shall shock them. Naught shall make us rue,
2688 If England to itself do rest but true.
They exit, ⌜bearing the body of King John.⌝