King John

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter on one side King Philip of France, Lewis the

Dauphin, Constance, Arthur, lords, and soldiers; on

the other side the Archduke of Austria and soldiers


Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

Arthur, that great forerunner of thy blood,

Richard, that robbed the lion of his heart

And fought the holy wars in Palestine,

By this brave duke came early to his grave.

And for amends to his posterity,

At our importance hither is he come
importance (n.) 2 urgent request, urging, encouragement

To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf,
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count

And to rebuke the usurpation
rebuke (v.) repress, put down, check

Of thy unnatural uncle, English John.

Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.


God shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's death

The rather that you give his offspring life,

Shadowing their right under your wings of war.
shadow (v.) 3 shelter, give protection to

I give you welcome with a powerless hand,

But with a heart full of unstained love.
unstained (adj.) unmitigated, unaffected, no longer stained with hatred

Welcome before the gates of Angiers, Duke!


A noble boy! Who would not do thee right!
right, do one 2 support one's cause, take one's part


Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
zealous (adj.) earnest, fervent, ardent

As seal to this indenture of my love:
indenture (n.) 2 contract, agreement

That to my home I will no more return

Till Angiers and the right thou hast in France,

Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,

Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides
spurn (v.) 2 kick, strike, stamp [on], dash

And coops from other lands her islanders,
coop (v.) 2 enclose, bind in, protect

Even till that England, hedged in with the main,
main (n.) 1 open sea, ocean

That water-walled bulwark, still secure

And confident from foreign purposes,
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Even till that utmost corner of the west

Salute thee for her king. Till then, fair boy,
salute (v.) 1 greet, welcome, address

Will I not think of home, but follow arms.


O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,

Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength

To make a more requital to your love.
more (adj.) 1 greater
requital (n.) recompense, reward, repayment


The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords

In such a just and charitable war.


Well then, to work! Our cannon shall be bent
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn

Against the brows of this resisting town.
brow (n.) 5 height, peak, pinnacle

Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
discipline (n.) 1 military strategy, tactics, training in the art of war

To cull the plots of best advantages.
advantage (n.) 2 advantageous position, place of vantage, superiority
cull (v.) select, pick out, choose
plot (n.) 2 position, situation, site

We'll lay before this town our royal bones,

Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,

But we will make it subject to this boy.


Stay for an answer to your embassy,
embassy (n.) 1 message [especially via an ambassador]

Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood.
unadvised (adv.) 2 unadvisedly, without proper deliberation

My Lord Chatillon may from England bring

That right in peace which here we urge in war,
right (n.) 1 just claim, rights, title

And then we shall repent each drop of blood

That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.
indirectly (adv.) 1 wrongfully, unjustly, illegitimately

Enter Chatillon


A wonder, lady! Lo, upon thy wish,

Our messenger Chatillon is arrived.

What England says, say briefly, gentle lord;
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

We coldly pause for thee. Chatillon, speak.
coldly (adv.) 1 calmly, coolly, objectively, rationally


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 stayed, have given him time
leisure (n.) opportunity, moment, available time
stay (v.) 1 wait (for), await

To land his legions all as soon as I.

His marches are expedient to this town,
expedient (adj.) speedy, rapid, expeditious

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 Blanche of Spain;

With them a bastard of the King's deceased.

And all th' unsettled humours of the land –
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count
unsettled (adj.) 2 discontented, dissatisfied, restless

Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries,
inconsiderate (adj.) thoughtless, precipitate, reckless
voluntary (n.) volunteer

With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens –
spleen (n.) 2 irritability, malice, bad temper

Have sold their fortunes at their native homes,

Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs,

To make a hazard of new fortunes here.

In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count
choice (n.) 2 picked company, select band

Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er
bottom (n.) 6 [nautical: keel, hull] ship, vessel
waft over (v.) carry across, transport

Did never float upon the swelling tide

To do offence and scathe in Christendom.
scath, scathe (n.) harm, hurt, damage

A drum beats
churlish (adj.) 2 violent, rough, harsh

The interruption of their churlish drums

Cuts off more circumstance. They are at hand –
circumstance (n.) 1 detail(s), particular(s), specifics

To parley or to fight! Therefore prepare!
parle, parley (v.) 1 discuss terms, treat, negotiate with


How much unlooked-for is this expedition!
unlooked-for (adj.) 1 unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen


By how much unexpected, by so much

We must awake endeavour for defence;

For courage mounteth with occasion.
occasion (n.) 3 need, want, requirement

Let them be welcome then. We are prepared!

Enter King John, Queen Eleanor, Blanche, the

Bastard, lords, and soldiers


Peace be to France – if France in peace permit

Our just and lineal entrance to our own.
lineal (adj.) lineally descended, in the direct line, hereditary

If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,

Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct
correct (v.) punish, chastise, reprimand

Their proud contempt that beats His peace to heaven.
beat (v.) 3 drive, force, impel


Peace be to England – if that war return

From France to England, there to live in peace.

England we love, and for that England's sake

With burden of our armour here we sweat.

This toil of ours should be a work of thine;
work (n.) 1 deed, doing, action

But thou from loving England art so far

That thou hast underwrought his lawful king,
underwork (v.) undermine, seek to overthrow

Cut off the sequence of posterity,
posterity (n.) family, line of descendants, succession
sequence (n.) 1 proper lineal order, order of succession

Outfaced infant state, and done a rape
outface (v.) 1 defy, intimidate, overcome by confronting
state (n.) 6 kingship, majesty, sovereignty

Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.

Look here upon thy brother Geoffrey's face.

These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his;
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow

This little abstract doth contain that large
abstract (n.) 3 epitome, embodiment, personification
large (n.) full-grown version

Which died in Geoffrey; and the hand of time

Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
brief (n.) 4 epitome, embodiment
draw (v.) 4 write out, draw up, present

That Geoffrey was thy elder brother born,

And this his son. England was Geoffrey's right,

And this is Geoffrey's. In the name of God

How comes it then that thou art called a king,

When living blood doth in these temples beat

Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest?
overmaster (v.) 2 usurp, take by force, hold in one's power
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count


From whom hast thou this great commission, France,

To draw my answer from thy articles?
article (n.) 2 item, particular, point of substance
draw (v.) 13 demand, call forth, extract


From that supernal judge that stirs good thoughts
supernal (adj.) celestial, heavenly, divine

In any breast of strong authority

To look into the blots and stains of right.
blot (n.) stain, disgrace, blemish

That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:

Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong
impeach (v.) 1 accuse, charge, challenge

And by whose help I mean to chastise it.


Alack, thou dost usurp authority.


Excuse it is to beat usurping down.


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 check the world.
check (v.) 3 take the reins of, control, manage


My bed was ever to thy son as true
true (adj.) 2 constant, faithful in love

As thine was to thy husband; and this boy

Liker in feature to his father Geoffrey
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

Than thou and John in manners – being as like
manner (n.) 1 (plural) proper behaviour, good conduct, forms of politeness

As rain to water or devil to his dam!
dam (n.) mother See Topics: Family

My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think

His father never was so true begot.
beget (v.), past form begot 1 give birth to, father, conceive
true (adv.) 2 legitimately, honourably, rightfully

It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother.


There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy father.
blot (v.) 1 slander, defile, blacken


There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot thee.
grandam (n.) grandmother See Topics: Family


crier (n.) officer who makes announcements in a court of law


                         Hear the crier!


                                                         What the devil art thou?


One that will play the devil, sir, with you,

An 'a may catch your hide and you alone.

You are the hare of whom the proverb goes,

Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard.

I'll smoke your skin-coat an I catch you right!
skin-coat (n.) coat made of skin, hide
smoke (v.) 5 disinfect, sanitize; beat, thrash

Sirrah, look to't! I'faith, I will, i'faith!


O, well did he become that lion's robe
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

That did disrobe the lion of that robe!


It lies as sightly on the back of him
sightly (adv.) appropriately, handsomely, pleasingly

As great Alcides' shows upon an ass.

But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back,

Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack.
lay on / upon (v.) 2 inflict blows, beat soundly


What cracker is this same that deafs our ears
cracker (n.) boaster, braggart, windbag
deaf (v.) deafen

With this abundance of superfluous breath?

King Philip, determine what we shall do straight.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count


Women and fools, break off your conference!

King John, this is the very sum of all:

England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,

In right of Arthur do I claim of thee.

Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?


My life as soon! I do defy thee, France.

Arthur of Brittaine, yield thee to my hand,

And out of my dear love I'll give thee more

Than e'er the coward hand of France can win.

Submit thee, boy.
grandam (n.) grandmother See Topics: Family


                         Come to thy grandam, child.


Do, child, go to it grandam, child.

Give grandam kingdom, and it grandam will

Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig.

There's a good grandam.


                         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.
coil (n.) turmoil, disturbance, fuss


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


Now shame upon you, whe'er she does or no!

His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames,
shame (n.) 1 disgrace, dishonour, affront
wrong (n.) 3 wrong-doing, wrongful gain, unjust claim

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
bead (n.) 2 drop of liquid, tear-drop

To do him justice and revenge on you.


Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!


Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!

Call not me slanderer. Thou and thine usurp

The dominations, royalties, and rights
domination (n.) possession, dominion, sovereign territory
royalty (n.) 4 right granted by a monarch, royal prerogative

Of this oppressed boy. This is thy eldest son's son,

Infortunate in nothing but in thee.
infortunate (adj.) unfortunate

Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
visit (v.) 1 punish, deal with

The canon of the law is laid on him,

Being but the second generation

Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.


Bedlam, have done!
bedlam (n.) mad beggar, madman/woman, lunatic


                         I have but this to say:

That he is not only plagued for her sin,

But God hath made her sin and her the plague

On this removed issue, plagued for her
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count
removed (adj.) 4 degree separated in line of succession

And with her plague; her sin his injury,
injury (n.) 1 grievance, wrong, complaint

Her injury the beadle to her sin,
beadle (n.) 2 punisher, chastiser, castigator
injury (n.) 3 taunting, injuring, injuriousness

All punished in the person of this child,

And all for her. A plague upon her!


Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
scold (n.) abusive woman, quarreller
unadvised (adj.) rash, foolhardy, thoughtless, unconsidered

A will that bars the title of thy son.


Ay, who doubts that! A will! a wicked will!

A woman's will, a cankered grandam's will!
cankered (adj.) 3 malignant, malicious, bad-tempered
grandam (n.) grandmother See Topics: Family


Peace, lady! Pause, or be more temperate.
temperate (adj.) 2 calm, moderate, composed

It ill beseems this presence to cry aim
aim, cry [archery] show applause, shout approval [of]
beseem (v.) befit, be fitting [for], be seemly [for]
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

To these ill-tuned repetitions.
ill-tuned (adj.) harsh-sounding, unmelodious
repetition (n.) 1 recital, narration, relating

Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
trumpet (n.) 1 trumpeter; herald, announcer See Topics: Stage directions

These men of Angiers. Let us hear them speak

Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.
admit (v.) 1 permit, allow, grant

A trumpet sounds

Enter Hubert upon the walls


Who is it that hath warned us to the walls?
warn (v.) 1 summon, send for, officially call


'Tis France, for England.


                         England, for itself.

You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects –


You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects,

Our trumpet called you to this gentle parle –
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
parle, parley (n.) 1 negotiation, meeting [between enemies under a truce, to discuss terms] See Topics: Frequency count


For our advantage; therefore hear us first.
advantage (n.) 3 benefit, gain, advancement, profit

These flags of France, that are advanced here
advance (v.) 1 raise, lift up, upraise

Before the eye and prospect of your town,

Have hither marched to your endamagement.
endamagement (n.) damage, injury, harm

The cannons have their bowels full of wrath,

And ready mounted are they to spit forth

Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls.

All preparation for a bloody siege

And merciless proceeding by these French

Confronts your city's eyes, your winking gates;
winking (adj.) 1 closed, shut

And but for our approach those sleeping stones,

That as a waist doth girdle you about,
waist (n.) 1 girdle, belt

By the compulsion of their ordinance
ordnance, ordinance (n.) cannon, artillery

By this time from their fixed beds of lime

Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made
dishabit (v.) dislodge, remove from the foundations

For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

But on the sight of us your lawful King,

Who painfully, with much expedient march,
countercheck (n.) countering manoeuvre, rebuke
expedient (adj.) speedy, rapid, expeditious
painfully (adv.) diligently, taking great pains

Have brought a countercheck before your gates,

To save unscratched your city's threatened cheeks,

Behold, the French, amazed, vouchsafe a parle.
amazed (adj.) dumbfounded, stunned, thunderstruck, overwhelmed
parle, parley (n.) 1 negotiation, meeting [between enemies under a truce, to discuss terms] See Topics: Frequency count
vouchsafe (v.) 1 allow, permit, grant See Topics: Politeness

And now, instead of bullets wrapped in fire,
bullet (n.) cannon-ball

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 laboured spirits,
laboured (adj.) 1 hard-worked, exhausted by toil

Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
action (n.) 1 campaign, military action, strategy
forwearied (adj.) worn out, exhausted

Crave harbourage within your city walls.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count
harbourage (n.) shelter, refuge, haven


When I have said, make answer to us both.
say (v.) 5 finish speaking, speak one's mind, make one's point See Topics: Discourse markers

Lo, in this right hand, whose protection

Is most divinely vowed upon the right
divinely (adv.) piously, spiritually, in a religious manner
right (n.) 1 just claim, rights, title

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.
enjoy (v.) 1 possess, have, own

For this downtrodden equity we tread
downtrodden (adj.) oppressed, crushed by tyranny
equity (n.) 2 right, just demand

In warlike march these greens before your town,
green (n.) 2 grass-covered land, grassy mound

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 owes it, namely this young prince.
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear,

Save in aspect, hath all offence sealed up;
aspect (n.) 2 [of objects] sight, appearance
offence (n.) 2 opposition, hostility, antagonism

Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent

Against th' invulnerable clouds of heaven;

And with a blessed and unvexed retire,
retire (n.) retreat, withdrawal
unvexed (adj.) untroubled, unmolested, unimpeded

With unhacked swords and helmets all unbruised,
unbruised (adj.) 1 unmarked, uncrushed, undamaged

We will bear home that lusty blood again
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

Which here we came to spout against your town,

And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace.

But if you fondly pass our proffered offer,
fondly (adv.) foolishly, stupidly, madly
pass (v.) 16 pass over, ignore, disregard

'Tis not the roundure of your old-faced walls
roundure (n.) roundness, rounded form

Can hide you from our messengers of war,

Though all these English and their discipline
discipline (n.) 1 military strategy, tactics, training in the art of war

Were harboured in their rude circumference.
rude (adj.) 2 rough, wild, harsh-looking

Then tell us, shall your city call us lord

In that behalf which we have challenged it,
behalf (n.), especially: in behalf (of) 3 respect, aspect, consideration

Or shall we give the signal to our rage
rage (n.) 2 warlike ardour, martial spirit

And stalk in blood to our possession?


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.


That can we not. But he that proves the King,

To him will we prove loyal. Till that time

Have we rammed 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 –


else (adv.) 3 suchlike, others besides

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.


Till you compound whose right is worthiest,
compound (v.) 1 agree, settle

We for the worthiest, hold the right from both.
hold (v.) 9 withhold, hold back
right (n.) 1 just claim, rights, title


Then God forgive the sin of all those souls

That to their everlasting residence,

Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet,
fleet (v.) 2 [of souls] leave, pass away, fly off

In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king.


Amen, amen! Mount, chevaliers! To arms!


Saint George, that swinged the dragon, and e'er since
swinge (v.) beat, thrash, flog

Sits on's horseback at mine hostess' door,

Teach us some fence! (to Austria) Sirrah, were I at home

At your den, sirrah, with your lioness,

I would set an ox-head to your lion's hide,

And make a monster of you.


                         Peace! No more.


O, tremble, for you hear the lion roar!


Up higher to the plain, where we'll set forth

In best appointment all our regiments.
appointment (n.) 3 order, direction, arrangement


Speed then, to take advantage of the field.
advantage (n.) 2 advantageous position, place of vantage, superiority
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count


It shall be so. And at the other hill

Command the rest to stand. God and our right!

Exeunt all but Hubert – King John and

his followers on one side, King Philip

and his followers on the other

After excursions, enter the Herald of France, with

trumpeters, to the gates


You men of Angiers, open wide your gates

And let young Arthur Duke of Brittaine in,

Who by the hand of France this day hath made
hand (n.) 2 agency, means, aid

Much work for tears in many an English mother,

Whose sons lie scattered on the bleeding ground;
bleeding (adj.) 1 bloody, blood-soaked, bloodstained

Many a widow's husband grovelling lies,
grovelling (adj.) prone, prostrate, lying flat

Coldly embracing the discoloured earth;

And victory with little loss doth play

Upon the dancing banners of the French,

Who are at hand, triumphantly displayed,
displayed (adj.) 3 [if of the troops] deployed, drawn up; [if of the banners] arrayed, unfurled

To enter conquerors and to proclaim

Arthur of Brittaine England's king and yours.

Enter English Herald with trumpeters


Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells!

King John, your king and England's, doth approach,

Commander of this hot malicious day.
commander (n.) victor, champion, conqueror
hot (adj.) 1 hot-tempered, angry, passionate
malicious (adj.) 2 violent, hostile, wrathful

Their armours that marched hence so silver-bright

Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood.

There stuck no plume in any English crest
crest (n.) 1 [originally the plume of feathers on a] helmet, head-piece

That is removed by a staff of France;
staff (n.) 1 (plural ‘staves’) spear, lance

Our colours do return in those same hands
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count

That did display them when we first marched forth;

And like a troop of jolly huntsmen come

Our lusty English, all with purpled hands,
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager
purpled (adj.) reddened with blood, bloodstained

Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes.

Open your gates and gives the victors way.


Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,

From first to last, the onset and retire
onset (n.) 2 attack, assault
retire (n.) retreat, withdrawal

Of both your armies; whose equality

By our best eyes cannot be censured.
censure (v.) 2 judge critically, flaw, find fault with

Blood hath bought blood and blows have answered blows,

Strength matched 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.

Enter on one side King John, Queen Eleanor, Blanche,

the Bastard, lords, and soldiers; on the other side

King Philip, Lewis the Dauphin, Austria, lords, and



France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away?

Say, shall the current of our right run on?

Whose passage, vexed with thy impediment,
passage (n.) 2 passing, progress, moving on

Shall leave his native channel and o'er-swell,
channel (n.) 1 course, bed, route
native (adj.) 1 natural, habitual, normal
over-swell (v.) flood, inundate, overflow

With course disturbed, even thy confining shores,

Unless thou let his silver water keep

A peaceful progress to the ocean?


England, thou hast not saved one drop of blood,

In this hot trial, more than we of France;
hot (adj.) 1 hot-tempered, angry, passionate

Rather, lost more. And by this hand I swear,

That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
climate (n.) 2 part of the sky
sway (v.) 1 control, rule, direct, govern

Before we will lay down our just-borne arms,

We'll put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear,

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.


Ha, majesty! How high thy glory towers
glory (n.) 2 boastful spirit, vaingloriousness
tower (v.) [falconry] mount up to a great height, circle, soar

When the rich blood of kings is set on fire!

O, now doth death line his dead chaps with steel;

The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs.

And now he feasts, mousing the flesh of men,
mouse (v.) tear, bite, rend

In undetermined differences of kings.
difference (n.) 1 quarrel, disagreement, dispute
undetermined (adj.) unresolved, undecided, unsettled

Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus?
amazed (adj.) dumbfounded, stunned, thunderstruck, overwhelmed
front (n.) 1 forehead, face

Cry havoc, Kings! Back to the stained field,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count
havoc (n.) [in fighting and hunting: calling for] total slaughter, general devastation
stained (adj.) 2 blood-stained, discoloured with dirt

You equal potents, fiery-kindled spirits!
potent (n.) potentate, ruler

Then let confusion of one part confirm
confusion (n.) 1 destruction, overthrow, ruin
part (n.) 2 side, camp, party

The other's peace. Till then, blows, blood, and death!


Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?


Speak, citizens, for England. Who's your king?


The King of England, when we know the King.


Know him in us, that here hold up his right.
hold up (v.) 2 support, uphold, sustain


In us, that are our own great deputy

And bear possession of our person here,

Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
presence (n.) 4 gracious self, dignity as a person, personal position


A greater power then we denies all this.

And, till it be undoubted, we do lock
undoubted (adj.) 1 put beyond doubt, not in question

Our former scruple in our strong-barred gates;

Kings of our fears, until our fears, resolved,
resolve (v.) 7 remove, dispel, clear away

Be by some certain king purged and deposed.
purge (v.) 2 expel, get rid of, flush out


By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you, Kings,
scroyle (n.) scoundrel, ruffian, wretch

And stand securely on their battlements
securely (adv.) 1 confidently, without misgiving, fearlessly

As in a theatre, whence they gape and point

At your industrious scenes and acts of death.
industrious (adj.) 2 ingenious, skilful, clever

Your royal presences, be ruled by me:
presence (n.) 3 majesty

Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,
mutine (n.) mutineer, rebel

Be friends awhile, and both conjointly bend
bend (v.) 1 aim, direct, level, turn
conjointly (adv.) together, in unison, in conjunction

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 brawled down
brawl down (v.) destroy with uproar, force down with clamour
soul-fearing (adj.) terrifying, petrifying

The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city.
flinty (adj.) hard, harsh, tough

I'd play incessantly upon these jades,
jade (n.) 2 [contemptuous] wretch, worthless individual
play upon (v.) play guns on, aim at; also: torment

Even till unfenced desolation
unfenced (adj.) with walls removed, unprotected

Leave them as naked as the vulgar air.
naked (adj.) 1 defenceless, undefended, unarmed
vulgar (adj.) 1 public, general, common

That done, dissever your united strengths
dissever (v.) divide, split up, separate
strength (n.) 1 troops, forces, resources, followers

And part your mingled colours once again;
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count

Turn face to face and bloody point to point.

Then, in a moment, Fortune shall cull forth
cull forth (v.) select, pick out, choose

Out of one side her happy minion,
minion (n.) 1 darling, favourite, select one

To whom in favour she shall give the day,
day (n.) 1 day of battle, contest

And kiss him with a glorious victory.

How like you this wild counsel, mighty states?
counsel (n.) 1 advice, guidance, direction
state (n.) 7 ruler, sovereign, monarch
wild (adj.) 8 daring, irregular, audacious

Smacks it not something of the policy?
policy (n.) 2 stratagem, cunning, intrigue, craft
smack (v.) 3 have an air, have a flavour


Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,

I like it well! France, shall we knit our powers
knit (v.) 1 unite, join, make one
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

And lay this Angiers even with the ground,
even (adj.) 4 level, horizontal, flat

Then after fight who shall be king of it?


(to King Philip)

An if thou hast the mettle of a king,

Being wronged as we are by this peevish town,
peevish (adj.) 2 obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]

Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery,

As we will ours, against these saucy walls;
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

And when that we have dashed 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.
bosom (n.) 7 depths


I from the north.


                         Our thunder from the south

Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town.
bullet (n.) cannon-ball
drift (n.) 3 shower, deluge, load


discipline (n.) 1 military strategy, tactics, training in the art of war

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!


Hear us, great Kings! Vouchsafe a while to stay,

And I shall show you peace and fair-faced league,
fair-faced (adj.) attractive, appealing, presenting a good prospect
league (n.) 1 compact, alliance, treaty, bond of friendship

Win you this city without stroke or wound,

Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds
breathing (adj.) 2 living, active, lively

That here come sacrifices for the field.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Persever not, but hear me, mighty Kings!
persever (v.) 2 proceed, carry on


Speak on with favour. We are bent to hear.
bent (adj.) 1 determined, intent, resolved
bent (adj.) 2 inclined, willing, ready


That daughter there of Spain, the Lady Blanche,

Is niece to England. Look upon the years
dauphin, dolphin (n.) title of the eldest son of the King of France [between 1349 and 1830]
near (adj.) 1 close to the throne [in order of succession], near relation

Of Lewis the Dauphin and that lovely maid.
dauphin, dolphin (n.) title of the eldest son of the King of France [between 1349 and 1830]

If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

Where should he find it fairer than in Blanche?

If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
zealous (adj.) earnest, fervent, ardent

Where should he find it purer than in Blanche?

If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
birth (n.) 1 royal birth, noble ancestry
match (n.) 3 matching, equality

Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanche?
bound (v.) 2 contain, enclose, confine

Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth,

Is the young Dauphin every way complete.
complete, compleat (adj.) 2 fully equipped, with everything present

If not complete of, say he is not she;

And she again wants nothing, to name want,
want (n.) 1 lack, shortage, dearth
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

If want it be not that she is not he.

He is the half part of a blessed man,

Left to be finished by such as she;

And she a fair divided excellence,
divided (adj.) 3 incomplete, imperfect, defective

Whose fullness of perfection lies in him.

O, two such silver currents, when they join,

Do glorify the banks that bound them in;
bound (v.) 2 contain, enclose, confine
glorify (v.) add glory to, increase the splendour of

And two such shores to two such streams made one,

Two such controlling bounds, shall you be, Kings,
bound (n.) 1 limit, boundary, confine, barrier

To these two princes, if you marry them.

This union shall do more than battery can
battery (n.) 1 assault, bombardment, blitz

To our fast-closed gates. For at this match,

With swifter spleen than powder can enforce,
powder (n.) gunpowder
spleen (n.) 3 eagerness, spirits, impetuosity

The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope

And give you entrance. But without this match,

The sea enraged is not half so deaf,

Lions more confident, mountains and rocks

More free from motion, no, not death himself

In moral fury half so peremptory,
peremptory (adj.) 1 determined, resolved, absolutely decided

As we to keep this city.


stay (n.) 3 set-back, obstacle, delay

                         Here's a stay

That shakes the rotten carcass of old death

Out of his rags! 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?
beget (v.), past form begot 1 give birth to, father, conceive
blood (n.) 3 man of fire, hot-blooded fellow, spirited youth
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

He speaks plain cannon – fire and smoke and bounce;
bounce (n.) explosion, detonation, gun-shot See Topics: Sounds

He gives the bastinado with his tongue.
bastinado cudgelling, beating with a stick [esp. on the soles of the feet]

Our ears are cudgelled; not a word of his

But buffets better than a fist of France.

Zounds! I was never so bethumped with words
bethump (v.) thump soundly, pound, lambaste

Since I first called my brother's father dad!


Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;
conjunction (n.) 1 union, uniting, joining together
list (v.) 2 listen

Give with our niece a dowry large enough.

For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie

Thy now unsured assurance to the crown
assurance (n.) 3 claim, title, securing [of]
unsured (adj.) insecure, uncertain, doubtful

That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe
green (adj.) 2 youthful, inexperienced, immature
ripe (v.) ripen, mature

The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit.

I see a yielding in the looks of France;
yielding (n.) consent, compliance, agreement

Mark, how they whisper. Urge them while their souls
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
urge (v.) 2 entreat with, plead with

Are capable of this ambition,
capable of 1 appreciative of, able to take in

Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath

Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse,
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness

Cool and congeal again to what it was.


Why answer not the double majesties

This friendly treaty of our threatened town?
treaty (n.) entreaty, proposal for agreement, proposition


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, Poitiers,

And all that we upon this side the sea –

Except this city now by us besieged –

Find liable to our crown and dignity,
liable (adj.) 1 subject, legally bound

Shall gild her bridal bed and make her rich
gild (v.), past forms gilt, gilded 3 enrich, adorn, beautify

In titles, honours, and promotions,
promotion (n.) advancement in life, social betterment

As she in beauty, education, blood,
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage

Holds hand with any princess of the world.
hold hands with be equal to, be comparable to


What sayst 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 formed in her eye;
shadow (n.) 2 reflection, reflected image

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
infixed (adj.) captured, caught, firmly held

Drawn in the flattering table of her eye.
draw (v.) 5 picture, represent, frame
table (n.) 2 tablet, surface, paintbook

He whispers with Blanche



Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!

Hanged in the frowning wrinkle of her brow
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

And quartered in her heart! He doth espy
espy (v.) catch sight of, discern, see
quartered (adj.) 1 cut into four pieces

Himself love's traitor. This is pity now,

That, hanged and drawn and quartered, there should be
quartered (adj.) 1 cut into four pieces

In such a love so vile a lout as he.


(to Lewis)
will (n.) 1 desire, wish, liking, inclination

My uncle's will in this respect is mine.

If he see aught in you that makes him like,
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count

That anything he sees which moves his liking,

I can with ease translate it to my will.

Or if you will, to speak more properly,

I will enforce it easily to my love.

Further I will not flatter you, my lord,

That all I see in you is worthy love,

Than this: that nothing do I see in you,

Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge,
churlish (adj.) 1 rude, blunt, ungracious

That I can find should merit any hate.


What say these young ones? What say you, my niece?


That she is bound in honour still to do
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

What you in wisdom still vouchsafe to say.


Speak then, Prince Dauphin. Can you love this lady?


Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love;

For I do love her most unfeignedly.


Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine,

Poitiers 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.
like (v.) 1 please, suit See Topics: Politeness


And your lips too – for I am well assured
assured (adj.) 1 certain, definite, sure

That I did so when I was first assured.
assured (adj.) 2 betrothed, engaged


Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates;
ope (v.) open See Topics: Frequency count

Let in that amity which you have made.

For at Saint Mary's chapel presently
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

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
make up (v.) 3 agree, conclude, make good

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.
passionate (adj.) 1 impassioned, vehement, excessively emotional
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy


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,
content (v.) 2 calm [down], settle, relax

Which we, God knows, have turned another way,

To our own vantage.
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit


                         We will heal up all,

For we'll create young Arthur Duke of Brittaine

And Earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town

We make him lord of. Call the Lady Constance;

Some speedy messenger bid her repair
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way

To our solemnity. I trust we shall,
solemnity (n.) 1 celebration, jubilation, festivity

If not fill up the measure of her will,
fill up (v.) 3 satisfy, fulfil, meet
measure (n.) 1 extent, size, amount, quantity, mass
will (n.) 1 desire, wish, liking, inclination

Yet in some measure satisfy her so

That we shall stop her exclamation.
exclamation (n.) 1 loud reproach, outcry, clamorous complaint
stop (v.) 6 silence, put a stop to

Go we as well as haste will suffer us
suffer (v.) 1 allow, permit, let

To this unlooked for, unprepared pomp.
pomp (n.) 1 pageant, ceremony, procession
unlooked-for (adj.) 1 unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen
unprepared (adj.) unplanned, introduced without special preparation

Exeunt all but the Bastard


Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!
composition (n.) 3 settlement, truce, coming to terms

John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole,
stop (v.) 1 block, hinder, impede, obstruct
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

Hath willingly departed with a part;
depart with (v.) part with, give away

And France, whose armour conscience buckled on,

Whom zeal and charity brought to the field
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear
round (v.) 4 whisper, murmur, speak privately

With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil,

That broker that still breaks the pate of faith,
broker, broker-between (n.) go-between, intermediary, agent
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
break-vow (n.) breaker of promises
win (v.) 1 gain advantage [over], get the better [of]

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 (n.) 4 self-interest, desire for gain, expediency
smooth-faced (adj.) plausible, bland, glib, deceitful
tickling (adj.) 1 flattering, alluring, diverting

Commodity, the bias of the world –
bias (n.) 1 [weighting in a bowl causing it to run obliquely] inclination, tendency, leaning
commodity (n.) 4 self-interest, desire for gain, expediency

The world, who of itself is peised well,
peise (v.) 2 poise, balance, keep in equilibrium

Made to run even upon even ground,
even (adj.) 4 level, horizontal, flat
even, e'en (adv.) 4 equably, evenly, steadily

Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
advantage (n.) 3 benefit, gain, advancement, profit
vile-drawing (adj.) attracting towards evil

This sway of motion, this commodity,
sway (n.) 2 controlling influence, guiding power, direction

Makes it take head from all indifferency,
head (n.) 2 power, strength, scope
indifferency (n.) 1 impartiality, moderation, equity
take head from rebel against, rush away from

From all direction, purpose, course, intent –
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

And this same bias, this commodity,

This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count
broker, broker-between (n.) go-between, intermediary, agent

Clapped on the outward eye of fickle France,
clap (v.) 5 [bowls] fix, stick, set
eye (n.) 6 [bowls] hollow in the side of a bowl

Hath drawn him from his own determined aid,

From a resolved and honourable war,
resolved (adj.) 1 determined, settled, decided

To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count

And why rail I on this commodity?
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

But for because he hath not wooed me yet;

Not that I have the power to clutch my hand
clutch (v.) clench, close

When his fair angels would salute my palm,
angel (n.) 3 gold coin [with the angel Michael depicted] See Topics: Money
salute (v.) 2 approach, greet, make contact with

But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
unattempted (adj.) untempted, unseduced, unapproached

Like a poor beggar raileth on the rich.
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

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!


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