King John

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Alarums, excursions, retreat. Enter King John,

Queen Eleanor, Arthur, the Bastard, Hubert, lords

and soldiers


(to Queen Eleanor)

So shall it be – your grace shall stay behind,

So strongly guarded. (to Arthur) Cousin, look not sad!

Thy grandam loves thee, and thy uncle will
grandam (n.) grandmother See Topics: Family

As dear be to thee as thy father was.


O, this will make my mother die with grief!


(to the Bastard)

Cousin, away for England! Haste before,

And ere our coming see thou shake the bags

Of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels

Set at liberty. The fat ribs of peace

Must by the hungry now be fed upon.

Use our commission in his utmost force.


Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back

When gold and silver becks me to come on.
beck (v.) beckon, nod, call

I leave your highness. Grandam, I will pray –

If ever I remember to be holy –

For your fair safety. So I kiss your hand.


Farewell, gentle cousin.


                         Coz, farewell.

Exit the Bastard
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


Come hither, little kinsman. Hark, a word.

She takes Aurthur aside
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind


Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,

We owe thee much! Within this wall of flesh

There is a soul counts thee her creditor,

And with advantage means to pay thy love;
advantage (n.) 4 interest, bonus, addition
pay (v.) 1 repay, requite, recompense

And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath

Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.

Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,

But I will fit it with some better tune.
fit (v.) 3 adapt, conform, accommodate
tune (n.) 1 state of mind, mood

By heaven, Hubert, I am almost ashamed

To say what good respect I have of thee.
respect (n.) 3 regard, admiration, favour, opinion


I am much bounden to your majesty.
bounden (v.) indebted, obliged, grateful


Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet,

But thou shalt have; and creep time ne'er so slow,

Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.

I had a thing to say – but let it go.

The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,

Attended with the pleasures of the world,
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with

Is all too wanton and too full of gauds
gaud (n.) gaudy toy, showy plaything, trinket
wanton (adj.) 4 gay, lively, cheerful

To give me audience. If the midnight bell

Did with his iron tongue and brazen mouth

Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
race (n.) 6 course, passage

If this same were a churchyard where we stand,

And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
possess (v.) 2 fill, imbue

Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
melancholy (n.) ill-temper, sullenness [thought to be the result of too much ‘black bile’ in the blood]

Had baked thy blood, and made it heavy, thick,
bake (v.) harden, make solid
heavy (adj.) 7 slow-moving, sluggish, laggard

Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
tickle (v.) 3 tingle, run in a thrilling way

Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes
idiot (n.) jester, clown, fool

And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
strain (v.) 2 constrain, force, press

A passion hateful to my purposes;
hateful (adj.) 2 repulsive, obnoxious, incompatible [with]
passion (n.) 1 powerful feeling, overpowering emotion [often opposed to ‘reason’]
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,

Hear me without thine ears, and make reply

Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
conceit (n.) 5 notion, idea, thought

Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words;

Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
brooded (adj.) [unclear meaning] full of brooding

I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts.
bosom (n.) 2 inward thoughts, personal counsel

But, ah, I will not. Yet I love thee well,

And, by my troth, I think thou lovest me well.


So well that what you bid me undertake,

Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
adjunct (adj.) 1 attendant [upon], inevitable result [of]

By heaven, I would do it.


                         Do not I know thou wouldst?

Good Hubert! Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye

On yon young boy. I'll tell thee what, my friend,

He is a very serpent in my way,

And whereso'er this foot of mine doth tread

He lies before me. Dost thou understand me?

Thou art his keeper.
keeper (n.) 1 gaoler, warden, custodian


                         And I'll keep him so

That he shall not offend your majesty.




My lord.


A grave.


He shall not live.



I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee.

Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee.

Remember. Madam, fare you well.

I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count


My blessing go with thee.


                         For England, cousin, go.

Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!
true (adj.) 1 loyal, firm, faithful in allegiance


  Previous scene     Next scene