King John

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot


It is too late. The life of all his blood

Is touched corruptibly, and his pure brain,
corruptibly (adv.) in a corruptible way, causing decomposition
pure (adj.) 1 clear, lucid
touch (v.) 7 threaten, endanger, imperil

Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house,

Doth by the idle comments that it makes
idle (adj.) 2 mad, crazy, lunatic

Foretell the ending of mortality.
mortality (n.) 1 mortal nature, human life

Enter Pembroke


His highness yet doth speak, and holds belief

That, being brought into the open air,

It would allay the burning quality

Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage


Let him be brought into the orchard here.

Exit Bigot

Doth he still rage?
rage (v.) rave, show signs of madness


                         He is more patient

Than when you left him. Even now he sung.


O vanity of sickness! Fierce extremes
vanity (n.) 2 foolishness, absurdity, inanity

In their continuance will not feel themselves.

Death, having preyed upon the outward parts,

Leaves them invincible, and his siege is now

Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds

With many legions of strange fantasies,
fantasy (n.) 4 whim, caprice, fancy

Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
hold (n.) 1 stronghold, castle, fortress

Confound themselves. 'Tis strange that death should sing.
confound (v.) 1 destroy, overthrow, ruin

I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan

Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,

And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings

His soul and body to their lasting rest.


Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born

To set a form upon that indigest
form (n.) 3 pattern, shaping, outcome, order
indigest (n.) shapeless mass, confused situation

Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
rude (adj.) 2 rough, wild, harsh-looking

King John is brought in by Bigot and other attendants


Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;

It would not out at windows nor at doors.

There is so hot a summer in my bosom,

That all my bowels crumble up to dust.

I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen

Upon a parchment, and against this fire

Do I shrink up.


                         How fares your majesty?


Poisoned – ill fare! Dead, forsook, cast off;
fare (n.) 1 food, provision
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count

And none of you will bid the winter come

To thrust his icy fingers in my maw,
maw (n.) belly, stomach; throat, gullet

Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course

Through my burned bosom, nor entreat the north
north (n.) north wind

To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips
bleak (adj.) 3 cold, chill, icy

And comfort me with cold. I do not ask you much –

I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait
strait (adj.) 3 mean, niggardly, stingy

And so ingrateful you deny me that.
ingrateful (adj.) 1 ungrateful, unappreciative


O that there were some virtue in my tears
virtue (n.) 4 power, capability, efficacy, property

That might relieve you!


                         The salt in them is hot.

Within me is a hell, and there the poison

Is as a fiend confined to tyrannize

On unreprievable, condemned blood.

Enter the Bastard


O, I am scalded with my violent motion

And spleen of speed to see your majesty!
spleen (n.) 3 eagerness, spirits, impetuosity


O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye!
set (v.) 7 close, shut

The tackle of my heart is cracked and burnt,
tackle (n.) 1 [of a ship] rigging and sails

And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail
shroud (n.) 2 sail-rope

Are turned to one thread, one little hair;

My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
stay (v.) 15 hold, support, prop [up]

Which holds but till thy news be uttered;

And then all this thou seest is but a clod

And module of confounded royalty.
confounded (adj.) destroyed, ruined, wrecked
module (n.) image, pattern, model, empty pretence


The Dauphin is preparing hitherward,

Where God He knows how we shall answer him!
answer (v.) 6 engage with, encounter, meet [in fight]

For in a night the best part of my power,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

As I upon advantage did remove,
advantage (n.) 2 advantageous position, place of vantage, superiority

Were in the Washes all unwarily

Devoured by the unexpected flood.
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water

King John dies


You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear.
dead (adj.) 2 deadly, dire, grave

My liege! My lord! But now a king, now thus!


Even so must I run on, and even so stop.

What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
stay (n.) 2 support, prop
surety (n.) 3 security, confidence, stability

When this was now a king, and now is clay?


Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind

To do the office for thee of revenge,
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,

As it on earth hath been thy servant still.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres,
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit See Topics: Cosmos

Where be your powers? Show now your mended faiths,
faith (n.) 2 constancy, fidelity, loyalty
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

And instantly return with me again

To push destruction and perpetual shame

Out of the weak door of our fainting land.

Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

The Dauphin rages at our very heels.


It seems you know not, then, so much as we.

The Cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,

Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin,

And brings from him such offers of our peace
offer (n.) offering, proposal, invitation, inducement

As we with honour and respect may take,
respect (n.) 4 esteem, status, honour

With purpose presently to leave this war.
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
purpose (v.) 1 intend, plan


He will the rather do it when he sees

Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
well-sinewed (adj.) well-strengthened, strongly prepared


Nay, 'tis in a manner done already;

For many carriages he hath dispatched
carriage (n.) 6 wagon, gun-carriage

To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel

To the disposing of the Cardinal;
disposing (n.) disposal, management, control

With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,

If you think meet, this afternoon will post
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast

To consummate this business happily.
consummate (v.) accomplish, complete, bring to a conclusion


Let it be so. And you, my noble prince,

With other princes that may best be spared,
prince (n.) 2 person of royal blood [of either sex], noble

Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
wait on / upon (v.) 2 follow in escort, attend


At Worcester must his body be interred,

For so he willed it.


                         Thither shall it then.

And happily may your sweet self put on
happily (adv.) 2 opportunely, propitiously, with good fortune

The lineal state and glory of the land!
lineal (adj.) lineally descended, in the direct line, hereditary
state (n.) 6 kingship, majesty, sovereignty

To whom, with all submission, on my knee,

I do bequeath my faithful services

And true subjection everlastingly.
subjection (n.) duty as a subject, obedience


And the like tender of our love we make,
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
tender (n.) 1 offer, offering

To rest without a spot for evermore.
spot (n.) 1 stain, blemish, blot


I have a kind soul that would give thanks,
kind (adj.) 2 loving, affectionate, fond

And knows not how to do it but with tears.


O, let us pay the time but needful woe,

Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
beforehand (adv.) in advance, at an earlier point

This England never did, nor never shall,

Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror

But when it first did help to wound itself.

Now these her princes are come home again,

Come the three corners of the world in arms

And we shall shock them! Naught shall make us rue
shock (v.) repel with force, throw into confusion

If England to itself do rest but true!


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