Poitou. Fields near Poitiers. Another part of the field of battle.
(King John; Charles; Philip)
Even King John finds himself fearful as he sees his panic-stricken army flee. The Duke of Normandy runs in to tell him that in the panic the French are starting to kill each other. Prince Philip is ashamed that so large an army is being beaten by so small a force. King John rallies his sons and his knights, and makes one last desperate charge. (36 lines)
Alarum. Enter King John.
Our multitudes are in themselves confounded,
Dismayed, and distraught; swift starting fear
Hath buzzed a cold dismay through all our army,
And every petty disadvantage prompts
The fear possessed abject soul to fly.
Myself, whose spirit is steel to their dull lead,
What with recalling of the prophecy,
And that our native stones from English arms
Rebel against us, find myself attainted
With strong surprise of weak and yielding fear.
Fly, father, fly! The French do kill the French,
Some that would stand let drive at some that fly;
Our drums strike nothing but discouragement,
Our trumpets sound dishonor and retire;
The spirit of fear, that feareth nought but death,
Cowardly works confusion on itself.
Pluck out your eyes, and see not this day’s shame!
An arm hath beat an army; one poor David
Hath with a stone foiled twenty stout Goliaths;
Some twenty naked starvelings with small flints,
Hath driven back a puissant host of men,
Arrayed and fenced in all accomplements.
Mordieu! They quoit at us and kill us up;
No less than forty thousand wicked elders
Have forty lean slaves this day stoned to death.
O, that I were some other countryman!
This day hath set derision on the French,
And all the world will blurt and scorn at us.
What, is there no hope left?
No hope, but death, to bury up our shame.
Make up once more with me; the twentieth part
Of those that live, are men inow to quail
The feeble handful on the adverse part.
Then charge again: if heaven be not opposed,
We cannot lose the day.