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Scene 1

King John’s Palace.

(King John; Pandulph; Attendants; Philip the Bastard)

On Ascension Day, John yields up his crown to Pandulph, who gives it back to him as the Pope’s man. In exchange Pandulph has agreed to persuade the French to return to France. The Bastard enters with the news of Arthur’s death. John is shaken. When the Bastard hears of the terms of submission to the Pope, he is angered, and advises John that the French won’t give up so easily, and that the English should prepare for war. John gives him command. (81 lines)

Enter King John and Pandulph, Attendants.


Thus have I yielded up into your hand

The circle of my glory.

Giving the crown.


Take again

From this my hand, as holding of the Pope,

Your sovereign greatness and authority.


Now keep your holy word, go meet the French,

And from his Holiness use all your power

To stop their marches ’fore we are inflam’d.

Our discontented counties do revolt;

Our people quarrel with obedience,

Swearing allegiance and the love of soul

To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.

This inundation of mistemp’red humor

Rests by you only to be qualified.

Then pause not; for the present time’s so sick,

That present med’cine must be minist’red,

Or overthrow incurable ensues.


It was my breath that blew this tempest up,

Upon your stubborn usage of the Pope;

But since you are a gentle convertite,

My tongue shall hush again this storm of war,

And make fair weather in your blust’ring land.

On this Ascension-day, remember well,

Upon your oath of service to the Pope,

Go I to make the French lay down their arms.



Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet

Say that before Ascension-day at noon

My crown I should give off? Even so I have.

I did suppose it should be on constraint,

But (heav’n be thank’d!) it is but voluntary.

Enter Bastard.


All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out

But Dover castle. London hath receiv’d,

Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers.

Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone

To offer service to your enemy;

And wild amazement hurries up and down

The little number of your doubtful friends.


Would not my lords return to me again

After they heard young Arthur was alive?


They found him dead and cast into the streets,

An empty casket, where the jewel of life

By some damn’d hand was robb’d and ta’en away.


That villain Hubert told me he did live.


So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.

But wherefore do you droop? Why look you sad?

Be great in act, as you have been in thought.

Let not the world see fear and sad distrust

Govern the motion of a kingly eye.

Be stirring as the time, be fire with fire,

Threaten the threat’ner, and outface the brow

Of bragging horror; so shall inferior eyes,

That borrow their behaviors from the great,

Grow great by your example and put on

The dauntless spirit of resolution.

Away, and glister like the god of war

When he intendeth to become the field.

Show boldness and aspiring confidence.

What, shall they seek the lion in his den,

And fright him there? And make him tremble there?

O, let it not be said! Forage, and run

To meet displeasure farther from the doors,

And grapple with him ere he come so nigh.


The legate of the Pope hath been with me,

And I have made a happy peace with him,

And he hath promis’d to dismiss the powers

Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league!

Shall we, upon the footing of our land,

Send fair-play orders and make compromise,

Insinuation, parley, and base truce

To arms invasive? Shall a beardless boy,

A cock’red silken wanton, brave our fields,

And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,

Mocking the air with colors idlely spread,

And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms.

Perchance the Cardinal cannot make your peace;

Or if he do, let it at least be said,

They saw we had a purpose of defense.


Have thou the ordering of this present time.


Away then with good courage! Yet I know

Our party may well meet a prouder foe.



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