ACT IV, SCENE 5 The same. The French Camp.

Enter King John and Charles.

KING JOHN A sudden darkness hath defac'd the sky,
The winds are crept into their caves for fear,
The leaves move not, the world is hush'd and still,
The birds cease singing, and the wand'ring brooks
Murmur no wonted greeting to their shores;
Silence attends some wonder and expecteth
That heaven should pronounce some prophecy:
Where, or from whom, proceeds this silence, Charles?
CHARLES Our men, with open mouths and staring eyes,
Look on each other, as they did attend
Each other's words, and yet no creature speaks;
A tongue-tied fear hath made a midnight hour,
And speeches sleep through all the waking regions.
KING JOHN But now the pompous Sun, in all his pride,
Look'd through his golden coach upon the world,
And, on a sudden, hath he hid himself,
That now the under earth is as a grave,
Dark, deadly, silent, and uncomfortable.
[A clamor of ravens is heard.]
Hark, what a deadly outcry do I hear?
CHARLES Here comes my brother Phillip.
KING JOHN All dismayed:
[Enter Phillip.]
What fearful words are those thy looks presage?
PHILLIP A flight, a flight!
KING JOHN Coward, what flight? thou liest, there needs no flight.
PHILLIP A flight.
KING JOHN Awake thy craven powers, and tell on
The substance of that very fear in deed,
Which is so ghastly printed in thy face:
What is the matter?
PHILLIP A flight of ugly ravens
Do croak and hover o'er our soldiers' heads,
And keep in triangles and corner'd squares,
Right as our forces are embattled;
With their approach there came this sudden fog,
Which now hath hid the airy floor of heaven
And made at noon a night unnatural
Upon the quaking and dismayed world:
In brief, our soldiers have let fall their arms,
And stand like metamorphosed images,
Bloodless and pale, one gazing on another.
KING JOHN Aye, now I call to mind the prophesy,
But I must give no entrance to a fear.--
Return, and hearten up these yielding souls:
Tell them, the ravens, seeing them in arms,
So many fair against a famished few,
Come but to dine upon their handy work
And prey upon the carrion that they kill:
For when we see a horse laid down to die,
Although he be not dead, the ravenous birds
Sit watching the departure of his life;
Even so these ravens for the carcasses
Of those poor English, that are mark'd to die,
Hover about, and, if they cry to us,
Tis but for meat that we must kill for them.
Away, and comfort up my soldiers,
And sound the trumpets, and at once dispatch
This little business of a silly fraud.
  [Exit Phillip.]
  [Another noise. Salisbury brought in by a French Captain.]
CAPTAIN Behold, my liege, this knight and forty mo',
Of whom the better part are slain and fled,
With all endeavor sought to break our ranks,
And make their way to the encompassed prince:
Dispose of him as please your majesty.
KING JOHN Go, and the next bough, soldier, that thou seest,
Disgrace it with his body presently;
For I do hold a tree in France too good
To be the gallows of an English thief.
SALISBURY My Lord of Normandy, I have your pass
And warrant for my safety through this land.
CHARLES Villiers procur'd it for thee, did he not?
CHARLES And it is current; thou shalt freely pass.
KING JOHN Aye, freely to the gallows to be hang'd,
Without denial or impediment --
Away with him.
CHARLES I hope your highness will not so disgrace me,
And dash the virtue of my seal at arms:
He hath my never broken name to shew,
Charactered with this princely hand of mine:
And rather let me leave to be a prince
Than break the stable verdict of a prince:
I do beseech you, let him pass in quiet.
KING JOHN Thou and thy word lie both in my command;
What canst thou promise that I cannot break?
Which of these twain is greater infamy,
To disobey thy father or thy self?
Thy word, nor no man's, may exceed his power;
Nor that same man doth never break his word,
That keeps it to the utmost of his power.
The breach of faith dwells in the soul's consent:
Which if thy self without consent do break,
Thou art not charged with the breach of faith.
Go, hang him: for thy license lies in me,
And my constraint stands the excuse for thee.
CHARLES What, am I not a soldier in my word?
Then, arms, adieu, and let them fight that list!
Shall I not give my girdle from my waste,
But with a gardion I shall be controlled,
To say I may not give my things away?
Upon my soul, had Edward, prince of Wales,
Engaged his word, writ down his noble hand
For all your knights to pass his father's land,
The royal king, to grace his warlike son,
Would not alone safe conduct give to them,
But with all bounty feasted them and theirs.
KING JOHN Dwell'st thou on precedents? Then be it so.
Say, Englishman, of what degree thou art.
SALISBURY An Earl in England, though a prisoner here;
And those that know me call me Salisbury.
KING JOHN Then, Salisbury, say whither thou art bound.
SALISBURY To Calice, where my liege, King Edward, is.
KING JOHN To Calice, Salisbury? Then, to Calice pack,
And bid the king prepare a noble grave,
To put his princely son, black Edward, in.
And as thou travell'st westward from this place,
Some two leagues hence there is a lofty hill,
Whose top seems topless, for the embracing sky
Doth hide his high head in her azure bosom;
Upon whose tall top when thy foot attains,
Look back upon the humble vale beneath--
(Humble of late, but now made proud with arms)
And thence behold the wretched prince of Wales,
Hooped with a bond of iron round about.
After which sight, to Calice spur amain,
And say, the prince was smother'd and not slain:
And tell the king this is not all his ill;
For I will greet him, ere he thinks I will.
Away, be gone; the smoke but of our shot
Will choke our foes, though bullets hit them not.


To see other scenes in the show:

Full Play Text

ACT III, SCENE 4 The Same./ACT III, SCENE 5 The Same.

ACT I, SCENE 1 London. A Room of State in the Palace. 

ACT IV, SCENE 1 Bretagne. Camp of the English/ACT IV, SCENE 2 Picardy. The English Camp before Calais.

ACT I, Scene 2 Roxborough. Before the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 3 Poitou. Fields near Poitiers. The French camp; Tent of the Duke of Normandy.

ACT II, SCENE 1 The Same. Gardens of the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 4 The same. The English Camp.

ACT II, SCENE2 The Same. A Room in the Castle.

ACT IV, SCENE 5 The same. The French Camp.

ACT III, SCENE1  Flanders. The French Camp.

ACT IV, SCENE 6  The same. A Part of the Field of Battle./ACT IV, SCENE 7  The same. Another Part of the Field of Battle.

ACT III, SCENE 2 Picardy. Fields near Cressy.

ACT IV, SCENE 8  The same. Another Part of the Field of Battle. /ACT IV, SCENE 9  The same. The English Camp.

ACT III, SCENE 3 The same. Drums.

ACT V, SCENE 1  Picardy. The English Camp before Calais.


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All's Well the Ends Well Antony & Cleopatra As You Like It Cardenio Comedy of Errors Coriolanus
Cymbeline Edward III Hamlet Henry IV, Part 1 Henry IV, Part 2 Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 Henry VI, Part 2 Henry VI, Part 3 Henry VIII Julius Caesar King John
King Lear Love's Labours Lost Love's Labours Wonne Macbeth Measure for Measure Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor A Mid Summer Night's Dream  Much Ado About Nothing Othello Pericles Richard II
Richard III Romeo & Juliet Sir Thomas More Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus Troilus & Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Noble Kinsman The Winter's Tale


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