Act V - Act V, Scene 1


SCENE 1. Northampton. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter KING JOHN, PANDULPH with the crown, and Attendants.]

Thus have I yielded up into your hand
The circle of my glory.

[Give KING JOHN 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 mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified.
Then pause not; for the present time's so sick
That present medicine must be ministr'd
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 blustering 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, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.

[Enter the 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 threatener, and outface the brow
Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,
That borrow their behaviours 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 cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly 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 defence.

Have thou the ordering of this present time.

Away, then, with good courage! yet, I know
Our party may well meet a prouder foe.



  1. The bastard, Philip Faulconbridge, is a fierce defender of English sovereignty, but he is not consistent in his use of the term "fair play" here and elsewhere in the play. In this instance, he uses it sarcastically, indicating that the peace deal with the Vatican and the French that King John has made is cowardly. Philip equates "fair play" with capitulation, or giving up.

    — Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor