KING EDWARD. If gall or wormwood have a pleasant taste, Then is thy salutation honey sweet; But as the one hath no such property, So is the other most satirical. Yet wot how I regard thy worthless taunts: If thou have uttered them to foil my fame Or dim the reputation of my birth, Know that thy wolvish barking cannot hurt; If slyly to insinuate with the world, And with a strumpet's artificial line To paint thy vicious and deformed cause, Be well assured, the counterfeit will fade, And in the end thy foul defects be seen; But if thou didst it to provoke me on, As who should say I were but timorous. Or, coldly negligent, did need a spur, Bethink thy self how slack I was at sea, How since my landing I have won no towns, Entered no further but upon the coast, And there have ever since securely slept. But if I have been other wise employed, Imagine, Valois, whether I intend To skirmish, not for pillage, but for the Crown Which thou dost wear; and that I vow to have, Or one of us shall fall into his grave.
PRINCE EDWARD. Look not for cross invectives at our hands, Or railing execrations of despite: Let creeping serpents, hid in hollow banks, Sting with their tongues; we have remorseless swords, And they shall plead for us and our affairs. Yet thus much, briefly, by my father's leave: As all the immodest poison of thy throat Is scandalous and most notorious lies, And our pretended quarrel is truly just, So end the battle when we meet to day: May either of us prosper and prevail, Or, luckless, curst, receive eternal shame!
KING EDWARD. That needs no further question; and I know, His conscience witnesseth, it is my right.-- Therefore, Valois, say, wilt thou yet resign, Before the sickles thrust into the Corn, Or that inkindled fury turn to flame?
KING JOHN. Edward, I know what right thou hast in France; And ere I basely will resign my Crown, This Champion field shall be a pool of blood, And all our prospect as a slaughter house.
PRINCE EDWARD. Aye, that approves thee, tyrant, what thou art: No father, king, or shepherd of thy realm, But one, that tears her entrails with thy hands, And, like a thirsty tyger, suckst her blood.
AUDLEY. You peers of France, why do you follow him That is so prodigal to spend your lives?
CHARLES. Whom should they follow, aged impotent, But he that is their true borne sovereign?
KING EDWARD. Obraidst thou him, because within his face Time hath ingraved deep characters of age? Know, these grave scholars of experience, Like stiff grown oaks, will stand immovable, When whirl wind quickly turns up younger trees.
DARBY. Was ever any of thy father's house King but thyself, before this present time? Edward's great linage, by the mother's side, Five hundred years hath held the scepter up: Judge then, conspiratours, by this descent, Which is the true borne sovereign, this or that.
PHILIP. Father, range your battles, prate no more; These English fain would spend the time in words, That, night approaching, they might escape unfought.
KING JOHN. Lords and my loving Subjects, now's the time, That your intended force must bide the touch. Therefore, my friends, consider this in brief: He that you fight for is your natural King; He against whom you fight, a foreigner: He that you fight for, rules in clemency, And reins you with a mild and gentle bit; He against whom you fight, if he prevail, Will straight inthrone himself in tyranny, Makes slaves of you, and with a heavy hand Curtail and curb your sweetest liberty. Then, to protect your Country and your King, Let but the haughty Courage of your hearts Answer the number of your able hands, And we shall quickly chase these fugitives. For what's this Edward but a belly god, A tender and lascivious wantoness, That thother day was almost dead for love? And what, I pray you, is his goodly guard? Such as, but scant them of their chines of beef And take away their downy featherbeds, And presently they are as resty stiff, As twere a many over ridden jades. Then, French men, scorn that such should be your Lords, And rather bind ye them in captive bands.