No Fear Act 2 Scene 1
No Fear Act 2 Scene 1 Page 2

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JOHN OF GAUNT

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
35Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
40This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
45This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
50This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
55As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
60Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
65That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

JOHN OF GAUNT

As I lie here dying, I think that God is suddenly letting me see the king’s future. The king can’t go on living a wasteful lifestyle forever, in the same way that a raging fire will eventually burn itself out. Little rainstorms often go on for a long time, but big, violent thunderstorms come and go quickly. The person who starts off too fast will soon tire out, and the person who eats too fast will choke on his food. The hungry bird that can’t get enough to eat will soon eat itself. This kingdom, this majestic Earth, this paradise, this fortress that Nature built to protect herself against disease and war, this lucky race of people, this little world, this precious jewel of an island sitting in the sea—which protects it like a wall or a moat against the evil intentions of less fortunate countries—this blessed land, this England, this fertile mother of kings who are feared and famous for their Christian actions throughout the world, this land of such good people, this wonderful, wonderful land—it is now rented out, and I’m going to have to die watching it happen. England is surrounded by an ocean whose rocky shore has always pushed back the raging waters. Now, though, England is bound in shame by legal papers, made of rotting parchment and covered in inky blots, that were signed to rent it out. England, which is used to conquering other countries, has now shamefully conquered itself. Oh, how I wish this scandal would die and go away, just like I’m about to die. How happy my death would be then!

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