Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Angiers (Angers)


By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

(From King John)

KING JOHN.These flags of France, that are advanced here

Before the eye and prospect of your town,

Have hither march’d to your endamagement.

The cannons have their bowels full of wrath;

And ready mounted are they, to spit forth

Their iron indignation ’gainst your walls.

All preparation for a bloody siege,

And merciless proceeding by these French,

Confront your city’s eyes, your winking gates;

And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones,

That as a waist do girdle you about,

By the compulsion of their ordinance,

By this time from their fixed beds of lime

Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made

For bloody power to rush upon your peace.

But, on the sight of us, your lawful King,

Who painfully, with much expedient march,

Have brought a counter-check before your gates,

To save unscratch’d your city’s threaten’d cheeks—

Behold! the French, amazed, vouchsafe a parle.

And now, instead of bullets wrapped in fire,

To make a shaking fever in your walls,

They shoot but calm words, folded up in smoke,

To make a faithless error in your ears:

Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,

And let us in, your King, whose labor’d spirits,

Forwearied in this action of swift speed,

Crave harborage within your city-walls.