King John "Come The Three Corners Of The World In Arms"

William Shakespeare

"Come The Three Corners Of The World In Arms"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: It is a dark hour in the history of England: the crown is worn by John, a king sadly lacking in grace and grandeur; King Philip of France demands the throne for his nephew, Arthur, son of the deceased older brother of John; the pope excommunicates the king for his refusal to accept the papal choice for the Archbishop of Canterbury; and several powerful English noblemen rebel against their king and join forces with the French. Ironically, though, when the English lords, "her princes," have returned their support to their king, when the breach with the Church has been healed, and when finally the forces of the French have been turned back, it is discovered that King John is dying of poison given to him by a villainous monk. Nevertheless, England has been brought to a firm stand. Henry, the son of King John, receives the crown, and the play ends in a speech of patriotic triumph delivered by Philip Faulconbridge, bastard nephew of King John:


BASTARD
. . .
This England never did, nor never shall
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them. Naught shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.