Sivut kuvina

I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For Heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.

Hub. Go, stand within; let me alone with him. 1 Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. [exeunt Attendants. Arth. Alas! I then have chid away my friend; He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart :Let him come back, that his compassion may Give life to yours.


Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.

Arth. Is there no remedy?

in yours,

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense!
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous


Your vile intent must needs seem horrible. Hub. Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.

Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes: Let me not hold my tongue; let me not, Hubert! Or, Hubert, if, you will, cut out my tongue, So I may keep mine eyes; O, spare mine eyes: Though to no use, but still to look on you! Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold, And would not harm me.

Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.

Arth. O heaven?-that there were but a mote To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,

Hub. I can heat it, boy.

Arth. No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with Being create for comfort to be us'd [grief, In undeserv'd extremes: See else yourself; There is no malice in this burning coal; The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out, And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.

Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy. Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush, And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hu



For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:
Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all this
You were disguised.


Arth. O heaven!-I thank you, Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more: go closely in with me: Much danger do I undergo for thee. Lexeunt.

Hub. Peace: no more. Adieu; Your uncle must not know but you are dead: I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports. And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure, That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world, Will not offend thee.

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Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before,
And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off;
The faith of men ne'er stained with revolt;
Fresh expectation troubled not the land,
With any long'd for change, or better state.
Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double
To guard a title that was rich before,


To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful, and ridiculous excess.

Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done, This act is as an ancient tale new told; And, in the last repeating, troublesome, Being urged at a time unseasonable.

Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face Of plain old form is much disfigured: And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,

Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes;
And, like a dog, that is compell'd to fight,
Snatch at his master, that doth tarre him on,
All things, that you should use to do me wrong,
Deny their office: only you do lack
That mercy, which fierce fire, and iron, extends,
Creatures of note, for mercy-lacking uses.

I have possess'd you with, and think them strong;
And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear,)

Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine I shall endue you with: Mean time, but ask

It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about;
Startles and frights consideration;
Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.

Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well,

They do confound their skill in covetousness:
And, oftentimes, excusing of a fault,

Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse;
As patches, set upon a little breach,
Discredit more, in hiding of the fault.
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.

Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd, We breath'd our counsel: but it pleas'd your highness

To overbear it; and we are all well pleas'd;
Since all and every part of what we would,
Doth make a stand at what your highness will.
K. John. Some reasons of this double corona-

What you would have reform'd, that is not well;
And well shall you perceive, how willingly
I will both hear and grant you your requests.

Pem. Then I (as one that am the tongue of
To sound the purposes of all their hearts), [theso,
Both for myself, and them, (but, chief of all,
Your safety; for the which myself and them
Bend their best studies), heartily request
The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument,
If, what in rest you have, in right you hoid,

Why, then your fears (which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong), should move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise?
That the time's enemies may not have this
To grace occasions, let it be our suit,
That you have bid us ask his liberty;
Which for our goods we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal, he have his liberty.

K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
Enter Hubert.

To your direction.-Hubert, what news with you?
Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine:
The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;
And I do fearfully believe, 'tis done,
What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.

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you, I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame,
That greatness should so grossly offer it:-
So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.

Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
And find the inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood, which ow'd the breath of all this isle,
Three foot of it doth hold: Bad world the while!
This must not be thus borne: this will break out
To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt.
[exeunt Lords.

K. John. They burn in indignation; I repent; There is no sure foundation set in blood: No certain life achiev'd by others' death.

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For, when you should be told they do prepare,
The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd.

K. John. O where hath our intelligence been drunk?

Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care?
That such an army could be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it?

Mess. My liege, her ear

Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April, died
Your noble mother: And, as I hear, my lord,
The lady Constance in a frenzy died
Three days before; but this from rumour's tongue
I idly heard; if true, or false, I know not.

K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd
My discontented peers!-What! mother dead?
How wildly then walks my estate in France!
Under whose conduct came those powers of France,
That thou for truth giv'st out, are landed here?
Mess. Under the dauphin.

Sal. Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past The sums I have collected shall express.


Pem. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was,
Before the child himself felt he was sick :
This must be answer'd, either here, or hence.
K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows
on me?

Enter the Bastard, and Peter of Pomfret. K. John. Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tidings.-Now, what says the world To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Bast. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst, Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head.

K. John. Bear with me, cousin: for I was amaz'd

Under the tide: but now I breathe again
Aloft the flood; and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen.

But, as I travelled hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams;
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear:
And here's a prophet, that I brought with me
Forth from the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels;
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
That 'ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst
thou so?
Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out


K. John. Hubert, away with him: imprison him,
And on that day, at noon, whereon he says,
I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd,
Deliver him to safety, and return,
For I must use thee.-O my gentle cousin,
[exit Hubert, with Peter.
Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd?
Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are
full of it;
Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury,
(With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire),
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

K. John. Gentle kinsman, go,
And thrust thyself into their companies:
I have a way to win their loves again;
Bring them before me.

Bast. I will seek them out.

K. John. Nay, but make naste; the better foot,
, let me have no subject enemies, [before.
When adverse foreigners affright my towns
With dreadful pomp of stout invasion !—
Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels;
And fly, like thought, from them to me again.
Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.


And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.
Hub. My lord,-

K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, of
made a pause,

When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words; [off,
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in
But thou didst understand me by my signs, me:
And didst in signs again parley with sin;

[exit. Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And, consequently, thy rude hand to act [name.—
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to
Out of my sight, and never see me more!
My nobles leave me; and my state is brav'd,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,

This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns
Between my conscience, and my cousin's death.

Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,
I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood
Within this bosom never enter'd yet

The dreadful motion of a murd'rous thought,
And you have slander'd nature in my form;
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,

Is yet the cover of a fairer mind

Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

K.John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman.-
Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers
And be thou he.

Mess. With all my heart, my liege.
K. John. My mother dead!

Re-enter Hubert.

Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen to-night:

Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about
The other four, in wond'rous motion.

K. John. Five moons?

Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets
Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear;

And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers (which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contráry feet),
Fold of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattled and rank'd in Kent:
Another lean unwash'd artificer,
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K. John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with
these fears?


Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill
[provoke me?
Hub. Had none, my lord why, did you not
K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be atided
By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant
To break within the bloody house of life:
And, on the winking of authority,

To understand a law: to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns
More upon humour than advis'd respect.

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt
heaven and earth

Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds,
Makes deeds ill done! Hadest not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspéct,
Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger,
faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;

K. John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to

the peers,

Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience!
Forgive the comment, that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee more hideous than thou art.

O, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient haste:
I córjure thee but slowly; run more fast. creunt.


Enter Arthur, on the walls.

Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leap down:

Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not!-
There's few, or none, do know me; if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:

As good to die, and go, as die, and stay.[leaps down.
O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones:-
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones?


Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bigot.
Sal. Lords, I will meet him at St. Edmund's
t is our safety, and we must embrace.
This gentle offer of the perilous time.
Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardina!?
Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of Franco;
Whose private with me, of the dauphin's love,
Is much more general than these lines import.

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then. Sal. Or, rather then set forward: for 'twill be Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet. Enter the Bastard.

Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords!

The king, by me, requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us:
We will not line his thin bestained cloak
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot,
That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks:
Return, and tell him so; we know the worst.
Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think,
were best.


Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason
Bast. But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now.
Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
Bast. 'Tis true; to hurt his master, no man else.
Sal. This is the prison: What is he lies here?
[seeing Arthur.
Pem. O death, made proud with pure and
princely beauty!


The earth hath not a hole to hide this deed.
Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath done,
Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.

Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,
Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? Have you

Or have you read, or heard? or could you think?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see? could thought, without this
Form such another? This is the very top, [object,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savag'ry, the vilest stroke,

That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.

Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death:-
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!
Hub. I am no villain.

Sal. Must I rob the law? [drawing his sword
Bast. Your sword is bright, sir: put it up again.
Sal. Not till I sheath it in a murderer's skin.
Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury, stand back, I

Enter Hubert.
Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you,

By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours:
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget

Your worth, your greatness, and nobility. [man?
Big. Out, dunghill! dar'st thou brave a noble-
Hub. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murderer.

Hub. Do not prove me so;

Yet, I am none: Whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.

Bast. Keep the peace, I say.

Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulcon-
Second a villain, and a murderer? [bridge?

Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none.
Big. Who kill'd this prince?

Hub. 'Tis not a hour, since I left him well
I honour'd him, I lov'd him; and will weep
My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss.

Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villainy is not without such rheum;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem

Pem. All murders past do stand excus'd in this: Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
And this, so sole, and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet-unbegotten sin of time;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor
The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.

Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.

Sal. If that it be the work of any hand?-
We had a kind of light, what would ensue :
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice, and the purpose, of the king:-
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow;
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.

To this most cruel act, do but despair,

And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread

Pem. & Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy That ever spider twisted from her womb,


Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be

A beam to hang thee on; or, would'st thou drown
Put but a little water in a spoon, [th geeil,
And it shall be as all the ocean,

Big. Away, toward Bury, to the dauphin there! Pem. There, tell the king he may inquire us out. [ereunt Lords. Bast. Here's a good world!Knew you of this fair work?


Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
Art thou damn'd, Hubert.

Hub. Do but hear me, sir.

Bast. Ha! I'll tell thee what;


Thou art damn'd as black-nay, nothing is so
Thou art more deep damn'd than prince Lucifer;
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
Hub. Upon my soul,-

Bast. If thou didst but consent

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Enough to stifle such a villain up..
I do suspect thee very grievously.

Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath,
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me!
I left him well.

Bast. Go, bear him in thine arms.I am amaz'd, methinks; and lose my way Amongst the thorns and dangers of this world.How easy dost thou take all England up' From forth this morsel of dead royalty, The life, the right, and truth, of all this realm Is fled to heaven; and England now is left To tug and scramble, and to part by th' teeth



Enter King John, Pandulph with the crown, and

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Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest 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. [exit.

K. John. 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.

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The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.
Now, for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty,
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest,
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home, and discontents at home
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits
(As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast),
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture can
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child,
And follow me with speed; I'll to the king:
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.




An empty casket, where the jewel of life
By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away
K. John. That villain, Hubert, told me, he did
Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he
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 threat'ner, 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
O, let it not be said!-Forage, and run [there
To meet displeasure further from the doors;
And grapple with him, ere he come so nigh.

K. John. The legate of the pope hath been with
And I have made a happy peace with him; [me,
And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers
Led by the dauphin.

Bast. 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.

K. John. Have thou the ordering of this present

Bast. Away then, with good courage; yet, I Our party may well meet a prouder foe. [exeunt. SCENE II. A PLAIN NEAR ST. EDMUND's-Burt. Enter in arms Lewis, Salisbury, Melun, Pembroke, Bigot, and Soldiers.

Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out,
And keep it safe for our remembrance:
Return the precedent to these lords again,

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