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K. John. Nay, but make haste ; the better foot be

fore, 0, let me have no subject enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns 320 With dreadful pomp of stout invasion! Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels; And Ay, like thought, from them to me again. Faulc. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

[ Exit.
K. John. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.
Go after himn; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers ;
And be thou he.

Mes. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit.
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 wondrous 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 anotner in the ear; And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist ; Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action

341 With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.


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I saw

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 contrary feet)
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattled and rank'd in Kent: 350
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

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadse none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did not you pro-

voke me?
K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be attended
By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant
To break within the bloody house of life : 360
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. Oh, 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? Hadst not thou been by, 370
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'a,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my

mind :
But, taking note of thy abhorred aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Madst it no conscience to destroy a prince.

Hub. My lord-
K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made

a pause,
When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face;
Or bid me tell my tale in express words ;
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me:
But thou didst understand me by my signs,
And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And, consequently, thy rude hand to act 390
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to



Out of my sight, and never see me more !
My nobles

eave 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. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,

410 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. Oh, answer not; but to my closet bring The angry lords, with all expedient haste: I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast. [Exeunt.


A Strect before a Prison. Enter ARTHUR on the Walls.

Arth. The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down :Good ground, be pititul, and liurt me not! - 421




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.
Oh me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones :-
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

Sal. Lords, I will meet him at saint'Edmund's.

It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.

Pemb. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?
Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of France;
Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love,
Is much more general than these lines import.

Bigot. 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.

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

440 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



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