« PreviousContinue »
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son !
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world !
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!
K. PH. I fear some outrage, and I 'll follow her.
LEW. There's nothing in this world can make me joy :
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoild the sweet world's taste“,
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.
PAND. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health,
The fit is strongest; evils, that take leave,
On their departure most of all show evil:
What have you lost by losing of this day?
LEW. All days of glory, joy, and happiness.
PAND. If you had won it, certainly, you had.
No, no: when fortune means to men most good,
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
'T is strange to think how much king John hath lost
In this which he accounts so clearly won:
Are not you griev'd that Arthur is his prisoner?
LEW. As heartily as he is glad he hath him.
Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
Now bear me speak, with a prophetic spirit;
For even the breath of what I mean to speak
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark.
John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be,
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veids,
The misplac'd John should entertain an hour,
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest :
A sceptre, snatch'd with an unruly hand,
Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd:
And he that stands upon a slippery place
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
That John may stand then Arthur needs must fall;
So be it, for it cannot be but so.
LEW. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall ?
PAND. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife,
May then make all the claim that Arthur did.
• Seet world's taste. original.
Pope made this correction from the “sweet word's taste" of the
LEW. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
PAND. How green you are, and fresh in this old world!
John lays you plots; the times conspire with you:
For he that steeps his safety in true blood
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue.
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal,
That none so small advantage shall step forth
To check his reign, but they will cherish it;
No natural exhalation in the sky,
No scope of nature“, no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
LEW. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's life,
But hold himself sạfe in his prisonment.
PAND. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies : and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change;
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath,
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot;
And, 0, what better matter breeds for you,
Than I have pam'd !—The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity: If but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call b
To train ten thousand English to their side ;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble dauphin,
Go with me to the king: 'T is wonderful
What may be wrought out of their discontent,
Now that their souls are topfull of offence.
For England go; I will whet on the king,
• No scope of nature,—the ordinary course of nature--appears to us to convey the poet's meaning better than a common reading, “scape.” An escape of nature is a prodigy ;-Shakspere says, the commonest things will be called "abortives.” A scope is what is seen-according to its derivation.
A call. The caged birds which lure the wild ones to the net are termed by fowlers “call birds." The image in the text is more probably derived from a term of falconry.
Lew. Strong reasons make strange actions : Let us go;
If you say ay, the king will not say no.
• Strange. So the reading of the first folio. It has been generally altered into strong. The old reading restored gives us a deep obseryation instead of an epigrammatic one. Strong reasons make that is, justify-a large deviation from common courses.
HUB. Heat me these irous hot; and look thou stand
Within the arras : when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Fast to the chair : be heedful: hence, and watch.
1 ATTEND. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
HUB. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you: look to 't. —
Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.
ARTH. Good morrow, Hubert.
Good morrow, little prince.
ARTH. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince) as may be.—You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom a,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me:
He is afraid of me, and I of him :
Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son?
No, indeed is 't not; And I would to heaven
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead :
Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch.
[Aside. ARTH. Are you sick, Hubert ? you look pale to-day :
In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
That I might sit all night, and watch with you:
I warrant I love you more than you do me.
HUB. His words do take possession of my bosom.“
Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper.] How now, foolish rheum!
[Aside. Turning dispiteous torture out of door ! I must be brief; lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes, in tender womavish tears.
Can you not read it? is it not fair writ?
ARTH. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?
HUB. Young boy, I must.
And will you?
And I will.
ARTH. Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,
I knit my hand-kercher about your brows b,
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me,)
And I did never ask it you again :
And with my hand at midnight held your head ;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time;
Saying, What lack you ? and, Where lies your grief ?
· Christendom. Arthur prettily asseverates by the baptismal office— by his christening. The word is used in this sense in · All's Well that Ends Well;' and it is found in Gower:
“ A light, as though it was a sonne
Froin heaven, into the place come,
Where that he toke his christendome." Hand-kercher. The spelling of the original is thus. In Othello' we have handkerchiefe in the folio of 1623; but handkercher in the quarto. The words were used indifferently in Shakspere's day.