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Or, What good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would have lain still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
But you at your sick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think my love was crafty love,
And call it cunning; do, an if you will:
If heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
Why, then you must.-Will you put out mine eyes ?
These eyes, that never did, nor never shall,
So much as frown on you?
I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
ARTH. Ab, none, but in this iron age, would do it!
The iron of itself, though heat a red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench his fiery indignation,
Even in the matter of mine innocence ;
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard than bammer'd iron ?
An if an angel should have come to me,
And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believ'd himb. No tongue but Hubert's
HUB. Come forth.
Re-enter Attendants, with Cords, Irons, dc.
Do as I bid you do.
ARTH. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out,
Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
HUB. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
ARTH. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous-rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For heaven 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.
HoB. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
• Heat, used as a participle, as in our translation of the Bible: “He commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heat.”—(DANIEL.)
I would not have believ'd him. So the reading of the original. As we have pointed the passage, Arthur begins a fresh sentence, which is interrupted by Hubert stamping. He is about to say, “No tongue but Hubert's" would have made me believe it.
1 ATTEND. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed.
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.
Come, boy, prepare yourself. ARTH. Is there no remedy?
None, but to lose your eyes.
ARTH. O heaven !—that there were but a mote, in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense!
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
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 eges. 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.
I can heat it, boy.
ARTH. No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be us'd
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, Hubert :
Nay, it, percbance, will sparkle in your eyes;
And, like a dog that is compell’d to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre b 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.
HUB. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes
• In this burning coal. Dr. Grey, whose remarks are generally just as well as learned, would read
" There is no malice burning in this coal." Tarre. Tooke derives this from a Saxon word, meaning to exasperate. Others think that it has only reference to the custom of exciting terriers-tarriers.
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 while
You were disguised.
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.
O heaven! I thank you, Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more : Go closely in with me.
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
SCENE II.-The same. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, crowned ; PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other Lords. The
King takes his State.
K. John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd,
And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.
Pem. This once again, but that your highness pleas'd,
Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before,
And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off;
The faiths 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 pomp,
To guard a title a that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
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;
Guard a title. The guard is the border or edging of a garment–the boundary--the defence against injury. The manner in which Shakspere uses the word in 'Love's Labour's Lost,' explains it here:
“Oh, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose.” The edgings were generally ornamented, and became smart trimmings. In the passage before us the same meaning is preserved:
“ To guard a title that was rich before.”
And, in the last repeating, troublesome,
Being urged at a time upseasonable.
Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face
Of plain old form is much disfigured ;
And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,
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 coronation
I have possess'd you with, and think them strong;
And more, more strong (when lesser is my feara),
I shall indue you with: Meantime, but ask
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 these,
To sound the purposes of all their hearts,)
Both for myself and them, (but, chief of all,
Your safety; for the which myself and them
Bend their best studies,) heartily request
Th' enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument,
If what in rest you have b in right you hold,
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
• When lesser is my fear. The folio reads, “ then lesser is my fear.“
If what in rest you have. Rest is, we take it, here employed to mean a fixed position. See Illustration 16.
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
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 't is done
What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.
SAL. The colour of the king doth come and go
Between his purpose and his conscience,
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set:
His passion is so ripe it needs must break.
PEM. And, when it breaks, I fear will issue thence
The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
K. John. We cannot bold mortality's strong hand :-
Good lords, although my will to give is living,
The suit which you demand is gone and dead:
He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night.
SAL. Indeed we fear'd his sickness was past cure.
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 bence.
K. JOHN. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life? SAL. It is apparent foul-play ; and 't is 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 breadth 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.