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Scene I.—Northampton. A Room in the Castle.
Enter Hubert and two Attendants.
Within the arras : when I strike my foot
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate And bind the boy which you shall find with me He will awake my mercy, which lies dead : Fast to the chair. Be heedful: hence, and watch. Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [.1 side. 1st Att. I hope your warrant will bear out the Arth. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale deed.
to-day. Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you: look In sooth I would you were a little sick, to 't.
[Exeunt Attendants. That I might sit all night and watch with you: Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you. I warrant I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my Enter ARTHUR.
bosom. Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Read here, young Arthur. [Shewing a paper. Hub, Good morrow, little prince.
How now, foolish rheum ! [Aside.
Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish tears.--
Can you not read it; is it not fair writ?
Arth. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect ! Yet I remember, when I was in France,
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes? Young gentlemen would be as sad as night, Hub. Young boy, I must. Only for wantonness. By my christendom, Arth. And will you? So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
And I will. I should be as merry as the day is long :
the heart? When your head And so I would be here, but that I doubt
did but ache, My uncle practises more harm to me:
I knit my handkerchief about your
brows He is afraid of me, and I of him.
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me), Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son ?
And I did never ask it you again :
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends;
Arth. O now you look like Hubert! all this while You were disguised.
Hub. Peace: no more. Adieu : Your uncle must not know but you are dead : I'll fill these doggéd spies with false reports. And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world, Will not offend thee.
Arth. O heaven!- I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence; no more. Go closely in with me: Much danger do I undergo for thee. (Exeunt.
Scene II.-The same. A Room of State in
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.
Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.
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 eyes :
Hub. I can heat it, boy.
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 perchance will sparkle in your eyes ; And, like a dog that is compelled 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
Enter King John, crowned ; PEMBROKE, Salis
BURY, and other Lords. The King takes his
crowned; And looked upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes. Pem. This once again, but that your highness
pleased, Was once superfluous : you were crowned before, And that high royalty was ne'er plucked off'; The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt; Fresh expectation troubled not the land, With any longed-for change, or better state. Sal. Therefore, to be possessed with double
pomp, To guard a title 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; And, in the last repeating, troublesome, Being urgéd 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, 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 fashioned robe.
Pem. When workmen strive to do better than | Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set: well,
His passion is so ripe it needs must break. They do confound their skill in covetousness : Pem. And when it breaks, I fear will issue And, oftentimes, excusing of a fault
thence Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse: The foul corruption of a sweet child's death. As patches, set upon a little breach,
K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong Discredit more, in hiding of the fault,
hand. Than did the fault before it was so patched. Good lords, although my will to give is living,
Sal. To this effect, before you were new crowned, The suit which you demand is gone and dead : ; We breathed our counsel : but it pleased your He tells us, Arthur is deceased to-night. highness
Sal. Indeed we feared his sickness was past 1 To overbear it: and we are all well pleased;
cure. Since all and every part of what we would
Pem. Indeed we heard how near his death he Doth make a stand at what your highness will.
was, K. John. Some reasons of this double corona- | Before the child himself felt he was sick. tion
This must be answered either here or hence. I have possessed you with, and think them strong; K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear),
on me? I shall endue you with : meantime, but ask Think you I bear the shears of destiny? What you would have reformed that is not well; Have I commandment on the pulse of life? And well shall you perceive how willingly
Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 't is shame I will both hear and grant you your requests. That greatness should so grossly offer it. Pem. Then I (as one that am the tongue of So thrive it in your game: and so farewell. these,
Pem. Stay yet, Lord Salisbury: I'll go with To sound the purposes of all their hearts),
thee, Both for myself and them (but, chief of all, And find the inheritance of this poor child, Your safety, for the which myself and them His little kingdom of a forcéd grave. Bend their best studies), heartily request
That blood which owed the breadth of all this isle, The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint Three foot of it doth hold. Bad world the while! Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent This must not be thus borne : this will break out To break into this dangerous argument,
To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt. If what in rest you have in right you hold,
(Exeunt Lords. Why, then, your fears (which, as they say, attend K. John. They burn in indignation : I repent. The steps of wrong) should move you to mew up There is no sure foundation set in blood; Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days No certain life achieved by others' death. With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth The rich advantage of good exercise ?
Enter a Messenger. That the time's enemies may not have this A fearful eye thou hast. Where is that blood To grace occasions, let it be our suit
That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks ? That you have bid us ask his liberty;
So foul a sky clears not without a storm :
Was levied in the body of a land !
The copy of your speed is learned by them :
K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been He shewed his warrant to a friend of mine.
drunk: The image of a wicked heinous fault
Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care, Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
That such an army could be drawn in France, Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast; And she not hear of it? And I do fearfully believe 't is done,
Mess.. My liege, her ear What we so feared he had a charge to do. Is stopped with dust : the first of April died
Sal. The colour of the King doth come and go, Your noble mother. And as I hear, my lord, Between his purpose and his conscience,
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 pleased 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. 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
Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen
thou so? Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall
K. John. Nay, but make haste: the better
foot before. 0, let me have no subject enemies, 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.
[Exit. K. John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentle
Mess. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit.
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), Told of a many thousand warlike French That were embattéled and ranked in Kent: Another lean unwashed 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 murdered him: I had a mighty
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 hanged. Deliver him to safety, and return, For I must use thee.—0 my gentle cousin,
[Exit Hubert with Peter. Hear'st thou the news abroad who are arrived ? 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 killed 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.