Page images


Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I | And foul imaginary eyes of blood did.

Presented thee more hideous than thou art. K. John. 0, when the last account 'twixt hea O answer not, but to my closet bring ven and earth

The angry lords, with all expedient haste. Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal I conjure thee but slowly: run more fast. (Exeunt. Witness against us to damnation ! How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds Makes deeds ill done!-Hadst not thou been by, A fellow by the hand of nature marked,

Scene III.- The same. Before the Castle. Quoted and signed to do a deed of shame,

Enter Arthur on the walls.
This murder had not come into my mind :
But taking note of thy abhorred aspect,

Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leap down. Finding thee fit for bloody villany,

Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not ! Apt, liable, to be employed in danger,

There's few or none do know me: if they did, I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death : This ship-boy's semblance hath disguised me And thou, to be endeared to a king, Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.

I am afraid ; and yet I 'll venture it. Hub. My lord, —

If I get down, and do not break my limbs, K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or I'll find a thousand shifts to get away: made a pause,

As good to die and go, as die and stay. When I spake darkly what I purposéd;

[Leaps down. Or turned an eye of doubt upon my face, O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones.As bid me tell my tale in express words,

Heaven take my soul, and England keep my Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break


[Dies. off; And those thy fears might have wrought fears in

Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot. me.

Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmund'sBut thou didst understand me by my signs,

And didst in signs again parley with sin : | It is our safety, and we must embrace
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent, This gentle offer of the perilous time.
And consequently thy rude hand to act

Pem.Who brought that letter from the cardinal? The deed which both our tongues held vile to Sal. The Count Melun, a noble lord of France : name.

Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love, Out of my sight, and never see me more ! Is much more general than these lines import. My nobles leave me; and my state is braved, Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him, then. Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers. Sal. Or rather, then set forward: for 't will be Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,

Two long days' journey, lords, or ere we meet. This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath, Hostility and civil tumult reigns

Enter the Bastard. Between my conscience and my cousin's death. Bast. Once more to-day well met, distempered Hub. Arm you against your other enemies;

lords. I'll make a peace between your soul and you. The King, by me, requests your presence straight. Young Arthur is alive. This hand of mine

Sal. The King hath dispossessed himself of us : Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,

We will not line his thin bestainéd cloak Not painted with the crimson spots of blood : With our pure honours, nor attend the foot Within this bosom never entered yet

That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks. The dreadful motion of a murderous thought: Return and tell him so: we know the worst. And you have slandered nature in my form;

Bast. Whate'er you think, good words I think Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,

were best. Is yet the cover of a fairer mind

Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

now. K. John. Doth Arthur live? O haste thee to Bast. But there is little reason in your grief: the peers;

Therefore 't were reason you had manners now. Throw this report on their incenséd rage,

Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege. And make them tame to their obedience!

Bast. 'T' is true: to hurt his master; no man else. Forgive the comment that my passion made

Sal. This is the prison. What is he lies here ! Upon thy feature: for my rage was blind,


Pem. O death, made proud with pure and | And this, so sole and so unmatchable, princely beauty !

Shall give a holiness, a purity, The earth hath not a hole to hide this deed. To the yet-unbegotten sin of times; Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest, done,

Exampled by this heinous spectacle ! Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.

Bast. It is a damnéd and a bloody work; Big. Or, when he doomed this beauty to a The graceless action of a heavy hand, grave,

If that it be the work of any hand. Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

Sal. If that it be the work of any hand? Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? Have you We had a kind of light what would ensue. beheld,

It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand; Or have you read or heard, or could you think, The practice and the purpose of the King : Or do you almost think, although you see, From whose obedience I forbid my soul, That you do see ? Could thought, without this Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life, object,

And breathing to his breathless excellence Form such another?—This is the very top, The incense of a vow, a holy vow, The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest, Never to taste the pleasures of the world, Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame, Never to be infected with delight, The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,

Nor conversant with ease and idleness, That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage Till I have set a glory to this hand, Presented to the tears of soft remorse!

By giving it the worship of revenge. Pem. All murders past do stand excused in this:

Bia. Our souls religiously confirm thy words

Pem. Lo


Bast. Here's a good world !-Knew you of this Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you.

fair work?
Arthur doth live: the King hath sent for you. Beyond the infinite and boundless reach

Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death. Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone! Art thou damned, Hubert.
Hub. I am no villain.

Hub. Do but hear me, Sir.
Sal. Must I rob the law? [Drawing his sword. Bast. Ha! I 'll tell thee what:
Bast. Your sword is bright, sir: put it up again. Thou art damned as black—nay, nothing is so
Sal. Not till í sheath it in a murderer's skin.

black : Hub. Stand back, Lord Salisbury; stand back, Thou art more deep damned than Prince Lucifer. I say:

There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell By heaven, I think my sword 's as sharp as yours. As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child. I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,

Hub. Upon my soul,Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;

Bast. If thou didst but consent Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget

To this most cruel act, do but despair, Your worth, your greatness, and nobility. And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread Big. Out, dunghill! dar'st thou brave a noble That ever spider twisted from her womb man?

Will serve to strangle thee: a rush will be Hub. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend A beam to hang thee on: or, wouldst thou drown My innocent life against an emperor.

thyself, Sal. Thou art a murderer.

Put but a little water in a spoon,
Hub. Do not prove me so:

And it shall be as all the ocean,
Yet I am none. Whose tongue soe'er speaks false, Enough to stifle such a villain up!-
Not truly speaks : who speaks not truly, lies. I do suspect thee very grievously.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.

Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought, Bast. Keep the peace, I say.

Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Falconbridge. Which was imbounded in this beauteous clay,

Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury: Let hell want pains enough to torture me! If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,

I left him well. Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,

Bast. Go, bear him in thine arms.I 'll strike thee dead! Put up thy sword betime; | I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way Or I 'll so maul you and your toasting-iron, Among the thorns and dangers of this world.That you shall think the devil is come from hell. How easy dost thou take all England up! Big. What wilt thou do, renownéd Falcon From forth this morsel of dead royalty, bridge?

The life, the right, and truth of all this realm Second a villain and a murderer?

Is fled to heaven; and England now is left Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none.

To tug and scramble, and to part by th' teeth Big. Who killed this prince?

The unowed interest of proud-swelling state. Hub. 'Tis not an hour since I left him well. Now, for the bare-picked bone of majesty, I honoured him; I loved him; and will weep Doth doggéd war bristle his angry crest, My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss. And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace.

Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes. Now powers from home, and discontents at home, For villany is not without such rheum;

Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits And he, long traded in it, makes it seem

(As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast) Like rivers of remorse and innocency.

The imminent decay of wrested pomp. Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house : Hold out this tempest.—Bear away that child, For I am stifled with this smell of sin.

And follow me with speed: I'll to the King. Big. A way toward Bury, to the Dauphin there! | A thousand businesses are brief in hand, Pem. There, tell the King, he may inquire us And heaven itself doth frown upon the land. out. [Exeunt Lords.



Scene I.-Northampton. A Room in the Palace. i

Enter the Bastard.

Bast. All Kent hath yielded; nothing there Enter King John, PANDULPH with the crown,

holds out and Attendants.

But Dover castle: London hath received, K.John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers : The circle of my glory.

Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone Pand. Take again [Giving John the crown. To offer service to your enemy: From this my hand, as holding of the pope, And wild amazement hurries up and down Your sovereign greatness and authority.

The little number of your doubtful friends. K. John. Now keep your holy word: go meet K. John. Would not my lords return to me again the French;

After they heard young Arthur was alive? And from his holiness use all your power

Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the To stop their marches 'fore we are inflamed.

streets : Our discontented counties do revolt;

An empty casket, where the jewel of life Our people quarrel with obedience ;

By some damned hand was robbed and ta'en Swearing allegiance and the love of soul

away. To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.

K. John. That villain Hubert told me be did This inundation of mistempered humour

live. Rests by you only to be qualified.

Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew. Then pause not; for the present time 's so sick | But wherefore do you droop; why look you sad? That present medicine must be ministered, Be great in act as you have been in thought: Or overthrow incurable ensues.

Let not the world see fear and sad distrust Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest Govern the motion of a kingly eye. up,

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire; Upon your stubborn usage of the pope :

Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow But, since you are a gentle convertite,

Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes, My tongue shall hush again this storm of war, That borrow their behaviours from the great, And make fair weather in your blustering land. Grow great by your example, and put on On this Ascension-day, remember well,

The dauntless spirit of resolution. Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Away; and glister like the god of war, Go I to make the French lay down their arms. When he intendeth to become the field :

[Exit Shew boldness and aspiring confidence. K. John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the Wbat, shall they seek the lion in his den, prophet

And fright him there, and make him tremble Say that, before Ascension-day at noon,

there? My crown I should give off? Even so I have: O let it not be said !-Forage and run I did suppose it should be on constraint; | To meet displeasure further from the doors, But, heaven be thanked, it is but voluntary. And grapple with him ere he comes so nigh.

[ocr errors]

K. John. The legate of the pope hath been | Upon the spot of this enforcéd cause),
with me,

To grace the gentry of a land remote,
And I have made a happy peace with him ; And follow unacquainted colours here!
And he hath promised to dismiss the powers What, here ?-0 nation, that thou couldst re-
Led by the Dauphin.

move! Bast. O inglorious league !

That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about, Shall we, upon the footing of our land,

Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself, Send fair-play orders, and make compromise, And grapple thee unto a Pagan shore; Insinuation, parley, and base truce,

Where these two Christian armies might combine To arms invasive? Shall a beardless boy, The blood of malice in a vein of league, A cockered silken wanton, brave our fields, And not to spend it so unneighbourly! And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,

Lew. A noble temper dost thou shew in this; Mocking the air with colours idly spread,

And great affections, wrestling in thy bosom, And find no check ?—Let us, my liege, to arms : Do make an earthquake of nobility. Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace; O what a noble combat hast thou fought, Or if he do, let it at least be said

Between compulsion and a brave respect !
They saw we had a purpose of defence.

Let me wipe off this honourable dew
K. John. Have thou the ordering of this pre- | That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks.
sent time.

My heart hath melted at a lady's tears,
Bast. Away then, with good courage : yet I Being an ordinary inundation :

But this effusion of such manly drops,
Our party may well meet a prouder foe. (Exeunt. This shower blown up by tempest of the soul,

Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amazed

Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven Scene II.--A Plain near St. Edmund's-bury. Figured quite o'er with burning meteors.

Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury, Enter, in arms, Lewis, SALISBURY, Melun, Pem And with a great heart heave away this storm : BROKE, Bigot, and Soldiers.

Commend these waters to those baby eyes Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out, That never saw the giant world enraged; And keep it safe for our remembrance :

Nor met with fortune other than at feasts, Return the precedent to these lords again : Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossiping. That, having our fair order written down, Come, come: for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes, Into the purse of rich prosperity May know wherefore we took the sacrament, As Lewis himself.—So, nobles, shall you all And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.

That knit your sinews to the strength of mine. Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken. And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear

Enter PanduLPH, attended. A voluntary zeal and unurged faith

And even there, methinks, an angel spake :To your proceedings; yet believe me, prince, Look where the holy legate comes apace, I am not glad that such a sore of time

To give us warrant from the hand of heaven, Should seek a plaster by contemned revolt, And on our actions set the name of right, And heal the inveterate canker of one wound With holy breath. By making many. O it grieves my soul

Pand. Hail, noble prince of France ! That I must draw this metal from my side

The next is this :-King John hath reconciled To be a widow-maker ;-O and there

Himself to Rome : his spirit is come in, Where honourable rescue and defence

That so stood out against the holy church, Cries out upon the name of Salisbury !

The great metropolis and see of Rome. But such is the infection of the time,

Therefore thy threatening colours now wind up, That, for the health and physic of our right, And tame the savage spirit of wild war; We cannot deal but with the very hand

That, like a lion fostered up at hand, Of stern injustice and confused wrong.-

It may lie gently at the foot of peace, And is 't not pity, O my grieved friends,

And be no further harmful than in show. That we, the sons and children of this isle,

Lew. Your grace shall pardon me; I will not Were born to see so sad an hour as this?

back: Wherein we step after a stranger march

I am too high-born to be propertied,
Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up

To be a secondary at control,
Her enemies' ranks (I must withdraw and weep | Or useful serving-man and instrument,

« PreviousContinue »