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K. John. Cousin, [to the Bastard] away for England; haste
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels
Set thou at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry pow be fed upon:
Use our commission in its utmost force.
Bast. Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,
When gold and silver becks me to come on.
I leave your highness :-Grandame, I will pray
(If ever I remember to be holy)
For your fair safety; so I kiss your hand.
Eli. Farewell, gentle cousin.
Coz, farewell. [Exit Bastard. Eli. Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.
[She takes ARTH. aside. K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert, We owe thee much ; within this wall of flesh There is a soul counts thee her creditor, And with advantage means to pay thy love: And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished. Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say, But I will fit it with some better tune. By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd To say what good respect I have of thee.
Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty.
K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet:
But thou shalt have: and creep time ne'er so slow,
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,—But let it
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton and too full of gawds,
To give me audience :-If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs ;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy, thick,
(Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes ;)
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words;
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts :
But ah, I will not:—Yet I love thee well;
And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well.
Hub. So well, that what
you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I would do it.
Do not I know thou wouldst?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread
He lies before me: Dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.
And I 'll keep him so,
That he shall not offend your majesty.
K. John. Death.
My lord ?
A grave. Hub.
He shall not live. K. John.
Enough. I could be merry now: Hubert, I love thee. Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee: Remember.-Madam, fare you
I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
Eli. My blessing go with thee !
For England, cousin, go :
Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho ! [Exeunt.
SCENE IV.—The same. The French King's Tent. Enter King PHILIP, LEWIS, PANDULPH, and Attendants. K. Phi. So, by a roaring tempest on the flood, A whole armado of convicted2 sail Is scattered and disjoin'd from fellowship.
Pand. Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.
K. Phi. What can go well, when we have run so ill ?
Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?
And bloody England into England gone,
O’erbearing interruption, spite of France ?
So hot a speed with such advice dispos’d,
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,
Doth want example: Who hath read, or heard,
Of any kindred action like to this?
K. Phi. Well could I bear that England had this praise, So we could find some pattern of our shame.
Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,
In the vile prison of afflicted breath :-
I prithee, lady, go away with me.
Const. Lo, now! now see the issue of your peace!
K. Phi. Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance !
Const. No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
But that which ends all counsel, true redress.
Death, death, O amiable lovely death!
Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness!
Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
And I will kiss thy detestable bones;
And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows;
And ring these fingers with thy household worms;
And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust,
And be a carrion monster like thyself:
Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil'st,
And buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love,'
0, come to me!
K. Phi. O fair affliction, peace!
Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry :-
0, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
Then with a passion would I shake the world;
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy,
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
Which scorns a moderna invocation.
Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
Const. Thou art not holy to belie me so;
I am not mad; this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Constance ; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad ;-I would to heaven I were!
For, then 'tis like I should forget myself :
O, if I could, what grief should I forget !-
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
For, being not mad but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad I should forget my son;
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.
K. Phi. Bind up those tresses : 0, what love I note
In the fair multitude of those her hairs !
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
Do glue themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.
Const. To England, if you will.
Bind up your hairs.
Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,
O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty !
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he 'll die; and rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me that never had a son.
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief as of your child.
Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
(1) Gracious means graceful, beautiful.
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all bis gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well : had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.-
I will not keep this form upon my head,
[Tearing off her head-dress.
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. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her. Exit.
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.
'Tis 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 hear 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 veins,
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.