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To understand a law; to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns
More upon humour than advis'd respect.
Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation !
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Makes ill deeds done! Hadst not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murther had not come into my mind :
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death ;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.
Hub. My lord,
K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made a pause,
When I spake darkly what I purposed,
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words,
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me :
But thou didst understand me by my signs,
And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And, consequently, thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.
Out of my sight, and never see me more !
My nobles leave me; and my state is brav'd,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers :
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns
Between my conscience and my cousin's death.
Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,
I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
Young Arthur is alive: This hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Within this bosom never enter'd yet
The dreadful motion of a murtherous thought;
And you have slander'd nature in my form,
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
Than to be butcher of an innocent child.
K. John. Doth Artbur live? O, haste thee to the peers,
Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience!
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee more bideous than thou art.
0, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords with all expedient haste:
I conjure thee but slowly ; run more fast.
SCENE III.-The same. Before the Castle.
Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls.
Arth. The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down:-
Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not !-
There's few, or none, do know me; if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis’d me quite.
I am afraid ; and yet I'll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
l'll find a thousand shifts to get away :
As good to die and go, as die and stay.
[Leaps down. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones :Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones ! [Dies.
Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot.
Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmund's-Bury;
It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.
Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?
Sal. The count Melun, à noble lord of France;
Whose private with me, of the dauphin's love,
Is much more general than these lines import.
Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
Sal. Or rather then set forward : for 'twill be
Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet.
Enter the Bastard.
Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords !
The king, by me, requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us.
(1) Whose private with me, &c. The meaning is this; whose private communication with me of the dauphin's love is much more ample than these letters import.
We will not line his thin bestained cloak
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks:
Return, and tell him so; we know the worst.
Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best.
Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.
Bast. But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore, 't were reason you had manners now.
Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
Bast. 'Tis true, to hurt his master, no man's else.
Sal. This is the prison: What is he lies here?
[Seeing ARTHUR. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty! The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
Sal. Murther, as hating what himself hath done, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.
Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave.
Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? You have beheld, Or have you read, or heard ? or could you
think? Or do
almost think, although you see,
That you do see ? could thought, without this object,
Form such another? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murther's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.
Pem. All murthers past do stand excus'd this :
And this so sole, and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet-unbegotten sin of times;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.
Sal. If that it be the work of any hand ?
We had a kind of light what would ensue:
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice, and the purpose, of the king :-
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
thing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.?
Pem., Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you :
Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.
Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death :- -
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone !
Hub. I am no villain.
Must I rob the law ? [Drawing his sword.
Bast. Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.
Sal. Not till I sheathe it in a murtherer's skin.
Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
By heaven, I think, my sword 's as sharp as yours:
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence ;
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your worth, your greatness, and nobility.
Big. Out, dunghill! dar’st thou brave a nobleman ?
Hub. Not for my life : but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murtherer.
Do not prove me so;
Yet, I am none :: Whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.
say. Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury :
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime.
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
Second a villain and a murtherer?
Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none.
Who kill'd this prince?
Hub. 'Tis not an hour since I left him well:
I honour'd him, I lov'd him; and will weep
(1) The worship of revenge. Worship is here used in the sense of honour, dignity. (2)
Do not prove me 80;
Yet, I am none. i. e. Do not make me a murderer by forcing me to murder you: as yet, I am no murderer.
My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss.
Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villainy is not without such rheum ;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor
Th’uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house ;
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
Big. Away, toward Bury, to the dauphin there !
Pem. There, tell the king, he may inquire us out.
Bast. Here's a good world !-Knew you of this fair work?
Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
if thou didst this deed of death,
Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
Do but hear me, sir.
Bast. Ha! I 'll tell thee what;
Thou’rt damn’d as black-nay, nothing is so black,
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
Hub. Upon my soul,
If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair;
And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb
Will serve to strangle thée; a rush will be
A beam to hang thee on; or, wouldst thou drown thyself,
Put but a little water in a spoon,
And it shall be, as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up.-
I do suspect thee very grievously.
Hub. İf I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me!
I left him well.
Go, bear him in thine arms.-
I am amaz’d, methinks; and lose my way
Among the thorns and dangers of this world.—
How easy dost thou take all England up!
From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
The life, the right, and truth of all this realm
Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
To tug and scamble, and to part by the teeth
The unow'd interest of proud-swelling state.
(1) The unsw'd interest, i. e. the interest which has no proper owner or claimant.