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[Pandulph.] O Sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Go with me to the king. [Lewis.]
Ay, let us go :
'S INSTIGATION OF HIS SERVANTS TO MURDER ARTHUR; THE PRETENCE OF HIS DEATH; AND OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THAT PRINCE's HISTORY ; REPRESENTED
SCENES IMAGINED TO TAKE PLACE AT THE COURT OP KING JOHN, AND IN THE CASTLE WHERE THE PRINCE WAS CONFINED.
HISTORICAL MEMORANDUM. While Arthur was a prisoner in Normandy, the king first proposed to one in attendance on his own person to despatch the young prince, but the man refused. Another was found less scrupulous, and sent with proper orders to the Continent ; but Hubert de Bourg, constable of the castle in which the prince was confined, feigning that he would execute the mandate, sent back the assassin, and spread a report that the prince was dead.
The speakers in the following scene are King John and Hubert. We are to suppose that Prince Arthur has recently been taken prisoner, and that he is standing in the back-ground, or at some little distance, in company with various persons of John's party. [John.] Come hither, Hubert.—0, my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much; within this wall of flesh,
To say, what good respect I have of thee.
But thou shalt have: and creep time ne'er so slow,
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
And, by my troth, I think thou lov’st me well. [Hubert.] So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven I'd do't.
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
Thou art his keeper.
That he shall not offend your Majesty. [John.] Death! [Hubert.] My lord ? [John.] A grave! [Hubert.] He shall not live. [John.] Enough.I could be merry now.
Hubert, I love thee ! Well, I 'll not say what I intend :-Remember!
We must imagine an interval of time, and a change of place, before we listen to the following scene. Hubert, in the interior gloom of a castle, is giving directions to two men, his creatures. When they have quitted him, he summons Prince Arthur. [Hubert.] Heat me these irons hot, and look ye stand Within the arras : when I strike
-Young lad, come forth ; I have to say to you.
To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I.
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert. [Hubert.] If I talk to him, with his inno'cent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [Arthur.] Are you sick, Hubert ? you look pale to-day:
In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
[Hubert.] His words do take possession of my bosom.
Read here, young Arthur. How now, foolish drops ?
Can you not read it? is 't not fairly written?
that never did, and never shall So much as frown on you? [Hubert.]
I am sworn to 't, And with hot irons must I burn them out. [Arthur.] An if an angel had come down from heaven
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes
I would not have believ'd :-no tongue but Hubert's. [Hubert.] Come forth, I say, and do as I have bid you. [Arthur.] Save me, save me, Hubert: my eyes are out
Even with the fierce looks of those bloody men. [Hubert.] Give me the iro'n, I say, and bind him here. [Arthur.] Alas! what need you be so boiste'rous rough?
I will not struggle; I will stand stone-still.
Whatever torment you do put me to. [Hubert.] Go stand within ; let me alone with him. [Arthur.] There's one that says he hates to do the deed :
If so, I then have chid away a friend :
Give life to yours.
eyes : 0
[Arthur.] Is there no remedy?
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ering hair,
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible. [Hubert.] Is this your promise ? Go to, hold your tongue. [Arthur.] Nay, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue, So I may keep mine spare mine
And would not harm me. [Hubert.] I can heat it, boy. [Arthur.) And if you did, you would but make it blush
And glow with shame. All things that you should use
which e'en fire and iro'n extend :
For all the treasure that thine uncle has. [Arthur.] 0, now you look like Hubert : all this while
You were disguis’d.
Your uncle must not know but you are dead.