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[Pandulph.] O Sir, when he shall hear of your approach,

If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies : and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him.

Go with me to the king. [Lewis.]

Ay, let us go :
Strong reasons make strong actions, Cardi’nal. Come

BY

JOHN'S

'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,
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 cherish’d.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,
But I will fit it with some better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd

To say, what good respect I have of thee.
[Hubert.] I am much bounden to your majesty.
[John.] Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so, yet ;

But thou shalt have: and creep time ne'er so slow,

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Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,—but let it go :
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 gauds
To give me audience. If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed of a thousand wrongs; -
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, or harmful sound of words,
Then, in despite of broad-ey'd 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. [Hubert.] So well, that what you bid me undertake,

Though that my death were adjunct to my act,

By heaven I'd do't.
[John.] Do I not 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 is before me: dost thou understand ?

Thou art his keeper.
[Hubert.] And I'll keep him so

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

my

foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy that you shall find with me.
Be heedful: hence, and fear you not : away!

-Young lad, come forth ; I have to say to you.
[Arthur.] Good morrow, Hubert.
[Hubert.] 'Morrow, little prince.
[Arthur.] As little prince, having so great a title

To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.
[Hubert.] Indeed, I have been merrier.
(Arthur.) Mercy on me!

Methinks, nobody should be sad but I.
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I shou’ld be as merry as the day is long :
And so I should be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me.
He is afraid of me, and I of him :
Is it my fault that I was Geoffrey's son ?
No indeed, is't not: and I would to heaven,

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,
That I might sit all night, and talk to you:
I warrant I love you, more than you, me.

[Hubert.] His words do take possession of my bosom.

Read here, young Arthur. How now, foolish drops ?
I must be brief, lest resolution drop
Out at mine eyes in tender woma’nish tears.

Can you not read it? is 't not fairly written?
[Arthur.] Too fairly, Hubert: but you will not do 't?
[Hubert.] Young boy, I must.
[Arthur.] Must you put out mine eyes,
These

eyes

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.
For heavens sake, Hubert, let me not be bound.
Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb,
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angrily ;
Drive but the men away, — I'll forgive you,

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 :
Let him come back, that his compassion may

Give life to yours.
[Hubert.] Come, boy, prepare yourself.

eyes : 0

[Arthur.] Is there no remedy?
[Hubert.] None but to lose your eyes.
[Arthur.] O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours,

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense !
Then, feeling what small things are boisterous there,

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

eyes,
Though to no use but still to look on you.
Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold,

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
Deny their office: only you do lack
That
mercy

which e'en fire and iro'n extend :
What! do you weep ?
[Hubert.] I will not touch thine eyes,

For all the treasure that thine uncle has. [Arthur.] 0, now you look like Hubert : all this while

You were disguis’d.
[Hubert.] Peace! no more! be still!

Your uncle must not know but you are dead.
I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports:
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee. Closely keep within.

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