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So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long;
And so I would 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 Geffrey's son?
No, indeed, is't not; And I would to heaven,
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [Aside.
Arth. 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 watch with you: I warrant, I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper.] How now, foolish rheum !
[Aside. Turning dispiteous torture out of door! I must be brief; lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish tears.Can you not read it ? is it not fair writ?
Arth. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes ?
Hub. Young boy, I must.
Arth. And will you ?
Hub. And I will.
Arth. Have you the heart? When your head did
I knit my handkerchief about your brows,
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me,)
And I did never ask it you again :
And with my hand at midnight held your head;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time;
Saying, What lack you ? and, Where lies your grief?
Or, What good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would have lain still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
But you at your sick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think, my love was crafty love,
And call it, cunning: Do, an if you will:
If heaven be pleas’d that you must use me ill,
Why, then you must.-Will you put out mine eyes?
that never did, nor never shall, So much as frown on you?
Hub. I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it!
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench his fiery indignation,
Even in the matter of mine innocence:
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron?
An if an angel should have come to me,
And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believ'd no tongue, but Hubert's.
Hub. Come forth.
Re-enter Attendants, with cords, irons, &c. Do as I bid you do.
Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are
out, Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
Hub. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
Arth. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous-rough? I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still. For heaven's 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 angerly: Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you, Whatever torment
you do put me to. Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him. 1 Attend. I am best pleas’d, to be from such a deed.
Arth. Alas ! I then have chid away my friend;
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart
Let him come back, that his compassion may
Give life to yours.
Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.
Arth. Is there no remedy?
Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.
Arth. O heaven !--that there were but a mote in
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense !
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
Hub. Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.
Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes :
Do glew themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.
Const. To England, if you will.
K. Phi. 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;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his 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! [.Exit. K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.
[Exit. Lew. There's nothing in this world, can make me
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste,
That it yields naught, 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 have 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.