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SCENE II.-The Same.


A Room of State in the

Enter King JOHN, crowned; PEMBROKE, SALIS-
BURY, and other Lords. The King takes his

Hub. Silence! no more; go closely in with me: | The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint Much danger do I undergo for thee. Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent To break into this dangerous argument: If what in rest you have in night you hold, Why then your fears, which, as they say, attend The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth The rich advantage of good exercise? That the time's enemies may not have this To grace occasions, let it be our suit That you have bid us ask his liberty; Which for our goods we do no further ask Than whereupon our weal, on you depending, Counts it your weal he have his liberty.


K. John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd,

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And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.
Pem. This once again,' but that your high-
ness pleas'd,

Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before,
And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off,
The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt;
Fresh expectation troubled not the land
With any long'd-for change or better state.
Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double


To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,


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Pem. This is the man should do the bloody

10 He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine: 70
The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does show the mood of a much troubled breast;
And I do fearfully believe 'tis done,
What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.

To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be

This act is as an ancient tale new told,
And in the last repeating troublesome,
Being urged at a time unseasonable.

Sal. In this the antique and well-noted face
Of plain old form. is much disfigured;
And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,


It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,
Startles and frights consideration,
Makes sound opinion sick and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe."

Pem. When workmen strive to do better than


They do confound their skill in covetousness;
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse:
As patches set upon a little breach
Discredit more in hiding of the fault
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-

We breath'd our counsel: but it pleas'd your

To overbear it, and we are all well pleas'd;
Since all and every part of what we would
Doth make a stand at what your highness will.
K. John. Some reasons of this double corona-


I have possess'd you with and think them strong;
And more, more strong, then lesser is my fear,
I shall indue you with: meantime but ask
What you would have reform'd that is not well;
And well shall you perceive how willingly
I will both hear and grant you your requests.
Pem. Then I, as one that am the tongue of

To sound the purposes of all their hearts,
Both for myself and them, but, chief of all,
Your safety, for the which myself and them
Bend their best studies, heartily request


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Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen The sums I have collected shall express. But as I travell'd hither through the land, I find the people strangely fantasied, Possess d with rumours, full of idle dreams, Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear. And here's a prophet that I brought with me From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found With many hundreds treading on his heels ; To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rimes, That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon, Your highness should deliver up your crown. K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so!


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I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
Told of a many thousand war-like French,
That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent. 200
Another lean unwash'd artificer

Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur's death.
K. John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with
these fears?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death? Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty


To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.

Hub. No had, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?


K. John. It is the curse of kings to be attended By slaves that take their humours for a warrant To break within the bloody house of life, And on the winking of authority 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 deeds ill 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 murder had not come into my mind;
But taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
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:

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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. 250
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 murderous 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 Arthur 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 hideous than thou art.
O! 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,

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Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury.

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, a 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;
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

Return and tell him so: we know the worst.
Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I

think, were best.

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Found it too precious-princely for a grave.


Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? Have you beheld,

Or have you read, or heard? or could you think!
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see? could thought, without this

Form such another? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest.
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.


Pem. All murders past do stand excus'd in 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. And breathing 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.

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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

Hub. Not for my life; but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murderer.
Do not prove me so;
Yet I am none. Whose tongue soe'er speaks
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.
Keep the peace, I say.
Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulcon-


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,
Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulcon-

Second a villain and a murderer ?

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 My date of life out for his sweet life's loss.

Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,

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Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer: There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell

As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child. Hub. Upon my soul

Bast. 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 thee; a rush will be a beam To hang thee on; or would'st 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. If 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. Bast.



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 unowed interest of proud-swelling state. Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest, And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace: Now powers from home and discontents at home Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits, As doth a raven on a sick-faller beast, The imminent decay of wrested pomp. Now happy he whose cloak and ceinture can Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child And follow me with speed: I'll to the king: A thousand businesses are brief in hand, And heaven itself doth frown upon the land. Exeunt.


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Your sovereign greatness and authority.

And I have made a happy peace with him; K. John. Now keep your holy word: go meet And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers the French,

And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches 'fore we are inflam'd.
Our discontented counties do revolt,
Our people quarrel with obedience,
Swearing allegiance and the love of soul
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified:


Then pause not; for the present time's so sick,
That present medicine must be minister'd,
Or overthrow incurable ensues.

Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest up

Upon your stubborn usage of the pope;
But since you are a gentle convertite,


My tongue shall hush again this storm of war
And make fair weather in your blustering land.
On this Ascension-day, remember well,
Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Go I to make the French lay down their arms.
K. John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the

Say that before Ascension-day at noon
My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
I did suppose it should be on constraint;
But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.

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Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew. | But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad? Be great in act, as you have been in thought; Let not the world see fear and sad distrust Govern the motion of a kingly eye: Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire; Threaten the threatener, and outface the brow Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes, That borrow their behaviours from the great, Grow great by your example and put on The dauntless spirit of resolution. Away! and glister like the god of war When he intendeth to become the field: Show boldness and aspiring confidence. What! shall they seek the lion in his den And fright him there? and make him tremble

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Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league! Shall we, upon the footing of our land, Send fair-play orders and make compromise, Insinuation, parley and base truce


To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a war-like soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms:
Perchance the cardinal cannot make your peace;
Or if he do, let it at least be said

They saw we had a purpose of defence.

K. John. Have thou the ordering of this present time.

Bast. Away then, with good courage! yet, I know,

Our party may well meet a prouder foe. Exeunt.

SCENE II-A Plain near Saint Edmundsbury. Enter in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers.

Lew. My Lord Melun, let this be copied out, And keep it safe for our remembrance. Return the precedent to these lords again; That, having our fair order written down, Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes, May know wherefore we took the sacrament, And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.

Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken. And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear A voluntary zeal and unurg'd faith To your proceedings; yet, believe me, prince, I am not glad that such a sore of time Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt, And heal the inveterate canker of one wound By making many. O! it grieves my soul That I must draw this metal from my side To be a widow-maker: O! and there Where honourable rescue and defence Cries out upon the name of Salisbury. But such is the infection of the time, That, for the health and physic of our right, We cannot deal but with the very hand Of stern injustice and confused wrong. And is 't not pity, O my grieved friends! That we, the sons and children of this isle, Were born to see so sad an hour as this; Wherein we step after a stranger march Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up



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Her enemies' ranks,-I must withdraw and weep
Upon the spot of this enforced cause,—
To grace the gentry of a land remote,
And follow unacquainted colours here?
What, here? O nation! that thou could'st re-

That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee abont.
Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
Where these two Christian armies might combine
The blood of malice in a vein of league,
And not to spend it so unneighbourly!

Lew. A noble temper dost thou show in this;
And great affections wrestling in thy bosom
Do make an earthquake of nobility.
O! what a noble combat hast thou fought
Between compulsion and a brave respect.


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