Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.

Arth.

And I will.

Have you the heart? When your head did but ake,

[ocr errors]

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 chear'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 he'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 ont mine

eyes?

[ocr errors]

These 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 this firy 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 him; no tongue, but Hubert's.

Hub. Come forth.

[stamps.]

Re-enter Attendants, with cord, irons, etc.

Do as I bid you.

Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me

are out,

me! my eyes

[ocr errors]

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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

rough?

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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.

deed.

Hub. Go, stand within; let me alone with him. 1. Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a [Exeunt Attendants.] 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.

2

[ocr errors]

Arth, O heaven! that there were but a moth

in yours,

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:
Let me not hold my tongue; let me not, Hubert!
Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
So I may keep mine eyes; O, 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.

Hub. I can heat it, boy.

Arth. No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief,

Being create for comfort, to be us'd
In undeserv'd extremes: See else yourself;
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.

Hub. But with my breath I can revive it,, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush,
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:
Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes;
And, like a dog, that is compell'd to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
All things, that you should use to do me wrong,
Deny their office: only you do lack

That mercy, which fierce fire, and iron, extends, Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.

Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye For all the treasure that thine uncle owes : Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy, With this same very iron to burn them out. Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all this while You were disguised.

Hub. Peace: no more. Adieu;

Your uncle must not know but you are dead:

I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports. And, pretty child, sleep doubtlefs, and secure, That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world, Will not offend thee.

Arth. O heaven!

[ocr errors]

I thank you, Hubert.

Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely in with me; `Much danger do I undergo for thee.

[Exeunt.]

[blocks in formation]

The same. A Room of state in the Palace.

Enter King JOHN, crown'd; PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other Lords. The king takes his state.

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

And look'd upon, I hope, with chearful eyes. Pemb. This once again, but that your highness 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
pomp,

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

Pemb. But that your royal pleasure must be done, 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.

Pemb. When workmen strive to do better thanTM well,

They do confound their skill in covetousness:
Aud, 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-
crown'd,

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

To over-bear 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 coronation
I have possess'd you with, and think them strong;
And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear)
I shall indue you with: Mean time, but ask
What you would have reform'd, that it not well;
And well shall you perceive, how willingly
I will both hear and grant you your requests.
Pemb. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of
these,

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
The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument, -
If, what in rest you have, in right you hold,

« PreviousContinue »