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Set thou at liberty! the fat ribs of peace Must by the hungry now be fed upon. Use our commission in his utmost force!

Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho! [Exeuns.


Bast. Bell, book, and candle, shall not drive me back, SCENE IV. -The same. The French King's tent.
When gold and silver becks me to come on.

I leave your highness. - Grandam, I will pray (If ever I remember to be holy,)

For your fair safety; so I kiss your hand.
Eli. Farewell, my gentle cousin!

K. John. Coz, farewell!

[Exit Bastard.

Eli. Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word! [She takes Arthur aside.

K. John. Come hither, Hubert! O 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 cherished. 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.

Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty.

K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet,

But thou shalt have, and creep time ne'er so slow,
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 gawds,
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 church-yard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,

Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy, thick,
(Which, else, runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes;)

Or if that thou could'st see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words:
Then, in despite of brooded 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.
Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I'd do't.

K. John. Do not I know thou would'st?
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, whereso'er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me. Dost thou understand me?

Thou art his keeper.

Hub. And I will keep him so,

That he shall not offend your majesty. K. John. Death.

Hub. My lord?

K. John. A grave.

Hub. He shall not live.

K. John. Enough!

I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;
Well, I'll not say, what I intend for thee.
Remember!- Madam, fare you well!
I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
Eli. My blessing go with thee!
K. John. For England, cousin:

Enter King PHILIP, LEWIS, PANDULPH, and Atten


K. Phi. So, by a roaring tempest on the flood,
A whole armado of convicted sail

Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship.
Pand. Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.
K. Phi. What can go well, when we have run so ill?
Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost?
Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?
And bloody England into England gone,
O'erbearing interruption, spite of France?

Lew. What he hath won, that hath he fortified:
So hot a speed with such advice dispos'd,
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause,
Doth want example. Who hath read, or heard,
Of any kindred action like to this?

K. Phi. Well could I bear, that England had this praise,

So we could find some pattern of our shame.

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Const. No, I defy all counsel, all redress, But that, which ends all counsel, true redress, Death, death. - O amiable lovely death! Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness! Arise forth from the couch of lasting night, Thou hate and terror to prosperity, And I will kiss thy détestable bones, And put my eye-balls in thy vaulty brows, And ring these fingers with thy household worms, And stop this gap of breath with falsome dust, And be a carrion monster like thyself. Come, grin on me, and I will think thou smil'st, Aud buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love, O, come to me!

K. Phi. O fair affliction, peace!

Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry.~ O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth! Then with a passion would I shake the world, And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy, Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice, Which scorns a modern invocation.

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
Const. Thou art not holy to belie me so,

I am not mad: this hair I tear, is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:

I am not mad; - I would to heaven, I were!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself.
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy, to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
For, being not mad, but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason,
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill, or hang myself.
If I were mad, I should forget my son;
Or madly think, a babe of clouts were he.
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

K. Phi. Bind up those tresses! O, what love I note
In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,


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Const. To England, if you will!

K. Phi, Bind up your hairs!

Const. Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I doit?

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.

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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 hroid 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,
Stuff's 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!
K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her. [Exit.
Lew.There's nothing in this world, can make me joy:
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 had 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. Pand. Your mind is all as youthful, as your blood. Now hear me speak, with a prophetic spirit! For even the breath of what I mean to speak, Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub, Out of the path, which shall directly lead Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark! John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be, That, whiles warm life plays in tha infant's veins, The misplac'd John should entertain an hour, One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest.

Ascepter, snatch'd with an unruly hand, Mustbe as boisterously maintain'd, as gain'd: Andhe, that stands upon a slippery place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up.

That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall; So be it, for it cannot be but so.

Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?
Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch, your wife,
May then make all the claim, that Arthur did.
Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
Pand. How green are you,and fresh in this old world!
John lays you plots, the times conspire with you;
For he, that steeps his safety in true blood,
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue.
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal ;
That none so small advantage shall step forth,
To check his reign, but they will cherish it.
No natural exhalation in the sky,

No scape of nature, no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, présages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's life,
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.

Pand. 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,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted charge,
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath,
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot,
And, O, what better matter breeds for you,
Than I have nam'd! - The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity. If but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call
To train ten thousand English to their side,
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
Go with me to the king! "Tis wonderful,
What may be wrought out of their discontent.
Now that their souls are topfull of offence,
For England go! I will whet on the king.
Lew. Strong reasons make strong actions. Let us go!
If you say, ay, the king will not say, uo.


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Northampton. A room in the castle. Enter HUBERT and two Attendants.

Hub. Heat me these irons hot; and, look thou stand Within the arras! when I strike my foot

Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Fast to the chair! be heedful! hence, and watch!
1 Attend. I hope,your warrant will bear out the deed.
Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you : look to't!-
[Exeunt Attendants.
Young lad, come forth! I have to say with you.
Enter ARTHur.

Arth. Good morrow, Hubert!
Hub. Good morrow, little prince!
Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince,) as may be. You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.

Arth. 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 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,
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden, and dispatch.
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,



do me.


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.
[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.





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Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.-Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
Read here, young Arthur! [Showing a paper.] How
now, foolish rheum!

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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. Have you the heart? when your head did but Arth. No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief,


I knit


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,

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,

Saying, What lack you? and, Where lies your grief? And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert;

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, anif you will:
If heaven be pleas'd, that you must use me ill,
Why, then you must.- Will you put out mine eyes?
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 his fiery indignation,
Evenin the matter of mine innocence;
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
Butfor 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, etc.
Do as I bid you do.

Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out,
Even with the fierce looks ofthese 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:

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 eyes
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.

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Arth. O heaven! - I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence; no more! Go closely in with me!
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
The same. A room of state in the palace.
Enter King Joux, crowned; 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 cheerful eyes.
Pem.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,

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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 excess.

Pem. 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.

Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well,
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-crown'd,
We breath'd our counsel: but it pleas'd your highness
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 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 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 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,
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. Let it be so! I do commit his youth
Enter HUBErt.

To your direction. - Hubert, what news with you?
Pem. This is the man, should do the bloody deed;
He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine.

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.

Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go,
Between his purpose and his conscience,
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set.
His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.
Pem. And, when it breaks, I fear, will issue thence
The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
K.John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand:
Good lords, although my will to give is living,

The suit, which you demand, is gone and dead. He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night

Sal. Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past cure. Pem. Indeed, we heard, how near his death he was, Before the child himself felt, he was sick.

This must be answer'd either here, or hence.

K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

Sal. It is apparent foul-play, and 'tis shame,
That greatness should so grossly offer it.
So thrive it in your game! and so farewell!
Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury! I'll go with thee,
And find the inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.

That blood, which ow'd the breath of all this isle,
Three foot of it doth hold: bad world the while!
This must not be thus borne: this will break out
To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt.

[Exeunt Lords.
K. John. They burn in indignation; I repent;
There is no sure foundation set in blood,
No certain life achiev'd by others' death.
Enter a Messenger.

A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood,
That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?
So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
Pour down thy weather! - How goes all in France?
Mess. From France to England. Never such a


For any foreign preparation,

Was levied in the body of a land!

The copy of your speed is learn'd by them;
For, when you should be told, they do prepare,
The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd.

K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care?
That such an army could be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it?

Mess. My liege, her ear

Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April, died
Your noble mother, and, as I hear, my lord,
The lady Constance in a frenzy died
Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue
I idly heard; if true, or false, I know not.

K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd
My discontented peers! - What! mother dead?
How wildly then walks my estate in France! -
Under whose conduct came those powers of France,
That thou for truth giv'st out, are landed here?
Mess. Uuder the Dauphin.

Enter the Bastard, and PETER of Pomfret. K. John. Thou hast made me giddy


With these ill tidings. Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Bast. But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head!
K. John. Bear with me, cousin! for I was amaz'd
Under the tide: but now I breathe again
Aloft the flood, and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen, The sums I have collected shall express. But, as I travelled 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 rhymes,


That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.
K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?
Peter. Foreknowing, that the truth will fall out so.
K. John. Hubert, away with him! Imprison him,
And on that day at noon, whereon, he says,
I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd!
Deliver him to safety, and return,

For I must use thee. - O my gentle cousin,
[Exit Hubert, with Peter.
Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd?
Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full
of it.

Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury,
(With eyes as red, as new-enkindled fire,)
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

K. John. Gentle kinsman, go,

And thrust thyself into their companies !

I have a way to win their loves again;

Bring them before me!

Bast. I will seek them out.

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

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! Hadest not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Quoted, and signed, 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 villainy,
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

When I spake darkly, what I purposed,
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my


K.John. Nay,but make haste; the better foot before. As bid me tell my tale in express words,

O, let me have no subject enemies,

When adverse foreigners affright my towns
With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!
Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,

And fly, like thought, from them to me again!
Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

K. John. Spoke, like a spriteful noble gentleman.-
Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
And be thou he!

Mess. With all my heart, my liege.
K. John. My mother dead!

Re-enter HUBERT.

Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me.
But thou didst understand me by my signs,

And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And, consequently, thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.
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,

[Exit. This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns

Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen tonight;

Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about

The other four, in wond'rous motion.

K. John. Five moons?

Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets

Do prophesy upon it dangerously:

Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear;

And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist,
Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
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 contráry feet,)
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent.
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

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not provoke


K. Iohn. 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

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:
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 murd'rous 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 thon art.
O, answer not, but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient haste!

I conjure thee but slowly, run more fast! [Exeunt.

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, to know me; if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.

If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
As good to die, and go, as die, and stay. [Leaps down.
O me! my
uncle's spirit is in these stones :-
Heaven, take my soul, and England keep my


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