« PreviousContinue »
AFTER the peace of 1200 Arthur remained under the care of King Philip, in fear, as it is said, of the treachery of John. But the peace was broken within two years. John, whose passions were ever his betrayers, seized upon the wife of the Count de la Marche, Isabella of Avgoulême, and married her, although his wife Avisa, to whom he had been married ten years, was living. The injured Count headed an insurrection in Aquitaine ; which Philip secretly encouraged. John was, however, courteously entertained by his crafty rival in Paris. But, upon his return to England, Philip openly succoured the insurgents; once more brought the unhappy Arthur upon
and made him raise the banver of war against his powerful uncle. With a small force he marched against the town of Mirebeau, near Poictiers, where his grandmother Elinor was stationed, as “ Regent of those parts.” Some of the chroniclers affirm that Elinor was captured; but, says Holinshed, “ others write far more truly, that she was not taken, but escaped into a tower, within the which she was straitly besieged.” John, who was in Normandy, being apprised of the danger of his mother, “ used such diligence that he was upon his enemies' vecks ere they could understand anything of his coming." On the night of the 31st July, 1202, John obtained possession of the town by treachery, and Arthur was taken in his bed. The Count de la Marche, and the other leaders, were captured, and were treated with extreme cruelty and indignity. Arthur was conveyed to the castle of Falaise. The interdict of John, by Rome, for refusing to admit Stephen Langton to the archbishopric of Canterbury, did not take place till five years after these events.
SCENE I.–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
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.
Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Good morrow, little prince.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
a Christendom. Arthur prettily asseverates by the baptismal office—by his christening. The word is used in this sense in ‘All's Well that Ends Well;' and it is found in Gower :
“A light, as though it was a sonne
From heaven, into the place come,
you more than
My uncle practises more harm to me:
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
[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
do 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 but ache, I knit my hand-kercher about your brows,a (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
sick service had a prince. a Hand-kercher. The spelling of the original is thus. In “Othello' we have handkerchiefe in the folio of 1623 ; but handkercher in the quarto. The words were used indifferently in Shakspere's day.
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? These eyes,
that never did, nor never shall, So much as frown on you ? Hub.
I have sworn to do it;
Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it!
Re-enter Attendants, with Cords, Irons, &c.
Do as I bid
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.
a Heat, used as a participle, as in our translation of the Bible : “ He commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heat.” -(DANIEL.)
b I would not have believ'd him. So the reading of the original. In all the modern editions we have
“I would not have believ'd no tongue but Hubert's.” The double negative is quite justifiable here; but the rejection of him weakens the line; and, as usual, may be traced to the ear of Steevens, which regarded what he called a redundant syllable as a foul weed in the rden of poetry. Shakspere made abundant work for his unsparing hoe. As we have pointed the passage, Arthur begins a fresh sentence, which is interrupted by Hubert stamping. He is about to say, “ No tongue but Hubert's” would have made me believe it.
For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound !
Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
Come, boy, prepare yourself.
None, but to lose your eyes.
Hub. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.
Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
I can heat it, boy.
a In this burning coal. Dr. Grey, whose remarks are generally just as well as learned, would read
« There is no malice burning in this coal.”'