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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 compellid to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre a 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.
Peace : no more.
Your uncle must not know but you are dead :
I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports.
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless, and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.
O heaven !-I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence; no more : Go closely in with me.
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
SCENE II.-The same. A Room of State in the Palace. Enter King John, 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;
a Tarre. Tooke derives this from a Saxon word, meaning to exasperate. Others think that it has only reference to the custom of exciting terriers -- tarriers.
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 a 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 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,
a Guard a title. The guard is the border or edging of a garment—the boundary -the defence against injury. The mammer in which Shakspere uses the word in * Love's Labour 's Lost' explains it here :
“ Oh, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose.”' The edgings were generally ornamented, and became smart trimmings. In the passage before us the same meaning is preserved :
“ To guard a title that was rich before.“
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 seara),
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 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
Th' enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument,
If what in rest you have b 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,
à When lesser is my fear. The folio reads, “ then lesser is my fear.”' If what in rest you have. Steevens would read wrest,—-violence. This is pure
But neither does rest mean quiet, as Malone, Douce, and others agree. The whole scene shows that John did not hold his power in perfect tranquillity. Rest is, we take it, here employed to mean a fixed position. To “set up a rest
is a term with which every reader of our old dramatic poets must be familiar. Some have thought that the expression was derived from the manner of fixing the harquebuss--a gun so heavy that the soldier, taking up his position, fixed a rest in the ground to enable him to level his piece. But, from a number of examples given by Reed in his edition of Dodsley's “ Old Plays,' we find the same expression constantly used in the game of Primero, in which game, as far as we may judge, the term seems to imply that the player, at a particular point of the game, makes a decided stand upon the chances he fancies he has secured. In a tale told of Henry VIII. (quoted by Reed), we have “The King, 55 eldest hand, sets up all rests, and discarded flush.” The King was satisfied with his position, and “ threw his 55 on the board open, with great laughter, supposing the game (as it was) in a manner sure.” The analogy in the speech of Pembroke is pretty close:
“ If what in rest you have in right you hold."
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
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 't is 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, cither 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 't is 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 breadth 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 on blood ;
No certain life achiev'd by others' death.
Enter a Messenger.
A fearful eye thou hast.
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 power,
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?
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. Under the dauphin.
Enter the Bastard and PETER of Pomfret.
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,