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'Fhat you have bid us ask his liberty ;
Which for our good we do no further as,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal that he have liberty..
K. John. Let it be fo; I do commit his youth
To your direction. Hübert, what news with you?
Pemb. This is the inan, should do the bloody deed:
He hew'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 thew 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 confcience,
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles fent : (22)
His passion is fo ripe, it needs must break.
Pemb. 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, Arihur is deceased to-night,
Sal. Indeed, we fear'd, his fickneis was past cure.
Pemb. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was, Before the child himself felt he was fick. This must be answer'd, either here, or hence.
K.John. Why do you hend such folemn brows on me?.
Think you, 4 bear the thears, of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?
Sal. It is apparent foul-play, and 'tis shame
That greatness should fo grody offer it:
So thrive it in your game, and so farewel !
(22) Like heralds, 'twixt two dreadful battles fet ;] But heralds. are not planted, I prelume, in the midit betwixt iwo lines of battle; tho' they, and trumpets, are often tent over from party to party, to propose terms, demand a parley, 1950. I have therefore-ventur'd to rçad, Jent.
Pemb. Stay yet, Lord Salisbury, I'll go with thee;
And find th’inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood which own'd the breadth of all this ifle,
Three foot of it doth hold; bad world the while !
This must not be thus borne ; this will break out
To all our forrows, and ere long, I doubt. (Exeunt.
Enter a Messenger
K. John. They burn in indignation ; I repent.
There is no sure foundation set on blood;
No certain life atchiev'd by others death [ Afide.
A fearfuleye thou haft; where is that blood, [To the Milleni.
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 ?
Mes. From France to England never, such a powers
For any foreign preparation,
Was levy'd in the body of a land.
of your speed is learn'd by them : For when you Mould be told, they do prepare, The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd.
K.John. Oh, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it slept? where is my mother's care?
That such an army mould be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it ?
Mef. My Liege, her ear.
Is stopt with dust : the first of April, dy'd
Your noble mother; and as I hear, my Lord,
The Lady Conflance in a frenzy dy'd
Three days before : but this from rumour's tongue
I idly heard; if true or false, I know not.
K. John. With-hold thy speed, dreadful occafion!
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'it out, are landed here ?
Mef. Under the Dauphin.
Enter Faułconbridge, 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.
Faulo. But if
be afraid to hear the worst, Then let the worft 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, fpeak it of what it will.
Fault. How I have sped among the clergymen,
The fums I have collected shall express.
But as I travellid hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fanta@ed ;
Pofféft 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 fung in rude harsh-founding rhimes,
That, ere the next Afcenfion-day at noon,
Your Highness should deliver ap. your crown,
* John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didit thou fo? Peter. Fore-knowing, that the truth will fall out fo,
Ķ fobn. Hubert, away with him, imprison him,
And on that day at noon, whereon he lays
I fall 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 ?
Faulc. The French, my Lord; mens 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 fay, is kill'd to-night On your suggestion,
K. John. Gentle kinsman, go
And thrust thyself into their company :
I have a way to win their loves again :
Bring them before me.
Fault. I will seek them out.
K. John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
0, 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.
Fauls. The spirit of the time fallteach mespeed. [Exiti
K. John. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.
Go after him ; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers ;
And be thou he.
Mes. With all my heart, my Liege. [Exit.
K. John. My mother dead !
Hub. My Lord, they say, five moons were seen to-nights.
Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
The other sour, in wond'rous motion..
K. John. Five moons ?
Hus. Old men and beldams, in the streets,
Do prophefy 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,
Whilft 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 à taylor's news ;
Who with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on flippers, which his nimble hafte
Had falsely thruft upon contrary feet,
To!d of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattled and rank'd in Kent.
Another lean, unwash'd artificer
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K.John. Why seek'At thou to poffefs me with these fears?
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a cause
"To wish him dead, but thou had'st none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my Lord?why,did you not provoke mer
K. John. It is the curfe of Kings, to be attended By slaves that take their humours for a warrant, To break into the bloody house of life: And, on the winking of authority, To understand a law, to know the meaning Of dang'rous Majesty; when, perchance, it frowns More upon humour, than-advis'd respect.
Hub. Here is your hand and seal, for what I did.
K.7.Oh, when the last account 'twixt heav'n and earth Is to be made, then thall this hand and feal Witness against us to damnation. How oft the light of means, to do ill deeds, Makes deeds ill done! for hadît not thou been by, A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d, Quoted, and fign'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 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, Mad'st it no conscience to destroy a Prince.
Hub. My Lord
K.Joh. Had it thou but shook thy head, or madea pause, When I spake darkly what I purposed : Or turnà an eye of doubt upon my face, Or bid me tell my tale in express words ; Deep shame had itruck me dumb, made me break of, And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me. But thou didit understand me by my signs, And didft in figns again parley with fin;