Page images
PDF
EPUB

King John.
Јон

Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away,
And I will fit as quiet as a lamb.
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angrily:
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.
Exec. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. [Exeunt.

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 your

self.
Arth. Is there no remedy?
Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.
Arth. O heav'n! that there were but a moth in

yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandring 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 footh, the fire is dead with grief, Being create for comfort, to be us'd In undeserv'd extreams; see else your self, There is no malice in this burning coal ; The breath of heav'n hath blown its spirit out, And strew'd repentant aihes on its 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

And like a Dog, that is compellid to fight,
Snatch at his Master that doch 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 extend,
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 owns :
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 doubtless, and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.

Artb. O heav'n! I thank you, Hubert.

Hub. Silence, no more; go closely in with me. Much danger do I undergo for thee. [Exeunt.

K. John. He crown’d,

SCENE changes to the Court of England.
Enter King John, Pembroke, Salisbury, and other Lords.

ERE once again we fit, once again
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 lilly,
To throw a perfume on the violet,

To

[ocr errors]

To smooth the ice, or add another hus
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excefs.

Pemb. But that your royal pleasure must be dones
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 fhifted wind unto a Tail,
It makes the course of thoughts to ferch about ;
Startles and frights consideration;
Makes found opinion lick, and truth fufpected,
For putting on so new & fashion'd robe.

Pemb. When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness ; (21)
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excufe:
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're all well pleas’d;
Since all and every part of what we would,
Must make a Stand at what your Highness will.

K. John. Some reasons of this double Coronation
I have pofseft you with, and think them strong.
And moreg more strong (the lesser is my fear)
I shall endue 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.

Pemb. Then I, as one that am the Tongue of thefe,

(21) They do confound their skill in Covetousness) i. e. Not by their Avarice, but in an eager Emulation, an intenfe Detire of excelling; as in Henry V.

But if it be a Sin to cover Honour,
I am the most offending Soul alive

Το

To found the purposes of all their hearts,
(Both for my felf and them ; but chief of all,
Your safety for the which, my felf and they
Bend their beft Studies ;) heartily request
Th’infranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murm’ring lips of difcontent
To break into this dang’rous argument ;
If what in Rest you have, in Right you hold,
Why shou'd your fears, (which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong) then move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
With barb'rous 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 fuit,
That you have bid us ask his liberty;
Which for our good we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our Weal, on you depending,
Counts it your Weal that he have liberty.,

Enter Hubert.

K. John. Let it be fo; I do commit his youth To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

Pemb. This is the man, should do the bloody deed:
He shew'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 shew the mood of a much-troubled breaft.
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 batrels fent: (22)
His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

(22) Like Heralds, 'twixt two dreadful Battles fet;] But Heralds are not planted, I presume, in the midft betwixt two Lines of Battle; tho' they, and Trumpets, are often sent over from Party to Party, to propose Terms, demand a Parley, c. I have therefore ventur'd to read, fent.

Pemb.

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, Arthur is deceas'd to night.

Sal. Indeed, we fear'd, his sickness 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 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 grofly offer it:
So thrive it in your game, and so farewel!

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 sorrows, 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 [Aside. A fearful eye thou hast; where is that blood,

[To the Mes. That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks? So foul á sky clears not without a storm ; Pour down thy weather : how goes all in France ?

Mes. From France to England never such a Power, For any foreign Preparation, Was levy'd in the body of a Land.

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

The copy

K. John.

« PreviousContinue »