Page images
PDF

K. John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before, − O, let me have no subjećt enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns 320 With dreadful pomp of stout invasion l— Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels; And fly, like thought, from them to me again. Faulc. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed. [Exit. 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 thouhe. Mes. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit. K. John. My mother dead! 339

Re-enter HUBERT.

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

Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about
The other four, in wondrous motion.

K. John, Five moons ! f

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 ačtion 341 With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.

3 I saw

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 contrary feet)
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattled and rank'd in Kent: 350
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
fears 2
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death
Thy hand hath murder'd him : I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst mone to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did not you pro-
voke me?
A. John. 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 : 36c
And, on the winking of authority,
To understand a law; to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns
More upon humour than advis'd respećt.
Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. Oh, when the last account 'twixt heaven
and earth
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

Makes deeds ill done? Hadst not thou been by, 372
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But, taking note of thy abhorred aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
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,
Madst it no conscience to destroy a prince.

Hub. My lord— 38o K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made a pause,

When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face;
Or bid me tell my tale in express words;
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 390 The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.

Out of my sight, and never see me more I
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,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns

H Between

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. 4co
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, 4 no
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 thou art.
Oh, 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.

A Street before a Prison. Enter ARTHUR on the Walls.

Arth. The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down — Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not!— 421 2 There's

[merged small][ocr errors]

There's few, or none, do 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.
Oh me ! my uncle's spirit is in these stones:— -
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones |
- [Dies.
Enter Pem B Roke, SALISBURY, and BIG or.

Sal. Lords, I will meet him at saint Edmund's-
Bury;
It is our safety, and we must embrace 431
This gentle offer of the perilous time.
Pemb. Who brought that letter from the cardinal *
. Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of France;
Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love,
Is much more general than these lines import.
Bigot. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
Sal. Or, rather, then set forward: for 'twill be
Two long days journey, lords, or e'er we meet.

Enter FA Ulcon BRIDGE.

Faulc. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd
lords! - 44O
The king, by me, requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us;
We will not line his thin bestained cloak -
Hij With

« PreviousContinue »