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Which is the side, that I must go withal?
I am with both: each army hath a hand;
And, in their rage, I having hold of both,
They whirl asunder, aud dismember me.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou may'st win;
Uncle, I needs must pray, that thou may'st lose;
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thrive:
Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose;
Assured loss, before the match be play'd.

Lew. Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies. Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there my life dies. K. John. Cousin, go draw our puissance together.[Exit Bastard. France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath; A rage, whose heat hath this condition, That nothing can allay, nothing but blood, The blood, and dearest valu'd blood, of France. K. Phi. Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn

To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.

K. John. No more than he that threats.-To arms let's hie! [Exeunt. SCENE II. The same. Plains near Angiers. Alarums; Excursions. Enter the Bastard with

AUSTRIA's head.

Bast. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous Some airy devil hovers in the sky, [hot; And pours down mischief. Austria's head lie While Philip breathes.

[there;

up: My mother is assailed in our tent, And ta'en, I fear.

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When gold and silver becks me to come on
I leave your highness:-Grandam, I will pray
(If ever I remember to be holy,)

For your fair safety; so I kiss your hand.
Eli. Farewell, my gentle cousin.

K. John.
Coz, farewell. [Exit Bastard.
Eli. Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.
(She takes Arthur aside.)
K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle
Hubert,

Enter King JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT. K. John. Hubert, keep this boy :-Philip, make

Bast. My lord, I rescu'd her; Her highness is in safety, fear you not: But on, my liege; for very little pains Will bring this labour to an happy end. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.-The same. Alarums; Excursions; Retreat. Enter King JOHN, ELINOR, ARTHUR, the Bastard, HUBERT, and Lords.

K. John. So shall it be; your grace shall stay
behind,
(To Elinor.)
So strongly guarded.-Cousin, look not sad:
(To Arthur.)
Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will
As dear be to thee as thy father was.
Arth. O, this will make my mother die with grief.
K. John. Cousin, (to the Bastard) away for
England; haste before:

And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Of hoarding abbots; angels imprison'd
Set thou at liberty: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
Use our commission in his utmost force.

Bast, Bell, book, and candle, shall not drive me back,

We owe thee much; within this wall of flesh
There is a soul, counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love:
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,-
But I will fit it with some better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd
To say what good respect I have of thee.
Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty.
K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say

so yet:

But thou shalt have; and creep time ne'er so slow,
Yet it shall come, for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,-But let it go:
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience:-If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a church-yard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy, thick;
(Which, else, runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes ;)
Or if that thou could'st see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words;
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts:
But ah, I will not:-Yet I love thee well;
And, by my troth, I think, thou lov'st me well.
Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I'd do't.
K. John.
Do not I know thou would'st?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And, wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me: Dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.

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Hub.
And I will keep him so,
That he shall not offend your majesty.
K. John. Death.
Hub.
My lord?

A grave.

K. John.
Hub.

He shall not live.
Enough.

K. John.

I could be merry now: Hubert, I love thee;
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee:
Remember.- -Madam, fare you well:
I'll send those powers o'er to your majesty.
Eli. My blessing go with thee!
K. John.
For England, cousin:
Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With all true duty.-On toward Calais, ho! [ Exeunt.
SCENE IV. The same. The French King's Tent.
Enter King PHILIP, LEWIS, PANDULPH, and
Attendants.

K. Phi. So, by a roaring tempest on the flood, A whole armado of convicted sail

Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship.

Pand. Courage and comfort! all shall yet go well.

[ill?

K. Phi. What can go well, when we have run so Are we not beaten? Is not Angiers lost? Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain? And bloody England into England gone, O'erbearing interruption, spite of France?

Lew. What he hath won, that hath he fortified: So hot a speed with such advice dispos'd, Such temperate order in so fierce a cause, Doth want example: Who hath read, or heard, Of any kindred action like to this?

[praise,

K. Phi. Well could I bear, that England had this So we could find some pattern of our shame. Enter CONSTANCE.

Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,
In the vile prison of afflicted breath :-
I pr'ythee, lady, go away with me.

Const. Lo, now! now see the issue of your peace! K. Phi. Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!

Const. No, I defy all counsel, all redress, But that, which ends all counsel,'true redress, Death, death:-O amiable lovely death! Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness! Arise forth from the couch of lasting night, Thou hate and terror to prosperity, And I will kiss thy détestable bones; And put my eye-balls in thy vaulty brows; And ring these fingers with thy household worms; And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust, And be a carrion monster like thyself: Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil'st, And buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love, O, come to me!

K. Phi.

O fair affliction, peace. Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth! Then with a passion would I shake the world; And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy, Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice, Which scorns a modern invocation.

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
Const. Thou art not holy to belie me so;
I am not mad: this hair I tear, is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad ;-I would to heaven, I were!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!-
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
For, being not mad, but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son;
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he :
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

K. Phi. Bind up those tresses: O, what
In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
Do glew themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.

Const. To England, if you will.
K. Phi.
Bind up your hairs.
Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,
O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty!
But now I envy at their liberty,

And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner.—
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:

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If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me, that never had a son.

K. Phi. You are as fond of grief, as of your child. Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me; Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words, Remembers me of all his gracious parts, Stuff's out his vacant garments with his form; Then, have I reason to be fond of grief. Fare you well: had you such a loss as I, I could give better comfort than you do.I will not keep this form upon my head, (Tearing off her head-dress) When there is such disorder in my wit. Olord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son! My life, my joy, my food, my all the world! My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure. [Exit. K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.

[Exit. [joy:

Lew. There's nothing in this world, can make me Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man; And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste, That it yields nought, but shame and bitterness. Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease, Even in the instant of repair and health, The fit is strongest; evils, that take leave, On their departure most of all show evil : What have you lost by losing of this day?

Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness. Pand. If you had won it, certainly, you had. No, no when fortune means to men most good, She looks upon them with a threatening eye. 'Tis strange, to think how much king John hath lost In this, which he accounts so clearly won: Are not you griev'd, that Arthur is his prisoner? Lew. As heartily, as he is glad he hath him. Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood. Now hear me speak, with a prophetic spirit; For even the breath of what I mean to speak Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub, Out of the path, which shall directly lead Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark. John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be, That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins, The misplac'd John should entertain an hour, One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest: A sceptre, snatch'd with an unruly hand, Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd: And he, that stands upon a slippery place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up: That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall; So be it, for it cannot be but so. [fall?

Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife, May then make all the claim that Arthur did. Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did. Pand. How green are you, and fresh in this old world!

John lays you plots: the times conspire with you:
For he that steeps his safety in true blood,
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue.
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal ;
That none so small advantage shall step forth,
To check his reign, but they will cherish it;
No natural exhalation in the sky,

No scape of nature, no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, présages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's
life,
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.
Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies: and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change;
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath,
Out of the bloody fingers'-ends of John.
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot;
And, O, what better matter breeds for you,
Than I have nam'd!-The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity: If but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call
To train ten thousand English to their side;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
Go with me to the king: 'Tis wonderful,
What may be wrought out of their discontent:
Now that their souls are topfull of offence,
For England go; I will whet on the king.
Lew. Strong reasons make strong actions: Let

us go;

If you say, ay, the king will not say, no. [Exeunt. ACT IV.

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 my foot Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth; And bind the boy, which you shall find with me, Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch. 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. Enter ARTHUR. Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.

Hub.
Good morrow, little prince.
Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince,) as may be. You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Arth.
Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I ;
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long:
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me;
He is afraid of me, and I of him:

Is it my fault, that I was Geffrey's son?
No, indeed, is't not; And I would to heaven,
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.

Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. (Aside.)
Arth. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-
In sooth, I would you were a little sick; [day:
That I might sit all night, and watch with you.
I warrant, I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.—
Read here, young Arthur. (Showing a paper.) How
now, foolish rheum!
Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
I must be brief; lest resolution drop

(Aside.)

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I knit my handkerchief about your brows, (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 at your sick service had a prince.
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?
that never did, nor never shall,

These eyes,
So much as frown on you?

Hub.
I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.

Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it! The iron of itself, though heat red-hot, Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears, And quench his fiery indignation, Even in the matter of mine innocence: Nay, after that, consume away in rust, But for containing fire to harm mine eye. Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron? An if an angel should have come to me, And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes, I would not have believ'd no tongue, but Hubert's. Hub. Come forth. (Stamps.) Re-enter Attendants, with cords, irons, &c. Do as I bid you do.

Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men. are out,

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. For heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound! Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men away, And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
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. 1 Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. [Exeunt Attendants. 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 yourself. remedy?

Arth. Is there no
Hub.
None, but to lose your eyes.
Arth. O heaven!-that there were but a mote
in yours,

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring 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 sooth; the fire is dead with grief, Being create for comfort, to be us'd In undeserv'd extremes: See else yourself; There is no malice in this burning coal; 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 yon 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 compell'd to fight, Snatch at his master, that doth 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, 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 You were disguised. [while Adieu;

Hub.
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.

Arth.

O heaven!-I thank you, Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely in with me; Much danger do I undergo for thee. [Exeunt. 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;
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 bepossess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title 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 hae
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.

To overbear it; and we are all well pleas'd;
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 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.

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 The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent To break into this dangerous argument,― If, what in rest you have, 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, 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 Enter HUBErt.

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 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, '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 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 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 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 in blood;
No certain life achiev'd by others' death.-
Enter a Messenger.

A fearful eye 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
For any foreign preparation,
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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?

Mess.

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.

Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
And be thou he.
Mess. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit.
K. John. My mother dead!

K. John.

Gentle kinsman, go, And thrust thyself into their companies: have a way to win their loves again; Bring them before me.

Re-enter HUBERT.

Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen
to-night:

Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about
The other four, in wond'rous motion.
K. John. Five moons?

To

Enter the Bastard, and PETER of Pomfret.
Thou hast made me giddy
K. John.
With these ill tidings.-Now, what says the world
your proceedings? do not seek to stuff
full.
My head with more ill news, for it
be afeard to hear the worst,
Bast. But if you
Then let the worst, 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, speak it of what it will.

Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen,
The sums I have collected shall express.
But, as I travelled hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess'd 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 sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day, at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst
thou so?

Peter. Fore knowing that the truth will fall out so.
K. John. Hubert, away with him; imprison him;
And on that day at noon, whereon, he says,
I shall 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?
Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are
fall 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 say, is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets
Do prophecy 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 action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
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 contráry feet,)
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent:
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
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?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not
provoke me?

K. 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:
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 respect.

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. O, 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,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Makes deeds ill done! Hadest not thou been by,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspéct,
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,
Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.
Hub. My lord,-

Bast.

I will seek them out.

K. John. Nay, but make haste: the better foot
before.

O, 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.
Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

[Exit.

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
As 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

The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name.
Out of my sight, and never see me more!
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
Between my conscience, and my cousin's death.

K.John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman.Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need

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