Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

in yours,

I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.

Arth. O heaven !- I thank you, Hubert. For Heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound! Hub. Silence; no more: gu closely in wito me: Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men away, Much danger do I undergo for thee. (exeunt. And I will sit as quiet as a lamb

SCENE H. ROOM OF STATE IN THE PALACE. I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word, Enter King John, crowned; Pembroke, Salisbury, Nor look upon the iron angerly :

and other Lords. The King takes his state. Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you, K. John. Here once again we sit, once again Whatever torment you do put me to.

crown'd Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him. And look’d, upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes. 1 Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a Pem. This once again, but that your highness deed. [excunt Attendants.

pleas'd, Arth. Alas! I then have chid away my friend ; Was once superfluous: you were crown'd before, He hath a stern look, but a gentle beart:

And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off ; Let him come back, that his compassion may The faith of men ne'er stained with revolt; Give life to yours.

Fresh expectation troubled not the land, Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.

With any long'd for change, or better state. Arth. Is there no remedy?

Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.

To guard a title that was rich before, (pomp. Arth. O heaven?—that there were but a mote To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet, A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair,

To smooth the ice, or add another hue Any annoyance in that precious sense!

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, there,

Is wasteful, and ridiculous excess. Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.

Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done, Hub. Is this your promise? go to, hold your This act is as an ancient tale new told; tongue.

And, in the last repeating, troublesome, Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues Being urged at a time unseasonable. Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes: Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face Let me not hold my tongue ; let me not, Hubert! Of plain old form is much disfigured : Or, Hubert, if, you will, cut out my tongue, And, like a shifted wind unto a sail, So I may keep mine eyes ; 0, spare mine eyes : It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about; Though to no use, but still to look on you! Startles and frights consideration; Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold,

Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected, And would not harm me.

For putting on so new a fashion'd robe. Hub. I can heat it, boy.

Pem. When workmen strive to do better than Arth. No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with well, Being create for comfort to be us'd [grief, They do confound their skill in covetousness : In undeserv'd extremes : See else yourself; And, oftentimes, excusing of a fault, There is no malice in this burning coal ;

Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse;
The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out, As patches, set upon a little breach,
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.

Discredit more, in hiding of the fault.
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy. Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.

Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush, Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd, And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hu- We breath'd our counsel : but it pleas'd your bert:

highness Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes; To overbear it; and we are all well pleas'd ; And, like a dog, that is compell’d to fight,

Since all and every part of what we would, Snatch at his master, that doth tarre him on, Doth make a stand at what your highness will. All things, that you should use to do me wrong, K. John. Some reasons of this double coronaDeny their office : only you do lack

tion That mercy, which fierce fire, and iron, extends, I have possess'd you with, and think them strong ; Creatures of note, for mercy-lacking uses.

And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear,) Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine I shall endue you with : Mean time, but ask eyes

What you would have reform'd, that is not well; For all the treasure that thine uncle owes :

And well shall you perceive, bow willingly Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,

I will both he and grant you your requests. With this same very iron to burn them out. Pem. Then I (as one that am the tongue of

Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all this To sound the purposes of all their hearts), (theso, You were disguised.

[while Both for myself, and them, (but, chief of all, Hub. Peace : no more. Adieu ;

Your safety; for the which myself and them Your uncle must not know but you are dead: Bend their best studies), heartily request I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports. The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure, Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world, To break into this dangerous argument, — Will not offend thee.

If, what in rest you have, in right you hoid,

Why, then your fears (which, as they say, attend For, when you should be told they do prepare, The steps of wrong), should move you to mew up The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd. Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days

K. John. O where hath our intelligence been With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth

drunk ? The rich advantage of good exercise ?

Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care? That the time's enemies may not have this

That such an army could be drawn in France, To grace occasions, let it be our suit,

And she not hear of it? That you have bid us ask his liberty ;

Mess. My liege, her ear Which for our goods we do no further ask,

Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April, died Than whereupon our weal, on you depending, Your noble mother: And, as I hear, my lord, Counts it your weal, he have his liberty.

The lady Constance in a frenzy died
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth Three days before; but this from rumour's tongue

I idly heard; if true, or false, I know not.
Enter Iubert.

K. John. Withhold thy specd, dreadful occasion ! To your direction.-Hubert, what news with you ? | O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd

Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed; My discontented peers !What! mother dead? He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine :

How wildly then walks my estate in France ! The image of a wicked beinous fault

Under whose conduct came those powers of France, Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his

That thou for truth giv'st out, are landed here? Does show the mood of a much troubled breast; Mess. Under the dauphin. And I do fearfully believe, 'tis done, What we so fear'd he had a charge to do.

Enter the Bastard, and Peter of Pomfret. Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go, K. John. Thou hast made me giddy Between his purpose and his conscience,

With these ill tidings.—Now, what says the world Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set; To your proceedings ? do not seek to stuff His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

My head with more ill news, for it is full. Pem. And, when it breaks, I fear, will issue Bast. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst, thence

Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head. The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.

K. John. Bear with me, cousin : for I was K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong

amaz'd hand :

Under the tide: but now I breathe again Good lords, although my will to give is living, Aloft the flood; and can give audience The suit which you demand is gone and dead : To any tongue, speak it of what it will. He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night.

Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen. Sal. Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past The sums I have collected shall express.

But, as I travelled hither through the land, Pem. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was, I find the people strangely fantasied; Before the child himself felt he was sick:

Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams; This must be answer'd, either here, or hence. Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear: K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows And here's a prophet, that I brought with me on me?

Forth from the streets of Pomfret, whom I found Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?

With many hundreds treading on his heels; Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes, Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame, That 'ere the next Ascension-day at noon, 1 That greatness should so grossly offer it :

Your highness should deliver up your crown. So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,

thou so? And find the inheritance of this poor child,

Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out His little kingdom of a forced grave. That blood, which ow'd the breath of all this işle, K. John. Hubert, away with him: imprison bim, Three foot of it doth hold: Bad world the while !

And on that day, at noon, whereon he says, This must not be thus borne: this will break out shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd, To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt.

Deliver him to safety, and return,

[exeunt Lords. For I must use thee.0 my gentle cousin, K. John. They burn in indignation; I repent;

[exit Hubert, with Peter. There is no sure foundation set in blood :

Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd? No certain life achiev'd by others' death.

Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are

full of it; Enter a Messenger.

Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury, A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood, (With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire), That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks ?

And others more, going to seek the grave
So foul a sky clears not without a storm:

Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night
Pour down thy weather :-How goes all in France? On your suggestion.
Mess. From France to England.--Never such a K. John. Gentle kinsman, go,
power

And thrust thyself into their companies :
For any foreign preparation,

I have a way to win their loves again; Was levied in the body of a land !

Bring them before me. The copy of your speed is learn'd by them;

H

Bast, I will seek them out.

cure.

[ocr errors]

K. John. Nay, but make daste; the better foot And thou, to be endeared to a king, 3, let me bave no subject enemies, [before. Made it no conscience to destroy a prins When adverse foreigners affrigbt my towns

Hub. My lord, With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!

K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy bcad, os Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels;

made a pause, And fly, like thought, from them to me again. When I spake darkly what I purposed ; Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed. Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,

(erit. As bid me tell my tale in express words; [off, K.John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman.. Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need

And those thy fears might have wrought fears in Some messenger betwixt me and the peers But thou didst understand me by my signs, (me: And be thou he.

And didst in signs again parley with sin; Mess. With all my heart, my liege. [exit. Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent, K. John. My mother dead!

And, consequently, thy rude band to act (name.Re-enter Hubert.

The deed, which both our tongues held vile to Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen Out of my sight, and never see me more! to-night:

My nobles leave me; and my state is brav'd, Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about

Even at any gates, with ranks of foreign powers : The other four, in wond'rous motion.

Nay, in the body of this fleshly land, K. John. Five moons ?

This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath, Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets Hostility and civil tumult reigns Do prophesy upon it dangerously:

Between my conscience, and my cousin's death. Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths : Hub. Arm you against your other enemies, And when they talk of him, they shake their heads, I'll make a peace between your soul and you. And whisper one another in the ear;

Young Arthur is alive : this hand of mine And he, that speaks, doth gripe the bearer's wrist; Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand, Whilst be, that hears, makes fearful action, Not painted with the crimson spots of blood With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes. Within this bosom never enter'd yet I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus, The dreadful motion of a murd'rous thought, The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,

And you have slander'd nature in my form ; With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news; Which, howsoever rude exteriorly, Who, with his shears and measure in his hand, Is yet the cover of a fairer mind Standing on slippers (which his nimble haste Than to be butcher of an innocent child, Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet),

K. John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to Told of a many thousand warlike French, That were embattled and rank'd in Kent :

Throw this report on their incensed rage, Another lean unwash'd artificer,

And make them tame to their obedience! Cuts off bis tale, and talks of Arthur's death. Forgive the comment, that my passion made K. John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with Upon thy feature ; for my rage was blind, these fears?

And foul imaginary eyos of blood
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death? Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had mighty cause 0, answer not; but to my closet bring
To wish him dead, but thou badst none to kill The angry lords, with all expedient hastc :
him.

[provoke me? I córjure thee but slowly; run more fast. creunt. Hub. Had none, iny lor: why, did you -ot K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be at:aded

Enter drthur, on the walls. By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leag To break within the bloody house of life :

down: And, on the winking of authority,

Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not!-
To understand a law: to know the meaning There's few, or none, do know me; if they did,
Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns This ship-boy's semblance bath disguis'd me quite.
More upon humour than advis'd respect.

I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did. If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
K. John. 0, when the last account 'twixt l'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
heaven and earth

As good to die, and go, as die, and stay. (leaps down. Is to be made, then shall this hand and scal O me! iny uncle's spirit is in these stoves :Witness against us to damnation !

Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones i How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds,

(dies Makes deeds ill done! Hadest not thou been by, Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bigot. A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,

Sal. Lords, I will mect him at St. Edmund's Quoted, and sign'd, to do a decd of shame, t is our safety, and we must embrace. (Bury This murder had not come into my mind :

This gentle offer of the perilous time. But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,

Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardina! Fiuding thee fit for bloody villainy,

Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of Franco; Art, liable, to be employ'd in danger,

Whose private with me, of the dauphin's love, I saintly broke with chee of Arthur's death; | Is much more general than these lines import.

the peers,

SCENE III.

[ocr errors]

BEFORE THE CASTLE.

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then. Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death :

Sal. Or, rather then set forward : for 'twill be Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!
Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet. Hub. I am no villain.
Enter the Bastard.

Sal. Must I rob the law? (drawing his sword Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd Bast. Your sword is bright, sir : put it up again. lords !

Sal. Not till I sheath it in a murderer's skin. The king, by me, requests your presence straight. Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury, stand back, I Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us :

say ; We will not line his thin bestained cloak

By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours: With our pure honours, nor attend the foot, I would not have you, lord, forget yourself, That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks : Nor tempt the danger of my true defence; Return, and tell him so; we know the worst. Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think, Your worth, your greatness, and nobility. [man? were best.

[now. Big. Out, dunghill! dar'st thou brave a noble Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason Hub. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend

Bast. But there is little reason in your grief; My innocent life against an emperor.
Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now. Sal. Thou art a murderer.

Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege. Hub. Do not prove me so ;
Bast. 'Tis true; to hurt his master, no man else. Yet, I am none: Whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
Sal. This is the prison : What is be lies here? Not truly speaks ; who speaks not truly, lies.

(seeing Arthur. Pem. Cut him to pieces. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and

Bast. Keep the peace, I say. princely beauty!

Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge The earth hath not a hole to hide this deed.

Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury: Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath done, If tbou but frown on me, or stir thy foot, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.

Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame, Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave, I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime; Found it too precious-princely for a grave. Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron, Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? Have you That you shall think the devil is come from hell. beheld,

Big. What wilt thou do, renowned FaulconOr have you read, or heard? or could you think? Second a villain, and a murderer? [bridge? Or do you almost think, although you see,

Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none. That you do see ? could thought, without this Big. Who kill'd this prince ? Form such another? This is the very top, [object, Hub. 'Tis not a hour, since I left him well The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest, I honour'd him, I lov'd him; and will weep Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame, My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss. The wildest savag'ry, the vilest stroke,

Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes, That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage, For villainy is not without such rheum; Presented to the tears of soft remorse.

And he, long traded in it, makes it seem Pem. All murders past do stand excus'd in this : Like rivers of remorse and innocency. And this, so sole, and so unmatchable,

Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor Shall give a holiness, a purity,

The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house To the yet-unbegotten sin of time;

For I am stifled with this smell of sin. And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,

Big. Away, toward Bury, to the dauphin there! Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

Pem. There, tell the king he may inquire us our. Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;

[ereunt Loras. The graceless action of a heavy hand,

Bast. Here's a good world !Knew you of If that it be the work of any hand.

this fair work?
Sal. If that it be the work of any hand? Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
We had a kind of light, what would ensue: Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
It is the shameful of Hubert's hand;

Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
The practice, and the
purpose, of the king :-

Hub. Do but hear me, sir. From whose obedience I forbid my soul,

Bast. Ha! I'll tell thee what;

[black; Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,

Thou art damn'd as black-nay, nothing is so And breathing to his breathless excellence Thou art more deep damn'd than prince Lucifer; The incense of a vow, a holy vow;

There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell Never to taste the pleasures of the world,

As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child. Never to be infected with delight,

Hub. Upon my soul,Nor conversant with case and idleness,

Bast. If thou didst but consent Till I have set a glory to this hand,

To this most cruel act, do but despair, By giving it the worship of revenge.

And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thrcad Pem. & Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy That ever spider twisted from her womb, words.

Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be
Enter Hubert.

A beam to hang thee on; or, would'st thou drown Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you: Put but a little water in a spoon, [th geeiling Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you. And it shall be as all the ocean,

SCENE I

A ROOM IN THE PALACE.

Enough to stifle such a villain ap.

The vnoved interest of proud-swelling state. I do suspect thee very grievously.

Now, for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty, Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought, Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest, Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath, And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace : Which was embounded in this beauteous clay, Now powers from home, and discontents at homo Let hell want pains enough to torture me!

Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits I left him well.

(As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast), Bast, Go, bear him in thine armas.

The imminent decay of wrested pomp. I am amaz'd, methinks; and lose my way

Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture can Amongst the thorns and dangers of this world.- Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child, How easy dost thou take all England up!

And follow me with speed ; I'll to the king: From forth this morsel of dead royalty, FIEREA A thousand businesses are brief in hand, The life, the right, and truth, of all this realm And heaven itself doth frown upon the land. Is Aed to heaven; and England now is left

[ereunt. To tug and scramble, and to part by th' teeth

ACT V

An empty casket, where the jewel of life Enter King John, Pandulph with the crown, and By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away Attendants.

K. John. That villain, Hubert, told me, he did K. John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand

live.

[knew. The circle of my glory.

Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he Pand. Take again [giving John the crown. But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad ? From this my band, as holding of the pope, Be great in act, as you have been in thought; Your sovereigo greatness and authority.

Let not the world see fear, and sad distrust, K. John. Now keep your holy word: go meet Govern the motion of a kingly eye: the French;

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire; And from his holiness use all your power

Threaten the threat'ner, and outface the brow To stop their marches, 'fore we are inflam'd. Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes, Our discontented counties do revolt;

That borrow their behaviours from the great, Our people quarrel with obedience;

Grow great by your example, and put on Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul,

The dauntless spirit of resolution. To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.

Away; and glister like the god of war, This inundation of mistemper'd humour

When he intendeth to become the field : Rests by you only to be qualified.

Show boldness, and aspiring confidence. Then pause not; for the present time's so sick, What, shall they seek the lion in his den, That present medicine must be minister'd,

And fright him there? and make bim tremblo Or overthrow incurable ensues.

O, let it not be said !--Forage, and run (there Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest To meet displeasure further from the doors; Upon your stubborn usage of the pope : [up, And grapple with him, ere he come so nigh. But, since you are a gentle convertite,

K. John. The legate of the pope hath been with My tongue shall hush again this storm of war, And I have made a happy peace with him; [me, And make fair weather in your blustering land. And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers On this Ascension-day, remember well,

Led by the dauphin.
Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Bast. O, inglorious league !
Go I to make the French lay down their arms. Shall we, upon the footing of our land,

[exit. Send fair-play orders, and make compromise, K. John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the Insinuation, parley, and base truce, prophet

To arms invasive ? shall a beardless boy,
Say, that, before Ascension-day at noon,

A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,
My crown I should give off? Even so I have: And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
I did suppose, it should be on constraint;

Mocking the air with colours idly spread,
But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.

And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms; Enter the Bastard.

Perchance, the cardinal cannot make your peace; Bast. All Kent bath yielded; nothing there Or, if he do, let it at least be said, holds out,

They saw we had a purpose of defence. Put Dover Castle : London hath receiv'd,

K, John. Have thou the ordering of this present Like a kind bost, the dauphin and his powers :

time?

[know Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone

Bast. Away then, with good courage; yet, ] To offer service to your enemy;

Our party may well meet a prouder foe. [exeunt. And wild amazement hurries up and down

A PLAIN NEAR ST. EDMUND'S-BURT. The little number of your doubtful friends. Enter in arms Lewis, Salisbury, Melun, Pembrokes K. Jolın. Would not my lords return to me

Bigot, and Soldiers. After they heard young Arthur was alive? (again, Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out, Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the And keep it safe for our remenıbrance : streets :

Return the precedent to these lords again ,

[ocr errors]

SCENE II.

« ForrigeFortsett »