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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 be possess'd with double pomp,
Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face
5 To guard —] i. e. to fringe, or lace.
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,
K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation
Pem. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of these,
& They do confound their skill in covetousness :) i. e. not by their avarice, but in an eager emulation, an intense desire of excelling.
7 To sound the purposes —] To declare, to publish the desires of all those.
The rich advantage of good exercise?
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go,
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.
good exercise ?] In the middle ages, the whole education of princes and noble youths consisted in martial exercises, &c. These could not be easily had in a prison, where mental improvements might have been afforded as well as any where else; but this sort of education never entered into the thoughts of our active, warlike, but illiterate nobility. Percy.
K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Sal. It is apparent foul-play ; and 'tis shame,
Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
Enter a Messenger.
A fearful eye thou hast; Where is that blood,
Mess. From France to England. - Never such a power
K. John. 0, where hath our intelligence been drunk? 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
K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion !
Mess. Under the Dauphin.
Enter the Bastard and PETER of POMFRET.
Thou hast made me giddy
Bast. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst,
K. John. Bear with me, cousin ; for I was amaz'd'
Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen,
• How wildly then walks my estate in France !] i. e. how ill my affairs go in France !—The verb, to walk, is used with great license by old writers.
I was amaz’d - 1 i. e. stunned, confounded. 2 And here's a prophet,] This man was a hermit in great repute with the common people. Notwithstanding the event is said to have fallen out as he had prophesied, the poor fellow was inhumanly dragged at horses' tails through the streets of Warham, and, together with his son, who appears to have been even more innocent than his father, hanged afterwards upon a gibbet. See Holinshed's Chronicle, under the year 1213.