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From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?
K. John. Hubert, away with him ; imprison him ;
[Exeunt HUBERT, with PETER. Hear’st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd ? Bast. The French, my lord ; men's mouths are full
Gentle kinsman, go,
I will seek them out.
before. 0, 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. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman.
* Deliver him to safety,] That is, Give kim into safe custody.
Go after him ; for he, perhaps, shall need
With all my heart, my liege. [Exit. K. John. My mother dead!
Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen to
K. John. Five moons ?
Old men, and beldams, in the streets,
- five moons were seen to-night : &c.] This incident is mentioned by few of our historians. I have met with it no where but in Matthew of Westminster and Polydore Virgil, with a small alteration. These kind of appearances were more common about that time than either before or since. GREY.
slippers, (which his nimble haste Had falsely thrust upon contráry feet,)) Dr. Johnson says, “ I know not how the commentators understand this important passage, which, in Dr. Warburton's edition, is marked as eminently beautiful, and, on the whole, not without justice. But Shakspeare seems to have confounded the man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into the wrong glove, but either shoe will equally admit either foot. The author seems
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not provoke
K. John. It is the curse of kings °, to be attended
Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes.” The commentators have produced many passages to prove the shoe, boot, &c. were right and left legged, as they are now.
6 It is the curse of kings, &c.] This plainly hints at Davison's case, in the affair of Mary queen of Scots.
advis’d respect.] i. e. deliberate consideration. $ Quoted,] i. e. observed, distinguished.
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger,
Hub. My lord,
' Hadst thou but shook thy head, &c.] There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and transfer the guilt to his accomplice. These reproaches, vented against Hubert, are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with a consciousness of a crime, and desirous of discharging its misery on another.
This account of the timidity of guilt is drawn ab ipsis recessibus mentis, from the intimate knowledge of mankind, particularly that line in which he says, that to have bid him tell his tale in express words, would have struck him dumb; nothing is more certain than that bad men use all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, palliate their actions to their own minds by gentle terms, and hide themselves from their own detection in ambiguities and subterfuges. Johnson.
+ "and bid," &c. Malone.
Hub. Arm you against your other enemies, I'll make a peace between your soul and you. 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,
, Throw this report on their incensed rage, And make them tame to their obcdience! 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. 0, answer not; but to
closet bring The angry lords, with all expedient haste: I cónjure thee but slowly ; run more fast. [Exeunt.
The same. Before the Castle.
Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls.
Arth. The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down :Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not !There's few, or none, do know me; if they did, This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
1 The dreadful motion of a murd'rous thought,] Nothing can be falser than what Hubert here says in his own vindication ; for we find, from a preceding scene, the motion of a murdrous thought had entered into him, and that very deeply ; and it was with difficulty that the tears, the entreaties, and the innocence of Arthur bad diverted and suppressed it.