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I have a way to win their loves again;
Bring them before me.
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. Spoke like a spriteful, noble gentleman.-
Go after him ; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the

peers;
And be thou he.
Mess.
With all my heart, my liege.

[Exit. K. John. My mother dead !

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 wondrous motion.

K. John. Five moons?
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 action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
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 contráry feet)
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattailed and ranked in Kent.
Another lean, unwashed 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 murdered him; I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not pro-

voke me?
K. John. It is the curse of kings to be attended
By slaves, that take their humors 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 humor than advised respect.”

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. 0, 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,
Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature marked,
Quoted,and signed, 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 employed 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,

1 This passage, which called forth the antiquarian knowledge of so many learned commentators, is now, from the return of the fashion of right and left shoes, become intelligible without a note. 2 Deliberate consideration. 3 To quote is to note or mark. VOL. III.

42

K. John. Hadst thou · but shook thy head, or made

a pause, When I spake darkly what I purposed ; Or turned an eye of doubt upon my face, And' 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 braved, 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.

Hub. Arm you against your other enemies;
I'll make a peace between your soul and
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 entered yet
The dreadful motion of a murderous thought,
And you have slandered nature in my
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 obedience!
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature ; for my rage was blind,
And foul, imaginary eyes of blood

you.

form;

1 The old copy reads “ As bid me,” &c. Malone made the correction; as, however, frequently is used for that, which.

Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
0, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient? haste:
I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.”

SCENE III. 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 disguised 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. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones. Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

[Dies. Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot. Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmund's

Bury;
It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.

Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?

1 Expeditious.

The old play of The Troublesome Raigne of King John, is divided into two parts; the first of which concludes with the king's despatch of Hubert on this message; the second begins with Enter Arthur, &c., as in the following scene.

3 Shakspeare has followed the old play. In what manner Arthur was deprived of his life is not ascertained.” Matthew Paris, relating the event, uses the word evanuit ; and it appears to have been conducted with impenetrable secrecy. The French historians say that John, coming in a boat during the night to the castle of Rouen, where the young prince was confined, stabbed him while supplicating for mercy, fastened a stone to the body, and threw it into the Seine, in order to give some color to a report, which he caused to be spread, that the prince, attempting to escape out of a window, fell into the river, and was drowned.

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.

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

Sal. Or, rather, then set forward; for 'twill be Two long days' journey, lords, or e’ero we meet.

Enter the Bastard. Bast. Once more to-day well met, distempered' lords! The king, by me, requests your presence straight.

Sal. The king hath dispossessed himself of us; We will not line his thin, bestained cloak With our pure honors, nor attend the foot Thạt leaves the print of blood where'er it walks. Return and tell him so; we know the worst. Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think,

were best. Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason“ now.

Bast. But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now.

Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
Bast. 'Tis true; to hurt his master, no man else.
Sal. This is the prison : What is he lies here?

[Seeing ARTHUR. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and princely

beauty ! The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.

Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath done, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.

Big. Or, when he doomed this beauty to a grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave, Sal. Sir Richard, what think you ? Have you be

held, Or have you read, or heard ? or could you think?

1 Private account.

2 The use of or for ere, before, is at least as old as Chaucer's time. Ere ever, or ever, or ere, is, in modern English, sooner than at any times; before ever ; and this is the sense in which Shakspeare and our elder writers constantly use the phrase.

3 i. e. ruffled, out of humor.
4 To reason, in Shakspeare, is not so often to argue as to talk.

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