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To guard' a title that was rich before,
Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face
Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well,
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crowned, We breathed our counsel : but it pleased your highness To overbear it; and we are all well pleased ; 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 possessed 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 reformed, that is not well; And well shall you perceive, how willingly. I will both hear and grant you your requests.
1 To guard is to ornament.
Pem. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of these,
Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
Sal. The color of the king doth come and go, Between his purpose and his conscience,
1 To declare, to publish the purposes of all, &c.
2 In the middle ages, the whole education of princes and noble youths consisted in martial exercises, &c. Mental improvement might have been had in a prison as well as any where else.
3 The purpose of the king, to which Salisbury alludes, is that of putting Arthur to death, which he considers as not yet accomplished, and there fore supposes that there might be still a conflict in the king's mind
“ Between his purpose and his conscience."
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set.
Pem. And when it breaks, I fear, will issue thence The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
K. John. We cannot bold 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 deceased to-night.
Sal. Indeed, we feared 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 answered, either here, or hence.
K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on
Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?
Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame,
Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
[Exeunt Lords. K. John. They burn in indignation ; I repent; There is no sure foundation set on blood; No certain life achieved 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 ?
1 i. e. “oroned the breadth of all this isle.” The two last variorum editions erroneously read “ breath for breadth,” which is found in the old copy.
Mess. From France to England. —Never such a
power For any foreign preparation, Was levied in the body of a land!
your speed is learned by them; For, when you should be told they do-prepare, The tidings come that they are all arrived.
K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
My liege, her ear
K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion !
Mess. Under the dauphin.
Enter the Bastard and PETER of Pomfret. K. John.
Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tidings.—Now, what says the world To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff My head with more ill news, for it is full.
Bast. But if you be afeard to hear the worst, Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head. .
K. John. Bear with me, cousin ; for I was amazed ” Under the tide ; but now I breathe again
1 The king asks how all goes in France ; the messenger catches the word goes, and answers, that whatever is in France goes now into England.
2 i. e. how ill my affairs go in France.
3 Astonied, stunned, confounded, are the ancient synonymes of amazed, obstupesco.
Aloft the flood; and can give audience
Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen,
. But, as I travelled hither through the land, I find the people strangely fantasied; Possessed with rumors, 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. Foreknowing 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 hanged. Deliver him to safety, and return, For I must use thee.—0, my gentle cousin,
[Exit HUBERT, with PETER. Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arrived ? Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full
of it. Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury, (With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,) Ànd others more, going to seek the grave Of Arthur, who, they say, is killed to-night On your suggestion. K. John.
Gentle kinsman, go, And thrust thyself into their companies.
This man was a hermit, in great repute with the common people. Notwithstanding the event is said to have fallen out as he 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.-Holinshed, in anno 1213.—Speed says that Peter the hermit was suborned by the pope's legate, the French king, and the barons, for this purpose.
2 i. e. to safe custody