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Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty? Hub. Why, know
not? the lords are all come back, And brought prince Henry in their company; At whose request the king hath pardon'd them, And they are all about his majesty. Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty
heaven, And tempt us not to bear above our power! I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night, Passing these flats, are taken by the tide, These Lincoln washes have devoured them; Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap'd. Away, before! conduct me to the king; I doubt, he will be dead, or ere I come. [Exeunt.
The Orchard of Swinstead-Abbey.
Enter Prince HENRY, SALISBURY, and Bigot, ,
P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure
brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house, Doth, by the idle comments that it makes, Foretell the ending of mortality.
Enter PEMBROKE. Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds
belief, That, being brought into the open air, It would allay the burning quality Of that fell poison which assaileth him. P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard
Doth he still rage ?
[Exit BIGOT, Pem.
He is more patient
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,
'Tis strange, that death should sing I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan, Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
l; And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings His soul and body to their lasting rest. Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are
born To set a form upon that indigest Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude. Re-enter Bigot and Attendants, who bring in King
John in a Chair.
P. Hen. How fares your majesty?
, To thrust his icy fingers in my maw; Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom; nor. entreat the north
The salt in them is hot.Within me is a hell, and there the poison Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize On unreprievable condemned blood.
Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion, And spleen of speed to see your majesty. K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine
eye: The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd; And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail, Are turned to one thread, one little hair: My heart hath one poor string to stay it by, Which holds but till thy news be uttered; And then all this thou see'st, is but a clod, And module of confounded royalty.“
Bast. The Dauphin is preparing hitherward; Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer
[The King dies.
so strait,] i. e. narrow, avaricious; an unusual sense of the word.
• And module of confounded royalty.) i. e. model.
7 Were in the washes, all unwarily, &c.] This untoward accident really happened to King John himself. As he passed from Lynn to Lincolnshire, he lost by an inundation all his treasure, carriages, baggage, and regalia.
Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an
My liege! my lord !-But now a king, -now thus.
P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop. What surety of the world, what hope, what stay, When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind, To do the office for thee of
revenge; And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven, As it on earth hath been thy servant still.Now, now, you stars, that move in your right
spheres, Where be your powers? Show now your mended
faiths; And instantly return with me again, To push destruction, and perpetual shame, Out of the weak door of our fainting land: Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought; The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
Sal. It seems, you know not then so much as we: The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest, Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin; And brings from him such offers of our peace As we with honour and respect may take, With purpose presently to leave this war.
Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
Bast. Let it be so :-And you, my noble prince,
P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr'd;
Thither shall it then.
Sal. And the like tender of our love we make,
thanks, And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Bast. O, let us pay the time but needful woe, Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs. This England never did, (nor never shall,) Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror, But when it first did help to wound itself. Now these her princes are come home again, Come the three corners of the world in arms, And we shall shock them: Nought shall make us
rue, If England to itself do rest but true. [Exeunt.
• At Worcester must his body be interr'd;] A store coffin, containing the body of King John, was discovered in the cathedral church of Worcester, July 17, 1797. STEEVENS.
9 The tragedy of King John, though not written with the utmost power of Shakspeare, is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters. The lady's grief is very affecting;, and the character of the Bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.