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Makes deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind:
But, taking note of thy abhorr❜d aspéct,
Finding thee fit for bloody villany,
Apt, liable, to be employ'd 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,
K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made a pause, When I spake darkly what I purposed; Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
Or 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,t
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 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 obedience!
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.
O, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient‡ haste:
I cónjure thee but slowly; run more fast.
+ His own body.
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.
O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones-
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!
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?
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 ere we meet.
Enter the BASTARD.
Bast. Once more to-day, well met, distemper'd lords!
The king, by me, requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us;
We will not line his thin bestained cloak
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
That 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, reasont now.
Bast. But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now.
Pem. Sír, 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?
Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath done, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.
Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave.
[Seeing ARTHUR. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty! The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? have you beheld,
Or have you read, or heard? or could you think?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see? could thought, without this object,
Form such another? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savag'ry, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-eyed wrath, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.*
Pem. All murders past do stand excused in this:
And this, so sole, and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet-unbegotten sin of time;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work:
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.
Sal. If that it be the work of any hand?-
We had a kind of light, what would ensue :
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice, and the purpose, of the king:-
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow;
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a gloryt to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.
Pem. Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.
Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death:
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!
Hub. I am no villain.
Sal. Must I rob the law?
Bast. Your sword is bright, Sir; put it up again.
Sal. Not till I sheath it in a murderer's skin.
Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
By heaven, I think, my sword 's as sharp as yours:
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your worth, your greatness, and nobility.
†The circle of rays surrounding the heads of saints.
Big. Out, dunghill! dar'st thou brave a nobleman ?
Hub. Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murderer.
Hub. Do not prove me so;
Yet, I am none: Whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
Pem. Cut him to pieces.
Bast. Keep the peace,
Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
Second a villain, and a murderer?
Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none.
Big. Who kill'd this prince?
Hub. 'Tis not an hour since I left him well:
I honour'd him, I loved him; and will weep
My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss.
Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villany is not without such rheum;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
Like rivers of remorset and innocency.
Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor
The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house,
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
Big. Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!
Pem. There, tell the king, he may inquire us out.
Bast. Here's a good world !-Knew you of this fair work? Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
Hub. Do but hear me, Sir.
Bast. Ha! I'll tell thee what;
Thou art damn'd as black-nay, nothing is so black;
Thou art more deep damn'd than prince Lucifer:
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
Hub. Upon my soul,-
Bast. If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair,
And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb
Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be
A beam to hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
Put but a little water in a spoon,
* By compelling me to kill you.
And it shall be as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up.-
I do suspect thee very grievously.
Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me!
I left him well.
Bast. Go, bear him in thine arms.-
I am amazed,* methinks; and lose my way
Among the thorns and dangers of this world.-
How easy dost thou take all England up;
From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
The life, the right, and truth of all this realm
Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
To tug and scramble, and to part by the teeth
The unowedt interest of proud-swelling state.
Now, for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty,
Doth dogged. war bristle his angry crest,
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home, and discontents at home,
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits
(As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast),
The imminent decay of wrested‡ pomp.
Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture can
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child,
And follow me with speed; I'll to the king:
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.
SCENE I-The same. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING JOHN, PANDULPH with the Crown, and Attendants.
K. John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand The circle of my glory.
Pand. Take again
From this my hand, as holding of the pope,
Your sovereign greatness and authority.
K. John. Now keep your holy word: go meet the French;
And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches, 'fore we are inflamed.
Our discontented counties do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience;
Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul,
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Wrested from its right owner.