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To guard a title that was rich before,
K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation I have possess'd you with, and think them strong :Meantime, but ask
What you would have reform'd, that is not well;
The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
Hubert, what news with you?
Pem. This is the man, should do the bloody deed. The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does show the mood of a much-troubled breast. Sal. The colour of the King doth come and go, Between his purpose and his conscience.
K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand. [Exit HUBERT. Good lords, although my will to give is living, The suit which you demand is gone and dead: He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night.
Ess. Indeed, we fear'd, 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 answer'd, either here, or hence.
K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows
Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?
[Exeunt ESSEX, PEMBROKE, and SALISBURY. K. John. They burn in indignation:---I repent; There is no sure foundation set on blood:-No certain life achiev'd by others' death.
[Exeunt KING JOHN and ENGLISH GENTLEMEN.
A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING JOHN, meeting the ENGLISH HERALD. K. John. A fearful eye thou hast! Where is that blood,
That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?—
How goes all in France?
E. Her. From France to England.-Never such a power,
For any foreign preparation,
Was levy'd in the body of a land!
The copy of your speed is learn'd by them,
K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care
E. Her. My liege, her ear
Is stopp'd with dust: the first of April, died
K. John. What, mother! dead?
How wildly then walks my estate in France!
K. John. Thou hast made me giddy
Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff
Faul. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst,
Faul. How I have sped among the clergymen,
Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd?
Besides, I met Lord Essex and Lord Salisbury,
K. John. Gentle kinsman, go,
And thrust thyself into their companies :
Faul. I will seek them out.
K. John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
O, let me have no subjects enemies,
And be thou he.
[Exit the ENGLISH HERALD.
K. John. My mother dead!—
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 he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
Another lean unwash'd 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 murder'd 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
K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be attended
To understand a law; to know the meaning
Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did. K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt Heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
Mad'st it no conscience to destroy a prince.
K.John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made
When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn'd 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,