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And thrust thyself into their companies:
I have a way to win their loves again.
Bring them before me.

Faul. I will seek them out.

K. John, Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.

O, let me have no subjects 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.
Faul. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
K. John. Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
And be thou he.

[Exit the ENGLISH HERALD. K. John. My mother dead !—


Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen to


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,
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent:


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-

voke me?

K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be attended
By slaves, that take their humours 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 humour, than advis'd respect.

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
Witness against us to damnation !—
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Makes deeds ill done! Hadest 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 abhorred aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Mad'st 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,
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 brav'd,
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 you.

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.

Young Arthur is alive.

K. John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the


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.




The Gates of a Castle.

Enter ARTHUR on the Walls of the Castle. Arth. The wall is high: and yet will I leap down: Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not; 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!


Enter SALISBURY, with Letters, PEMBROKE, and


Sal, Lords, I will meet him at St. 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. Count Chatillon a noble lord of France; Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love, Is much more general than these lines import. Ess. To-morrow morning-let us meet him then.


Faul. 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'll not attend the foot,

That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks:
Return, and tell him so; we know the worst.

Faul. Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best,

Ess. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now. Faul. But there is little reason in your grief; Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now. Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege, Faul. "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.

Ess. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

Sal. Sir Richard, what think, you? Have you be-

Or have you read, or heard,-or could you think,-
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see?-This is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.
Faul. 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
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 this breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow;
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,

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