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From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels ;
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhimes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou


of it :

Peter. Fore-knowing 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 hang'd :
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 arriv'd ?

Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full
Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury,
(With eyes as red as new enkindled fire,)
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

K. John. Gentle kinsman, go,
And thrust thyself into their companies :
I have a way to win their loves again ;
Bring them before me.

Bast. I will seek them out.

K.John.Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.-0, let me have no subject enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns With dreadful pomp of stout invasion ! Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels ; And fily, like thought, from them to me again. Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

[Exit. K. John. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.Go after him ; for he, perhaps, shall need Some messenger betwixt me and the peers ; And be thou he. Mess. With all my heart, my liege.

[Exit. K. John. My mother dead ! poor fellow was inhumanly dragged at horses' tails through the streets of Warham, and cogether with his son, who appears to have been even more innocent than his father, hanged afterwards upon a gibbet.


Re-enter HUBERT. Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen to-night: Four fixed ; and the fifth did whirl about The other four, in wond'rous motion.

K. John. Five moons ?

Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets Do prophecy 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, Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,) Told of 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 mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! Why, did you not provoke

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. 6

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. Oh, when the last account 'twixt heaven

and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation !

[6] i.e. deliberate consideration, reflection.


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, 7 and sign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This murder had not come into my mind :
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
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, 8 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 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. Young Arthur is alive : This hand of mine

[7! Quoted, i.e. observed, distinguished. STEEV.

[8] There are many touches of nat::re in this conference of John with Hu. bert. A man engaged in wickedness would kecp the profic to himself, and transfer the guili to his accomplice. These reproaches, vented against Hu. bert, are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with consciousness of a crime, and desirous of discharging its misery on another. This account of the timidity of guilt is drawn ab ipsis recessibus mentis, from the intimate knowledge of mankind, particularly that line in which he says, that to have bid him tell his tale in express words, would have struck him dumb: nothing is more certain than that bad men use all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, palliate their actions to their own minds by ger. tle terms, and hide themselves from their own detection in ambiguities and subterfuges. JOHNS.



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 conjure thee but slowly ; run more fast. [Exeunt,


The same. Before the Castle. Enter ARTHUR on the Walla.

Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leap down:IGood ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not !There's few, or none, do know me ; if they did, This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis’d 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. [Leaps down. Oh me ! my uncle's spirit is in these stones :Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones !


[9) Our author has here followed the old play. In whit manner Arthur was deprived of his life is not ascertained. . Mathew Paris, relating the events uses the word evanuit ; and, indeed, as King Philip afterwards pubiickly accused King John of putting his ephew to ieatl, without either mentioning the manner of it, or his accomplices, we may conclud that it was done with impenetrable secrecy, The French historians, however, say, that John coming in a bo it during the night-time, to the castle of Rouen, where ihe young prince was confined, ordered him to be brought forth, and having stabbed him while supplicating for mercy, the King fastened a stone to the dead body, and threw it into the Seine, in order to give some colour to a report, which he aft=rwards caused to be spre d, that the price attempting to es cape out of a wind w of the tower of the castle, fell into the river, and was drewned. MALONE.

Sal. Lords, I will ineet 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. The count Melun, a poble 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 't will be 'Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet..

Enter the Bastard. Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords! The king, by mne, requests your presence straight.

Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us ; We will not line his thin bestained cloak With our pure honors, nor attend the foot That leaves the print of blood where-e'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, reason now.3

Bast. But there is little reason in your grief;
Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now.

Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
Bart. 'Tis true; to hurt his master, no man else.
Sal. This is the prison : What is he lies here?

[Secing 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 Jay 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.

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,

[1] i.e. wbose private account of the Dauphin's affection to our cause is much more ample than th: letier's

[?]. This phrase, so frequent in our old writers, is not well understood. or is here the same as ere i. e. before. (3) To reason, in Shakspeare, is not so often to argue, as to talk. JOHN.



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