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He is a very serpent in my way;
And, wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread,
He lies before me: Dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.
Hub. And I will keep him so,
That he shall not offend your majesty.
King John. Death.
Hub. My lord?
King John. A grave.
Hub. He shall not live.
King John. Enough.
I could be merry, now: Hubert, I love thee;
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee:
HUBERT PREVENTED FROM DOING THE MURDER, BY THE INNOCENCE AND ENTREATIES OF THE CHILD.
Northampton.-A Room in the Castle.
Enter HUBERT and two ATTENDANTS.
Hub. Heat me these irons hot: and, look thou stand
Within the arras: when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth:
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.
1st Attend. I hope, your warrant will bear out the deed Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you: Look to 't.— [Exeunt ATTENDANTS. Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.
Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Hub. Good morrow, little prince.
Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince,) as may be.-You are sad.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Arth. Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me:
He is afraid of me, and I of him:
Is it my fault that I was Jeffrey's son?
No, indeed, is 't not; And I would to heaven,
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate He will awake my mercy, which lies dead: Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch.
Arth. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day:
In sooth, I would you were a little sick;
That I might sit all night, and watch with you:
I warrant, I love you more than you
Hub. His words do take possession of
Read here, young Arthur.
How now, foolish rheum!
Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
I must be brief; lest resolution drop
Out of mine eyes, in tender womanish tears.—
Can you not read it? is it not fair writ?
Arth. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes
Hub. Young boy, I must.
Arth. And will you?
Hub. And I will.
my bosom.[Showing a paper. [Aside
Arth. Have you the heart? When your head did but ake, I knit my handkerchief about your brows,
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me,) And I did never ask it you again:
And with my hand at midnight held your head;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time;
Saying, What lack you? and, Where lies your grief ?
Or, What good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would have lain still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
But you at your sick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think, my love was crafty love,
And call it, cunning; Do, an if you will:
If heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
Why, then you must.-Will you put out mine eyes?
Those eyes, that never did, nor never shall,
So much as frown on you?
Hub. I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it!
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench his fiery indignation,
Even in the matter of mine innocence:
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron?
An if an angel should have come to me,
And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believed no tongue, but Hubert's.
Hub. Come forth.
Re-enter ATTENDANTS, with Cord, Irons, &c.
Do as I bid you do.
Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out, Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
Hub. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
Arth. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous-rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.
Hub. Go, stand within; let me alone with him. 1st Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. [Exeunt ATTENDANTS. Arth. Alas, I then have chid away my friend; He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart:Let him come back, that his compassion may Give life to yours.
Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.
Arth. Is there no remedy?
Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.
Arth. O Heaven!-that there were but a mote in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense!
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
Hub. Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue. Arth. Let me not hold my tongue; let me not, Hubert! Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
So I may keep mine eyes; O, spare mine eyes;
Though to no use, but still to look on you!
Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold,
And would not harm me.
Hub. I can heat it, boy.
Arth. No, in good sooth; the fire is dead with grief. All things, that you should use to do me wrong, Deny their office: only you do lack
That mercy, which fierce fire, and iron, extends.
Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes For all the treasure that thine uncle owes :
Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all this while
You were disguised.
Hub. Peace: no more.
Your uncle must not know but you are dead:
I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports.
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless, and secure,
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.
Arth. O Heaven!-I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely in with me ;
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
REMORSE OF KING JOHN.
King John and 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 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,
Standing on slippers (which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet)
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
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 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. Oh, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!
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;
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,
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 abhorr'd aspect,
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,
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 notion 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