Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

And well shall you perceive how willingly
I will both hear and grant you your requests.

Pemb. Then I, as one that am the tongue of these,
To found the purposes of all their hearts,
(Both for myself and them ; but chief of all,
Your safety; for the which, myself and they
Bend their best studies ;) heartily request
Th' infranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murm’ring lips of discontent
To break into this dang'rous argument ;
If what in rest you have, in right you hold,
Why shou'd your fears, (which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong) then move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
With barb'rous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise ?
That the time's enemies may not have this
To grace occasions, let it be our suit,
That you have bid us ask his liberty ;
Which for our good we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal, that he have liberty.

Enter Hubert.
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth

direction. Hubert, what news with you?
Pemb. This is the man, should do the bloody deed :
He shew'd his warrant to a friend of mine.
The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast.
And I do fearfully believe 'tis done,
What we fo fear'd he had a charge to do.

Sal. The colour of the King doth come and go,
Between his purpose and his conscience,
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles (a) sent :
((a) fent. Mr. Tbeobald. Vulg. fo.]

To your

His passion is so ripe it needs must break.

Pemb. And when it breaks, I fear, will issue thence The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.

K. Jobn. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand. Good lords, although my will to give is living, The suit which you demand is gone, and dead. He tells us, Artbur is deceas'd to night.

Sal. Indeed, we fear'd, his sickness was paft cure.

Pemb. 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. Jobn. Why do you bend such solemn brows on

Think you, I bear the shears of destiny ?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

Sal. It is apparent foul-play, and 'tis shame
That greatness should fo grolly offer it :
So thrive it in your game, and so farewel!

Pemb. Stay yet, lord Salisbury, I'll go with thee,
And find th” inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood, which own'd the breadth of all this inle,
Three foot of it doth hold; bad world the while!
This must not be thus borne ; this will break out
To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt. [Exeunt.


Enter a Meffenger. K. John. They burn in indignation; I repent. There is no sure foundation set on blood; No certain life atchiev'd by others' death — [Afde. A fearful eye thou hast ; where is that blood,

[To the Messenger. That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks? So foul a sky clears not without a storm ; Pour down thy weather: how goes all in France ?


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The copy

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mes. From France to England never such a power,
For any foreign preparation,
Was levy'd in the body of a land.


your speed is learn'd by them:
For when you should be told, they do.prepare,
The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd.

K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it Nept? where is my mother's care?
That such an army should be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it?

Mes. My Liege, her ear
! Is stopt with duit: the first of April, dy'd

Your noble mother; and, as I hear, my lord,
The lady Constance in a frenzie dy'd
Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue
I idlely heard ; if true or false, I know not.

K. John. With-hold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
O make a league with me, till I have pleas'd
My discontented peers. What! mother dead?
How wildly then walks my estate in France ?
Under whose conduct came those powers of France,
That, thou for truth giv'st out, are landed here?
Mes. Under the Dauphin.,

Enter Faulconbridge, and Peter of Pomfret. K. Jobn. Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tidings. Now, what says the world To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Faul. But if you be afraid to hear the worst, Then let the worst unheard fall on your head.

K. Jobn. Bear with me, Cousin , for I was amaz'd Under the tide ; but now I breath again Aloft the flood, and can give audience To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

Faulc. How I have sped among the clergyinen, The sums I have collected shall express. VOL. III.


[ocr errors]

But as I travellid hither thro' the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Pofleft with rumours, full of idle dreams;
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear,
And here's a Prophet that I brought with me
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 did’It thou fo?
Peter. Fore-knowing, that the truth will fall out fo.

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. O my gentle cousin,

[Exit Hubert, witb Peter,
Hear'ít thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd?
Faulc. The French, my Lord; men's mouths are

full of it:
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 killid to night
On your suggestion.

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

Faul. I will seek them out.
5 K. John. Nay, but make hafte: the better foot

before. o, let me have no subject enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns With dreadful pomp of stout invasion. Be Mercury, sec feathers to thy heels


And Ay, like thought, from them to me again. Faulo. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

[Exit. K. Jabn. 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.

Mes. With all my heart, my Liege. (Exit, K. John. My mother dead !

[blocks in formation]

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 prophesie 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, ( Whilft he, that hears, makes fearful action • With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes, • I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,

The whilft his iron did on the anvil cool, • With open mouth swallowing a taylor's news; • Who with his shears and measure in his hand, • Standing on Nippers, which his nimble hafte • Had falsely thruft 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.'

[merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »