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The copy of 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 Franie,
And she not hear of it?

Mes. My Liege, her ear Is stopt with dult: the first of April, dy'd Your noble mother; and, as I hear, my Lord, The Lady Contance in a frenzy dy'd Three days before : but this from rumour's tongue I idly 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.

K. John. Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tidings.

Enter Faulconbridge, and Peter of Pomfret.
Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff
My head with more ill news, for ic is full.

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

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

Faulc. How I have sped anong the clergymen,
The sums I have collected shall express.
But as I traveli'd hither thro' the land,
I find the people strangely fantaly'd ;


Poffest 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'st thou so!
Peter. Fore-knowing, that the truth will fall out lo.

K. John. Hubert, away with him, imprison him.
And on that day at noon, whereon he says
I Mall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd.
Deliver him to safety', and return,
For I must use thee.

(Exit Hubert, with Peter.
O my gentle cousin,
Hear'lt 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 kill'd 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.

Faulc. I will seek them out.

K. John. Nay, but make halte: 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, set feathers to thy heels,

' Deliver him to safety. ] That is, Give him into safe c# Rody.


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

K. Jobn. 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!



Enter Hubert.

Hlub. 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 taylor's news;
Who with his shears and meature in his hand,
Standing on flippers, whiclr his nimble hafte?


ble hafte

- slippers, which his nim. portant pafiage, which, in Dr.

Warburton's edition, is marked Had falsely thruft upon cortrary as eminently beautiful, and, in

feer,) I know not how the the whole, not without justice, commentators underland this im- But Shakespeare feems to have


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

fears ?
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a cause
To wish him dead, but thou had'st none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my Lord? why, did you not pro-

voke me?
K. John. It is the curse of Kings 3, to be atttended
By slaves that take their humours for a warrant,
To break into the the bloody house of life :
And, on the winking of authority,
To understand a law, to know the meaning
Of dang’rous 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 heav'n

and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation.
How oft the light of means, to do ill deeds,
Makes deeds ill done ? for hadst not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,
Quoted, and lign'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,

founded a man's shoes with his describes. gloves. He that is frighted or 3 It is the curse of Kings, &c.) hurried may put his hand into This plainly hints at Davison's the wrong glove, but either shoe case, in the affair of Mary Queen will equally admit either foot. of Scots, and so must have been The authour seems to be dif- inserted long after the first reprefurbed by the disorder which he sentacion. WARBURTON.


Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger,
1 faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death.
And thoy, to be endeared to a King,
Mad'st it no conscience to destroy a Prince.

Hub. My Lord
K. John. Hadft thou but shook thy head, or made

a pause,
When I spake darkly what I purposed:
Or turn's 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 didit understand me by my signs,
And didft in figns again parley with sin:
Yea, without stop, did' it let thy heart consent,
And consequently thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name-
Out of my light, and never see me more !
My Nobles leave me, and my state is brav’d,
Ev’n at my gates, with ranks of foreign pow'rs;
Nay, in the body of this fleshy land,
This kingdoin, this confine of blood and breath,
Hoftility, and civil tumult reigns,
Between my conscience and my cousin's death.

Flub. Arm you against your other enemies, I'll make a peace between your soul and you.

4 Hadft thou but frook thy head, of guilt is drawn ab ipfis recrfibus &c.] There are many touches mentis, from an intimate knowof nature in this conference of ledge of mankind, particularly Jokn with Hubert. A man en. that line in which he says, that gaged in wickedness would keep to have bid him tell his tale in exthe profit to himself, and tranf. priss words, would have struck fer the guilt to his accomplice. kim dumb; nothing is more cerThese reproaches venced against tain, than that bad men use all the Hubers are noi the words of art arts of fallacy upon themselves, or policy, but the eruprions of a palliate their actions to their own mind swelling with consciousness minds by gentle terms, and hide of a crime, and desirous of dif- themselves from their own decharging its misery on another. tection in ambiguities and subThis account of the timidity terfuges.


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