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Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go And find th' inheritance of this poor child, His little kingdom of a forced grave.

with thee,

That blood, which ow'd' the breadth of all this isle, 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 Lords. K. John. They burn in indignation; I repent; There is no sure foundation set on blood; No certain life achiev'd by others' death.

Enter a Messenger.

A fearful eye thou hast; Where is that blood,
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? Mess. From France to England.-Never such a For any foreign preparation,

Was levied in the body of a land!

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 slept? Where is my mother's care? That such an army could be drawn in France, And she not hear of it?


My liege, her ear
Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April, died
Your noble mother: And, as I hear, my lord,
The lady Constance in a frenzy died

Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue
I idly heard; if true, or false, I know not.

K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd
My discontented peers!-What! mother dead?

ow'd for own'd.

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? Mess. Under the Dauphin.


K. John.

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.

Phil. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst, Then let the worst, 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 flood; and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

Phil. How I have sped among the clergymen,
The sums I have collected shall express.
But, as I travell'd hither through the land,
I find the people strangely fantasied;
Possess'd 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 rhymes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,

Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?

Peter. Foreknowing 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,

'How ill go my affairs in France!

⚫ Give him into safe custody.

For I must use thee.-O my gentle cousin,

[Exit HUBERT, with PETER. Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd? Phil. 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 companies:
I have a way to win their loves again;
Bring them before me.


I will seek them out.

K. John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot 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;
And fly, like thought, from them to me again.
Phil. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
K. John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman.-
Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the
And be thou he.



With all my heart, my liege. [Exit.

K. John. My mother dead!

Re-enter HUBERT.

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

K. John. Five moons?

Old men, and beldams, in

Do prophecy upon it dangerously:

[the streets 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 contráry 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? [fears ? 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

voke me?

you not


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,

This plainly hints at Davidson's case, in the affair of Mary Queen of Scots.-WARBURTON. It is extremely probable that our author meant to pay his court to Elizabeth by this covert apology for her conduct to Mary.-MALONE.

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 aspéct,
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,
When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words;

or made [a pause,

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
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

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.

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