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The iron of itself, tho' heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench its fiery indignation,
Even in the matter of mine innocence :
Nay, after that, consume away in ruft,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard, than hammer'd iron?
Oh! if an Angel should have come to me,
And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believ'd him: no tongue, but Hubert's.
Hub. Come forth ; do, as I bid you.
[Stamps, and the men enter. Arth. O save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are oat, Ev'n 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 heav'n's fake, Hubert, let me not be bound. Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away, And I will fit as quiet as a lamb. I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word, Nor look upon the iron angrily
: Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you, Whatever torment you
put me to. Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him. Exec. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. [ Exeunt.
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 heav'n! that there were but a moth in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandring hair,
Any annoyance in that precious senle:
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. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes :
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 footh, the fire is dead with grief, Being create for comfort, to be us'd In undeserv'd extreams; see else your self, There is no malice in this burning coal; The breath of heav'n hath blown its spirit out, And strew'd repentant alhes on its head.
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush,
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert:
Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes.:
And like a dog, that is compelld to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
All things, that you should use to do me wrong,
Deny their office; only you do lack
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extend,
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye,
For all the treasure that thine uncle owns :
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. Adieu, Your uncle must not know but
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 heav'n! I thank you, Hubert.
Hub. Silence, no more; go closely in with me.
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
SCENE changes to the Court of England. Enter King John, Pembroke, Salisbury, and other Lordse K. John. LERE once again we fit, once again HER
crown'd, And look'd upon, I hope, with chearful eyes.
Pemb. This once again, but that your highness pleas'd,
Was once superfluous; you were crown'd before,
And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off:
The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt :
Fresh expectation troubled not the land
With any long'd-for change, or better state.
Sal. Therefore to be possess’d with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before;
Togild refined gold, to paint the lilly,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
Pemb. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
This act is as an ancient tale new told,
And in the last repeating troublesome;
Being, urged at a time unseasonable.
sal. In this the antique and well-noted face
Of plain old form is much disfigured;
And, like a shifted wind unto a fail,
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about;
Startles and frights consideration ;
Makes found opinion fick, and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.
Pemb. When workmen strive to do better than well, They do confound their skill in covetousness ; (15) And oftentimes excusing of a fault
(15) They do confound their skill in Covetoufness.) i. e. Not by their Avarice, but in an eager Emulation, an intense Desire of cxcelling; as in Henry V.
But if it be a Sin to cover Honour,
I am the most offending Soul alive,
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse:
As patches, set upon a little breach,
Discredit more in hiding of the fault,
Than did the fault before it was fo patch'd.
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd,
We breath'd our counsel; but it pleas'd your highness
To over-bear it; and we're all well pleas'd;
Since all and every part of what we would,
Must make a stand at what your highness will.
K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation
I have pofleft you with, and think them strong.
And more, more strong (the lesser is my fear)
I thall endue you with: mean time, but ask
What you would have reform'd, that is not well,
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; whofe restraint
Do:h 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 should 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 fuit,
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.
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
To your 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 so 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 fent: (16)
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. John. 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, Arihur is deceas'd to night.
Sal. Indeed, we fear'd, his fickness was past 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. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me? 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 so grofly offer it:
So thrive it in your game, and so farewel!
Pemb. Stay yet, ford 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 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.
(16) Like Heralds, 'twixt two dreadful Battles fet ;] But Heralds are not planted, 1 presume, in ihe midt becwixe two Lines of Battle ; cho' they, and Trumpets, are often sent over from Party to Party, to propose Terms, demand a Parley, és I have therefore ventur'd to read, fent, RS