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Sal. May this be possible? may this be true?

Mel. Have I not hideous death within my view, Retaining but a quantity of life; Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax Resolveth from his figure 'gainst the fire*? What in the world should make me now deceive, Since I must lose the use of all deceit ? Why should I then be false; since it is true, That I must die here, and live hence by truth? I say again, if Lewis do win the day, He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of yours Behold another day break in the east : But even this night, whose black contagious breath Already smokes about the burning crest Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire ; Paying the fine of rated treachery, Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives, If Lewis, by your assistance, win the day. Commend me to one Hubert, with your king ; The love of him, and this respect besides, For that my grandsire was an Englishman,Awakes my conscience to confess all this. In lieut whereof, I pray you, bear me hence From forth the noise and rumour of the field; Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts In peace, and part this body and my soul With contemplation and devout desires.

Sal. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul But I do love the favour and the form Of this most fair occasion, by the which We will untread the steps of damned flight; And, like a bated and retired flood, Leaving our rankness and irregular course, Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd, And calmly run on in obedience, Even to our ocean, to our great king John.My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;

* In allusion to the images made by witches. + Place.

| Ill betide.

For I do see the cruel pangs

of death Right* in thine eye.-Away, my friends! New

flight; And happy newness t, that intends old right.

[Exeunt, leading off Melun.

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Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath to

set; But stay'd, and made the western welkin I blush, When the English measur'd backward their own

In faint retire: 0, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tatter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!

Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Where is my prince, the dauphin?

Here :- What news ? Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English

lords, By his persuasion, are again fallen off: And your supply, which you have wish'd so long, Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands. Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news !-Beshrew thy very

heart ! I did not think to be so sad to-night, As this hath made me.-Who was he, that said, King John did fly, an hour or two before The stumbling night did part our weary powers ? Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord. * Immediate. + Innoration,


Lew. Well; keep good quarter *, and good care

to-night; The day shall not be up so soon as I, To try the fair adventure of to-morrow. [Exeunt.


An open place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter the Bastard and Hubert, meeting.
Hub. Who's there? speak, bo ! speak quickly, or

I shoot.
Bast. A friend :What art thou ?

Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
Hub. What's that to thee? Why may not I de-

Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?
Bast. Hubert, I think.

Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will, uport all hazards, well believe
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well:
Who art thou ?

Who thou wilt : an if thou please, Thou may'st befriend me so much, as to think, I come one way of the Plantagenets. Hub. Unkind remembrance ! thou, and eyeless

night, Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon me, That any accent, breaking from thy tongue, Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear. Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news

abroad? Hub. Why, here walk , in the black brow of

night, To find you out. Bast.

Brief, then; and what's the news? Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, * In your posts or stations.

+ Without.

Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.

Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news; I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.

Hub. The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk : I left him almost speechless, and broke out To acquaint you with this evil; that you might The better arm you to the sudden time, Than if you had at leisure wn of this.

Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him? Hub. A monk, I tell you ; a resolved villain, Whose bowels suddenly burst out : the king Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.

Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty? Hub. Why, know you not?, the lords are all come

back, And brought prince Henry in their company; At whose request the king hath pardon'd them; And they are all about his majesty,

Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven, And tempt us not to bear above our power !I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power* this night, Passing these flats, are taken by the tide, These Lincoln washes have devoured them; Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap'd. Away, before ! conduct me to the king ; I doubt he will be dead, or ere I come.



The orchard of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot. P. Hen. It is too late ; the life of all his blood Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwellingEnter Pembroke. Pem. His highness yet doth speak ; and holds

house) Doth, by the idle comments that it makes, Foretell the ending of mortality.

* Forees.

belief, That, being brought into the open air, It would allay the burning quality Of that fell poison which assaileth him. P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard

here. Doth he still rage?

[Exit Bigot. Pem.

He is more patient Than when you left him ; even now he sung.

P. Hen. Ó vanity of sickness ! fierce extremes,
In their continuance, will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them insensible, and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
Confound themselves. 'Tis strange, that death

should sing: -
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chaunts a doleful hymn to his own death;
And from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.

Sal. Be of good comfort, princè; for you are born
To set a form upon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
Re-enter Bigot and attendants, who bring in

King John in a chair.
K, John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-

room ;
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust :
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment; and against this fire
Do I shrink up.

P. Hen. How fares your majesty?

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