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Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes For all the treasure that thine uncle owes 9 : 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 you are dead: 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 heaven!-- I thank

you,

Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely 10 in with me; Much danger do I undergo for thee. [Exeunt.

SCENE II.

The same.

A Room of State in the Palace. Enter KING JOHN, crowned; PEMBROKE, SALIS

BURY, and other Lords. The King takes his
State.
K. John. Here once again we sit, once again

crown'd, And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes. Pem. This once again, but that your highness

pleas’d, Was once superfluous 1: you were crown'd before, And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off;

9 Owns.

10 i. e. secretly, privately. So in Albumazar, 1610, Act iji. Sc. 1:

• I'll entertain him here; meanwhile steal you

Closely into the room.' 1 i.e. this one time more was one time more than enough. It should be remembered that King John was now crowned for the fourth time. VOL. IV.

мм

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 guarda title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
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 heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful, and ridiculous excess.

Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
This act is as an ancient tale new told 3 ;
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 sail,
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about:
Startles and frights consideration;
Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.

Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness*:
And, oftentimes, excusing of a fault,
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse;
As patches, set upon a little breach,

2 To guard is to ornament. So in the Merchant of Venice, Act ii. Sc. 2:

give him a livery

More guarded than his fellows.' Shakspeare has here repeated an idea which he had first put into the mouth of the Dauphin :

· Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,

Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.' 4 i. e. not by their avarice, but in an eager desire of excelling. As in King Henry V.:

* But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.'

3

Discredit more in hiding of the fault",
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.

Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd,
We breath'd our counsel : but it pleas'd your highness
To overbear it; and we are all well pleas'd;
Since all and every part of what we would ®,
Doth make a stand at what your highness will.

K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation I have possess'd you with, and think them strong; And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear), I shall indue 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.

Pem. Then I (as one that am the tongue of these, To sound? the purposes of all their hearts), Both for myself and them (but, chief of all, Your safety, for the which myself and them Bend their best studies), heartily request The enfranchisements of Arthur; whose restraint Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent To break into this dangerous argument, If, what in rest you have, in right you hold, Why then your fears (which, as they say, attend The steps of wrong), should move you to mew up Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth The rich advantage of good exercise 10?

5 Fault means blemish. 6 Since the whole and each particular part of our wishes, &c. 7 To declare, to publish the purposes of all, &c. 8 Releasement.

9 The construction of this passage is ‘If you have a good title to what you now have in rest (i. e. quiet), why then is it that your fears should move you,' &c.

10 In the middle ages, the whole education of princes and noble youths consisted in martial exercises, &c. Mental improvement might have been had in a prison as well as any where

else.

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 goods we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal, he have his liberty.

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

Enter HUBERT. To your

direction.-Hubert, what news with you. Pem. This is the man should do the bloody deed; He show'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 show 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 11, Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set: His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

Pem. 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, Arthur is deceas'd to-night.

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

Pem. 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.

11 The purpose of the king, to which Salisbary alludes, is that of putting Arthur to death, which he considers as not yet accomplished, and therefore supposes that there might be still a conflict in the king's mind

Between his purpose and his conscience.'

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 grossly offer it:
So thrive it in your game! and so farewell.

Pem. Stay yet, Lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
And find the inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood, which ow'd 12 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 13. —Never such

a power
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.

12

i.e.

own'd the breadth of all this isle. The two last variorum editions erroneously read breath for breadth,' which is found in the old copy.

13 The king asks how all goes in France; the messenger catches the word goes, and answers, that whatever is in France goes now into England.

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