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Or have you read, or heard? or could you think?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see? could thought, without this object,
Form such another ? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.
Pem. All murders past do stand excus’d in this ;
And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work ;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.
Sal. If that it be the work of any hand ?-
We had a kind of light, what would ensue:
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice, and the purpose, of the king :
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,
By giving it the worship of revenge.
Pem. Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you. Arthur doth live : the king hath sent for you.
Sal. O! he is bold, and blushes not at death.-
Avaunt, thou hateful villain! get thee gone.
Hub. I am no villain.
Must I rob the law ?
[Drawing his sword. Bast. Your sword is bright, sir : put it up again. Sal. Not till I sheath it in a murderer's skin.
Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury; stand back, I say: By heaven, I think, my sword's as sharp as yours. I would not have you, lord, forget yourself, Nor tempt the danger of my true defence; Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget Your worth, your greatness, and nobility.
Big. Out, dunghill! dar’st thou brave a nobleman ?
Hub. Not for my life; but yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an emperor.
Sal. Thou art a murderer.
Do not prove me so; Yet, I am none. Whose tongue soe'er speaks false, Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly lies.
Pemb. Cut him to pieces.
Keep the peace, I say. Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime,
Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge ? Second a villain, and a murderer?
Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none.
Who kill'd this prince?
Hub. 'Tis not an hour since I left him well :
I honour'd him, I lov'd him; and will weep
My date of life out for his sweet life's loss.
Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villainy is not without such rheum;
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor
Th' uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house,
For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
Big. Away, toward Bury: to the Dauphin there!
Pem. There, tell the king, he may inquire us out.
[Exeunt Lords. Bast. Here's a good world !Knew you of this fair
Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
Art thou damn’d, Hubert.
Do but hear me, sir.
Bast. Ha! I'll tell thee what;
Thou art damn'd as black—nay, nothing is so black;
Thou art more deep damn'd than prince Lucifer :
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
Hub. Upon my soul,—
If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair ;
And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb
Will serve to strangle thee; a rush will be a beam
To hang thee on: or would'st thou drown thyself,
Put but a little water in a spoon,
And it shall be as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up.
I do suspect thee very grievously.
Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath,
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
I left him well.
Go, bear him in thine arms.
I am amaz’d, methinks; and lose my way
Among the thorns and dangers of this world.-
How easy dost thou take all England up!
From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
The life, the right, and truth of all this realm
Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
To tug and scamble, and to part by the teeth
The unowed interests of proud swelling state.
Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest,
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home, and discontents at home,
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast,
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture can*
Hold out this tempest.-Bear away that child,
And follow me with speed: I'll to the king.
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land. [Exeunt.
The Same. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King John, PANDULPH with the Crown, and
K. John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand
The circle of my glory.
[Giving John the Crown.
3 The UNOWED interest] i.e. unowned interest; the interest which has no owner.
whose cloak and CINCTURE can] We adopt Pope's amendment of the old text, which has center for "cincture,” an easy misprint, when we recollect that perhaps the MS., from which the compositor printed, had the word written ceinture, from the French. VOL. IV.
From this my hand, as holding of the pope,
Your sovereign greatness and authority.
K. John. Now keep your holy word: go meet the
And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches, 'fore we are inflam'd.
Our discontented counties do revolt,
Our people quarrel with obedience,
Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul,
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified:
Then pause not ; for the present time's so siek,
That present medicine must be minister’d,
Or overthrow incurable ensues.
Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest up,
Upon your stubborn usage of the pope;
But since you are a gentle convertite,
My tongue shall hush again this storm of war,
And make fair weather in your blustering land.
On this Ascension-day, remember well,
Upon your oath of service to the pope,
Go I to make the French lay down their arms. (Exit.
K. John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the pro-
Say that before Ascension-day at noon,
My crown I should give off? Even so I have.
I did suppose it should be on constraint;
But, heaven be thank’d, it is but voluntary.
Bast. All Kent hath yielded ; nothing there holds
But Dover castle : London hath receiv'd,
Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers.
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone
To offer service to your enemy;