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He is afraid of me, and I of him :
ACT IV Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son?
Sc. I No, indeed, is 't not; and I would to Heaven
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert. HUB. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden, and dispatch.
ARTH. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day:
In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
That I might sit all night and watch with you:
I warrant I love
you HUB. His words do take possession of
bosom. Read here, young Arthur.
[shewing a paper.
How now, foolish Rheum,
Turning dispiteous Torture out of door ?
I must be brief, lest Resolution drop
Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.
not read it ? is it not fair? writ?
ARTH. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:
with hot irons burn out both mine eyes? HUB. Young Boy, I must. ARTH.
And will you? HUB.
And I will. ARTH. Have you the heart? When your head did but
ache, I knit my handkercher about your brows (The best I had, a Princess wrought it me) And I did never ask it you again; And with
hand at midnight held your head,
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time,
Saying What lack you ? and Where lies your grief?
Or What good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would have lien still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
at your sick service had a Prince.
Nay ; you may think my love was crafty love,
And call it cunning ; do, an if you will.
If Heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
Why, then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?
that never did nor never shall
So much as frown on you?
I have sworn to do it;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
ARTH. Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears,
And quench his fiery indignation
Even in the water of mine innocence:
Nay; after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eyes.
Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron?
An 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!
Re-enter Executioners, with cord, irons, etc.
Do as I bid
ARTH. O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out
Even 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 boisterous-rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still.
For Heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound !
Nay; hear me, Hubert ! drive these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;
I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word,
Nor look upon the iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and I 'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.
HUB. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
FIRST Exec. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed.
[Exeunt Executioners. 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 your's.
Come, Boy, prepare yourself.
ARTH. Is there no remedy?
None but to lose your eyes.
ARTH. O Heaven, that there were but a mote in your's,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense!
Then, feeling what small things are boisterous there,
Your vild intent must needs seem horrible.
HUB. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.
ARTH. Hubert, the pleading for a pair of eyes
Must needs want utterance by a brace of tongues :
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: 0,
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 sooth; the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be us’d
In undeserv'd extremes: see else yourself;
There is no malice burning in this coal;
The breath of Heaven hath blown his spirit out,
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.
HUB. But with my breath I can revive it, Boy.
ARTH. An if
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 compell’d 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 extends;
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
HUB. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes
For all the treasure that thine uncle owes :
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.
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.
O Heaven! I thank you,
HUB. Silence; no more: go closely? in with me:
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
SCENE II. A Palace in England.
Enter KING JOHN, PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and
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: 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,
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;
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 curiousness;
And oftentimes excusing of a fault
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 so patch’d.
SAL. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd,
We breath'd our counsel; but it pleas'd your High
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 : meantime 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 they
Bend their best studies; heartily request
The enfranchisement 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 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 barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise ?
That the time's enemies may not have this
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.
3 improve opportunities.