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thinking himself more strengthened by this treasure, than the forced service of his barons, he excused the personal attendance of most of them, and passing into Normandy, he raised an army there. He found that his enemies had united their forces, and invested the castle of Mirabel, a place of importance, in which his mother, from whom he derived his title to Guienne, was besieged. He flew to the relief of this place with the spirit of a greater character, and the success was answerable. The Breton and Poictouvin army was defeated ; his mother was freed ; and the young duke of Brittany and his sister were made prisoners. The latter he sent into England, to be confined in the castle of Bristol ; the former he carried with him to Rouen. The good fortune of John now seemed to be at its highest point; but it was exalted on a precipice ; and this great victory proved the occasion of all the evils which affected his life.

John was not of a character to resist the temptation of having the life of his rival in his bands. All historians are as fully agreed that he murdered his nephew, as they differ in the means by which he accomplished that crime. But the report was soon spread abroad, variously heightened in the circumstances by the obscurity of the fact, which left all men at liberty to imagine and invent; and excited all those sentiments of pity and indignation, which a very young prince of great hopes, cruelly murdered by his uncle, naturally inspire. Philip had never missed an occasion of endeavouring to ruin the king of England ; and having now acquired an opportunity of accomplishing that by justice, which he had in vain sought by ambition, he filled every place with complaints of the cruelty of John, whom as a vassal to the crown of France, the king accused of the murder of another vassal, and summoned him to Paris to be tried by his peers. It was by no means consistent either with the dignity or safety of John to appear to this summons. He had the argument of kings to justify what he had done. But as in all great crimes there is something of a latent weakness, and in a vicious cause something material is ever neglected, John, satisfied with removing his rival, took no thought about his enemy; but whilst he saw himself sentenced for non-appearance in the Court of Peers ; whilst he saw the king of France entering Normandy with a vast army, in consequence of this sentence, and place after place, castle after castle, falling before him, he passed his time at Rouen in the profoundest tranquillity; indulging himself in indolent amusements, and satisfied with vain threatenings and boasts, which only added greater shame to his inactivity. The English barons, who had attended him in this expedition, disaffected from the beginning, and now wearied with being so long witnesses to the ignominy of their sovereign, retired to their own country, and there spread the report of his unaccountable sloth and cowardice. John quickly followed them; and returning to his kingdom, polluted with the charge of so heavy a crime, and disgraced by so many follies, instead of aiming by popular acts to re-establish his character, he exacted a seventh of their moveables from the barons, on pretence that they had deserted his service. He laid the same imposition on the clergy, without giving himself the trouble of seeking for a pretext. He made no proper use of these great supplies ; but saw the great city of Ronen, always faithful to its sovereigns, and now exerting the most strenuous efforts in his favour, obliged at length to surrender, without the least attempt to relieve it. Thus the whoie dutchy of Normandy, originally acquired by his ancestors, and the source from which the greatness of his family had been derived, after being supported against all shocks for three hundred years, was torn for ever from the stock of Rollo, and re-united to the crown of France. Immediately all the rest of the provinces which he held on the Continent, except a part of Guienne, despairing of his protection, and abhorring his government, threw themselves into the hands of Philip.



SCENE I. John-Hubert.


K, John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much ; within this wall of flesh
There is a soul counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love;
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,
But I will fit it with some better tune.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd
To say what good respect I have of thee.

Hub, I am much bounden to your majesty,

K, John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet:
But thou shalt have : and creep time ne'er so slow,
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,—but let it go :
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience :-If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound on into the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy-thick,
(Which, clse, runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes,
And strain their checks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purpose ;)
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words ;
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts ;
But ah, I will not ;-Yet I love thee well ;
And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well.

Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,
By heaven, I would do it.
K. John.

Do not I know thou wouldst ?
Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye
On yon young boy : I'll tell thee what, my friend,
He is a very serpent in my way;
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread
He lies before me : Dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.

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And I'll keep him so,
That he shall not offend your majesty.

K. John. Death.

My lord ?
K. John.

He shall not live.
K. John.

I could be merry now: Hubert, I love thee.
Well, I'll not say what I intend for thee :

SCENE II. -Hubert and Two Attendants.
Hub. Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand
Within the arras : when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth,
And bind the boy,

shall find with me,
Fast to the chair : be heedful : hence, and watch.

First Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the dccd.

Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you : look to 't- Erèunt Attend.
Young lad, come forth ; I have to say with you.

Enter Arthur.
Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.

Good morrow, little prince.
Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince) as may be.—You are sad.

Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.

Mercy on me!
Methinks, nobody should be sad but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France.
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long ;
And so I would be here, but that I doubt
My uncle practises more harm to me :
He is afraid of me, and I of him :
Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son ?
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 despatch.

[A side.
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 more than you do me.

Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.“
Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper.] How now, fuolish rheum!

Turning dispiteous torture out of door !
I must be brief; lest resolution drop
Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish tears.

Can you not read it ? is it not fair writ

Arth. Too fairly Hubert, for so foul effect : Must

you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes ? Hub. Young boy, I must. Arth.

And will you ?

And I will.
Arth. Have you the heart ? When your head did but ache,
I knit my hand-kercher about your brows,
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me,)
And I did never ask it you again :
And with my 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 lain still,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you ;
But 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 ?
These 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 matter of mine innocence ;
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
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 Attendants, with Cords, Irons, dc.

Do as I bid you do.

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 boist'rous-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 Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed.

[Exeunt Attendants.
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.

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 yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense !
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.

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 in this burning 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. And if you do, you will but make it blush,
And glow with shamo 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 extend,
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,

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