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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.
83.-ARTHUR AND HUBERT.
SCENE I. John-Hubert.
K, John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
Hub, I am much bounden to your majesty,
K, John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet:
Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Do not I know thou wouldst ?
And I'll keep him so,
K. John. Death.
My lord ?
He shall not live.
SCENE II. -Hubert and Two Attendants.
shall find with me,
First Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the dccd.
Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you : look to 't- Erèunt Attend.
Good morrow, little prince.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom.“
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.
I have sworn to do it
Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it !
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 ?
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
Come, boy, prepare yourself.
None, but to lose your eyes.
Hub. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.
Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
I can heat it, boy.
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush,
Hub. Well, see to live ; I will not touch thine eyes
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert ! all this while
Peace : no more. Adieu ;