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And I do fearfully believe 'tis done,
Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go
80 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 deceased 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. K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
90 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 owed 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.
Enter a Messenger.
So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
drunk? Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's care, That such an army could be drawn in France, And she not hear of it? Mess.
My liege, her ear Is stopp'd with dust; the first of April died Your noble mother: and, as I hear, my lord, The Lady Constance in a frenzy died Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue I idly heard; if true or false I know not. K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occa
sion! O, make a league with me, till I have pleased My discontented peers! What! mother dead! How wildly then walks my estate in France! Under whose conduct came those powers of France That thou for truth givest out are landed here?
Mess. Under the Dauphin.
K. John. Thou hast made me giddy 131 With these ill tidings. Enter the BASTARD and PETER of Pomfret.
Now, what says the world To your proceedings ? do not seek to stuff My head with more ill news, for it is full.
Bast. But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
140 Bast. How I have sped among the clergymien,
The suns I have collected shall express.
thou so? Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall
out so. K. John. Hubert, away with him; imprison him; And on that day at noon, whereon he says I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d. Deliver him to safety; and return, For I must use thee. [Exit Hubert with Peter.
O my gentle cousin, Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arrived ? Bast. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full of it:
Gentle kinsman, go,
I will seek them out. K. John. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
170 0, let me have no subject enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns With dreadful pomp of stout invasion! Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels, And fly like thought from them to me again. Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
[Exit. K. John. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentle
Go after him; for he perhaps shall need
[Exit. K. John. My mother dead!
Re-enter HUBERT. Hub. My lord, they say five moons were seen
to-night; Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about The other four in wondrous motion.
K. John. Five moons!
Hub. Old men and beldams in the streets Do prophesy upon it dangerously: Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths: And when they talk of him, they shake their heads And whisper one another in the ear; And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist, Whilst he that hears makes fearful action, 191 With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes. I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus, The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool, With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news; Who, with his shears and measure in his hand, Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet, Told of a many thousand warlike French That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent: Another lean unwash'd artificer Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur's death. K. John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with
these fears? Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death ? Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty
cause To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill
him. Hub. No had, my lord! why, did you
not provoke me? K. John. It is the curse of kings to be attended
By slaves that take their humours for a warrant
*Consideration. K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt
heaven and earth Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal Witness against us to damnation! How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by, A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd, Quoted and sign’d to do a deed of shame, This murder had not come into my mind: But taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect, Finding thee fit for bloody villany, Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger, I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death; And thou, to be endeared to a king, Made it no conscience to destroy a prince. Hub. My lord,
230 K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head or
made a pause When I spake darkly what I purposed, Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face, As bid me tell my tale in express words, Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me
break off, And those thy fears might have wrought fears in But thou didst understand me by my signs And didst in signs again parley with sin; Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent, And consequently thy rude hand to act 240 The deed, which both our tongues held vile to
Out of my sight, and never see me more!