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These eyes, that never did, nor never shall,
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 have come to me, And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes, I would not have believ'd no tongue, but Hubert's. Hub. Come forth.
Re-enter Attendants, with Cord, Irons, &c. Do as I bid
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's 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. 1 Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed.
Come, boy, prepare yourself.
None, but to lose your eyes. Arth. O heaven !--that there were but a mote in
yours, A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring 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. Hub.
I can heat it, boy.
6 In cruelty I have not deserved.
The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you 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 compellid to fight, Snatch at his master that doth tárre7 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 : 8 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
Peace: no more. Adieu ;
O heaven! I thank you, Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely' in with me; Much danger do I undergo for thee. [Ereunt.
7 Set him on.
A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, crowned; PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and other Lords. The King takes his State. 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
pleasid, 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,
Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well,
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd, We breath'd our counsel : but it pleas'd your highness 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
fear,) I shall indue you with : Mean time, 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 4 the purposes of all their hearts,) Both for myself and them, (but, chief of all, Your safety, for the which myself and them Bend their best studies,) heartily request The enfranchisements of Arthur; whose restraint Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
3 Desire of excelling.