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Fund. Courage and comfort ! all shall yet go well.

K. Fhi. ^Vhat can go well, when we have run so ill?
Are we not beaten? Is not y\ngiers lost?
Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain?
And bloody England into England gone,
O'erbearing interruption, spite of France ?

Lou. What he hath won, that hath he fortified :
So hot a speed with such advice- disposed,
Such temperate order in so fierce a course,
Doth want example : who hath read or heard
Of any kindred action like to this?

K. Fhi. Well could I bear that England had this praise,
So we could find some pattern of our shame.
Look, who comes here ! a grave unto a soul ;
Holding th' eternal^ spirit, against her will.
In the vile prison of afflicted breath. —

Enter Constance.

I pr'ythee, lady, go away with me.

1 Convented is assembled or collected. — Armado \s a fleet of war. The
word was adopted from tlie Spanish, and was made familiar to English ears
by the defeat of the Armada.

2 Advice here is Judgment or consideration. Often so. Sec The Mer-
chant, page i3o, note i.

3 Eternal for immortal. So in Othello, iii. 3 : " By the worth of man's
eternal soul." — " The vile prison of afflicted breath " is the body, of course.



SCENE IV. KING JOHN. 93

Const. Lo, now ! now see the issue of your peace !

K. Phi. Patience, good lady ! comfort, gentle Constance !

Const. No, I defy"* all counsel, all redress.
But that which ends all coujisel, true redress,
Death, death. — O amiable lovely death !
Thou odoriferous stench ! sound rottenness !
Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperity.
And I will kiss thy detestable bones ;
And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows ;
And ring these fingers with thy household worms ;
And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust ;
And be a carrion monster like thyself:
Come, grin on me ; and I will think thou smilest.
And buss thee as thy wife ! Misery's love,
O, come to me !

K. Phi. (^ fair aflliction, i)eace !

Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry : — ■
O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth !
Then with a passion would I shake the world ;
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice.
Which scorns a mother's invocation.

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

Const. Thou art unholy to belie me so ;
I am not mad : this hair I tear is mine ;
My name is Constance ; I was Geflrey's wife ;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost :
I am not mad : I would to Heaven I were !
For then 'tis like I sh.oukl forget myself:

* To refuse or reject is among llic old senses of fo defy.



94 KING JOHN. ACT III.

O, if I could, what grief should I forget !
Preach some philosopliy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canonized, Cardinal ;
For, being not mad, but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason^
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son.
Or madly think a babe of clouts'* were he :
I am not mad ; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

K. Phi. Bind up those tresses. O, what love I note
In the fair multitude of those her hairs !
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fall'n.
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
Do glue themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.

Const. To England, if you will."''

K. Phi. Bind up your hairs.

Const. Yes, that I will ; and wherefore will I do it ?
I tore them from their bonds, and cried aloud,
O, that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty !
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner. —

5 Reason in the sense of rcasotiing or consideration.

" " A babe of clouts " is simply a doll, or a rag-baby.

" It is not very apparent what Constance means by these words, or what
object she is addressing. Perhaps, as Staunton suggests, she " apostrophizes
her hair, as she madly tears it from its bonds."



SCENE IV. KING JOHN. 95

And, father Cardinal, I have heard you say

That we shall see and know our friends in Heaven :

If that be true, I shall see my boy again ;

For since the birth of Cain, the first male child,

To him that did but yesterday suspire,

There was not such a gracious ^ creature bom.

But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud,

And chase the native beauty from his cheek ;

And he will look as hollow as a ghost.

As dim and meagre as an ague-fit :

And so he'll die; and, rising so again,

When I shall meet him in the Court of Heaven

I shall not know him : therefore never, never

Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

Fanif. You hold too heinous a respect^ of grief.

CottsL He talks to me that never had a son.

K. riii. You are as fond of grief as of your child.

Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks uj) and down with me ;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words.
Remembers me of all his gracious parts.
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form :
Then have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well : had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.^"



' Gracious in the sense of graceful or lovely. So, again, in " all liis
gracious \i7\.t\.s" a little after. — The sense of the next line is, tliat sorrow,
like a canker-worm , will cat tlic bud, &c. So in h'omco and Juiu-t, i. i :
" As is the bud bit with an envious worm." Sec Tempest, page 71, note 96.

' Respect in the sense oi favour or regard, " Such a perverse and wilful
cherishing of grief is a heinous wrong."

1" This is a sentiment which great sorrow always dictates. Whoever



96 KING JOHN.



ACT III.



I will not keep this form upon my head,

\_DishcveUing her hair.
^^'hen there is such disorder in iiiy wit. —
O Lord ! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son !
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world 1
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure ! \_Exit.

K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her. \^Exit.

Lou. There's nothing in this world can make me joy :
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale^'
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man ;
And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste.
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.

Paiid. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health.
The fit is strongest ; evils that take leave.
On their departure most of all show evil :
"What have you lo.-^t by losing of this day?

Lou. All days of glory, joy, anil happiness.

Pand. If you had won it, certainly you had.
No, no ; when Fortune means to men most good.
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
'Tis strange to think how much King John hath lost
In this which he accounts so clearly won :
Are not you grieved that Arthur is his prisoner?

Lou. As heartily as he is glad he hath him.

Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
Now hear me speak with a prophetic spirit ;
For even the breath of what I mean to speak

cannot help himself casts his eyes on others for assistance, and often mis-
takes their inability for coldness. — Johnson.

" So in Ps:ilm xc. : " For when Thou art angry all our daj's are gone;
we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told,"



SCENE IV. KING JOHN. 97

Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,^-
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foot to England's throne ; and therefore mark.
John hath seized Arthur ; and it cannot be,
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins,
The misplaced John should entertain one h.our,
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest :
A sceptre snatch'd with an unruly hand
Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd ;
And he that stands upon a slippery place
Makes nice '^ of no vile hold to stay him up :
That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall ;
So be it, for it cannot be but so.

Lou. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?

rand. You, in the right of Lady lilanch your wife.
May then make all the claim that Arthur did.

Lou. And lose it, life and all, as y\.rthur did.

Land. How green you are, and fresh in this old world !
John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;
For he that steeps his safety in true blood/"*
Shall find but bloody safety and untrue.
This act, so evilly borne,'-'' shall cool Uie hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal,



12 Rub was a term at bowls, for hindrance, obstruction, any tiling tliat
turned the bowl from its aim. Sec I/amlct, page 127, note 7.

" To mate nice is to be scrupulous, to stick at. So the Poet uses nice
repeatedly. And we still say, he makes no scruple of doing so and so.

'* True blood here means the blood of the true, that is, just or rightful,
claimant of the crown. The Poet has several instances of blood put for
person. .So in Julius Cicsar, iv. 3: " I know young bloods look for a time
of rest."

'^ Evilly borne is luickedly carried on or pi-rformcd. The Poet often
uses to bear in this sense. In what follows, shall for will. Often so.



98 KING JOHN. ACT lU

That none so small advantage shall step forth
To check his reign, but they will cherish it :
No natural exhalation i*' in the sky,
No- scape of Nature,'" no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his'^ natural cause,
And call them meteors,'^ prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, pr(5sages, and tongues of Heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.

Lou. May be he will not touch young Arthur's life, ,



18 The Poet sometimes uses exhalation in a way that seems strange to
us. So in Julius Ccssar, ii. i : " The exhalations, whizzing in the air, give
so much light that I may read by thcni." As this is said amidst a fierce
thunder-storm at night, exiialations must mean flashes of lightning. And
such, or something such, may well be the meaning in the text.

1^ " Scape of Nature " may well mean any irregularity in the course of
things, or any event which, though natural, is uncommon enough to excite
particular notice, such as a " distemper'd day," or an " exhalation in the sky."
So the Poet has " 'scapes of wit " for sallies, fiights, or frolics of wit. And
so Nature may be said to have her frolics, sometimes merry, and sometimes
mad; her weather, for instance, sometimes plays very wild pranks. It is
observable that in the text we have a sort of climax proceeding from things
less common to things more and more common.

18 His for its, referring to event. The form its, though repeatedly used
by Shakespeare, especially in his later plays, had not then the stamp of
English currency. See page 56, note 25. — The Poet seems to have been
specially fond of the word pluck ior pull, tear, wrench. Jerk, or draiv.

I'J Meteor was used in much the same way as exhalation, only it bore a
more ominous or ill-boding sense; any strikingly black or any strikingly
brilliant phenomenon in the heavens. So in / Henry the Fourth, v. i :
" And be no more an exhaled meteor, a prodigy of fear, and a portent of
broachid mischief to the unborn times." Also in Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5 :
"Yon light is not day-light: it is some meteor that the Sun exhales:' And
in v. 2, of this play: " Makes me more amazed than had I seen the vaulty
top of heaven figured quite o'er with burning meteors." — Abortives are
monstrous births, whether of man or beast, which were thought to portend
calamities and disasters.



SCENE IV. KING JOHN. 99

But hold himself safe in his prisonmcnt.

Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies ; and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted -'' change ;
And pick strong matter of revolt and wnuh
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
Methinks I see this hurly-^ all on foot :
And, O, what better matter breeds for you
Than I have named ! The bastard Falconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the Church,
Offending charity : if but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call -
To train ten thousand English to their side ;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain.-'' O noble Dauphin,
Go with me to the King : 'tis wonderful
What may be wrought out of their discontent.
Now that their souls are topful of offence :
For England go : I will whet on the King.

Lou. Strong reasons make strong actions : let us go :
If you say ay, the King will not say no. \_Exeunt.

20 Unacquainted for unaccustomed or extraordinary.

21 llurly is tumult, commotion ; like hurly-burly.

22 An allusion to the reed, or pipe, termed a bird-call ; or to the practice
of bird-catchers, who, in laying their nets, place a caged bird over them,
which they term the t<j/Abird or bird-ca//, to lure the wild birds to the
snare. — StaL/NTOn.

2' Bacon, in his History of Henry I'll., speaking of Simncl's inarch, re-
marks that their snowball did not gather as it went.



lOO



KING JOHN. ACT IV.



ACT IV.

Scene I. — Northampto7i. A Room in the Castie.
Enter Hubert and two Attendants.

Hub. Heat me these irons hot ; and look you stand
Within the arras : ^ when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of tlie ground, rusli forth,
And bind the boy which you shall find with me
Fast to the chair : be heedful : hence, and watch.

/ Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.

Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! fear not you : look to't. —

\_Excunt Attendants.
Young lad, come forth ; I have to say with you."

Enter Arthur.

Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.

Hub. 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.

Artli. Mercy on me !

Methinks no body should be sad but I :
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,



1 Arras were the hangings or tapestries with which rooms were lined,
before the days of plastering. To keep them from being rotted by the
damp, they were hung on frames, far enough from the walls to admit of a
person's hiding behind them.

2 More iox greater, again. See page 51, note 5.



SCENE I.



KING JOHN. lOI



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 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.

Huh. [Ash/c:] If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead :
Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.

Ar//i. 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 tlian you do me.

/////'. [.■isi\/c.'\ His words do take possession of my
bosom. —
Read here, young Arthur. — [S/io7c>in!^ a paper.

\^Asidci\ ITow, now, foolish rheum I'^
Turning dispiteous® torture out of door !
I must be brief, lest resolution drop
Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears. —

* Tliis fashionable afTcclalion is ridiculed by I.yly in his Midas: " Now
every base companion, b'-in ; in his miiblc-fubles, says he is melancholy"

* Christendom for christenins^ or baptism. The tisagc was common.

fi Doubt in the sense ol fear or suspect ; a frcciucnt usage. — Practises, in
the nr-xt line, is contrives, plot!, or use! arts. Rcpcalcdiy so.

" In truth or truly. This use oi sooth occurs very often.

1 Rheum, again, for tears. Sec page 75, note 2.

» Dispiteous for unpiteous, that K, pitiless. — In the next Unc, brie/ is
quick, prompt, or sudden. Often so.



102 KING JOHN, ACT IV.

Can you not read it ? is't not foirly writ ?

Arth, Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect :
Must you with hot ircns burn out both mine eyes?

Jliid. Young boy, I must.

^Ir^^i' And will you ?

^^i^^- And I will.

Arih. Have you the heart? \Vhcn 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 my hand at midnight held your head ;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,9
Still and anon chcer'd up the heavy time.
Saying, JVhat lack you ? and. Where lies your griefs
Or, What good love may I perforvi/or 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 pleased 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 ?

Hub. I've sworn to do it ;

That is, as tlic minutes watch over, or mark, the progress or passage
of the hour. A pretty way of expressing a minute and sedulous attention.
— " Still and anon," in the next line, is the same as our " ever and anon."

l« Sick service is of course merely an instance of what is called transferred
epithet : service done to the sick.

^^ An i/ is an old reduplication much used in the Poet's time. So we
have an, or i/, or an >/, used indifferently.



SCENE I. KING JOHN. 103

And with hot irons must I burn them out.

Arih. Ah, none but in this iron age would do it !
The iron of itself, though heat i- 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 believed him, — no tongue but Hubert's.

Hitb. Come forth ! \_Siamps.

Re-enter Attendants, with eord, irons, cs'c.

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.

/////'. Clive me the iron, I say, and bind him here.

Arth. .Mas, what need you be so boisterous-rough?
I will not stnigglc, 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 angcrly :
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
\\'hatcvcr torment you do put me to.

Hub. CJo, stand within ; let me alone with him.

/ Attend. I am best pleased to be from such a deed.

\_Excunt Attendants.

" Heat for heated, as, before, wa/l for wafted. Sec page 52, note 13.



I04 KING JOHN. ACT IV.

Arth. Alas, I llicn liavc chid away my friend !
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart :
Let him come back, that his compassion may
Gi\'e life to yours.

Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself.

Arth. Is there no remedy?

Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.

Ari]i. 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 boisterous ^^ there,
Your vile mtent must needs seem horrible.

Hub. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.

A7-th. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
Must needs want pleading for a jjair 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 mc.

/////'. I can heat it, boy.

Arth. No, in good sooth ; the fire is dead with grief,
Being create for comfort, to be used
In undeserved extremes : ^'' see else yourself;
There is no malice burning in this coal ;
The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,

13 Boisterous was used much more variously than at present ; as a com-
mon anfitlicsis to gentle, and so for rough, rude, violeut, &'c.

1^ Extremities, or extreme severities, that are unmerited. Johnson para-
phrases the passage as follows : " The fire, being created not to hurt, hut to
comfort, is dead with grief for finding itself used in acts of cruelty, which,
being innocent, I have not deserved."



SCENE I. KING JOHN. 105

And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.

Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.

Arth. An 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 compell'd to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre ^^ him on.
All things that you should use to tlo me wrong
Deny their office : only you do lack
That mercy wliicli fierce fire and iron extend,
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.

Hub. Well, sec 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 I all this while
You were disguised.

Hub. Peace ; no more. .'Xdieu.

Your uncle must not know but you arc 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.

Arth. ( ; I leaven ! I thank you, Hubert.

Hub. Silence ; no more : go closely'" in with me :
Much danger do I undergo for thee. \^F,.\rutit.

^^ To tarre is to incite, to instig.ite, as in selling on clogs. So in Hamlet,
ii. 2 : " The nation liolds it no sin to tarre tlioni to the controviisy." Also
in Troilus and Cressida, i. 3 : " Pride must tarre the niaslifTs on."

16 Doubtless Un /t-arleis, as doubt for /ear a lillle Ix-fore.

" Closely is snretly ; a frequent usajje. So in J/<niil,-t, iii. i ; " I'or ive
have closely sent for Hamlet hither." So wc have " keep close," and " stand
close," for any furtive or hidden act.



I06 KING JOHN. ACT IV.



Scene II. — The Same. A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, croiuned ; 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.

Fetn. This once again, but that your Highness pleased,
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 talc 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 ;

1 " Once superfluous " means once tnore tlian enough.

2 To guard is to /ace, or ornament with facings. Sec The Merchant,
page III, note 30.



SCENE II. KING JOHN. 10/

Startles and frights consideration ;

Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,

For putting on so new a fashion'd robe.^

Pcm. When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness ; '^
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.

SlxI. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd.
We breathed our counsel : but it pleased your Highness
To overbear't ; and we are all well pleased.
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, wlicn 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.

rem. 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



' Properly, " so new-fosliion'd a robe." Tlie Poet has many such in-


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