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Home > King John > ACT IV - SCENE III. Before the castle.

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ACT IV - SCENE III. Before the castle.
Enter ARTHUR, on the walls

ARTHUR
1    The wall is high, and yet will I leap down:
2    Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not!
3    There's few or none do know me: if they did,
4    This ship-boy's semblance hath disguised me quite.
5    I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
6    If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
7    I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
8    As good to die and go, as die and stay.
Leaps down
9    O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones:
10   Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!
Dies

Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and BIGOT

SALISBURY
11   Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury:
12   It is our safety, and we must embrace
13   This gentle offer of the perilous time.
PEMBROKE
14   Who brought that letter from the cardinal?
SALISBURY
15   The Count Melun, a noble lord of France,
16   Whose private with me of the Dauphin's love
17   Is much more general than these lines import.
BIGOT
18   To-morrow morning let us meet him then.
SALISBURY
19   Or rather then set forward; for 'twill be
20   Two long days' journey, lords, or ere we meet.
Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD
21   Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords!
22   The king by me requests your presence straight.
SALISBURY
23   The king hath dispossess'd himself of us:
24   We will not line his thin bestained cloak
25   With our pure honours, nor attend the foot
26   That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks.
27   Return and tell him so: we know the worst.
BASTARD
28   Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best.
SALISBURY
29   Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.
BASTARD
30   But there is little reason in your grief;
31   Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.
PEMBROKE
32   Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.
BASTARD
33   'Tis true, to hurt his master, no man else.
SALISBURY
34   This is the prison. What is he lies here?
Seeing ARTHUR

PEMBROKE
35   O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!
36   The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
SALISBURY
37   Murder, as hating what himself hath done,
38   Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.
BIGOT
39   Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,
40   Found it too precious-princely for a grave.
SALISBURY
41   Sir Richard, what think you? have you beheld,
42   Or have you read or heard? or could you think?
43   Or do you almost think, although you see,
44   That you do see? could thought, without this object,
45   Form such another? This is the very top,
46   The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
47   Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
48   The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,
49   That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage
50   Presented to the tears of soft remorse.
PEMBROKE
51   All murders past do stand excused in this:
52   And this, so sole and so unmatchable,
53   Shall give a holiness, a purity,
54   To the yet unbegotten sin of times;
55   And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
56   Exampled by this heinous spectacle.
BASTARD
57   It is a damned and a bloody work;
58   The graceless action of a heavy hand,
59   If that it be the work of any hand.
SALISBURY
60   If that it be the work of any hand!
61   We had a kind of light what would ensue:
62   It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
63   The practise and the purpose of the king:
64   From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
65   Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
66   And breathing to his breathless excellence
67   The incense of a vow, a holy vow,
68   Never to taste the pleasures of the world,
69   Never to be infected with delight,
70   Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
71   Till I have set a glory to this hand,
72   By giving it the worship of revenge.
PEMBROKE
73   Our souls religiously confirm thy words.
Enter HUBERT

HUBERT
74   Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:
75   Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.
SALISBURY
76   O, he is old and blushes not at death.
77   Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!
HUBERT
78   I am no villain.
SALISBURY
79   Must I rob the law?
Drawing his sword

BASTARD
80   Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.
SALISBURY
81   Not till I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.
HUBERT
82   Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say;
83   By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours:
84   I would not have you, lord, forget yourself,
85   Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
86   Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget
87   Your worth, your greatness and nobility.
BIGOT
88   Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman?
HUBERT
89   Not for my life: but yet I dare defend
90   My innocent life against an emperor.
SALISBURY
91   Thou art a murderer.
HUBERT
92   Do not prove me so;
93   Yet I am none: whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
94   Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
PEMBROKE
95   Cut him to pieces.
BASTARD
96   Keep the peace, I say.
SALISBURY
97   Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.
BASTARD
98   Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury:
99   If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot,
100  Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame,
101  I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime;
102  Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron,
103  That you shall think the devil is come from hell.
BIGOT
104  What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
105  Second a villain and a murderer?
HUBERT
106  Lord Bigot, I am none.
BIGOT
107  Who kill'd this prince?
HUBERT
108  'Tis not an hour since I left him well:
109  I honour'd him, I loved him, and will weep
110  My date of life out for his sweet life's loss.
SALISBURY
111  Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
112  For villany is not without such rheum;
113  And he, long traded in it, makes it seem
114  Like rivers of remorse and innocency.
115  Away with me, all you whose souls abhor
116  The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house;
117  For I am stifled with this smell of sin.
BIGOT
118  Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!
PEMBROKE
119  There tell the king he may inquire us out.
Exeunt Lords

BASTARD
120  Here's a good world! Knew you of this fair work?
121  Beyond the infinite and boundless reach
122  Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,
123  Art thou damn'd, Hubert.
HUBERT
124  Do but hear me, sir.
BASTARD
125  Ha! I'll tell thee what;
126  Thou'rt damn'd as black--nay, nothing is so black;
127  Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer:
128  There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell
129  As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
HUBERT
130  Upon my soul--
BASTARD
131  If thou didst but consent
132  To this most cruel act, do but despair;
133  And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
134  That ever spider twisted from her womb
135  Will serve to strangle thee, a rush will be a beam
136  To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself,
137  Put but a little water in a spoon,
138  And it shall be as all the ocean,
139  Enough to stifle such a villain up.
140  I do suspect thee very grievously.
HUBERT
141  If I in act, consent, or sin of thought,
142  Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
143  Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
144  Let hell want pains enough to torture me.
145  I left him well.
BASTARD
146  Go, bear him in thine arms.
147  I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way
148  Among the thorns and dangers of this world.
149  How easy dost thou take all England up!
150  From forth this morsel of dead royalty,
151  The life, the right and truth of all this realm
152  Is fled to heaven; and England now is left
153  To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth
154  The unowed interest of proud-swelling state.
155  Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty
156  Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
157  And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
158  Now powers from home and discontents at home
159  Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
160  As doth a raven on a sick-fall'n beast,
161  The imminent decay of wrested pomp.
162  Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can
163  Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child
164  And follow me with speed: I'll to the king:
165  A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
166  And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT IV, SCENE IIACT V, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII

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