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King John: Act 4, Scene 2

King John
Act 4, Scene 2

A room in King John’s castle.

  1. Enter King John, Pembroke, Salisbury, and other Lords.

King John

2 - 3
  1. Here once again we sit; once again crown’d,
  2. And look’d upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.

Earl of Pembroke

4 - 9
  1. This once again (but that your Highness pleas’d)
  2. Was once superfluous. You were crown’d before,
  3. And that high royalty was ne’er pluck’d off;
  4. The faiths of men ne’er stained with revolt;
  5. Fresh expectation troubled not the land
  6. With any long’d-for change or better state.

Earl of Salisbury

10 - 17
  1. Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,
  2. To guard a title that was rich before,
  3. To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
  4. To throw a perfume on the violet,
  5. To smooth the ice, or add another hue
  6. Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
  7. To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
  8. Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

Earl of Pembroke

18 - 21
  1. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
  2. This act is as an ancient tale new told,
  3. And, in the last repeating, troublesome,
  4. Being urged at a time unseasonable.

Earl of Salisbury

22 - 28
  1. In this the antique and well-noted face
  2. Of plain old form is much disfigured,
  3. And like a shifted wind unto a sail,
  4. It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about,
  5. Startles and frights consideration,
  6. Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,
  7. For putting on so new a fashion’d robe.

Earl of Pembroke

29 - 35
  1. When workmen strive to do better than well,
  2. They do confound their skill in covetousness,
  3. And oftentimes excusing of a fault
  4. Doth make the fault the worse by th’ excuse:
  5. As patches set upon a little breach
  6. Discredit more in hiding of the fault
  7. Than did the fault before it was so patch’d.

Earl of Salisbury

36 - 40
  1. To this effect, before you were new crown’d,
  2. We breath’d our counsel; but it pleas’d your Highness
  3. To overbear it, and we are all well pleas’d,
  4. Since all and every part of what we would
  5. Doth make a stand at what your Highness will.

King John

41 - 47
  1. Some reasons of this double coronation
  2. I have possess’d you with, and think them strong;
  3. And more, more strong than lesser is my fear,
  4. I shall indue you with. Mean time but ask
  5. What you would have reform’d that is not well,
  6. And well shall you perceive how willingly
  7. I will both hear and grant you your requests.

Earl of Pembroke

48 - 67
  1. Then I, as one that am the tongue of these
  2. To sound the purposes of all their hearts,
  3. Both for myself and thembut, chief of all,
  4. Your safety, for the which myself and them
  5. Bend their best studiesheartily request
  6. Th’ enfranchisement of Arthur, whose restraint
  7. Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
  8. To break into this dangerous argument:
  9. If what in rest you have in right you hold,
  10. Why then your fears, which (as they say) attend
  11. The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up
  12. Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
  13. With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
  14. The rich advantage of good exercise.
  15. That the time’s enemies may not have this
  16. To grace occasions, let it be our suit
  17. That you have bid us ask his liberty,
  18. Which for our goods we do no further ask
  19. Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
  20. Counts it your weal he have his liberty.
  1. Enter Hubert.

King John

69 - 70
  1. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
  2. To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?
  1. Taking him aside.

Earl of Pembroke

72 - 78
  1. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
  2. He show’d his warrant to a friend of mine.
  3. The image of a wicked heinous fault
  4. Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
  5. Doth show the mood of a much troubled breast,
  6. And I do fearfully believe ’tis done,
  7. What we so fear’d he had a charge to do.

Earl of Salisbury

79 - 82
  1. The color of the King doth come and go
  2. Between his purpose and his conscience,
  3. Like heralds ’twixt two dreadful battles set:
  4. His passion is so ripe, it needs must break.

Earl of Pembroke

83 - 84
  1. And when it breaks, I fear will issue thence
  2. The foul corruption of a sweet child’s death.

King John

85 - 88
  1. We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand.
  2. Good lords, although my will to give is living,
  3. The suit which you demand is gone and dead.
  4. He tells us Arthur is deceas’d tonight.

Earl of Salisbury

89
  1. Indeed we fear’d his sickness was past cure.

Earl of Pembroke

90 - 92
  1. Indeed we heard how near his death he was
  2. Before the child himself felt he was sick.
  3. This must be answer’d either here or hence.

King John

93 - 95
  1. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
  2. Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
  3. Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

Earl of Salisbury

96 - 98
  1. It is apparent foul play, and ’tis shame
  2. That greatness should so grossly offer it.
  3. So thrive it in your game! And so farewell.

Earl of Pembroke

99 - 105
  1. Stay yet, Lord Salisbury, I’ll go with thee,
  2. And find th’ inheritance of this poor child,
  3. His little kingdom of a forced grave.
  4. That blood which ow’d the breadth of all this isle,
  5. Three foot of it doth hold; bad world the while!
  6. This must not be thus borne. This will break out
  7. To all our sorrows, and ere long I doubt.
  1. Exeunt Lords.

King John

107 - 114
  1. They burn in indignation. I repent.
  2. Enter Messenger.
  3. There is no sure foundation set on blood;
  4. No certain life achiev’d by others’ death.
  5. A fearful eye thou hast. Where is that blood
  6. That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks?
  7. So foul a sky clears not without a storm,
  8. Pour down thy weather. How goes all in France?

The Messenger

115 - 120
  1. From France to England. Never such a pow’r
  2. For any foreign preparation
  3. Was levied in the body of a land.
  4. The copy of your speed is learn’d by them;
  5. For when you should be told they do prepare,
  6. The tidings comes that they are all arriv’d.

King John

121 - 124
  1. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
  2. Where hath it slept? Where is my mother’s care,
  3. That such an army could be drawn in France,
  4. And she not hear of it?

The Messenger

125 - 130
  1.                         My liege, her ear
  2. Is stopp’d with dust: the first of April died
  3. Your noble mother; and as I hear, my lord,
  4. The Lady Constance in a frenzy died
  5. Three days before; but this from rumor’s tongue
  6. I idly heardif true or false I know not.

King John

131 - 136
  1. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!
  2. O, make a league with me, till I have pleas’d
  3. My discontented peers! What? Mother dead?
  4. How wildly then walks my estate in France!
  5. Under whose conduct came those pow’rs of France
  6. That thou for truth giv’st out are landed here?

The Messenger

137
  1. Under the Dauphin.
  1. Enter Bastard and Peter of Pomfret.

King John

139 - 142
  1.                    Thou hast made me giddy
  2. With these ill tidings.—Now! What says the world
  3. To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff
  4. My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Bastard

143 - 144
  1. But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
  2. Then let the worst unheard fall on your head.

King John

145 - 148
  1. Bear with me, cousin, for I was amaz’d
  2. Under the tide; but now I breathe again
  3. Aloft the flood, and can give audience
  4. To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

Bastard

149 - 160
  1. How I have sped among the clergymen
  2. The sums I have collected shall express.
  3. But as I travel’d hither through the land,
  4. I find the people strangely fantasied,
  5. Possess’d with rumors, full of idle dreams,
  6. Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear.
  7. And here’s a prophet that I brought with me
  8. From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
  9. With many hundreds treading on his heels;
  10. To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
  11. That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
  12. Your Highness should deliver up your crown.

King John

161
  1. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so?

Pomfret

162
  1. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.

King John

163 - 170
  1. Hubert, away with him; imprison him;
  2. And on that day at noon, whereon he says
  3. I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d.
  4. Deliver him to safety, and return,
  5. For I must use thee.
  6. Exit Hubert with Peter.
  7.                      O my gentle cousin,
  8. Hear’st thou the news abroad, who are arriv’d?

Bastard

171 - 176
  1. The French, my lord; men’s mouths are full of it.
  2. Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,
  3. With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,
  4. And others more, going to seek the grave
  5. Of Arthur, whom they say is kill’d tonight
  6. On your suggestion.

King John

177 - 180
  1.                     Gentle kinsman, go
  2. And thrust thyself into their companies;
  3. I have a way to win their loves again.
  4. Bring them before me.

Bastard

181
  1.                       I will seek them out.

King John

182 - 187
  1. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.
  2. O, let me have no subject enemies
  3. When adverse foreigners affright my towns
  4. With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!
  5. Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels,
  6. And fly, like thought, from them to me again.

Bastard

188
  1. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
  1. Exit.

King John

190 - 193
  1. Spoke like a sprightful noble gentleman.
  2. Go after him; for he perhaps shall need
  3. Some messenger betwixt me and the peers,
  4. And be thou he.

The Messenger

194
  1.                 With all my heart, my liege.
  1. Exit.

King John

196
  1. My mother dead!
  1. Enter Hubert.

Hubert de Burgh

198 - 200
  1. My lord, they say five moons were seen tonight;
  2. Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
  3. The other four in wondrous motion.

King John

201
  1. Five moons?

Hubert de Burgh

202 - 219
  1.             Old men and beldames in the streets
  2. Do prophesy upon it dangerously.
  3. Young Arthur’s death is common in their mouths,
  4. And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
  5. And whisper one another in the ear;
  6. And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer’s wrist,
  7. Whilst he that hears makes fearful action
  8. With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.
  9. I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
  10. The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
  11. With open mouth swallowing a tailor’s news,
  12. Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
  13. Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste
  14. Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,
  15. Told of a many thousand warlike French
  16. That were embattailed and rank’d in Kent.
  17. Another lean unwash’d artificer
  18. Cuts off his tale and talks of Arthur’s death.

King John

220 - 223
  1. Why seek’st thou to possess me with these fears?
  2. Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur’s death?
  3. Thy hand hath murd’red him. I had a mighty cause
  4. To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.

Hubert de Burgh

224
  1. No had, my lord? Why, did you not provoke me?

King John

225 - 231
  1. It is the curse of kings to be attended
  2. By slaves that take their humors for a warrant
  3. To break within the bloody house of life,
  4. And on the winking of authority
  5. To understand a law; to know the meaning
  6. Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
  7. More upon humor than advis’d respect.

Hubert de Burgh

232
  1. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.

King John

233 - 246
  1. O, when the last accompt ’twixt heaven and earth
  2. Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
  3. Witness against us to damnation!
  4. How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
  5. Make deeds ill done! Hadst not thou been by,
  6. A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,
  7. Quoted, and sign’d to do a deed of shame,
  8. This murder had not come into my mind;
  9. But taking note of thy abhorr’d aspect,
  10. Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
  11. Apt, liable to be employ’d in danger,
  12. I faintly broke with thee of Arthur’s death;
  13. And thou, to be endeared to a king,
  14. Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.

Hubert de Burgh

247
  1. My lord

King John

248 - 265
  1. Hadst thou but shook thy head or made a pause
  2. When I spake darkly what I purposed,
  3. Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face,
  4. As bid me tell my tale in express words,
  5. Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
  6. And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me.
  7. But thou didst understand me by my signs,
  8. And didst in signs again parley with sin,
  9. Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
  10. And consequently thy rude hand to act
  11. The deed, which both our tongues held vild to name.
  12. Out of my sight, and never see me more!
  13. My nobles leave me, and my state is braved,
  14. Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign pow’rs;
  15. Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
  16. This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
  17. Hostility and civil tumult reigns
  18. Between my conscience and my cousin’s death.

Hubert de Burgh

266 - 276
  1. Arm you against your other enemies,
  2. I’ll make a peace between your soul and you.
  3. Young Arthur is alive. This hand of mine
  4. Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
  5. Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
  6. Within this bosom never ent’red yet
  7. The dreadful motion of a murderous thought,
  8. And you have slander’d nature in my form,
  9. Which howsoever rude exteriorly,
  10. Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
  11. Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

King John

277 - 286
  1. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to the peers,
  2. Throw this report on their incensed rage,
  3. And make them tame to their obedience!
  4. Forgive the comment that my passion made
  5. Upon thy feature, for my rage was blind,
  6. And foul imaginary eyes of blood
  7. Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
  8. O, answer not! But to my closet bring
  9. The angry lords with all expedient haste.
  10. I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast.
  1. Exeunt.
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