Shakespeare - First Folio facsimile (1910)/The Life and Death of King John/Act 4 Scene 3

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Scœna Tertia.

Enter Arthur on the walles.

The Wall is high, and yet will I leape downe.
Good ground be pittifull, and hurt me not:
There's few or none do know me, if they did,
This Ship-boyes semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
I am afraide, and yet Ile venture it.
If I get downe, and do not breake my limbes,
Ile finde a thousand shifts to get away;
As good to dye, and go; as dye, and stay.
Oh me, my Vnckles spirit is in these stones,
Heauen take my soule, and England keep my bones.

Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, & Bigot.

Lords, I will meet him at S. Edmondsbury,
It is our safetie, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perillous time.

Who brought that Letter from the Cardinall?

The Count Meloone, a Noble Lord of France,
Whose priuate with me of the Dolphines loue,
Is much more generall, then these lines import.

To morrow morning let vs meete him then.

Or rather then set forward, for 'twill be
Two long dayes iourney (Lords) or ere we meete.

Enter Bastard.

Once more to day well met, distemper'd Lords,
The King by me requests your presence straight.

The king hath dispossest himselfe of vs,
We will not lyne his thin-bestained cloake
With our pure Honors: nor attend the foote
That leaues the print of blood where ere it walkes.
Returne, and tell him so: we know the worst.

What ere you thinke, good words I thinke were best.

Our greefes, and not our manners reason now.

But there is little reason in your greefe.
Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.

Sir, sir, impatience hath his priuiledge.

'Tis true, to hurt his master, no mans else.

This is the prison: What is he lyes heere?

Oh death, made proud with pure & princely beuty,
The earth had not a hole to hide this deede.

Murther, as hating what himselfe hath done,
Doth lay it open to vrge on reuenge.

Or when he doom'd this Beautie to a graue,
Found it too precious Princely, for a graue.

Sir Richard, what thinke you? you haue beheld,
Or haue you read, or heard, or could you thinke?
Or do you almost thinke, although you see,
That you do see? Could thought, without this obiect
Forme such another? This is the very top,
The heighth, the Crest: or Crest vnto the Crest
Of murthers Armes: This is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest Sauagery, the vildest stroke
That euer wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage
Presented to the teares of soft remorse.

All murthers past, do stand excus'd in this:
And this so sole, and so vnmatcheable,
Shall giue a holinesse, a puritie,
To the yet vnbegotten sinne of times;
And proue a deadly blood-shed, but a iest,
Exampled by this heynous spectacle.

It is a damned, and a bloody worke,
The gracelesse action of a heauy hand,
If that it be the worke of any hand.

If that it be the worke of any hand?
We had a kinde of light, what would ensue:
It is the shamefull worke of Huberts hand,
The practice, and the purpose of the king:
From whose obedience I forbid my soule,
Kneeling before this ruine of sweete life,
And breathing to his breathlesse Excellence
The Incense of a Vow, a holy Vow:
Neuer to taste the pleasures of the world,
Neuer to be infected with delight,
Nor conuersant with Ease, and Idlenesse,
Till I haue set a glory to this hand,
By giuing it the worship of Reuenge.

Pem. Big.
Our soules religiously confirme thy words.

Enter Hubert.

Lords, I am hot with haste, in seeking you,
Arthur doth liue, the king hath sent for you.

Oh he is bold, and blushes not at death,
Auant thou hatefull villain, get thee gone.

I am no villaine.

Must I rob the Law?

Your sword is bright sir, put it vp againe.

Not till I sheath it in a murtherers skin.

Stand backe Lord Salsbury, stand backe I say
By heauen, I thinke my sword's as sharpe as yours.
I would not haue you (Lord) forget your selfe,
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence;
Least I, by marking of your rage, forget
Your Worth, your Greatnesse, and Nobility.

Out dunghill: dar'st thou braue a Nobleman?

Not for my life: But yet I dare defend
My innocent life against an Emperor.

Thou art a Murtherer.

Do not proue me so:
Yet I am none. Whose tongue so ere speakes false,
Not truely speakes: who speakes not truly, Lies.

Cut him to peeces.

Keepe the peace, I say.

Stand by, or I shall gaul you Faulconbridge.

Thou wer't better gaul the diuell Salsbury.
If thou but frowne on me, or stirre thy foote,
Or teach thy hastie spleene to do me shame,
Ile strike thee dead. Put vp thy sword betime,
Or Ile so maule you, and your tosting-Iron,
That you shall thinke the diuell is come from hell.

What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?
Second a Villaine, and a Murtherer?

Lord Bigot, I am none.

Who kill'd this Prince?

'Tis not an houre since I left him well:
I honour'd him, I lou'd him, and will weepe
My date of life out, for his sweete liues losse.

Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes,
For villanie is not without such rheume,
And he, long traded in it, makes it seeme
Like Riuers of remorse and innocencie.
Away with me, all you whose soules abhorre
Th' vncleanly sauours of a Slaughter-house,
For I am stifled with this smell of sinne.

Away, toward Burie, to the Dolphin there.

There tel the king, he may inquire vs out.
Ex. Lords. 

Here's a good world: knew you of this faire work?
Beyond the infinite and boundlesse reach of mercie,
(If yu didst this deed of death) art thou damn'd Hubert.

Do but heare me sir.

Ha? Ile tell thee what.
Thou'rt damn'd as blacke, nay nothing is so blacke,
Thou art more deepe damn'd then Prince Lucifer:
There is not yet so vgly a fiend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this childe.

Vpon my soule.

If thou didst but consent
To this most cruell Act: do but dispaire,
And if thou want'st a Cord, the smallest thred
That euer Spider twisted from her wombe
Will serue to strangle thee: A rush will be a beame
To hang thee on. Or wouldst thou drowne thy selfe,
Put but a little water in a spoone,
And it shall be as all the Ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villaine vp.
I do suspect thee very greeuously.

If I in act, consent, or sinne of thought,
Be guiltie of the stealing that sweete breath
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,
Let hell want paines enough to torture me:
I left him well.

Go, beare him in thine armes:
I am amaz'd me thinkes, and loose my way
Among the thornes, and dangers of this world.
How easie dost thou take all England vp,
From forth this morcell of dead Royaltie?
The life, the right, and truth of all this Realme
Is fled to heauen: and England now is left
To tug and scamble, and to part by th' teeth
The vn-owed interest of proud swelling State:
Now for the bare-pickt bone of Maiesty,
Doth dogged warre bristle his angry crest,
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now Powers from home, and discontents at home
Meet in one line: and vast confusion waites
As doth a Rauen on a sicke-falne beast,
The iminent decay of wrested pompe.
Now happy he, whose cloake and center can
Hold out this tempest. Beare away that childe,
And follow me with speed: Ile to the King:
A thousand businesses are briefe in hand,
Exit.And heauen it selfe doth frowne vpon the Land.