Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English lords,
By his persuasion, are again fallen off:
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands.

Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news !—Beshrew thy very heart !
I did not think to be so sad to-night
As this hath made me. -Who was he that said,
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our wcary powers?

Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.

Lew. Well; keep good quarter and good care to-night; The day shall not be up so soon as I, To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.

[Excunt.

SCENE VI.-- An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swin

stead Abbey

Enter the Bastard and HUBERT, meeting. Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot. Bast. A friend.-What art thou ? Hub.

Of the part of England.
Bast. Whither dost thou go?
Hub.

What's that to thee?
Why may I not demand of thine affairs,
As well as thou of mine?
Bast.

Hubert, I think.
Hub. Thou hast a perfect thought:
I will, upon all hazards, well believe
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well:
Who art thou ?

Bast. Who thou wilt: an if thou please,
Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think
I come one way of the Plantagenets.

Hub. Unkind remembrance! thou, and eyeless night,
Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon me,

а

а

Eyeless night. The original reads endless. Shakspere has, in other passages, applied the epithet endless to night, but using night metaphorically. Here, where the meaning is literal, eyeless may be preferred. The emendation was made by Theobald.

you out.

That any accent, breaking from thy tongue,
Should ’scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.

Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?

Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night,
To find
Bast.

Brief, then; and what's the news?
Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,
Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Bast. Show me the

very

wound of this ill news; I am no woman, I 'll not swoon at it.

Hub. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk:
I left him almost speechless, and broke out
To acquaint you with this evil; that you might
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Than if you had at leisure known of this. .

Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him?

Hub. A monk, I tell you ; a resolved villain, Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.

Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ?

Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
And brought prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon’d them,
And they are all about his majesty.

Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
And tempt us not to bear above our power!
I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide,
These Lincoln washes have devoured them;
Myself, well mounted, hardly have escap’d.
Away, before! conduct me to the king;
I doubt he will be dead, or e'er I come.

[Exeunt.

SCENE VII.The Orchard of Swinstead Abbey.

Enter PRINCE HENRY, SALISBURY, and Bigot
P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood
Is touch'd corruptibly; and his

pure

brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house)

Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
Foretell the ending of mortality.

Enter PEMBROKE.

Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief,
That being brought into the

open

air
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.

P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here.--
Doth he still rage?

Exit Bigot.
Pem.

He is more patient
Than when

you

left him; even now he sung.
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,
In their continuance, will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them invisible; and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds
With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng and press to that last hold,
Confound themselves. 'Tis strange, that death should sing.
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.

Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born
To set a form upon that indigest,b
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.

[ocr errors]

Re-enter Bigor and Attendants, who bring in King JOHN

in a Chair.

K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room ;
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.

à Invisible. So the original. The modern editors read insensible. The question occupies four pages of discussion in the commentators. The meaning of invisible is, we take it, unlooked at, disregarded.

Indigestdisordered, indigested, state of affairs. The word is more commonly used as an adjective, as in the Sonnets :

“ To make of monsters and things indigest,

Such cherubius as your sweet self resemble."

b

There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust :
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment; and against this fire
Do I shrink up.

P. Hen. How fares your majesty?

K. John. Poison'd,-ill fare ;-dead, forsook, cast off: And none of

you

will bid the winter come,
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw;
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom ; nor entreat the north
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips,
And comfort me with cold :-I do not ask
I beg cold comfort; and you are so strait,
And so ingrateful, you deny me that.

P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my tears,
That might relieve you!
K. John.

The salt in them is hot.
Within me is a hell ; and there the poison
Is, as a fiend, confin’d to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.

you much,

Enter the Bastard.

Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion,
And spleen of speed to see your majesty.

K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye :
The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burnt;
And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail,
Are turned to one thread, one little hair :
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be uttered ;
And then all this thou seest is but a clod,
And module of confounded royalty.

Bast. The dauphin is preparing hitherward ;
Where, heaven he knows how we shall answer him :
For, in a night, the best part of my power,
As I upon advantage did remove,
Were in the washes, all unwarily,
Devoured by the unexpected flood.

[The King dies.

Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an car. My liege! my lord !—But now a king,—now thus.

P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop. What surety of the world, what hope, what stay, When this was now a king, and now is clay!

Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind
To do the office for thee of revenge;
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
As it on earth hath been thy servant still.
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,
Where be your powers ? Show now your mended faiths;
And instantly return with me again,
To push destruction, and perpetual shame,
Out of the weak door of our fainting land :
Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought;
The dauphin rages at our very

heels.
Sal. It seems you know not then so much as we:
The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the dauphin ;
And brings from him such offers of our peace
As we with honour and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leave this war.

Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.

Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already ;
For many carriages 3 he hath despatch'd
To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
To the disposing of the cardinal.
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
If you think meet, this afternoon will post
To consummate this business happily.

Bast. Let it be so :-And you, my noble prince,
With other princes that may best be spar’d,
Shall wait upon your father's funeral.

P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr’d;
For so he will'd it.
Bast.

Thither shall it then.
And happily may your sweet self put on
The lineal state and glory of the land !

« VorigeDoorgaan »