« VorigeDoorgaan »
masterpiece of dramatick skill, but it is still inferiour, very inferiour to the scene between Hubert and Arthur, when the latter learns the orders to put out his eyes. If any thing ever was penned, heartpiercing, mixing the extremes of terrour and pity of that which shocks and that which soothes the mind, it it this scene. We will give it entire, though perhaps it is tasking the reader's sympathy too much.
" Enter HUBERT and Executioner,
Hubert. Heat me these irons hot, and look you stand
Within the arras; when I strike my foot
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Fast to the chair: be heedful : hence, and watch.
Executioner. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
Hubert. Uncleanly scruples ! fear not you ; look to't.-
Young lad, come forth ; I have to say with you.
Arthur. Good morrow, Hubert.
Hubert. Good morrow, little Prince.
Arthur. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince) as may be. You are sad.
Hubert. Indeed I have been merrier.
Arthur. Mercy on me!
Methinks no body should be sad but I;
Yet I remember when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,
Only for wantonness. By my Christendom,
So were I 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 ny fault that I was Geoffry's son?
Indeed it is not, and I would to heav'n
I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
Hubert. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate He will awake ny mercy, which lies dead; Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch.
[ Aside Arthur. 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. Alas, I love you more than you do me.
Hubert. His words do take possession of my bosom. Read here, young Arthur
(Shewing a paper. foolish rheum,
[Aside. Turning dis-piteous torture out of door! I must be brief, lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.-. Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?
Arthur. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect.
Must you with irons burn out both mine eyes?
Hubert. Young boy, I must.
Arthur. And will you?
Hubert. And I will.
Arthur. Have you the heart ? When your head did but ache.
I knit my handkerchief 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,
Still and anon chear'd up the heavy time,
Saying, what lack you and where lies your grief.
Or, what good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's son would bave 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, and if you will:
If heav'n be pleas'd that you must use me ill,
Why then you must. --- Will you put out mine eyes ?
These eyes, that never did, and never shall,
So much as frown on you ?
Hubert. I've sworn to do it ;
And with hot irons must I burn them out.
Arthur. Oh if an angel should have come to me,
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not have believ'd a tongue but Hubert's.
Hubert. Come forth ; do as I bid you.
(Stamps, and the men enter. Arthur. O save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out Ev'n with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
Hubert. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
Arthur. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone still.
For heav'n's 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 angrily :
Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,
Whatever torment you do put me to.
Hubert. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him.
Executioner. I am best pleas’d to be from such deed.
Arthur. Alas, I then have chid away my friend.
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart;
Let him coine back, that his compassion may
Give life to yours.
Hubert. Come, boy, prepare yourself.
Arthur. Is there no remedy?
Hubert. None, but to lose your eyes.
Arthur. O heav'n! that there were but a moth in yours,
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair,
Any annoyance in that precious sense :
Then feeling what small things are boist'rous there,
Your vile intent must needs seera horrible.
Hubert. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue.
Arthur. Let me not hold my tongue; let me not, Huberti 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 me.
Hubert. I can heat it, boy.
Arthur. No, in good sooth, the fire is dead with gries.
Being create for comfort, to be us'd
In undeserv'd extremes ; see else yourself,
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heav'n hath blown its spirit out,
And strew'd repentant ashes on its head.
Hubert. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arthur. All things that you should use to do me wrong,
Deny their office; only you do lack
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extend,
Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
Hubert. Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eyes
For all the treasure that thine uncle owns :
Yet I am sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arthur. O, now you look like Hubert. All this while
You were disguised.
Hubert. Peace no more. Adieu,
Your uncle inust not know but you are 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.
Arthur. O heav'n! I thank you, Hubert.
Hubert. Silence, no more; go closely in with me;
Much danger do I undergo for thee.
His death afterwards, when he throws himself from his prison-walls, excites the utmost pity for his innocence and friendless situation, and well justifies the exaggerated denunciations of Falconbridge to Hubert whom he suspects wrongfully of the deed.
“ There is not yet so ugly a fend of hell
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.
-If thou didst but consent
To this most cruel act, do but despair:
And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread
That ever spider twisted from her womb
Will strangle thee; a rush will be a beam
To hang thee on: or would'st thou drown thyself,
Put but a little witer in a spoon,
and it shall be as all the ocean,
Enough to stifle such a villain up."
The excess of maternal tenderness, rendered desperate by the fickleness of friends and the injustice of fortune, and made stronger in will, in proportion to the want of all other power, was never more finely expressed than in Constance. The dignity of her answer to King Philip, when she refuses to accompany his messenger, “ To me and to the state of my great grief, let kings assemble," her indignant reproach to Austria for deserting her cause, her invocation to death, “ that love of misery," however fine and spirited, all yield to the beauty of the passage, where, her passion subsiding into tenderness, she addresses the Cardinal in these words ;
6. Oh father Cardinal, I have heard you say
That we shall see and know our friends in heav'o :
If that be, 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 born.
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's fit,
And so he'll die ; and rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heav'n,
I shall not know him ; therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
K. Philip. You are as fond of grief as of your child.
Constance. Grief fills the room up of my absent child :
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remenibers me of all his gracious parts ;
Stuffs out his vacant garnients with his form.
Then have I reason to be fond of grief."
The contrast between the mild resignation of Queen Katherine to her own wrongs, and the wild, uncon