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The copy of your speed is learn'd by them:
K. John, O, where hath our intelligence been drunk? Where hath it flept? where is my mother's care? That fuch an army should be drawn in France, And he not hear of it?
Mef. My Liege, her ear
Is ftopt with duft: the first of April, dy'd
Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue
K. John. With-hold thy fpeed, dreadful' occafion! O make a league with me, till I have pleas'd My discontented peers.-What! mother dead? How wildly then walks my eftate in France? Under whose conduct came thofe powers of France, That, thou for truth giv'ft out, are landed here? Mef. Under the Dauphin.
K. John. Thou haft made me giddy With these ill tidings.
Enter Faulconbridge, and Peter of Pomfret.
Now, what fays the world
To your proceedings? Do not feek to ftuff
Faulc. But if you be afraid to hear the worst,
Poffeft with rumours, full of idle dreams;
K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore did❜ft thou fo? Peter. Fore-knowing, that the truth will fall out fo. K. John, Hubert, away with him, imprison him. And on that day at noon, whereon he says I fhall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd. Deliver him to fafety, and return,
For I must use thee.
O my gentle coufin,
[Exit Hubert, with Peter.
Hear'ft thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd? Faulc. The French, my Lord; men's mouths are full of it:
Befides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,
K. John. Gentle kinfman, go
And thrust thy felf into their company :
Faulc. I will feek them out.
K.John. Nay, but make hafte: the better foot before. O, let me have no fubject enemies,
When adverse foreigners affright my towns
Be Mercury, fet feathers to thy heels,
• Deliver him to fafety.] That is, Give him into Safe cuftody.
And fly, like thought, from them to me again. Faulc. The fpirit of the time fhall teach me fpeed.
[Exit! K. John. Spoke like a fprightful noble gentleman. Go after him; for he, perhaps, fhall need
Some meffenger betwixt me and the Peers;
Mef. With all my heart, my Liege.
K. John. My mother dead!
Hub. My Lord, they fay, five moons were seen
Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about
The other four, in wond'rous motion.
K. John. Five moons?
Hub. Old men and beldams, in the streets, Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths;
And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrift;
Had falfely thrust upon contrary feet,
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K. John. Why feek'st thou to poffefs me with these fears?
Why urgeft thou fo oft young Arthur's death?
To with him dead, but thou had'ft none to kill him. Hub. Had none, my Lord? why, did you not provoke me?
K. John. It is the curfe of Kings, to be atttended
To understand a law, to know the meaning
Hub. Here is your hand and seal, for what I did. K. John. Oh, when the laft account 'twixt heav'n and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and feal
How oft the fight of means, to do ill deeds,
Apt, liable to be employ'd in danger,
1 faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death.
Mad'ft it no confcience to destroy a Prince.
K. John. Hadft thou but fhook thy head +, or made a pause,
When I fpake darkly what I purposed:
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
Or bid me tell my tale in exprefs words;
Deep fhame had ftruck me dumb, made me break off,
And didft in figns again parley with fin:
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name-
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Between my confcience and my cousin's death.
4 Hadft thou but hook thy head, &c.] There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and tranffer the guilt to his accomplice. Thefe reproaches vented against Hubert are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind fwelling with confcioufnefs of a crime, and defirous of difcharging its mifery on another.
This account of the timidity
foul and you.