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The rich advantage of good exercise 9 ?
That the time's enemies may not have this
To grace occasions, let it be our suit,
That you have bid us ask his liberty ;
Which for our good we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending,
Counts it your weal, that he have liberty.
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth

Enter Hubert.
To your direction. Hubert, what news with you?

Pemb. This is the man should do the bloody deed i
He shew'd his warrant to a friend of mine.
The image of a wicked heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast;
And I do fearfully believe 'tis done,
What we fo fear'd he had a charge to do.

Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go,
Between his purpose and his conscience",
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set :
His passion is so ripe, it needs must break,

good exercise ?)

. In the middle ages the whole education of princes and noble youths confifted in martial exercises, &c. These could not be easily had in a prison, where mental improvements might have been afforded as well as any where else; but this sort of education never entered into the thoughts of our active, warlike, but illiterate nobility. Percy.

Between bis purpose and his conscience, ] Between his consciouf ness of guilt, and his defign to conceal it by fair professions.

JOHNSON. * Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set:] But heralds are not planted, I presume, in the midst betwixt two lines of battle ; though they, and trumpets, are often fent over from party to party, to propose terms, demand a parley, &c. I have therefore ventured to read, fent. TheoBALD.

This Dr. Warburton has followed without much advantage ; fet is not fixed, but only placed; heralds must be fet between battles in order to be sent between them. JOHNSON.


Pemb. And when it breaks 3, I fear, will issue thence The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.

K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand: Good lords, although my will to give is living, The suit which you demand is gone, and dead. He tells us, Arthur is deceas’d to-night.

Sal. Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past cure.

Pemb. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was, Before the child himself felt he was fick. This must be answer'd, either here, or hence.

K. John. Why do you bend fuch solemn brows on


Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?

Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame
That greatness should so grofly offer it :-
So thrive it in your game! and so farewell!

Pemb. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
And find the inheritance of this poor child,
His little kingdom of a forced grave.
That blood, which ow'd the breadth of all this isle,
Three foot of it doth hold : bad world the while !
This must not be thus borne; this will break out
To all our forrows, and ere long, I doubt. (Exeunt.

K. John. They burn in indignation ; I repent. .
There is no sure foundation set on blood;
No certain life atchiev'd by others' death.

Enter a mesenger.
A fearful eye thou hast: where is that blood,
That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks
So foul a sky clears not without a storm:
Pour down thy weather.-How goes all in France ?

? And when it breaks, -] This is but an indelicate metapbor, taken from an impoftumated tumour. JOHNSON.


The copy

Mes. From France to England 4. Never such a

power For any foreign preparation, Was levy'd in the body of a land.


your speed is learn’d by them : For when you should be told they do prepare, The tidings come that they are all arriv’d.

K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Where hath it Nept? Where is my mother's care ?
That such an army should be drawn in France,
And she not hear of it?

Mes. My liege, her ear
Is stopt with dust: the first of April dy'd
Your noble mother : and, as I hear, my lord,
The lady Constance in a frenzy dy'd
Three days before : but this from rumour's tongue
I idly heard; if true or falle, I know not.

K. John. With-hold thy speed, dreadful occasion !
O, make a league with me, till I have pleas’d
My discontented peers !-What! mother dead!
How wildly then walks my estate in France ?-
Under whose conduct came those powers of France,
That, thou for truth giv'it out, are landed here?

Mes. Under the dauphin.

K. John. Thou hast made me giddy
With these ill tidings.

Enter Faulconbridge and Peter of Pomfret.
Now, what says the world
To your proceedings? Do not seek to stuff
My head with more ill news, for it is full.

Faul. But, if you be afraid to hear the worst,
Then let the worit, unheard, fall on your head !

K. John. Bear with me, cousin ; for I was amaz’d Under the tide : but now I breathe again

* From France to England. The king aks how all goes in France, the messenger catches the word goes, and answers, that whatever is in France goes now into England. JOHNSON.


say so?

Aloft the flood; and can give audience
To any tongue, speak it of what it will.

. How I have sped among the clergymen,
The fums I have collected ihall express.
But, as I travelld hither thro' the land,
I find the people strangely fantasy'd;
Poffess’d with rumours, full of idle dreams;
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear :
And here's a prophet, that I brought with me
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels ;
To whom he sung in rude harsh-sounding rhimes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore did'st thou
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 shall yield up my crown, let him be hang’d. Deliver him to safety', and return, For I must use thee.

[Exit Hubert, with Peter.
O gentle cousin,
Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd ?
Faulc. The French, my lord; men's mouths are

full of it:
Besides, I met lord Bigot and lord Salisbury,
With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

K. John. Gentle kinsman, go
And thrust thyself into their companies :
I have a way to win their loves again.
Bring them before me.

· Deliver him to safety, -] That is, Give bim into safe cuflody. JOHNSON VOL. V.



Faulc. I will feck them out.
K. John. Nay, but make haste: the better foot be-

fore. 0, let me have no subjeét enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels, And Ay, like thought, from them to me again. Faulc. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.

[Exit. K. John. Spoke like a prightful noble gentleman. Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need Some messenger betwixt me and the peers ; And be thou he.

Mes. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit. K. John. My mother dead !

Enter Hubert. Hub. My lord, they say, 2 five moons were seen to

night: 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 fireets, Do prophesy upon it dangerously: Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths: And, when they talk of him, they shake their heads, And whisper one another in the ear; And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrift Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes.. I saw a linich stand with his haminer, thus,

- Lave 21.30hs zurre len !0-right, &c.] This incident is mentioned by few of our historians: I have met with it no where, but in Matre of Wilmir and P dare l'irgil, with a small alteration. Theie kind of appearances were more comiion about that time, hun either before or lince. Dr. Gray,

This incident is likwile mentioned in the old copy of the play. SreeVENS.


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