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King John

ACT IV SCENE I A room in a castle. 
 Enter HUBERT and Executioners 
HUBERT Heat me these irons hot; and look thou 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 5
 Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch. 
First Executioner I hope your warrant will bear out the deed. 
HUBERT Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to't. 
 Exeunt Executioners 
 Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you. 
 Enter ARTHUR 
ARTHUR Good morrow, Hubert. 10
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! 15
 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 I were out of prison and kept sheep, 20
 I should be as 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 my fault that I was Geffrey's son? 25
 No, indeed, is't not; and I would to heaven 
 I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert. 
 He will awake my mercy which lies dead: 
 Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch. 
ARTHUR Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day: 30
 In sooth, I would you were a little sick, 
 That I might sit all night and watch with you: 
 I warrant I love you more than you do me. 
 Read here, young Arthur. 
 Showing a paper 
 How now, foolish rheum! 35
 Turning dispiteous 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: 40
 Must you with hot 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, 45
 I knit my handercher 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, 50
 Still and anon cheer'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 have lien still 
 And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you; 55
 But you at your sick service had a prince. 
 Nay, you may think my love was crafty love 
 And call it cunning: do, an if you will: 
 If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill, 
 Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes? 60
 These eyes that never did nor never shall 
 So much as frown on you. 
HUBERT I have sworn to do it; 
 And with hot irons must I burn them out. 
ARTHUR Ah, none but in this iron age would do it! 65
 The iron of itself, though heat red-hot, 
 Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears 
 And quench his fiery indignation 
 Even in the matter of mine innocence; 
 Nay, after that, consume away in rust 70
 But for containing fire to harm mine eye. 
 Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron? 
 An if an angel should have come to me 
 And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes, 
 I would not have believed him,--no tongue but Hubert's. 75
HUBERT Come forth. 
 Re-enter Executioners, with a cord, irons, &c. 
 Do as I bid you do. 
ARTHUR O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are out 
 Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men. 
HUBERT Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here. 80
ARTHUR Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough? 
 I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still. 
 For heaven 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 angerly: 
 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. 90
First Executioner I am best pleased to be from such a deed. 
 Exeunt Executioners 
ARTHUR Alas, I then have chid away my friend! 
 He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart: 
 Let him come back, that his compassion may 
 Give life to yours. 95
HUBERT Come, boy, prepare yourself. 
ARTHUR Is there no remedy? 
HUBERT None, but to lose your eyes. 
ARTHUR O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours, 
 A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair, 100
 Any annoyance in that precious sense! 
 Then feeling what small things are boisterous there, 
 Your vile intent must needs seem horrible. 
HUBERT Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue. 
ARTHUR Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues 105
 Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes: 
 Let me not hold my tongue, let me not, Hubert; 
 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! 110
 Lo, by my truth, 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 grief, 
 Being create for comfort, to be used 115
 In undeserved extremes: see else yourself; 
 There is no malice in this burning coal; 
 The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out 
 And strew'd repentent ashes on his head. 
HUBERT But with my breath I can revive it, boy. 120
ARTHUR An if you do, you will but make it blush 
 And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert: 
 Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes; 
 And like a dog that is compell'd to fight, 
 Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on. 125
 All things that you should use to do me wrong 
 Deny their office: only you do lack 
 That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends, 
 Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses. 
HUBERT Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye 130
 For all the treasure that thine uncle owes: 
 Yet am I 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. 135
HUBERT Peace; no more. Adieu. 
 Your uncle must 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, 140
 Will not offend thee. 
ARTHUR O heaven! I thank you, Hubert. 
HUBERT Silence; no more: go closely in with me: 
 Much danger do I undergo for thee. 

Next: King John, Act 4, Scene 2


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