Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Peer Reviewed

King John (Folio 1, 1623)


Actus Quartus, Scæna prima.
1570
Enter Hubert and Executioners.
Hub. Heate me these Irons hot, and looke thou stand
Within the Arras: when I strike my foot
Vpon the bosome of the ground, rush forth
And binde the boy, which you shall finde with me
1575Fast to the chaire: be heedfull: hence,and watch.
Exec. I hope your warrant will beare out the deed.
Hub. Vncleanly scruples feare not you: looke too't.
Yong Lad come forth; I haue to say with you.
Enter Arthur.
1580Ar. Good morrow Hubert.
Hub. Good morrow, little Prince.
Ar. As little Prince, hauing so great a Title
To be more Prince, as may be: you are sad.
Hub. Indeed I haue beene merrier.
1585Art. 'Mercie on me:
Me thinkes no body should be sad but I:
Yet I remember, when I was in France,
Yong Gentlemen would be as sad as night
Onely for wantonnesse: by my Christendome,
1590So I were out of prison, and kept Sheepe
I should be as merry as the day is long:
And so I would be heere, but that I doubt
My Vnckle practises more harme to me:
He is affraid of me, and I of him:
1595Is it my fault, that I was Geffreyes sonne?
No in deede is't not: and I would to heauen
I were your sonne, so you would loue me, Hubert:
Hub. If I talke to him, with his innocent prate
He will awake my mercie, which lies dead:
1600Therefore I will be sodaine, and dispatch.
Ar. Are you sicke Hubert? you looke pale today,
Insooth I would you were a little sicke,
That I might sit all night,and watch with you.
I warrant I loue you more then you do me.
1605Hub. His words do take possession of my bosome.
Reade heere yong Arthnr. How now foolish rheume?
Turning dispitious torture out of doore?
I must be breefe, least resolution drop
Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish teares.
1610Can you not reade it? Is it not faire writ?
Ar. Too fairely Hubert, for so foule effect,
Must you with hot Irons, burne out both mine eyes?
Hub. Yong Boy, I must.
Art. And will you?
1615Hub. And I will.
Art. Haue you the heart? When your head did but
ake,
I knit my hand-kercher about your browes
(The best I had, a Princesse wrought it me)
1620And I did neuer aske it you againe:
And with my hand, at midnight held your head;
And like the watchfull minutes, to the houre,
Still and anon cheer'd vp the heauy time;
Saying,what lacke you? and where lies your greefe?
1625Or what good loue may I performe for you?
Many a poore mans sonne would haue lyen still,
And nere haue spoke a louing word to you:
But you, at your sicke seruice had a Prince:
Nay, you may thinke my loue was craftie loue,
1630And call it cunning. Do, and if you will,
If heauen be pleas'd that you must vse me ill,
Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes?
These eyes, that neuer did,nor neuer shall
So much as frowne on you.
1635Hub. I haue sworne to do it:
And with hot Irons must I burne them out.
Ar. Ah, none but in this Iron Age, would do it:
The Iron of it selfe, though heate red hot,
Approaching neere these eyes, would drinke my teares,
1640And quench this fierie indignation,
Euen in the matter of mine innocence:
Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
But for containing fire to harme mine eye:
Are you more stubborne hard, then hammer'd Iron?
1645And if an Angell should haue come to me,
And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
I would not haue beleeu'd him: no tongue but Huberts.
Hub. Come forth: Do as I bid you do.
Art. O saue me Hubert, saue me: my eyes are out
1650Euen with the fierce lookes of these bloody men.
Hub. Giue me the Iron I say, and binde him heere.
Art. Alas, what neede you be so boistrous rough?
I will not struggle, I will stand stone still:
For heauen sake Hubert let me not be bound:
1655Nay heare me Hubert, driue these men away,
And I will sit as quiet as a Lambe.
I will not stirre, nor winch, nor speake a word,
Nor looke vpon the Iron angerly:
Thrust but these men away, and Ile forgiue you,
1660What euer torment you do put me too.
Hub. Go stand within: let me alone with him.
Exec. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deede.
Art. Alas, I then haue chid away my friend,
He hath a sterne looke, but a gentle heart:
1665Let him come backe, that his compassion may
Giue life to yours.
Hub. Come (Boy) prepare your selfe.
Art. Is there no remedie?
Hub. None, but to lose your eyes.
1670Art. O heauen: that there were but a moth in yours,
A graine, a dust,a gnat, a wandering haire,
Any annoyance in that precious sense:
Then feeling what small things are boysterous there,
Your vilde intent must needs seeme horrible.
1675Hub. Is this your promise? Go too,hold your toong.
Art. Hubert, the vtterance of a brace of tongues,
Must needes want pleading for a paire of eyes:
Let me not hold my tongue: let me not Hubert,
Or Hubert, if you will cut out my tongue,
1680So I may keepe mine eyes. O spare mine eyes,
Though to no vse, but still to looke on you.
Loe, by my troth, the Instrument is cold,
And would not harme me.
Hub. I can heate it, Boy.
1685Art. No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with griefe,
Being create for comfort, to be vs'd
In vndeserued extreames: See else your selfe,
There is no malice in this burning cole,
The breath of heauen, hath blowne his spirit out,
1690And strew'd repentant ashes on his head.
Hub. But with my breath I can reuiue it Boy.
Art. And 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:
1695And, like a dogge that is compell'd to fight,
Snatch at his Master that doth tarre him on.
All things that you should vse to do me wrong
Deny their office: onely you do lacke
That mercie, which fierce fire, and Iron extends,
1700Creatures of note for mercy, lacking vses.
Hub. Well, see to liue: I will not touch thine eye,
For all the Treasure that thine Vnckle owes,
Yet am I sworne, and I did purpose, Boy,
With this same very Iron, to burne them out.
1705Art. O now you looke like Hubert. All this while
You were disguis'd.
Hub. Peace: no more.Adieu,
Your Vnckle must not know but you are dead.
Ile fill these dogged Spies with false reports:
1710And, pretty childe, sleepe doubtlesse, and secure,
That Hubert for the wealth of all the world,
Will not offend thee.
Art. O heauen! I thanke you Hubert.
Hub. Silence, no more; go closely in with mee,
1715Much danger do I vndergo for thee.
Exeunt