King John - Act 4, scene 1
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Act 4, scene 1
Hubert prepares to put out Arthur’s eyes with hot irons. Arthur begs him to show mercy. Hubert plans to tell John that Arthur is dead.Enter Hubert and Executioners, ⌜with irons and rope.⌝
1553 Heat me these irons hot, and look thou stand
1554 Within the arras. When I strike my foot
1555 Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth
1556 And bind the boy which you shall find with me
1557 5 Fast to the chair. Be heedful. Hence, and watch.
1558 I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
1559 Uncleanly scruples fear not you. Look to ’t.
1560 Young lad, come forth. I have to say with you.
1561 Good morrow, Hubert.
HUBERT 1562 10 Good morrow, little prince.
1563 As little prince, having so great a title
1564 To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.
1565 Indeed, I have been merrier.
ARTHUR 1566 Mercy on me!
1568 Yet I remember, when I was in France,
1569 Young gentlemen would be as sad as night
1570 Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
1571 So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
1572 20 I should be as merry as the day is long.
1573 And so I would be here but that I doubt
1574 My uncle practices more harm to me.
1575 He is afraid of me, and I of him.
1576 Is it my fault that I was Geoffrey’s son?
1577 25 No, indeed, is ’t not. And I would to heaven
1578 I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.
1579 If I talk to him, with his innocent prate
1580 He will awake my mercy, which lies dead.
1581 Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.
1582 30 Are you sick, Hubert? You look pale today.
1583 In sooth, I would you were a little sick
1584 That I might sit all night and watch with you.
1585 I warrant I love you more than you do me.
1586 His words do take possession of my bosom.
⌜He shows Arthur a paper.⌝
1587 35 Read here, young Arthur. (⌜Aside.⌝) How now,
1588 foolish rheum?
1589 Turning dispiteous torture out of door?
1590 I must be brief lest resolution drop
1591 Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears.—
1592 40 Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?
1593 Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect.
1594 Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?
1595 Young boy, I must.
HUBERT 1597 45 And I will.
1598 Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,
1599 I knit my handkercher about your brows—
1600 The best I had, a princess wrought it me—
1601 And I did never ask it you again;
1602 50 And with my hand at midnight held your head,
1603 And like the watchful minutes to the hour
1604 Still and anon cheered up the heavy time,
1605 Saying “What lack you?” and “Where lies your
1607 55 Or “What good love may I perform for you?”
1608 Many a poor man’s son would have lien still
1609 And ne’er have spoke a loving word to you;
1610 But you at your sick service had a prince.
1611 Nay, you may think my love was crafty love,
1612 60 And call it cunning. Do, an if you will.
1613 If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill,
1614 Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes—
1615 These eyes that never did nor never shall
1616 So much as frown on you?
HUBERT 1617 65 I have sworn to do it.
1618 And with hot irons must I burn them out.
1619 Ah, none but in this Iron Age would do it.
1620 The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
1621 Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears
1622 70 And quench this fiery indignation
1623 Even in the matter of mine innocence;
1624 Nay, after that, consume away in rust
1625 But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
1626 Are you more stubborn-hard than hammered iron?
1627 75 An if an angel should have come to me
1628 And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes,
HUBERT ⌜stamps his foot and calls⌝ 1631 Come forth.
⌜Enter Executioners with ropes, a heated iron, and a
brazier of burning coals.⌝
1632 80 Do as I bid you do.
1633 O, save me, Hubert, save me! My eyes are out
1634 Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.
1635 Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.
⌜He takes the iron.⌝
1636 Alas, what need you be so boist’rous-rough?
1637 85 I will not struggle; I will stand stone-still.
1638 For ⌜God’s⌝ sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!
1639 Nay, hear me, Hubert! Drive these men away,
1640 And I will sit as quiet as a lamb.
1641 I will not stir nor wince nor speak a word
1642 90 Nor look upon the iron angerly.
1643 Thrust but these men away, and I’ll forgive you,
1644 Whatever torment you do put me to.
HUBERT, ⌜to Executioners⌝
1645 Go stand within. Let me alone with him.
1646 I am best pleased to be from such a deed.
1647 95 Alas, I then have chid away my friend!
1648 He hath a stern look but a gentle heart.
1649 Let him come back, that his compassion may
1650 Give life to yours.
HUBERT 1651 Come, boy, prepare yourself.
1652 100 Is there no remedy?
1654 O ⌜God,⌝ that there were but a mote in yours,
1655 A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
1656 Any annoyance in that precious sense.
1657 105 Then, feeling what small things are boisterous
1659 Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
1660 Is this your promise? Go to, hold your tongue.
1661 Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
1662 110 Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes.
1663 Let me not hold my tongue. Let me not, Hubert,
1664 Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,
1665 So I may keep mine eyes. O, spare mine eyes,
1666 Though to no use but still to look on you.
⌜He seizes the iron.⌝
1667 115 Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold,
1668 And would not harm me.
HUBERT, ⌜taking back the iron⌝
1669 I can heat it, boy.
1670 No, in good sooth. The fire is dead with grief,
1671 Being create for comfort, to be used
1672 120 In undeserved extremes. See else yourself.
1673 There is no malice in this burning coal.
1674 The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out
1675 And strewed repentant ashes on his head.
1676 But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
1677 125 An if you do, you will but make it blush
1678 And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert.
1679 Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes,
1681 Snatch at his master that doth tar him on.
1682 130 All things that you should use to do me wrong
1683 Deny their office. Only you do lack
1684 That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends,
1685 Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
1686 Well, see to live. I will not touch thine eye
1687 135 For all the treasure that thine uncle owes.
1688 Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
1689 With this same very iron to burn them out.
1690 O, now you look like Hubert. All this while
1691 You were disguisèd.
HUBERT 1692 140 Peace. No more. Adieu.
1693 Your uncle must not know but you are dead.
1694 I’ll fill these doggèd spies with false reports.
1695 And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure
1696 That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,
1697 145 Will not offend thee.
ARTHUR 1698 O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.
1699 Silence. No more. Go closely in with me.
1700 Much danger do I undergo for thee.