Pem. Indeed we heard how neere his death he was, Before the childe himselfe felt he was sicke: This must be answer'd either heere, or hence

Ioh. Why do you bend such solemne browes on me? Thinke you I beare the Sheeres of destiny? Haue I commandement on the pulse of life? Sal. It is apparant foule-play, and 'tis shame That Greatnesse should so grossely offer it; So thriue it in your game, and so farewell

Pem. Stay yet (Lord Salisbury) Ile go with thee, And finde th' inheritance of this poore childe, His little kingdome of a forced graue. That blood which ow'd the bredth of all this Ile, Three foot of it doth hold; bad world the while: This must not be thus borne, this will breake out To all our sorrowes, and ere long I doubt.

Exeunt.

Io. They burn in indignation: I repent: Enter Mes.

There is no sure foundation set on blood: No certaine life atchieu'd by others death: A fearefull eye thou hast. Where is that blood, That I haue seene inhabite in those cheekes? So foule a skie, cleeres not without a storme, Poure downe thy weather: how goes all in France? Mes. From France to England, neuer such a powre For any forraigne preparation, Was leuied in the body of a land. The Copie of your speede is learn'd by them: For when you should be told they do prepare, The tydings comes, that they are all arriu'd

Ioh. Oh where hath our Intelligence bin drunke? Where hath it slept? Where is my Mothers care? That such an Army could be drawne in France, And she not heare of it? Mes. My Liege, her eare Is stopt with dust: the first of Aprill di'de Your noble mother; and as I heare, my Lord, The Lady Constance in a frenzie di'de Three dayes before: but this from Rumors tongue I idely heard: if true, or false I know not

Iohn. With-hold thy speed, dreadfull Occasion: O make a league with me, 'till I haue pleas'd My discontented Peeres. What? Mother dead? How wildely then walkes my Estate in France? Vnder whose conduct came those powres of France, That thou for truth giu'st out are landed heere? Mes. Vnder the Dolphin. Enter Bastard and Peter of Pomfret.

Ioh. Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tydings: Now? What sayes the world To your proceedings? Do not seeke to stuffe My head with more ill newes: for it is full

Bast. But if you be a-feard to heare the worst, Then let the worst vn-heard, fall on your head

Iohn. Beare with me Cosen, for I was amaz'd Vnder the tide; but now I breath againe Aloft the flood, and can giue audience To any tongue, speake it of what it will

Bast. How I haue sped among the Clergy men, The summes I haue collected shall expresse: But as I trauail'd hither through the land, I finde the people strangely fantasied, Possest with rumors, full of idle dreames, Not knowing what they feare, but full of feare. 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 heeles: To whom he sung in rude harsh sounding rimes, That ere the next Ascension day at noone, Your Highnes should deliuer vp your Crowne

Iohn. Thou idle Dreamer, wherefore didst thou so? Pet. Fore-knowing that the truth will fall out so

Iohn. Hubert, away with him: imprison him, And on that day at noone, whereon he sayes I shall yeeld vp my Crowne, let him be hang'd Deliuer him to safety, and returne, For I must vse thee. O my gentle Cosen, Hear'st thou the newes abroad, who are arriu'd? Bast. The French (my Lord) mens mouths are ful of it: Besides I met Lord Bigot, and Lord Salisburie With eyes as red as new enkindled fire, And others more, going to seeke the graue Of Arthur, whom they say is kill'd to night, on your suggestion

The life and death of King John Page 24

William Shakespeare Plays

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