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O SLEEP, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,

That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,

And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,

Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,

And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,

A watch-case or a common 'larum bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his

In cradle of the rude imperious surge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hang-
ing them

With deafening clamours in the slippery shrouds,

Than in the perfumed chambers of the That, with the hurly, Death itself awakes?


Under the canopies of costly state,

And lulled with sounds of sweetest melody? O thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile,

In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch

Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose To the wet sea-boy, in an hour so rude, And in the calmest and the stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king? Then happy, lowly clown!

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. SHAKSPEARE.


ALL the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms; And then, the whining school-boy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school: And then, the lover;

Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow: Then, a soldier;

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

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Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in Is second childishness, and mere oblivion;

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[King John invades France, to chastise Philip for | Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of espousing the cause of Prince Arthur, the rightful heir to the English throne. In a battle before Angiers, Arthur is taken prisoner-Hubert, chamberlain to King John, is appointed Arthur's keeper, with instructions to find some means of depriving the young Prince of life.]

SCENE.-King John's tent before Angiers.

K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,

We owe thee much; ..

Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say,-
But I will fit it with some better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost ashamed
To say what good respect I have of thee.
Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty.
K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause
to say so yet;

But thou shalt have: and creep time ne'er so slow,

Then, in despite of brooded, watchful day, I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts: But, ah, I will not:-Yet I love thee well; And, by my troth, I think thou lovest me well.

Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake,

Though that my death were adjunct to my act, By heaven, I'd do't.

K. John. Do not I know thou wouldst? Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye

On yon young boy: I'll tell thee what, my friend,

He is a very serpent in my way;
And, wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth


He lies before me: Dost thou understand me?

Yet it shall come, for me to do thee good.
I had a thing to say,-But let it go:
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud Thou art his keeper.


Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience :-If the midnight bell
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we

And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,
Had baked thy blood, and made it heavy,

(Which, else, runs tickling up and down the veins,

Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's


And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes;)
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,

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K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow

I am not mad;-I would to heaven I were! | My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself: My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!—
Preach some philosophy to make me mad....
If I were mad, I should forget my son:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.
K. Phi. Bind up those tresses,
Sticking together in calamity:

Bind up your hairs. Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore

will I do it?

I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,

"O that these hands could so redeem my

As they have given these hairs their liberty!"
But now I envy at their liberty,

And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner.—
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in

If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male

To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;

As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of

[Arthur, having been sent to England, is imprisoned
in Northampton Castle. (Historically, this is not
Arthur was first sent to Falaise, then to
Rouen; but Shakspeare's arrangement of the play
requires the scene to be laid in England.)]
SCENE. A Room in Northampton Castle.
Enter HUBERT, and two Attendants.

Hub. 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,

Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and

1st Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.

Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you: look to't. [Exeunt Attendants. Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.


Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Good morrow, little prince.
Arth. As little prince (having so great a

To be more prince) as may be. You are sad. Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier. Arth. Mercy on me! I shall not know him: therefore never, never Methinks, nobody should be sad but I: Must I behold my pretty Arthur more. Yet, I remember, when I was in France, Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of Young gentlemen would be as sad as night, grief. Only for wantonness. By my christendom, Const. He talks to me, that never had a So I were out of prison, and kept sheep, I should be as merry as the day is long; K. Phi. You are as fond of grief as of your And so I would be here, but that I doubt child. My uncle practises more harm to me: Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent He is afraid of me, and I of him :



Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his

Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head,
[Tearing off her head-dress
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!

Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son?
No, indeed, is't not; And I would to heaven
I were your son, so you would love me,

Hub. [Aside.] If I talk to him, with his
innocent prate

He will awake my mercy, which lies dead:
Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.

Arth. Are you sick, Hubert? you look

pale to-day:

In sooth, I would you were a little sick,
That I might sit all night and watch with


I warrant, I love you more than you do me. Hub. [Aside.] His words do take possession of my bosom. Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper. [Aside.] How now, foolish rheum! 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?

Arth. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect: Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?

Hub. Young boy, I must.

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Hub. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.

Arth. Alas! what need you be so boisterous-rough?

I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still For heaven's sake, Hubert, let me not be bound!

Nay, hear me, Hubert! drive these men


And I will sit as quiet as a lamb;

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word, Nor look upon the iron angrily:

And with my hand at midnight held your Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive head;

And, like the watchful minutes to the hour, Still and anon cheered 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 lain still, And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you; 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?

These eyes, that never did, nor never shall, So much as frown on you?

Hub. I have sworn to do it; And with hot irons must I burn them out. Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it!

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,
But for containing fire to harm mine eye.
Are you more stubborn-hard than ham-
mered iron?

An if an angel should have come to me, And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes,


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And would not harm me!

I can heat it, boy.
Arth. No, in good sooth; the fire is dead
with grief,

Being create for comfort, to be used

In undeserved extremes: See else yourself;
There is no malice in this burning coal;
The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit

And strewed repentant ashes on his head.

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Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
Hub. Well, see to live; I will not touch
thine eyes

For all the treasure that thine uncle owes:
Yet I am sworn, and I did purpose, boy,
With this same very iron to burn them out.
Arth. O, now you look like Hubert! all
this while
You were disguised.

Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy. Peace: no more. Adieu. Arth. And if you do, you will but make Your uncle must not know but you are dead: it blush, I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports. And glow with shame of your proceedings, And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and

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A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter a Messenger.

Three days before: but this from rumour's tongue

I idly heard; if true, or false, I know not. K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion!

O, make a league with me, till I have pleased K. John. A fearful eye thou hast; My discontented peers! [Exit Messenger. 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

My mother dead!


Hub. My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night;

Mess. From France to England.-Never Four fixed, and the fifth did whirl about

such a power

For any foreign preparation

Was levied in the body of a land!

The copy of your speed is learned by them; For when you should be told they do prepare,

The tidings come that they are all arrived. K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?

The other four, in wondrous motion.

K. John. Five moons?

Hub. Old men and beldams, in the streets,
Do prophesy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their

And when they talk of him, they shake
their heads,

And whisper one another in the ear; Where hath it slept? Where is my mother's And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's care,


That such an army could be drawn in Whilst he that hears makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with

And she not hear of it?

My liege, her ear
Is stopped with dust; the first of April died
Your noble mother: And, as I hear, my lord,
The Lady Constance in a frenzy died

rolling eyes.

I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's


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