Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > King John
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Life and Death of King John
 
Act III. Scene III.
 
The Same.
 
Alarums; excursions; retreat.  Enter KING JOHN, ELINOR, ARTHUR, the BASTARD, HUBERT, and and Lords.
  K. John.  [To ELINOR.]  So shall it be; your grace shall stay behind
So strongly guarded.  [To ARTHUR.]  Cousin, look not sad:
Thy grandman loves thee; and thy uncle will        5
As dear be to thee as thy father was.
  Arth.  O! this will make my mother die with grief.
  K. John.  [To the BASTARD.]  Cousin, away for England! haste before;
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Of hoarding abbots; set at liberty        10
Imprison’d angels: the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry now be fed upon:
Use our commission in his utmost force.
  Bast.  Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back
When gold and silver becks me to come on.        15
I leave your highness. Grandam, I will pray,—
If ever I remember to be holy,—
For your fair safety; so I kiss your hand.
  Eli.  Farewell, gentle cousin.
  K. John.        Coz, farewell.  [Exit BASTARD.        20
  Eli.  Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word.  [She takes ARTHUR aside.
  K. John.  Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much: within this wall of flesh
There is a soul counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love:        25
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished.
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 asham’d        30
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,
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.        35
I had a thing to say, but let it go:
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton and too full of gawds
To give me audience: if the midnight bell        40
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth,
Sound one into the drowsy race of night;
If this same were a churchyard where we stand,
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs;
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy,        45
Had bak’d thy blood and made it heavy-thick,
Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men’s eyes
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment,
A passion hateful to my purposes;        50
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words;
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day,        55
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 lov’st me well.
  Hub.  So well, that what you bid me undertake,
Though that my death were adjunct to my act,        60
By heaven, I would do it.
  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;        65
And wheresoe’er this foot of mine doth tread
He lies before me: dost thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.
  Hub.        And I’ll keep him so
That he shall not offend your majesty.        70
  K. John.  Death.
  Hub.        My lord?
  K. John.                A grave.
  Hub.                        He shall not live.
  K. John.                                Enough.        75
I could be merry now. Hubert, I love thee;
Well, I’ll not say what I intend for thee:
Remember. Madam, fare you well:
I’ll send those powers o’er to your majesty.
  Eli.  My blessing go with thee!        80
  K. John.        For England, cousin; go:
Hubert shall be your man, attend on you
With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho!  [Exeunt.
 
 
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