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Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty? Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all come back,
And brought prince Henry in their company;
Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
And tempt us not to bear above our power!
The Orchard of Swinstead-Abbey.
Enter Prince HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT.
P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house,) Doth, by the idle comments that it makes, Foretell the ending of mortality.
Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief,
That, being brought into the open air,
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here.
Doth he still rage?
He is more patient Than when you left him; even now he sung. P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes, In their continuance, will not feel themselves. Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts, Leaves them insensible; and his siege is now Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng, and press to that last hold, Confound themselves. 'Tis strange, that death
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are
To set a form upon that indigest
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude.
Re-enter BIGOT and Attendants, who bring in King JOHN in a Chair.
K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow.
It would not out at windows, nor at doors.
How fares your majesty?
K. John. Poison'd,-ill fare;-dead, forsook, cast
And none of you will bid the winter come,
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course
Through my burn'd bosom; nor. entreat the north
And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my
That might relieve you!
The salt in them is hot.
Within me is a hell; and there the poison
Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize
On unreprievable condemned blood.
Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion, And spleen of speed to see your majesty.
K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine
The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd;
Bast. The Dauphin is preparing hitherward; Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer
For, in a night, the best part of
[The King dies.
5 so strait,] i. e. narrow, avaricious; an unusual sense of the word.
• And module of confounded royalty.] i. e. model.
7 Were in the washes, all unwarily, &c.] This untoward accident really happened to King John himself. As he passed from Lynn to Lincolnshire, he lost by an inundation all his treasure, carriages, baggage, and regalia.
Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an
My liege! my lord!-But now a king,—now thus. P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop. What surety of the world, what hope, what stay, When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind,
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven,
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres,
Where be your powers? Show now your mended faiths;
And instantly return with me again,
To push destruction, and perpetual shame,
Sal. It seems, you know not then so much as we: The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the Dauphin;
Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
To cónsummate this business happily.
Bast. Let it be so:-And you, my noble prince, With other princes that may best be spar'd, Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr'd;"
For so he will'd it.
Thither shall it then.
And happily may your sweet self put on
And true subjection everlastingly.
Sal. And the like tender of our love we make, To rest without a spot for evermore.
P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give you thanks,
And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Bast. O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
And we shall shock them: Nought shall make us
If England to itself do rest but true.
At Worcester must his body be interr'd;] A stone coffin, containing the body of King John, was discovered in the cathedral church of Worcester, July 17, 1797. STEEVENS.
9 The tragedy of King John, though not written with the utmost power of Shakspeare, is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters. The lady's grief is very affecting; and the character of the Bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.