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King John

 Alarums, excursions, retreat.
 stay behind 
 So strongly guarded. 
 Cousin, look not sad: 
 Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will 5
 As dear be to thee as thy father was. 
ARTHUR O, this will make my mother die with grief! 
 haste before: 
 And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags 
 Of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels 10
 Set at liberty: the fat ribs of peace 
 Must by the hungry now be fed upon: 
 Use our commission in his utmost force. 
BASTARD 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. 
ELINOR Farewell, gentle cousin. 
KING JOHN Coz, farewell. 20
 Exit the BASTARD 
QUEEN ELINOR Come hither, little kinsman; hark, a word. 
KING 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 ashamed 30
 To say what good respect I have of thee. 
HUBERT I am much bounden to your majesty. 
KING 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 from 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 on 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 baked 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 lovest me well. 
HUBERT So well, that what you bid me undertake, 
 Though that my death were adjunct to my act, 60
 By heaven, I would do it. 
KING 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 whereso'er this foot of mine doth tread, 
 He lies before me: dost thou understand me? 
 Thou art his keeper. 
HUBERT And I'll keep him so, 
 That he shall not offend your majesty. 70
HUBERT My lord? 
KING JOHN A grave. 
HUBERT He shall not live. 
KING 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. 
ELINOR My blessing go with thee! 80
KING JOHN For England, cousin, go: 
 Hubert shall be your man, attend on you 
 With all true duty. On toward Calais, ho! 

Next: King John, Act 3, Scene 4


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