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Re-enter HUBERT.
Hub. My lord, they say, five moons were seen

Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about
The other four, in wond'rous motion.

K. John. Five moons?

Old men, and beldams,
in the streets
Do prophecy upon it dangerously:
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear;
And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with 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 news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,)"


- five moons were seen to-night: &c.] This incident is mentioned by few of our historians. I have met with it no where but in Matthew of Westminster and Polydore Virgil, with a small alteration. These kind of appearances were more common about that time than either before or since. GREY.

slippers, (which his nimble haste Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,)] Dr. Johnson says, “I know not how the commentators understand this important passage, which, in Dr. Warburton's edition, is marked as eminently beautiful, and, on the whole, not without justice. But Shakspeare seems to have confounded the man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into the wrong glove, but either shoe will equally admit either foot. The author seems to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes.” But Dr. Johnson forgets that ancient slippers might possibly be very different from modern ones, and the commentators have produced many passages to prove the shoe, boot, &c. were right and left legged.


Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent:
Another lean unwash'd artificer
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K. John. Why seek’st thou to possess me with

these fears?
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not pro-

voke me? K. John. It is the curse of kings, to be attended By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant To break within the bloody house of life: And, on the winking of authority, To understand a law; to know the meaning Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns More upon humour than advis'd respect.?

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did. K. John. 0, when the last account 'twixt heaven

and earth Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal Witness against us to damnation! How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds, Makes deeds ill done! Hadest not thou been by, A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d, Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame, This murder had not come into my mind: But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect, Finding thee fit for bloody villainy, Apt, liable, to be employ’d in danger, I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death; And thou, to be endeared to a king,

* It is the curse of kings, &c.] This plainly hints at Davison's case, in the attair of Mary Queen of Scots.

udvis'd respect.] i. e. deliberate consideration. Quoted,] i, e, observed, distinguished.



Made it no conscience to destroy a prince.

Hub. My lord,
K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or

made a pause,

When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or tura'd an eye of doubt upon my face,
As bid me tell my tale in express words;
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break

off, And those thy fears might have wrought fears in


But thou didst understand me by my signs,
And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent,
And, consequently, thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to


Out of my sight, and never see me more!
My nobles leave me; and my state is brav’d,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers:
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns
Between my conscience, and my cousin's death.

Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,

9 Hadst thou but shook thy head, &c.] There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and transfer the guilt to his accomplice. These reproaches, vented against Hubert, are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with a consciousness of a crime, and desirous of discharging its misery on another.

This account of the timidity of guilt is drawn ab ipsis recessibus mentis, from the intimate knowledge of mankind, particularly that line in which he says, that to have bid him tell his tale in express words, would have struck him dumb; nothing is more certain thai that bad men use all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, palliate their actions to their own minds by gentle terms, and hide themselves from their own detection in ambiguities and subtertuges.


I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
Young Arthur is alive: This hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Within this bosom never enter'd yet
The dreadful motion of a murd'rous thought,
And you have slander'd nature in my form;
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
Than to be butcher of an innocent child.
K. Joka. Toth Arthur live? O, haste thee to

the peers,
Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make thoin taine to their obedience!
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And soul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee inore hideous than thou art.
O, answer not: but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient haste:
I cónjure tliee but slowly; run more fast. [Exeunt.


The same. Before the Castle.

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Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls. irth. The wall is higlı; and yet will I leap

down: Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not !

* The drcarlful motion of a murd'rous thought] Nothing can be falser than what Hubert here says in his own vindication; for we find, from a preceding scene, the motion of a murd'rous thought hend entered into him, and that very deeply; and it was with difficulty that the tears, the entreaties, and the innocence of Arthur bad diverted and suppressed it. WAR BURTON.

There's few, or none, do know me; if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis’d me quite.
I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
I'll find a thousand shifts to get away:
As good to die, and go, as die, and stay.

[Leaps down. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones :Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!


Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot. .
Sal. Lords, I will meet him at saint Edmund's-

It is our safety, and we must embrace
"This gentle offer of the perilous time.

Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardinal?

Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of France; Whose private with me,* of the Dauphin's love, Is much more general than these lines import.

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

Sal. Or, rather then set forward: for 'twill be Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet.

Enter the Bastard.
Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper’ds

lords! The king, by me, requests your presence straight.

Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us; We will not line his thin bestained cloak With our pure honours, nor attend the foot That leaves the print of blood where-e'er it walks: Return, and tell him so; we know the worst.

* Whose private, &c.] i. e. whose private account of the Dau. phin's affection to our cause is much more ample than the letters.

distemper'd-] i, e, ruffled, out of humour,

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