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King John Scenes

Scene 6

An open place in the neighborhood of Swinstead Abbey.

(Philip the Bastard; Hubert)

The Bastard and Hubert meet at night; Hubert has been searching for him to tell him that John has been poisoned by a monk, and also that the rebellious nobles have returned to John’s side and brought his son and heir, Prince Henry, with them. The Bastard tells Hubert that he has lost half in forces to the tide. (48 lines)

Enter Bastard and Hubert severally.


Who’s there? Speak ho! Speak quickly, or I shoot.


A friend. What art thou?


Of the part of England.


Whither dost thou go?


What’s that to thee? Why may not I demand

Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?


Hubert, I think.


Thou hast a perfect thought.

I will upon all hazards well believe

Thou art my friend that know’st my tongue so well.

Who art thou?


Who thou wilt; and if thou please,

Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think

I come one way of the Plantagenets.


Unkind remembrance! Thou and endless night

Have done me shame. Brave soldier, pardon me

That any accent breaking from thy tongue

Should scape the true acquaintance of mine ear.


Come, come; sans compliment, what news abroad?


Why, here walk I in the black brow of night,

To find you out.


Brief then; and what’s the news?


O my sweet sir, news fitting to the night,

Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.


Show me the very wound of this ill news;

I am no woman, I’ll not swound at it.


The King, I fear, is poison’d by a monk.

I left him almost speechless, and broke out

To acquaint you with this evil, that you might

The better arm you to the sudden time

Than if you had at leisure known of this.


How did he take it? Who did taste to him?


A monk, I tell you, a resolved villain,

Whose bowels suddenly burst out. The King

Yet speaks, and peradventure may recover.


Who didst thou leave to tend his Majesty?


Why, know you not? The lords are all come back,

And brought Prince Henry in their company,

At whose request the King hath pardon’d them,

And they are all about his Majesty.


Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,

And tempt us not to bear above our power!

I’ll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,

Passing these flats, are taken by the tide—

These Lincoln Washes have devoured them;

Myself, well mounted, hardly have escap’d.

Away before; conduct me to the King;

I doubt he will be dead or ere I come.



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