A line-by-line translation

King John

King John Translation Act 4, Scene 1

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter HUBERT and Executioners

HUBERT

Heat me these irons hot; and look thou stand Within the arras: when I strike my foot Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth, And bind the boy which you shall find with me Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.

HUBERT

Heat these irons hot for me. And make sure you stand behind the curtain. When I stamp my foot on the ground, rush out and tie the boy tightly to the chair. Pay attention. Go and watch.

FIRST EXECUTIONER

I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.

FIRST EXECUTIONER

I hope you have a warrant for this.

HUBERT

Uncleanly scruples! fear not you: look to't.

HUBERT

Filthy doubts! Don't worry. Do your job.

Exeunt Executioners

HUBERT

Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.

HUBERT

Young boy, come here. I have something to say to you.

Enter ARTHUR

ARTHUR

Good morrow, Hubert.

ARTHUR

Good morning, Hubert.

HUBERT

Good morrow, little prince.

HUBERT

Good morning, little prince.

ARTHUR

As little prince, having so great a titleTo be more prince, as may be. You are sad.

ARTHUR

I'm as little of a prince as is possible, since I have such a good claim to be even more a prince. You are sad.

HUBERT

Indeed, I have been merrier.

HUBERT

Yes, I have been happier.

ARTHUR

Mercy on me! Methinks no body should be sad but I: Yet, I remember, when I was in France, Young gentlemen would be as sad as night, Only for wantonness. By my christendom, So I were out of prison and kept sheep, I should be as merry as the day is long; And so I would be here, but that I doubt My uncle practises more harm to me: He is afraid of me and I of him: Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son? No, indeed, is't not; and I would to heaven I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.

ARTHUR

Goodness! I think no one except me should be sad. But I remember, when I was in France, young men would be as sad as night just because they felt like it. By my Christian faith, if I were out of jail and were a shepherd, I would be as happy as the day is long. And I would be that happy here, except I worry my uncle means to hurt me more. He is afraid of me and I am afraid of him. Is it my fault I was Geffrey's son? No, it isn't. I wish I were your son so you would love me, Hubert.

HUBERT

[Aside] If I talk to him, with his innocent prateHe will awake my mercy which lies dead:Therefore I will be sudden and dispatch.

HUBERT

[To himself] If I talk to him, he'll make me feel pity for him with his innocent babbling, which is a feeling I'm not used to. So I will do this quickly.

ARTHUR

Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day: In sooth, I would you were a little sick, That I might sit all night and watch with you: I warrant I love you more than you do me.

ARTHUR

Are you sick, Hubert? You look pale today. Really, I wish you were a little sick so I could sit all night and stay awake with you. I bet I love you more than you love me.

HUBERT

[Aside] His words do take possession of my bosom.Read here, young Arthur.

HUBERT

[To himself] His words take over my heart. Read this, young Arthur.

Showing a paper

Aside

HUBERT

How now, foolish rheum! Turning dispiteous torture out of door! I must be brief, lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes in tender womanish tears. Can you not read it? Is it not fair writ?

HUBERT

What? Silly tears! Turning away pitiless torture! I have to be quick so that my strength of mind doesn't drop out of my eyes in weak womanly tears. Can't you read it? Isn't it well written?

ARTHUR

Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect:Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?

ARTHUR

Too well, Hubert, for so terrible a message. Must you burn out both my eyes with hot irons?

HUBERT

Young boy, I must.

HUBERT

Young boy, I must.

ARTHUR

And will you?

ARTHUR

And will you?

HUBERT

And I will.

HUBERT

And I will.

ARTHUR

Have you the heart? When your head did but ache, I knit my handercher about your brows, The best I had, a princess wrought it me, And I did never ask it you again; And with my hand at midnight held your head, And like the watchful minutes to the hour, Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time, Saying, 'What lack you?' and 'Where lies your grief?' Or 'What good love may I perform for you?' Many a poor man's son would have lien still And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you; But you at your sick service had a prince. Nay, you may think my love was crafty love And call it cunning: do, an if you will: If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill, Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes? These eyes that never did nor never shall So much as frown on you.

ARTHUR

Do you have the heart to do it? When your head only ached, I wrapped my handkerchief around your forehead, the best one I had. A princess made it for me, and I never asked you for it back. I held your head with my hand at midnight, and like the minute hand waits on to the hour hand, kept cheering you up in your time of suffering, saying, "What do you need?" and "Where does it hurt?" or "What good deed can I do for you?" Many poor men's sons would have lain still and never spoken a loving word to you. But you had a prince taking care of you. You may think my love was crafty and call it self-serving. Do, if you want to. If God wants you to treat me badly, you have to. Will you put out my eyes? These eyes that never did or will do as much as frown at you.

HUBERT

I have sworn to do it;And with hot irons must I burn them out.

HUBERT

I promised to do it, and I must burn them out with hot irons.

ARTHUR

Ah, none but in this iron age would do it! The iron of itself, though heat red-hot, Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears And quench his fiery indignation Even in the matter of mine innocence; Nay, after that, consume away in rust But for containing fire to harm mine eye. Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron? An if an angel should have come to me And told me Hubert should put out mine eyes, I would not have believed him,—no tongue but Hubert's .

ARTHUR

Oh, no one would do that except in this iron age! The iron itself, even if heated red-hot, approaching these eyes, would drink my tears and put out its fiery anger with the tears of my innocence. No, after that, it would rust away just for holding fire to harm my eye. Are you more stubbornly cruel than hammered iron? If an angel had come to me and told me Hubert would put out my eyes I would not have believed him. I wouldn't believe anyone saying it except Hubert.

HUBERT

Come forth.

HUBERT

Come out.

Stamps

Re-enter Executioners, with a cord, irons, & c

HUBERT

Do as I bid you do.

HUBERT

Do what I told you to do.

ARTHUR

O, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes are outEven with the fierce looks of these bloody men.

ARTHUR

Oh, save me, Hubert, save me! my eyes have been put out just by the fierce stares of these violent men.

HUBERT

Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here.

HUBERT

Give me the iron, and tie him up here.

ARTHUR

Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough? I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still. For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound! Nay, hear me, Hubert, drive these men away, And I will sit as quiet as a lamb; I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word, Nor look upon the iron angerly: Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you, Whatever torment you do put me to.

ARTHUR

Why do you need to be so violent? I won't struggle, I'll stand as still as a rock. For heaven's sake, Hubert, don't have them tie me up! No, listen, Hubert, send these men away and I will sit as calmly as a lamb. I won't move or wince or say a word or look angrily at the iron. Just push these men away and I'll forgive you, however you torture me.

HUBERT

Go, stand within; let me alone with him.

HUBERT

Go stand inside. Leave me alone with him.

FIRST EXECUTIONER

I am best pleased to be from such a deed.

FIRST EXECUTIONER

I am very happy to be sent away from a deed like this.

Exeunt Executioners

ARTHUR

Alas, I then have chid away my friend!He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart:Let him come back, that his compassion mayGive life to yours.

ARTHUR

Oh no, then I have sent away my friend! He had a mean look but a kind heart. Let him come back, so his compassion can inspire you.

HUBERT

Come, boy, prepare yourself.

HUBERT

Come on, boy, prepare yourself.

ARTHUR

Is there no remedy?

ARTHUR

Is there no way out?

HUBERT

None, but to lose your eyes.

HUBERT

None, except to lose your eyes.

ARTHUR

O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours, A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair, Any annoyance in that precious sense! Then feeling what small things are boisterous there, Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.

ARTHUR

Oh God, I wish there were just a speck in yours, a seed, a piece of dust, a fly, a loose hair,  or anything annoying to your precious sense of sight! Then feeling what small things hurt you there, your disgusting intention would necessarily seem horrible to you.

HUBERT

Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.

HUBERT

Is this what you promised? Stop, be quiet. 

ARTHUR

Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes: Let me not hold my tongue, let me not, Hubert; Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue, So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes. Though to no use but still to look on you! Lo, by my truth, the instrument is cold And would not harm me.

ARTHUR

Hubert, the words of many tongues would not be able to beg enough for what two eyes are worth. Don't make me hold my tongue; don't, Hubert. Or if you want, cut out my tongue so I can keep my eyes. Oh, save my eyes, though they'll have no use except to look at you! Look, the iron is cold and wouldn't harm me.

HUBERT

I can heat it, boy.

HUBERT

I can heat it, boy.

ARTHUR

No, in good sooth: the fire is dead with grief, Being create for comfort, to be used In undeserved extremes: see else yourself; There is no malice in this burning coal; The breath of heaven has blown his spirit out And strew'd repentent ashes on his head.

ARTHUR

No, I don't think so. The fire is dead with sadness, having been created for comfort, to warm people when they need help. You see, there is no evil in this burning coal. The breath of God blew it out and made it repent by covering it with ashes.

HUBERT

But with my breath I can revive it, boy.

HUBERT

I can bring it back to life with my breath, boy.

ARTHUR

An if you do, you will but make it blush And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert: Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes; And like a dog that is compell'd to fight, Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on. All things that you should use to do me wrong Deny their office: only you do lack That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends, Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.

ARTHUR

If you do, you will just make it blush and glow with shame at what you're doing, Hubert. No, maybe it will sparkle in your eyes and, like a dog that is forced to fight, bite its master that provokes it. Everything you would use to hurt me refuses to do its job. Only you don't have the pity of even fierce fire and iron, creatures known for their pitiless uses.

HUBERT

Well, see to live; I will not touch thine eye For all the treasure that thine uncle owes: Yet am I sworn and I did purpose, boy, With this same very iron to burn them out.

HUBERT

Well, see and stay alive. I won't touch your eye for all the treasure your uncle owns. But I promised and I did mean to burn them out with this very iron, boy.

ARTHUR

O, now you look like Hubert! all this whileYou were disguised.

ARTHUR

Oh, now you look like Hubert again! You were disguised this whole time.

HUBERT

Peace; no more. Adieu. Your uncle must not know but you are dead; I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports: And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure, That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world, Will not offend thee.

HUBERT

Stop; no more. Goodbye. Your uncle must think you're dead. I'll give these persistent spies false reports. Pretty child, sleep safely and know that Hubert wouldn't hurt you for all the money in the world.

ARTHUR

O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.

ARTHUR

Oh God! Thank you, Hubert.

HUBERT

Silence; no more: go closely in with me:Much danger do I undergo for thee.

HUBERT

Be quiet. No more of that. Come with me. I'm in a lot of danger because of you.

Exeunt

King john
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire King John Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 908 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 20,937 quotes covering 908 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms