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King John

King John Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter ARTHUR, on the walls

ARTHUR

The wall is high, and yet will I leap down: Good ground, be pitiful and hurt me not! There's few or none do know me: if they did, This ship-boy's semblance hath disguised 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.

ARTHUR

The wall is high but I'll jump down. Kind ground, take pity and don't hurt me! Few people or none will recognize me. Even if they could, I'm well disguised as a ship-boy. I am afraid but I'll try this. If I get down and don't break my limbs, I'll find a thousand ways to get away. It's as good to go and die as to stay and die.

Leaps down

ARTHUR

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

ARTHUR

Poor me! My uncle's hatred of me is in these rocks. May heaven take my soul and England keep my bones!

Dies

Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and BIGOT

SALISBURY

Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury:It is our safety, and we must embraceThis gentle offer of the perilous time.

SALISBURY

Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmundsbury. This will keep us safe, and we must accept this kind offer in this dangerous time.

PEMBROKE

Who brought that letter from the cardinal?

PEMBROKE

Who brought that letter from the cardinal?

SALISBURY

The Count Melun, a noble lord of France,Whose private with me of the Dauphin's loveIs much more general than these lines import.

SALISBURY

The Count Melun, a French nobleman whose private conversation with me about the Dauphin's kindness was more extensive than this letter shows.

BIGOT

To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

BIGOT

Let's meet him tomorrow morning then.

SALISBURY

Or rather then set forward; for 'twill beTwo long days' journey, lords, or ere we meet.

SALISBURY

Or instead let's go now; it will be two long days' journey, lords, before we meet him.

Enter the BASTARD

BASTARD

Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords!The king by me requests your presence straight.

BASTARD

Hello again today, angry lords! The king sends me to ask you to go to him immediately.

SALISBURY

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'er it walks. Return and tell him so: we know the worst.

SALISBURY

The king has lost us. We will not line his thin blood-stained cloak with the pure medals of our honor, or walk behind a foot that leaves a bloody footprint wherever it walks. Return and tell him that: we know the consequences.

BASTARD

Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best.

BASTARD

Whatever you think, I think polite words would be better.

SALISBURY

Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now.

SALISBURY

Our sadness is talking now, not our manners. 

BASTARD

But there is little reason in your grief;Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.

BASTARD

But your sadness is unreasonable, so there's good reason for you to have manners now.

PEMBROKE

Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege.

PEMBROKE

Sir, sir, impatience has its rights.

BASTARD

'Tis true, to hurt his master, no man else.

BASTARD

It's true—to hurt the man who's impatient, no one else.

SALISBURY

This is the prison. What is he lies here?

SALISBURY

This is the prison. Who is this lying here?

Seeing ARTHUR

PEMBROKE

O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.

PEMBROKE

Oh death, decorated with pure and princely beauty! The earth doesn't have a hole deep enough to hide this crime.

SALISBURY

Murder, as hating what himself hath done,Doth lay it open to urge on revenge.

SALISBURY

Murder, hating what it has done, lays the body in plain sight to encourage revenge.

BIGOT

Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave,Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

BIGOT

Or, when it doomed this beauty to a grave, found it too precious and royal for a grave.

SALISBURY

Sir Richard, what think you? have you beheld, Or have you read or heard? or could you think? Or do you almost think, although you see, That you do see? could thought, without this object, Form such another? This is the very top, The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest, Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame, The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke, That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage Presented to the tears of soft remorse.

SALISBURY

Sir Richard, what do you think? Have you seen, or have you read or heard, or could you think of, or could you even almost think of—although you see it—what you see? Could imagination, without seeing this, imagine anything like this? This is the top, the height, the peak, the peak of the peak, of murder's coat of arms. This is the most shameful murder, the wildest savageness, the ugliest blow, that cross-eyed anger or staring rage ever gave to the tears of gentle sadness.

PEMBROKE

All murders past do stand excused in this: And this, so sole and so unmatchable, Shall give a holiness, a purity, To the yet unbegotten sin of times; And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest, Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

PEMBROKE

All past murders are excused by this one. This one, so unique and unmatched, will make all the sins that haven't been committed yet seem holy and pure. This makes murder seem like a joke compared to this terrible display.

BASTARD

It is a damned and a bloody work;The graceless action of a heavy hand,If that it be the work of any hand.

BASTARD

It is a damned and bloody deed, the sinful action of an evil hand—if it's the work of any hand.

SALISBURY

If that it be the work of any hand! We had a kind of light what would ensue: It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand; The practise and the purpose of the king: From whose obedience I forbid my soul, Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life, And breathing to his breathless excellence The incense of a vow, a holy vow, Never to taste the pleasures of the world, Never to be infected with delight, Nor conversant with ease and idleness, Till I have set a glory to this hand, By giving it the worship of revenge .

SALISBURY

If it's the work of any hand! We thought this might happen. It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand, the plot and idea of the king I forbid myself to obey. Kneeling in front of this sweet ruined life, I breathe to his breathless excellence an incense-like promise, a holy promise, never to indulge in worldly pleasures, never to be infected with joy or familiar with comfort and rest, until I have made my hand glorious by taking holy revenge.

BIGOT

Our souls religiously confirm thy words.

BIGOT

Our souls say amen to your words. 

Enter HUBERT

HUBERT

Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you:Arthur doth live; the king hath sent for you.

HUBERT


Lords, I am sweating in my hurry to find you. Arthur is alive. The king has sent for you.

SALISBURY

O, he is old and blushes not at death.Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!

SALISBURY

Oh, he's old and isn't ashamed to look at death. Go, you hateful criminal, go away!

HUBERT

I am no villain.

HUBERT

I am no criminal!

SALISBURY

Must I rob the law?

SALISBURY

Do I have to rob justice of its due by executing you myself?

Drawing his sword

BASTARD

Your sword is bright, sir; put it up again.

BASTARD

Your sword is bright, sir. Put it away again.

SALISBURY

Not till I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.

SALISBURY

Not until I sheathe it in a murderer's skin.

HUBERT

Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back, I say; By heaven, I think my sword's as sharp as yours: I would not have you, lord, forget yourself, Nor tempt the danger of my true defence; Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget Your worth, your greatness and nobility.

HUBERT

Stand back, Lord Salisbury, stand back. By God, I think my sword is as sharp of yours. I don't want you to act badly, my lord, or tempt me to defend myself against you. Seeing you so angry, I might forget your position, power, and nobility.

BIGOT

Out, dunghill! darest thou brave a nobleman?

BIGOT

Get out, you pile of crap! Do you dare threaten a nobleman?

HUBERT

Not for my life: but yet I dare defendMy innocent life against an emperor.

HUBERT

No, I swear by my life. But I will fight for my innocent life even against an emperor.

SALISBURY

Thou art a murderer.

SALISBURY

You are a murderer.

HUBERT

Do not prove me so;Yet I am none: whose tongue soe'er speaks false,Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.

HUBERT

Don't make me one. But I'm not. Whoever speaks that faslehood isn't telling the truth. Whoever doesn't speak the truth is lying.

PEMBROKE

Cut him to pieces.

PEMBROKE

Cut him to pieces.

BASTARD

Keep the peace, I say.

BASTARD

No, keep the peace.

SALISBURY

Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge.

SALISBURY

Stand back or I'll stab you, Faulconbridge.

BASTARD

Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury: If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot, Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame, I'll strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime; Or I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron, That you shall think the devil is come from hell.

BASTARD

You'd be better off stabbing the devil, Salisbury. If you just frown at me or move your foot, or rashly insult me, I'll kill you. Put away your sword now, or I'll maul you and your little skewer so badly you'll think the devil has come from hell to do it.

BIGOT

What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge?Second a villain and a murderer?

BIGOT

What will you do, famous Faulconbridge? Fight for a criminal and a murderer?

HUBERT

Lord Bigot, I am none.

HUBERT

Lord Bigot, I am not those things.

BIGOT

Who kill'd this prince?

BIGOT

Who killed this prince?

HUBERT

'Tis not an hour since I left him well:I honour'd him, I loved him, and will weepMy date of life out for his sweet life's loss.

HUBERT

I left him healthy less than an hour ago. I respected him, I loved him, and I will cry for the rest of my life over the loss of his sweet life.

SALISBURY

Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes, For villany is not without such rheum; And he, long traded in it, makes it seem Like rivers of remorse and innocency. Away with me, all you whose souls abhor The uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house; For I am stifled with this smell of sin.

SALISBURY

Don't trust the deceitful tears in his eyes because criminals can cry like that. He's been doing this for a long time and can make it seem like he's crying out of sadness and innocence. Let's go, everyone whose soul hates the dirty smells of a slaughter-house. I am choking on this smell of sin.

BIGOT

Away toward Bury, to the Dauphin there!

BIGOT

Let's go to Bury, to the Dauphin there!

PEMBROKE

There tell the king he may inquire us out.

PEMBROKE

Tell the king he can find us there.

Exeunt Lords

BASTARD

Here's a good world! Knew you of this fair work?Beyond the infinite and boundless reachOf mercy, if thou didst this deed of death,Art thou damn'd, Hubert.

BASTARD

This is a strange world! Did you know about this good work? You're damned out of the infinite reach of mercy if you did this murder, Hubert.

HUBERT

Do but hear me, sir.

HUBERT

Just listen to me, sir.

BASTARD

Ha! I'll tell thee what; Thou'rt damn'd as black—nay, nothing is so black; Thou art more deep damn'd than Prince Lucifer: There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child.

BASTARD

Ha! I'll tell you what. You're damned as black—no, nothing is as black—you're more deeply damned than Prince Lucifer. There isn't a devil in hell as ugly as you will be, if you killed this child.

HUBERT

Upon my soul—

HUBERT

By my soul—

BASTARD

If thou didst but consent To this most cruel act, do but despair; And if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread That ever spider twisted from her womb Will serve to strangle thee, a rush will be a beam To hang thee on; or wouldst thou drown thyself, Put but a little water in a spoon, And it shall be as all the ocean, Enough to stifle such a villain up. I do suspect thee very grievously.

BASTARD

If you only agreed to this cruel deed, despair. And if you don't have a rope, the smallest thread a spider ever twisted from its belly will be enough to strangle you, a piece of straw will be a beam to hang you on. Or if you want to drown yourself, just put a little water in a spoon and it will be as big as the whole ocean, enough to drown such a criminal. I strongly suspect you.

HUBERT

If I in act, consent, or sin of thought, Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath Which was embounded in this beauteous clay, Let hell want pains enough to torture me. I left him well.

HUBERT

If in action, in agreeing to this, or by sinning in my thoughts, I'm guilty of stealing the sweet breath that was bound up in this beautiful body, hell won't contain enough tortures for me. I left him healthy.

BASTARD

Go, bear him in thine arms. I am amazed, methinks, and lose my way Among the thorns and dangers of this world. How easy dost thou take all England up! From forth this morsel of dead royalty, The life, the right and truth of all this realm Is fled to heaven; and England now is left To tug and scamble and to part by the teeth The unowed interest of proud-swelling state. Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace: Now powers from home and discontents at home Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits, As doth a raven on a sick-fall'n beast, The imminent decay of wrested pomp. Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child And follow me with speed: I'll to the king: A thousand businesses are brief in hand, And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.

BASTARD

Go, carry him in you arms. I am lost, I think, and lose my way in the thorns and dangers of this world. [HUBERT picks up ARTHUR's body] How easily you pick up all of England! From this scrap of dead royalty, the life, the justice, and the truth of this whole kingdom have flown away to heaven. England is now left to tug and quarrel and bite apart the stolen power of this proud king. Now stubborn war bristles his angry fur and snarls at peace's sweet eyes over the bare bones of majesty. Now foreign invaders and civil war meet to fight in a single army. And terrible confusion, like a vulture on a sick animal, waits for the king's stolen power to fall apart at any moment. Now anyone whose cloak and belt can hold together in this storm is happy. Carry away that child and follow me quickly. I'll go to the king. There are a thousand things to do now and heaven itself frowns at the country.

Exeunt

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