King John

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Hubert and executioners


Heat me these irons hot, and look thou stand

Within the arras. When I strike my foot
arras (n.) tapestry hanging

Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth
bosom (n.) 6 surface

And bind the boy which you shall find with me

Fast to the chair. Be heedful. Hence, and watch!


I hope your warrant will bear out the deed.
bear out (v.) 3 support, authorize, sanction


Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you. Look to't!
uncleanly (adj.) 2 offensive, foul

The executioners withdraw

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

Enter Arthur
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


Good morrow, Hubert.


                         Good morrow, little prince.


As little prince, having so great a title

To be more prince, as may be. You are sad.
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy


Indeed, I have been merrier.


                         Mercy on me!

Methinks nobody should be sad but I.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Yet I remember, when I was in France,

Young gentlemen would be as sad as night

Only for wantonness. By my christendom,
wantonness (n.) 1 foolish behaviour, caprice, whims

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
doubt (v.) 2 suspect, have suspicions about, fear

My uncle practises more harm to me.
practise (v.) 1 plot, scheme, conspire

He is afraid of me and I of him.

Is it my fault that I was Geoffrey's son?

No, indeed, is't not; and I would to heaven

I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert.


prate (n.) prattle, chatter, blather

If I talk to him, with his innocent prate

He will awake my mercy, which lies dead.

Therefore I will be sudden, and dispatch.
dispatch, despatch (v.) 3 kill, put to death, make away with, finish off
sudden (adj.) 1 swift, rapid, prompt


Are you sick, Hubert? You look pale today.

In sooth, I would you were a little sick,

That I might sit all night and watch with you.
watch (v.) 1 stay awake, keep vigil

I warrant I love you more than you do me.
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count


bosom (n.) 1 heart, inner person

His words do take possession of my bosom.

He shows Arthur the warrant
rheum (n.) 1 tears

Read here, young Arthur. (aside) How now, foolish rheum!

Turning dispiteous torture out of door!
dispiteous (adj.) pitiless, merciless
door, out of (adv.) 2 out of doors, out of the house

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?
fair (adv.) 2 well, in a good hand, elegantly [like a clerk]


Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect.
effect (n.) 2 purpose, end, intended deed

Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes?


Young boy, I must.


                         And will you?


                                                         And I will.


Have you the heart? When your head did but ache,

I knit my handkercher about your brows –
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
handkercher (n.) handkerchief
knit, knit up (v.) 1 tie, fasten [by means of a knot]

The best I had, a princess wrought it me –
work (v.), past form wrought 13 embroider, make, sew

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 cheered up the heavy time,
anon, still and continually
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

Saying, ‘ What lack you?’, and ‘ Where lies your grief?’,
grief (n.) 2 pain, torment, distress

Or ‘ What good love may I perform for you?’.
love (n.) 3 act of kindness, affectionate deed

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,
crafty (adj.) 1 cunning, devious, wily

And call it cunning. Do, an if you will.

If heaven be pleased that you must use me ill,
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

Why then you must. Will you put out mine eyes –

These eyes that never did, nor never shall,

So much as frown on you?


                         I have sworn to do it,

And with hot irons must I burn them out.


Ah, none but in this iron age would do it!
iron age age of cruelty, time of wickedness

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;
matter (n.) 3 stuff, soul, substance

Nay, after that, consume away in rust,
consume away (v.) waste away, disintegrate, perish

But for containing fire to harm mine eye.

Are you more stubborn-hard than hammered 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!

Hubert stamps his foot


Come forth!

The executioners come forward with ropes and irons

                         Do as I bid you do.


O, save me, Hubert, save me! My eyes are out

Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men.


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


Alas, what need you be so boisterous-rough?
boisterous (adv.) violently, fiercely, forcefully

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 winch, nor speak a word,
winch (v.) wince, flinch, recoil

Nor look upon the iron angerly.
angerly (adv.) angrily, grouchily, testily

Thrust but these men away, and I'll forgive you,

Whatever torment you do put me to.


Go stand within. Let me alone with him.


I am best pleased to be from such a deed.

Exeunt executioners


Alas, I then have chid away my friend!
chide (v.), past form chid 4 brusquely command, drive [away] with harsh words

He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart.
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

Let him come back, that his compassion may

Give life to yours.


                         Come, boy, prepare yourself.


Is there no remedy?


                         None, but to lose your eyes.


O heaven, that there were but a mote in yours,
mote (n.) speck of dust, tiny particle, trifle

A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair,
dust (n.) speck of dust, particle, iota

Any annoyance in that precious sense.
annoyance (n.) 2 discomfort, irritation, hurt

Then feeling what small things are boisterous there,
boisterous (adj.) 3 irritable, painful, irritating

Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count


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


Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues

Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes.
want (v.) 3 fall short [of], be deficient [in]

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!
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold

And would not harm me.


                         I can heat it, boy.


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 hath blown his spirit out,

And strewed repentent ashes on his head.


But with my breath I can revive it, boy.


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,
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count
sparkle (v.) send out sparks

And, like a dog that is compelled to fight,

Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.
snatch (n.) 2 snap, bite
tarre (v.) incite, provoke, arouse

All things that you should use to do me wrong

Deny their office. Only you do lack
deny (v.) 2 refuse, decline, scorn
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends –
extend (v.) 4 show, offer, permit

Creatures of note for mercy-lacking uses.
creature (n.) 5 object, instrument, thing


Well, see to live. I will not touch thine eye

For all the treasure that thine uncle owes;
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy,

With this same very iron to burn them out.


O, now you look like Hubert. All this while

You were disguised.


                         Peace! No more. Adieu.

Your uncle must not know but you are dead.

I'll fill these dogged spies with false reports;
dogged (adj.) 1 fierce, cruel, ferocious
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial

And, pretty child, sleep doubtless and secure
doubtless (adj.) 2 without fear, free from apprehension

That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world,

Will not offend thee.


                         O heaven! I thank you, Hubert.


Silence! No more. Go closely in with me.
closely (adv.) 1 secretly, covertly, privately

Much danger do I undergo for thee.


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