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Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die;
I humbly thank you
And, seeking death, find life: Let it come on.
Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!
Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you.
Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome.
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
Look, signior, here's your sister.
[Exeunt DUKE and Provost
Prov. As many as you please.
Duke. Bring them to speak, where I may be conceal'a, Yet hear them.
Now sister, what's the comfort?
Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good indeed. Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Intends you for his swift embassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting lieger;
Therefore your best appointment make with speed;
Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as, to save a head, To cleave a heart in twain.
But is there
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live;
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
Perpetual durance ?
Isab. Ay, just perpetual durance; a restraint, Though all the world's vastidity you had,
To a determin'd scope.
But in what nature?
Isab. In such a one as (you consenting to't)
And six or seven winters more respect
Why give you me this shame?
Think you I can a resolution fetch
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake my brother; there my father's
Did utter forth a voice!
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,—
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth enmew,
As falcon doth the fowl,-is yet a devil.
O heavens! it cannot be.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly as a pin.
Thanks, dear Isabella.
Isab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.
Claud. O Isabel !
Isab. What says my brother?
Isab. And shamed life a hateful.
Death is a fearful thing.
Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where ;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
To what we fear of death.
Isab. Alas! alas!
Sweet sister, let me live:
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue.
Isab. O, faithless coward! O, dishonest wretch Take my defiance:
Die; perish might but my bending down
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed:
Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
O, fye, fye, fye!
The Duke overhears the conversation between Claudio and his sister, and touched with the virtue and dignity of Isabel's character, he plans a mode by which Claudio may escape the penalty of the Law, and Angelo shall receive a well-merited punishment for his abuse of power.
King John, is the first of that series of Dramas, written by our Poet to illustrate some of the most important events in English history. The old chroniclers furnished him with abundant material for his labors; but in this Play he has taken a chronicle historical Drama, entitled "The Troublesome Raigne of John, King of England,’ and by his incomparable powers of transmutation, he has presented us with a vivid life-stirring picture of the eventful reign of this, one of the weakest monarchs that ever swayed the sceptre of England.
The chief interest in this Drama, is centred in the events connected with the Lady Constance and her son Arthur; we have therefore confined our selections to the scenes in which their mournful history is portrayed.
PRINCE HENRY, his son; afterwards King Henry III.
ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late Duke of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John.
WILLIAM MARESHALL, Earl of Pembroke.
GEFFREY FITZ-PETER, Earl of Essex, chief justiciary of England.
ROBERT BIGOT, Earl of Norfolk.
HUBERT DE BURGH, chamberlain to the King.
ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge.
PHILIP FAULCONBRIDGE, his half-brother, illegitimate son to King
JAMES GURNEY, servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
PETER, of Pomfret, a prophet.
PHILIP, King of France.
LEWIS, the Dauphin.
ARCHDUKE of AUSTRIA.
Cardinal PANDULPH, the Pope's legate.
MELUN, a French lord.
CHATILLON, ambassador from France to King John.
ELINOR, the widow of King Henry II., and mother of King John.
BLANCH, daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and niece to
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers,
SCENE.-Sometimes in ENGLAND, and sometim 8 in FRANCE.
We commence our extracts at the period when King John invades France with a numerous army, to chastise Philip for espousing the cause of Prince Arthur, the rightful heir to the English throne.
The contending armies of England and France, meet before the city of Angiers; and after a battle, in which each party claims the victory, a peace is declared between the Sovereigns, to be cemented by the marriage of the French King's son, to Blanch, the niece of John. Philip further engages to break his league with the Lady Constance, and her son. The indignation and grief of the widowed mother, is beautifully depicted in the following scene.
The French King's Tent.
Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY.
Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears⚫
A woman, naturally born to fears;
And though thou now confess, thou didst but jest,