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to King John. Lady Faulconbridge, Mother to the Baftard, and Robert
Citizens of Angiers, Heralds, Executioners, Messengers,
Soldiers, and other Attendants.
The SCENE, sometimes in England; and, Sometimes,
А ст І. SCENE, the Court of England. Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Eflex,
and Salisbury, with Chatilion.
King JOHN. 'OW fay, Chatilion, what would France with us?
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of
In my behaviour, to the Majesty, [France, The borrow'd Majesty of England here.
(1) The LIFE and Deatk--] Tho' this Play have this title, yes the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life; and takes in only some transactions of his reign to the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years. Of all the Englijs Princes, (as Mr. Warburton observ'd to me) that Shakespeare has taken into tragedy, King Jobn was the fitteft to have made a hero for a tragedy on the ancient plan. Henry IV, V, and VIII, had qualities great enough for it, but were generally fortunate. Richard II, and Henry VI, (fie Verbo Venia) were, at times, little better than polirons : And Richard III. was so black avillain, that the ancients would have thought him fitter for a gibbet than a stage. But Jobn had that turbulence and grandeur of the passions, that inconftancy of temper, that equal mixture of good and ill, and that series of misfortunes consequent thereto, as might pake bim very fit fos a hero in a just composition,
Eli. A ftrange beginning; borrow'd Majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalt
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?
Chat. The proud controul of fierce and bloody war, T'inforce these rights fo forcibly with-held.
K.John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood, Controulment for controulment; so answer France.
Chat. Then take my King's defiance from my mouth, The farthest limit of my embaffy.
K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace. Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France, For ere thou can'ít report, I will be there, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard. So, hence ! be thou the trumpet of our wrath, And sullen presage of your own decay. An honourable conduct let him have, Pembroke, look to't ; farewel, Chatilion.
[Exit Chatilion and Pembroke, Eli. What now, my lon, have I not ever said, How that ambitious Constance would not cease, Till she had kindled France and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son This might have been prevented, and made whole With very easy arguments of love ; Which now the manage of two kingdoms must With fearful, bloody iffue arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong poffeffion, and our right for us.
Eli. Your strong pofleffion much more than your right, Or else it must go wrong with you and me; So much my conscience whispers in your ear, Which none but heav'n, and you, and I Mall hear.