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K. John. A good blunt fellow :- Why, being
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
father; With that half-faces would he have all my land: A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year !
9 But whe'r -] Whe’r for whether.
4 He hath a trick of Cæur-de-lion's face,] By a trick, in this place, is meant some peculiarity of look or motion.
5 With that half-face--] The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that bore the king's face in profile, so showed but half the face: the groats of all our Kings of England, and indeed all their other coins of silver, one or two only excepted, had a full face crowned; till Henry VII. at the time above-mentioned, coined groats, and half-groats, as also some shillings, with half-faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now.
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father
liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much ;-
Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land; Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy To Germany, there, with the emperor, To treat of high affairs touching that time: The advantage of his absence took the king, And in the mean time sojourn'd at my father's; Where how he did prevail, I shame to speak: But truth is truth; large lengths of seas and shores Between my father and my mother lay, (As I have heard my father speak himself,) When this same lusty gentleman was got. Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd His lands to me; and took it, on his death, That this, my mother's son, was none of his; And, if he were, he came into the world Full fourteen weeks before the course of time. Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine, My father's land, as was my father's will. .
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate; Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him: And, if she did play false, the fault was hers; Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother, Who, as you say, took pains to get this son, Had of your father claim'd this son for his? In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world ; In sooth, he might: then, if he were my brother's, My brother might not claim him; nor your father, Being none of his, refuse him: This concludes,
took it, on his death,] i. e entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying.
My mother's son did get your father's heir;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no
To dispossess that child which is not his?
Basi. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,
? Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?] Lord of his presence apparently signifies, great in his own person, and is used in this sense by King John in one of the following scenes.
8 And I had his, sir Robert his, like him;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is--If I had his shape, sir Robert's as he has.
my face so thin,
Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes!] In this
very obscure passage our poet is anticipating the date of anther silver coin; humorously to rally a thin face, eclipsed, as it were, by a full blown rose. We must observe, to explain this allusion, that Queen Elizabeth was the first, and indeed the only prince, who coined in England three-half-pence, and three farthing pieces.
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,] “ To his shape,” means, in addition to the shape he had been just describing.
Eli. I like thee well; Wilt thou forsake thy for
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
way. K. John. What is thy name?
Bast. Philip, iny liege; so is my name begun; Philip, good old sir Robert's wife's eldest son. K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose
form thou bear'st:
Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet !
? I would not be sir Nob ] Sir Nob is used contemptuously for Sir Robert.
9 Arise, sir Richard, and Plantagenet.] It is a common opinion, that Plantegenet was the surname of the royal house of England, from the time of King Henry II. but it is, as Camden observes, in his Remaines, 1614, a popular mistake. Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nick-name, by which a grandson of Geffrey, the first Earl of Anjou, was distinguished, from his wearing a broom -stalk in his bonnet. But this name was never borne either by the first Earl of Anjou, or by King Henry II. the son of that Earl by the Empress Maude; he being always called Henry Fitz-Empress; his son, Richard Cæur-de-lion; and the prince who is exhibited in the play before us, John sans-terre, or Zack-land.
I am thy grandame, Richard; call me so.
In at the window, or else o'er the hatch:
And have is have, however men do catch:
desire, A landless knight makes thee a landed 'squire. Come, madam, and come, Richard; we must
speed For France, for France; for it is more than need. Bast. Brother, adieu; Good fortune come to
thee! For thou wast got i'the way of honesty.
[Exeunt all but the Bastard. A foot of honour better than I was; But many a many foot of land the worse. Well, now can I make any Joan a lady: Good den, sir Richard,—God-a-mercy, fellow ;And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter: For new-made honour doth forget men's names ; 'Tis too respective, and too sociable,
4 Something about, a little from the right, &c.] This speech, composed of allusive and proverbial sentences, is obscure. I am, says the sprightly knight, your grandson, a little irregularly, but every man cannot get what he wishes the legal way. He that dares not go about his designs by day, must make his motions in the night; he, to whom the door is shut, must climb the window, or leap the hatch. This, however, shall not depress me; for the world never enquires how any man got what he is known to possess, but allows that to have is to have, however it was caught, and that he who wins, shot well, whatever was his skill, whether the arrow fell near the mark, or far off it. JOHNSON,
Good den,] i, e. a good evening.