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SCENE: Partly in England, and partly in France.
SCENE I. KING JOHN's palace.
Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.
K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France In my behaviour to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty, of England here.
Eli. A strange beginning: borrow'd majesty!"
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island and the territories,
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
K. John. What follows if we disallow of this?
K. John. Here have we war for war and blood for blood, Controlment for controlment: so answer France.
Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth, The farthest limit of my embassy.
K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace: Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard:
[Exeunt Chatillon and Pembroke.
This might have been prevented and made whole
Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
With fearful bloody issue arbitrale.
K. John. Our strong possession and our right for us.
Eli. Your strong possession 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 heaven and you and I shall hear.
Enter a Sheriff.
Esser. My liege, here is the strangest controversy
Come from the country to be judged by you
That e'er I heard: shall I produce the men?
K. John. Let them approach.
Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
This expedition's charge.
Enter ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and PHILIP his bastard
What men are you?
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman
Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.
Bast. Most certain of one mother, mighty king;
I put you o'er to heaven and to my mother:
Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother And wound her honour with this diffidence.
Bast. I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
K. John. A good blunt fellow. Why, being younger.
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whether I be as true begot or no,
That still I lay upon my mother's head,
Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!-
And were our father and this son like him,
O old sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!
The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts
Your brother did employ my father much,—
Bust. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land: Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once dispatch'd him in an embassy
To treat of high affairs touching that time.
And in the mean time sojourn'd at my father's;
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force
To dispossess that child which is not his?
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land,
Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presence and no land beside?
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And I had his, sir Robert's his, like him;
My arms such eel-skins stuff'd, my face so thin