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SCENE I.- Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.

Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?

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 !
K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
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 ;
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles ;
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.

K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?

Chat. The proud control2 of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. 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 furthest limit of my embassy:

K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace : [1] The word behaviour seems here to have a signification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, says the envoy, thus speaks in my behaviour to the majesty of England ; that is, the king of France speaks in the character which I here assuine. JOHNS. [2] Opposition, from controller. JOHNS.

2 VOL. IV.

Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France ;3
For ere thou canst 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 :-Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt CHAT. and PEM.
Eli. What now, my son ? 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 issue arbitrate.

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 the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers Essex.

Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judgød by you, That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men ?

K. John. Let them approach.- [Exit Sheriff
Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay
Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE,and

PHILIP, his bastard brother.
This expedition's charge.-What men are you?

Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
Born in Northamptonshire ; and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge ;
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Ceur-de-lion knighted in the field.

(3) This simile does not suit well the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent.

JOHNSON. The allusion may, notwithstanding, be very proper, so far as Shakspeare had applied it, i.e. merely to the swiftness of the lightning and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is some reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, Act III. sc. ii. Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. sc. v. Julius Cæsar, Act I. sc iii. and still more decisively in Measare for Measure, Act II. sc. ii. This cld superstition is still prevalent in many parts of the country. RITSON.

K. John. What art thou ?
Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.

K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
You came not of one mother then, it seems.

Bast. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, That is well known ; and, as I think, one father : But, for the certain knowledge of that truth, I put you o'er to heaven, and to my mother; Of that I doubt, as all men's children may. 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 ; That is my brother's plea, and none of mine ; The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out At least from fair five hundred pound a year : Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land! K. John, A good blunt fellow :--Why, being younger

born, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance ?

Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd ine with bastardy :
But whe'r I be as true begot, or no, *
That still I lay upon my mother's head;
But, that I am as well begot, my liege,
(Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me :)
Compare our faces, and be judge yourself.
If old sir Robert did beget us both,
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.Joh. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!

Eli. He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face,5
The accent of his tongue affecteth him :
Do you not read some tokens of my son
In the large composition of this man?

K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
And finds them perfect Richard. -Sirrah, speak,
What doth move you to claim your brother's land?

Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ;

[4] Whe'r for whether. STEEV.

151 The trick or tricking, is the same as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be sufficiently shown by the slightest outline. STEEV.

With that half face would he have all my land :
A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year !6

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 shore's
Between iny 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 sootli, good friend, your father might have kept
This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world";
In sootlı, 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, --7
My mother's son did get your father's heir ;
Your father's heir must have your father's land.

Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
To dispossess that child which is not his ?

[6] The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the younger brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that bore the king's face in profile to shew but half the face. THEO BALD.

[7] This is a decisive argument. As"your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, so not liking him, he is not a t liberty to reject him.


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 Caur-de-lion, Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ? 8

Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, sir Robert his 9 like him ; And if my legs were two such riding-rods, My arms such eel-skins stuff'd; my face so thin, That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,' Lest men should say, Look, wherethree-farthings goes ! 2 And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, 'Would I might never stir from off this place, I'd give it every foot to have this face ; I would not be sir Nob in any case.

Eli. I like thee well ; Wilt thou forsake thy fortune, Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me ? I am a soldier, and now bound to France.

Bast. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance :
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year ;.
Yet sell your face for five-pence, and 'tis dear.-
Madam, i'll follow you unto the death.

Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
Bast. Our country manners give our better's way.
K. John. What is thy name?

Bast. Philip, my 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 : Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great ;

[8] Lord of thy presence means, master of that dignity and grandeur of appearance that may sufficiently distinguish thez from the vulgar without the help of fortune. - 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

JOHNSON (9) Sir Robert nis, for Sir Robert's, is agreeable to the practice of that time, when the 's added to the nominative was believed, I think error:eously, to be a contraction of his. JOHNSON


[1] The sticking roses about them was then all the court-fashion. WARB.

(2) In this very obscure passage our poet is anticipating the date of another 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. She coined shillings, six-pences, groats, threepences, two.pences, three-half-pence, pence, three farthings, and half.pence; and these pieces all had her head, and were alternately with the rose bebind, and without the rose. THEOBALD.

2* VOA. IV.

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