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Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace. Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROXE, Essex,
SALISBURY, and Orbers, with CHATILLON.
Eli. A frange beginning ; borrow'd majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
K. Jabr. 2 The word bebaviour 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 assume. I once thought that these two lines, in my bebaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambasador as part of his master's message, and that bebaviour had meant the conduet of the King of France towards the King of England; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning.
JOHNSON. In my bebaviour means, in the manner that I now do.
M. MASON. In my behaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. MALONE.
K. John. What follows, if we difallow of this ?
Chat. The proud control 3 of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights fo forcibly withheld.
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood, Controlment for controlinent; fo answer France.
Ckat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace:
3 Offofitien, from controller. JOHNSON.
4 The fimile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON.
The altulion may notwithstanding be very proper so far as Shakspeare had applied it, i. e. merely to the freifeness of the ligbening, and its preceding and foretelling the rhunder. But there is some reason to believe that tbunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we else. where learn from himself. See King Lear, A& III. sc. ij. Antony and Cleopatra, A& II, fc. v. Julius Calar, Act 1. sc. iii. and still more deci. sively in Meafure for Miasure, A&. II. sc. ij. This old fuperftition is till prevalent in many parts of the country. Ritson.
King John does not allude to the destructive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only mears to say, that Chatillon shall appear to the eyes of the French like lighting, which shows that thunder is approaching : and the thunder he aludes to is that of his cannon. Johnson also forgets, that though philofophically speaking, the destructive power is in the lightnirs, it has generally in poetry been attributed to the thunder. M. Mason,
$ By the epithetsuier, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Jo¥NSCN. I do not see why the epithet
sullen may not be applied
to a trumfet, with as much propriety as to a bell. ' in our authcr's Henry IV. P. II. we find
" Sounds ever after as a fullen bell-,” MALONE. That here are two ideas, is evident; but the second of them has pot been luckily explained. - Tbe Jullen presage of your own decay, means, ike dismal paffing bill, ibat announces your own approaching disolution.
Pembroke, look to't : Farewell, Chatillon.
(Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.
K. John. Our strong poffeffion, and our right, for us.
Eli. Your strong poffeffion, much more than your right ;
Efex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy,
PHILIP, his baftard brother,?
6 i. c. conduct, administration. STEEVENS.
7 Though Shakfpeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge, from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two diftinct personages.
Matthew Paris lays :-“ Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcafius de Brente, Ncuiterienfis, et fpurius ex parte matris, atque Baltardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat,” &c.
Matthew Paris, in his History of ibe Monks of St Albans, calls him Falco, but in his General History, Folcasius de Brente, as above.
Holinihed says, “ That Richard J. had a natural son named Philip, who in the year following killed the Viscount de Limoges to revenge the death of his father." STEEVENS.
Born in Northamptonfhire; and eldeft fon,
K. John. What art thou ?
K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
Baft. Moft certain of one mother, mighty king,
Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou doft shame thy mother, And wound her honour with this diffidence,
Baft. I, madam ? no, I have no reason for it ; That is my brother's plea, and none of mine j 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
Baft. I know not why, except to get the land.
O old Perhaps the following passage in the Continuation of Harding's Chroni. cle, 1543, fol. 24. b. ad ann. 1472, induced the author of the old play to affix the name of Faulconbridge to King Richard's natural son, who is only mentioned in our histories by the name of Philip: "one Faul. cenbridge, therle of Kent, his baftarde, a stoute-harted man."
Who the mother of Philip was, is not ascertained. It is said that the was a lady of Poi&tou, and that King Richard bestowed upon her son a Jordship in that province.
& Whe'r for wbetber. STIEVEN.S.
O old fir Robert, father, on my knee
Eli. He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face, 9
not read some tokens of my son In the large composition of this man?
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
Baft. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ;
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd,
father much; Baft. Well, fir, by this you cannot get my land; Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother,
Rob. 9 The tri. k, cs trickling, is the fame as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be sufficiently shown by the flightest outline. STIEVENS. By a trick, io this place, is meant fome peculiarity of look or motion.
M. MASON. Our author often uses this phrase, and generally in the sense of a pecu. liar air or cast of countenance or feature. MALONE.
2 The old copy-with balf ebat faced But why with balf that face? There is no question but the poet wrote, as I have restored the text: Witb ibat half-face- Mr. Pope, perhaps, will be angry with me for discovering an anachronism of our poet's in the next line, where he alludes to a coin not struck ti!l the year 1504, in the reign of King Henry VII. viz. a groat, which, as well as the half groat, bore but half faces impreffed. Vide Stowe's Survey of London, p. 47. Holinshed, Camden's Remains, &c. The poet faeers at the ineagre fhaip visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that böre the King's face in profile, so showed but half the face: the groats of all our Kings of Eng. jand, and indeed all their other coins of filver, one or two only excepted, had a full face crowned; til Henry VII. at the time above mentioned, coined groats and half-groats, as also some shillings, with half faces, i. la faces in profile, as all our coin has now. The first groats of King Henry VIII were like those of his father; though afterwards he returned to the broad faces again. These groats, with the impression in profile, are vndoubtedly here alluded to: though, as I said, the poet is knowingly guilty of an anachronism in it: for in the time of King John there were no groats at all; they being first, as far as appears, coined in the reign of King Edward III. THENBALD.