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SCENE I.-Northampton. A room of state in the palace.


K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?

[France Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of 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.

This play comprehends a period of almost seventeen years, being nearly the whole reign of King John, commencing soon after his accession to the throne, and ending with his death.-MALONE. 2 In my official capacity.


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K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud controul' 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:

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:
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 CHATILLON and PEmbroke.
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
Or else it must go wrong with you, and me: [right;
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. My liege, here is the strangest controversy Come from the country to be judg'd by you, That e'er I heard: Shall I produce the men?



conduct, administration.

K. John. Let them approach.Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay

[Exit Sheriff.

Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCON BRIDGE, and
PHILIP, his bastard brother.

This expedition's charge.-What men are you?
Phil. 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 Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
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.

Phil. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, That is well known; and, as I think, one father. Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother,

And wound her honour with this diffidence.

Phil. 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 Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

Phil. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me 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,
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. [us here!
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent

Eli. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face,1
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?

Phil. Because he hath a half-face, like my father; With that half-face would he have all my land.

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much; And once despatch'd him in an embassy To Germany, there, with the emperor, To treat of high affairs touching that time: Th' advantage of his absence took the king. 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. 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.
Tell me, how if my brother,

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.

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

Phil. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.

[bridge, Eli. Whether hadst thou rather, be a FaulconAnd, like thy brother to enjoy thy land;

1i. e. cast of countenance, like Richard's.

Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presence,' and no land beside?

Phil. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And I had his, sir Robert his, like him ;2
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,3

[goes! Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings 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.

Phil. 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.
Phil. Our country manners give our betters way.
K. John. What is thy name?

Phil. 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;
Arise sir Richard, and Plantagenet.


Phil. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your

My father gave me honour, yours gave land.
Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet!-

I am thy grandame, Richard; call me so.

Great in thine own person.

2 If I had his shape,-Sir Robert's, -as he has.

3 The allusion is to a silver coin of three-farthings in the reign of Elizabeth, extremely thin, and impressed with a rose.

4 Sir Robert.

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