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THE PLOT, THE FABLE, AND CONSTRUCTION
The Tragedy of King John, though not written with the utmost power of Shakspeare, is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters. The lady's grief is very affecting, and the character of the bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.
There is extant another play of King John, published in t61t. Shakspeare has preserved the greatest part of the conduct of it, as well as a number of the lines. What most inclines me to think it the work of some contemporary writer, is the number of quotations from Horace, and other scraps of learning, scattered over it. There is likewise a quantity of rhiming Latin and ballad-metre, in a scene where the bastard is represented as plundering a monastery; and some strokes of humour, which seem, from their particular turn, to have been most evidently produced by another hand than that of Shakspeare. Of this play there is said to have been an edition in 15Q1 for Samson Clarke, but I have never seen it; and the copy in 1611., which is the oldest I could find, was printed for John Helme, whose name appears before no other of the plays of Shakspeare. I admitted this play, some years ago, as Shakspeare's own, among the twenty which I published from the old editions; but a more careful perusal of it, and a farther conviction of our poet's custom of borrowing plots, sentiments, &c. dispose me to recede from that opinion.
King John : Prince HeNRy, his son; afterwards King Henry III. ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late Duke of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John. WILLIAM MAREs HALL, Earl of Pembroke. GEFFREY Fitz-PETER, Earl of Esser, Chief Justiciary of England. WILLIAM Longsword, Earl of Salisbury. Rob ERT Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. HUBERT DE BURGH, Chamberlain to the King. Robert FAULcon BRIDGE, son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge: PHILIP FAU Lco N BRIDGE, his half-brother; bastard son to King Richard the First. JAMEs Gu RNEY, servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
PETER of Pomfret, a Prophet.
PHILIP, King of France.
Arch-duke of Austr I.A.
ELINor, the widow of King Henry II. and mother of