Imatges de pÓgina
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K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud control 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.

E.. 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 1, shall hear.

the monege- i, e. conduct, administration.

Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers Essex.

Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro

versy,

Come from the country to be judg'd by you,

That e'er I heard: Shall I produce the men?
K. John. Let them approach.

Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay

[Exit Sheriff.

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 Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
K. John. What art thou?

Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulcon

bridge.

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 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,
(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. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent
us here!

Eli. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face,"
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;

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

4

But whe'r-] Whe'r for whether.

He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face,] By a trick, in this place, is meant some peculiarity of look or motion.

With that half-face-] The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that bore the king's face in profile, so showed but half the face: the groats of all our Kings of England, and indeed all their other coins of silver, one or two only excepted, had a full face crowned; till Henry VII. at the time above-mentioned, coined groats, and half-groats, as also some shillings, with half-faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now.

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 shores Between my 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 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: This concludes,

took it, on his death,] i. e. entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying.

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?

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 Faulcon

bridge,

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 his, like him;8
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, where three-farthings goes!9

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 Nob2 in any case.

"Lord of thy presence, and no land beside?] Lord of his pre-sence apparently signifies, great in his own person, and is used in this sense by King John in one of the following scenes.

8 And I had his, sir Robert his, like him;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is-If I had his shape, sir Robert'sus he has.

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my face so thin,

That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,

Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes!] In this very obscure passage our poet is anticipating the date of another silver 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.

1

And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,] « To his shape," means, in addition to the shape he had been just describing.

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