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SCENE I. Northampton. A Room of State in the
Enter King John, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Es
SEX, SALISBURY, and others, with Chatillon. King John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
with us? Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrowed majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
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.
1 In my behavior probably means “In the words and action I am now going to use."
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for
Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
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,
And sullen presage of your own decay:-
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your
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
K. John. Let them approach.-
[Exit Sheriff. Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and
1 i. e. gloomy, dismal.
2 i. e. conduct, administration.
Philip, his bastard Brother."
Bast. Your faithful subject, I, a gentleman,
K. John. What art thou?
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
Bast. I, madam ? no, I have no reason for it;
land! K. John. A good blunt fellow.-Why, being young
er born, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance ?
1 Shakspeare, in adopting the character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, proceeded on the following slight hint:
“ Next them a bastard of the king's deceased,
A hardie wild-head, rough and venturous.” The character is compounded of two distinct personages. “Sub illius temporis curriculo Falcasius de Brente, Neusteriensis, et spurius ex parte matris, atque Bastardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat. Mathew Paris.-Holinshed says that “ Richard I. had a natural son named Philip, who, in the year following, killed the Viscount de Limoges to revenge the death of his father.” Perhaps the name of Faulconbridge was suggested by the following passage in the continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543, fol. 24,6:-“ One Faulconbridge, th’erle of Kent his bastarde, a stoute-hearted man.”
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land. But once he slandered me with bastardy: But whe’rl 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 Caur-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!
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father lived, Your brother did employ my father much ;
Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land; Your tale must be how he employed my mother.
Rob. And once despatched him in an embassy
, I shame to speak.
2 Shakspeare uses the word trick generally in the sense of “a peculiar air, or cast of countenance or feature."
3 The Poet makes Faulconbridge allude to the silver groats of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., which had on them a half-face or profile. In the reign of John, there were no groats at all, the first being coined in the reign of Edward III.
Between my father and my mother lay, ,
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate ;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
1 i. e. “this is a decisive argument."
2 Lord of thy presence means possessor of thy own dignified and manly appearance, resembling thy great progenitor.
Sir Robert his, for “Sir Robert's;" his, according to a mistaken notion formerly received, being the sign of the genitive case.