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Bretagne, the elder brother of king John.
Richard the first.
Elinor, the widow of king Henry II. and mother of king
John. Constance, mother to Arthur. BLANCH, daughter to Alphonso, king of Castile, and niece fo
king John. Lady FauLCONBRIDGE, mother to the bastard, and Robert
Farilconbridge. Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sherif, Heralds, Officers,
Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I.-Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex, SA-
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
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 :  The word behaviour 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 cha racter which I here assume. JOHNSON. (2) Opposition from controller. JOHNSON.
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France ;:
[Exeunt Chat. and Pem.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your right
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy,
[Exit Sheriff Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and Philip,
his bastard brother.
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
 This simile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is beard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent.
JOHNSON The allusion may, notwithstanding, be very proper, so far as Shakespeare had applied it, i. e. merely to the swiftness of the lightning and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is some reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, Act 1II. sc. ii. Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. sc. V. Julius Cæsar, Act I. sc. iii. and still more decisively in Measure for Measure, Act II. sc. ii. This old superstition is still prevalent io many parts of the country. RITSON.
K. John. What art thou ?
K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ?
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.
Eli. He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face,
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ;
(4) Whe'r for whether. STEEVENS.
(5) The trick or tricking, is the same as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be sufficieatly shown by the slightest outline,
With that half face would he have all
land : A half-fac'd groat five hundred pound a year! 6
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 Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd hiin 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, 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 Ilis 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, 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 ?
 The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the younger brother, by comparing him to a silver
groat, that bore the king's face in profile to show but ball the face. THEOBALD.
 This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign bim, so not liking him, be is not at liberty to reject him. JOHNSON.