Page images

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 farthest 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 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 I, shall


But for the certain knowledge of that trutin
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 pounds a year. Heavenguard 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 slandered 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 mel) 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 examinéd 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 pounds 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 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 meantime sojourned 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 bequeathed 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

Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who

whispers Essex. Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro

versy, Come from the country to be judged by you, That e'er I heard : shall I produce the men ?

K. John. Let them approach. [Exit Sheriff. Our abbeys and our priories shall pay Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FALCONBRIDGE,

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 Falconbridge;
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Cæeur-de-lion knighted in the field.

K. John. What art thou?
Rob. The son and heir to that same Falcon-

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 :

Full fourteen weeks before the course of time. My father gave me honour, yours gave lana.-,
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine: Now blesséd be the hour, by night or day,
My father's land, as was my father's will. When I was got, Sir Robert was away.

K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate. Eli. The very spirit of Plantaganet !--
Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him; I am thy grandame, Richard: call me so.
And if she did play false, the fault was hers : Bast. Madam, by chance, but not by truth.
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands

What though? That mårry wives. Tell me, how if my brother, Something about, a little from the right; Who, as you say, took pains to get this son, In at the window, or else o'er the hatch : Had of your father claimed this son for his ? Who dares not stir by day, must walk by night; In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept And have is have, however men do catch: This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world; Near or far off, well won is still well shot ; In sooth he might: then, if he were my brother's, And I am I, howe'er I was begot. My brother might not claim him; nor your


K. John. Go, Falconbridge: now last thou thy Being none of his, refuse hiin. This concludes:

desire; My mother's son did get your father's heir ; A landless knight makes thee a landed 'squire.Your father's heir must have your father's land. Come, madam, and come, Richard: we must speed

Rob. Shall, then, my father's will be of no force, For France, for France; for it is more than need. To dispossess that child which is not his ?

Bast.Brother, adieu:good fortune come to thee! Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, For thou wast got i' the way of honesty. Than was his will to get me, as I think.

[Exeunt all but the Bastard. Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Falcon- A foot of honour better than I was ; bridge,

But many a many foot of land the worse ! And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land; Well, now can I make any Joan a lady. Or the reputed son of Caur-de-lion ;

“Good den, Sir Richard :"_"God-a-mercy, Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?

fellow!". Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter: And I had his (Sir Robert his), like him : For new-made honour doth forget men's names; And if my legs were two such riding-rods; 'T is too respective and too sociable My arms such eel-skins stuffed ; my face so thin, For your conversion. · Now your traveller, That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose, He and his toothpick at my worship's mess; Lest men should say, “Look where three farthings And when my knightly stomach is sufficed, goes !"

Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, My pickéd man of countries :-"My dear sir," 'Would I might never stir from off this place, (Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin), I'd give it every foot to have this face:

“ I shall beseech you"—that is question now; I would not be Sir Nob in any case.

And then comes answer like an ABC-book :Eli. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy “O, sir," says answer, “at your best command; fortune,

At your employment; at your service, sir :"
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me ? “No, sir,” says question,"I, sweet sir, at yours :"
I am a soldier, and now bound to France. And so, ere answer knows what question would
Bast. Brother, take you my land; I 'll take my (Saving in dialogue of compliment,

And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a-year ; The Pyrenean, and the river Po),
Yet sell your face for fivepence, and 't is dear.- It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
Madam, I 'll follow you unto the death.

But this is worshipful society,
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. And fits the mounting spirit, like myself :
Bast.Our country manners give our betters way. For he is but a bastard to the time,
K. John. What is thy name?

That dotlı not smack of observation
Bast. Philip, my liege; so is my name begun : (And so am I, whether I smack or no);
Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son. And not alone in habit and device,
K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose Exterior form, outward accoutrement;
form thou bear'st.

But from the inward motion to deliver
Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great: Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth .
Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet.

Which, though I will not practise to deceive, Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;

For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.VOL. III. c

your hand:

But who comes in such haste, in riding robes ? Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother: What woman-post is this: hath she no husband,

where is he That will take pains to blow a horn before her? That holds in chase mine honour up and down?

Bast. My brother Robert; old Sir Robert's son; Enter LADY FALCONBRIDGE and JAMES GURNEY.

Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man: O me! it is my mother. -How now, good Is it Sir Robert's son that you seek so ? lady:

Lady F. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreveWhat brings you here to court so hastily?

rend boy.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »