Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 MARESHALL, Earl of Pembroke. GEFFREY Fitz-PETER, Earl of Essex, Chief Justiciary

of England. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury.' ROBERT Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. HUBERT DE BURGH, Chamberlain to the King. ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, Son of Sir Robert Faulcon

bridge: PHILIP FAULCONBRIDGE, his Half-brother, bastard Son

to King Richard the First. JAMES GURNEY, Servant to Lady Faulconbridge. PETER of Pomfret, a Prophet. PHILIP, King of France. LEWIS, the Dauphin. Archduke of Austria. Cardinal PANDULPH, the Pope's Legate. MELUN, a French Lord. CHATILLON, Ambassador from France to King John. 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 to King John. Lady FAULCONBRIDGE, Mother to the Bastard and Ro

bert Faulconbridge. Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Offi

cers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants. SCENE, sometimes in ENGLAND, and sometimes in

FRANCE.

Salisbury.] Son to King Henry II. by Rosamond Clifford.

KING JOH N.

ACT I.

Scene I. - Northampton. A Room of State in the

Palace.

Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex,

SALISBURY, and Others, with CHATILLON.

King John.
Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us ?

Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,
In my behaviour", to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty of England here.

Eli. A strange beginning; borrow'd majesty!
K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island, and the territories;
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine :
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles ;
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.

K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?

· In my behaviour,] In my behaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. MALONE.

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 2 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, So much my conscience whispers in your ear; Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall hear.

and me:

Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers

Essex.
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy,

2

the manage -) i. e. conduct, administration.

Come from the country to be judged by you,
That ere I heard : Shall I produce the men ?
K. John. Let them approach.

[Exit Sheriff. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay

[ocr errors]

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 Caur-de-lion knighted in the field.

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

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 3 I be as true begot, or no,

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

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 Cour-de-lion's face, 4
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 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 dispatch'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,

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

5 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 halfgroats, as also some shillings, with half faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now.

« PreviousContinue »