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, Withı 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

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 lie can prove, 'a pops me out At least from fair five hundred pounds 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 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 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 tliee. 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 shamc 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 Caur-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 :


[ocr errors]

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 claimed this son for his? In sootlı, 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 himn. 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?

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 Falcon-

And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
Or the reputed son of Caur-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 :
And if my legs were two such riding-rods ;
My arms such eel-skins stuffed; my face so thin,
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,
Lest men should say, “Look where three farthings

goes !” 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 Nob in any case. Eli. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy

Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me ?
I am a soldier, and now bound to France.
Bast. Brother, take you my land; I'll take

chance :
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a-year ;
Yet sell your face for fivepence, and 't is dear.-
Madam, I 'll follow you unto the death.

Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. Bast.Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name?

Bast. Philip, my liege; so is my name begun : Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son. K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose

form thou bear'st. Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great: Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet. Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me

your hand : VOL. III.


My father gave me honour, yours gave lanå.-
Now blesséd be the hour, by night or day,
When I was got, Sir Robert was away.

Eli. The very spirit of Plantaganet !--
I am thy grandame, Richard: call me so.
Bast. Madam, by chance, but not by truth.

What though?
Something about, a little from the right;

In at the window, or else o'er the hatch :
Who dares not stir by day, must walk by night;

And have is have, however men do catch : Near or far off, well won is still well shot ; And I am I, howe'er I was begot. K. John. Go, Falconbridge: now last thou thy

desire; A landless knight makes thee a landed 'squire.Come, madam, and come, Richard: we must speed For France, for France; for it is more than need.

Bast.Brother, adieu:good fortune come to thee! For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.

[Exeunt all but the Bastard. A foot of honour better than I was; But many a many foot of land the worse! Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.“Good den, Sir Richard:"-"God-a-mercy,

fellow !" And if his name be George, I 'll call him Peter: For new-made honour doth forget men's names; 'Tis too respective and too sociable For your conversion. · Now your traveller, He and his toothpick at my worship's mess; And when my knightly stomach is sufficed, Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise My pickéd man of countries :-“My dear sir," (Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin), “I shall beseech you"—that is question now; And then comes answer like an ABC-book :“O, sir," says answer, " at your best command; At your employment; at your service, sir:” “No, sir," says question, "I, sweet sir, at yours :" And so, ere answer knows what question would (Saving in dialogue of compliment, And talking of the Alps and Apennines, The Pyrenean, and the river Po), It draws toward supper in conclusion so. But this is worshipful society, And fits the mounting spirit, like myself : For he is but a bastard to the time, That doth not smack of observation (And so am I, whether I smack or no); And not alone in habit and device, Exterior form, outward accoutrement; But from the inward motion to deliver Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth. Which, though I will not practise to deceive, Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn; For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


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