Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

A C Τ Ι.

SCENE I.

Northampton.

A room of state in the palace. Enter king John, queen Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, and

Salisbury, with Chatillon. K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France

with us? Chat. Thus, after grecting, speaks the king of France,

In

5 The Troublefome Reign of King Fohn was written in two parts, by W. Shakespeare and W. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the present play is intirely different, and infinitely fuperior to it.

Pope. The edition of s6n1 has no mention of Rowley, nor in the account of Rowley's works is any mention made of his conjunction with Shakespeare in any play. King fohn was reprinted in two parts in 1622. The first edition that I have found of this play in its present form, is that of 1623, in fol. The edition of

1591

I have not seen. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson mistakes when he says there is no mention in Rowley's works of any conjunction with Shakespeare: the Birth of Merlin is ascribed to them jointly ; though I cannot believe Shake. speare had any thing to do with it. Mr. Capell is equally miitaken when he says (pref. p. 15.) that Rowley is called his partner in the title-page of the Merry Devil of Edmonton.

There must have been foine tradition, however erroneous, upon which Mr. Pope's account was founded; I make no doubt that Rowley wrote the finit King John: and when Shakelpeare's play was called for, and could not be procured from the players, a pi. ratical bookseller reprinred the old one, with W. Sh. in the title, page. FARMER. Hall, Holinsed, Stowe, &c. are closely followed not only in B 2.

the

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 embaffy:

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays moft lawful claim
To this fair island, and the territories ;
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine :
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which fways 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
Chat. The proud ? controul of fierce and bloody

war,

the condu&, but sometimes in the expreflions throughout the fol. lowing historical dramas; viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard II. Henry IV. 2 parts, Henry V. Henry VI. 3 parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII

" A booke called The Hyfforie of Lord Falconbridge, bastard Son to Richard Cordelion," was entered at Stationers' Hall, Nov. 29. 1614; but I have never met with it, and therefore know not whether it was the old black letter history, or a play on the fame subject. For the original K. John, fee Six old plays on which Shakespeare founded &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing-Cross. STEEVENS.

Though this play hath the title of The Life and Death of King John, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life; and takes in only fome transactions of his reign at the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years.

THEOBALD. In behaviour, ] 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 character which I here assume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambassador as part of his master's message, and that behaviour had meant the "conduct of the king of France towards the king of England ; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning.' Johnson. 1 _controul] Opposition, from controller. JOHNSON.

To

6

my

To inforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for

blood, Controulment for controulment; 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 Chat. and Pem. 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 muit

With

66 And.

8 Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,

Controulment for controulment; &c.] King John's reception of Chatillon not a little resembles that which Andrea meets with from the king of Portugal in the first part

of Jeronimo &c. 1605 :

" And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.
66 Bal. Tribute for tribute then; and foes for foes.

-I bid

you
sudden wars.'

STEEVỀNS. ? Be thou as lightning — The fimile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent. Johnson.

fullen presage ] By the epithet fullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Johnson.

• the

manage -] i. c. conduct, administration. So, in K. Rich. II: B 3

• for

2

With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for

US.

me :

Eli. Your strong poffeffion, much more than

your right; Or else it must

go wrong

with
you,

and
So much my conscience whispers in your ear;
Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall hear.
Enter the fizeriff of Northamptonshire, wha whispers

Elsex. Ellex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judg’d by you, That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men?

K. John. Let them approach.-- [Exit sheriff Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay Re-enter sheriff with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, his

brother 4. This expedition's charge.-What men are you

Phil. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,

2

anson for the rebels
“ Expedient manage must be made, my liege.

STEEVENS, 3 Enter the sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage direction I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.

- and Philip, his brother.] Though Shakespeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two distinct personages.

Matthew Paris fays :-"Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcafus de Brente, Neuiterienfis, et fpurius ex parte matris, atque Baitardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat, &c."

Matt. Paris, in his Hiftory of the Monks of St. Albans, calls hiin Falco, but in his General History, Falcafus de Brento, as above, Holinthed says,

66 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,” STEEVENS.

Born

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 Faulçonbridge.

K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ? You came not of one inother then, it seems.

Phil. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, That is well known; and, as I thịnk, 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.

Phil. 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 ?

Phil. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he Nander'd me with bastardy :
But whe'r I be as true begot, or no,

s But for the certain knoruledge of that truth,
I put you o'er to heaven, and to

mother; Of that I doubt, as all men's children may. ] The resemblance between this sentiment and that of Telemachus in the first book of the Odyfey, is apparent. The passage is thus tranflated by Chapman :

66 My mother, certaine, sayes I am his fonue;
" I know not; nor was ever fimply knowne,

By any child, the sure truth of his fire." Mr. Pope has observed that the like sentiment is found in Euripi. des, Menander, and Aristotle. Shakespeare expresses the same doubt in several of his other plays. STEEVENS.

That

ту

В 4

« AnteriorContinuar »