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monarch are evident in the style of the manifesto; conventional dignity is most indispensable when personal dignity is wanting. Faulconbridge ridicules the secret springs of politics without disapproving them, but frankly confesses that he is endeavoring to make his fortune by similar means, and wishes rather to belong to the deceivers than the deceived." Our commiseration is a little excited for the fallen and degraded monarch toward the close of the play. The death of the king and his previous suffering are not among the least impressive parts; they carry a pointed moral. Malone places the date of the composition in 1596.

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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 Faulconbridge.

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 Robert Faulconbridge.

Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.



SCENE I. Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.


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

Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,

In my behavior,' to the majesty,

The borrowed majesty of England here.

Eli. A strange beginning;-borrowed 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? Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.

1 In my behavior probably means "In the words and action I am now going to use."

K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for


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 sullen1 presage of your own decay.An honorable 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


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 hear.

Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers ESSEX.

Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judged by you,

[Exit Sheriff.

That e'er I heard. Shall I produce the men?
K. John. Let them approach.-
Our abbeys, and our priories, shall pay

1 i. e. gloomy, dismal.

2 i. e. conduct, administration.

Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIdge, and
PHILIP, his bastard Brother.1

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 honor-giving hand
Of Coeur-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 honor 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 honor, and my land! K. John. A good blunt fellow.-Why, being younger born,

Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

1 Shakspeare, in adopting the character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, proceeded on the following slight hint:

"Next them a bastard of the king's deceased,

A hardie wild-head, rough and venturous."

The character is compounded of two distinct personages. "Sub illius temporis curriculo Falcasius de Brente, Neusteriensis, et spurius ex parte matris, atque Bastardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat. Mathew Paris.-Holinshed says 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." Perhaps the name of Faulconbridge was suggested by the following passage in the continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543, fol. 24, 6:-" One Faulconbridge, th' erle of Kent his bastarde, a stoute-hearted man."

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