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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 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;
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 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.
This might have been prevented and made whole,
Which now the manage 2 of two kingdoms must
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your right;
Or else it must go wrong with you, and me.
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, 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
This expedition's charge.-What men are you?
Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.
Bast. Most certain of one mother, mighty king;
Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy
And wound her honor with this diffidence.
Bast. I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
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,
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."
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
And were our father, and this son like him ;-
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 2 of Coeur-de-lion's face;
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 groat3 five hundred pound 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
2 Shakspeare uses the word trick generally in the sense of "a peculiar air, or cast of countenance or feature."
3 The Poet makes Faulconbridge allude to the silver groats of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., which had on them a half-face or profile. In the reign of John, there were no groats at all, the first being coined in the reign of Edward III.
Between my father and my mother lay,
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather, bridge,
be a Faulcon
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, sir Robert his,3 like him;
1 i. e. "this is a decisive argument."
2 Lord of thy presence means possessor of thy own dignified and manly appearance, resembling thy great progenitor.
Sir Robert his, for "Sir Robert's;" his, according to a mistaken notion formerly received, being the sign of the genitive case.