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ACT I. SCENE I.
A room of flate in the palace.
Enter king John, queen Elinor, Pembroke, Effex, and Salisbury, with Chatillon.
K. John. Now, fay, Chatillon, what would France with us?
Chat. Thus, after greeting, fpeaks the king of France,
The Troublesome Reign of King John was written in two parts, by W. Shakespeare and W. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the prefent play is intirely different, and infinitely fuperior to it.
The edition of 1611 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 John was reprinted in two parts in 1622. The first edition that I have found of this play in its prefent form, is that of 1623, in fol. The edition of 1591 I have not feen. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnson mistakes when he fays there is no mention in Rowley's works of any conjunction with Shakespeare: the Birth of Merlin is afcribed to them jointly; though I cannot believe Shakefpeare had any thing to do with it. Mr. Capell is equally miftaken when he fays (pref. p. 15.) that Rowley is called his partner in the title-page of the Merry Devil of Edmonton.
There must have been fome tradition, however erroneous, upon which Mr. Pope's account was founded; I make no doubt that Rowley wrote the firft King John: and when Shakespeare's play was called for, and could not be procured from the players, a piratical bookfeller reprinted the old one, with W. Sh. in the titlepage. FARMER.
Hall, Holinfhed, Stowe, &c. are clofely followed not only in В 2
In my behaviour, to the majesty,
Eli. A ftrange beginning;-borrow'd majefty! K. John. Silence, good mother; hear the embaffy. Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceafed brother Geffrey's fon, Arthur Plantagenet, lays moft lawful claim To this fair ifland, and the territories;
To Ireland, Poitiers, Anjou, Touraine, Mainc :
K. John. What follows, if we difallow of this?
the conduct, but fometimes in the expreffions throughout the following 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 Hyftorie of Lord Faulconbridge, baftard 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 fubject. For the original K. John, fee Six old Plays on which Shakespeare founded &c. publifhed by S. Leacroft, Charing-Crofs. 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 tranfactions of his reign at the time of his demife, being an interval of about seventeen years.
6 In my behaviour,-] The word behaviour feems here to
have a fignification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, fays the envoy, thus fpeaks in my behaviour to the majefly of England; that is, the king of France fpeaks in the character which I here aflume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambaffador as part of his master's meffage, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the king of France towards the king of England; but the ambaffador's fpeech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. JOHNSON.
1controul-1 Oppofition, from controller. JoHNSON.
To inforce these rights fo forcibly withheld. K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
Controulment for controulment; fo answer France. Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth, The fartheft limit of my embaffy.
K. John. Bear mine to him, and fo depart in peace: 9 Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
This might have been prevented, and made whole,
Which now the manage of two kingdoms muft
Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
King John's reception of Chatillon not a little resembles that which
"And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.-
9 Be thou as lightning-] The fimile does not fuit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is deftructive, and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON. fullen prefage-] By the epithet fullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now fuggefted a new idea. It is as if he had faid, be a trumpet to alarm with our invafion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognoftick of your own ruin. JOHNSON.
the manage] i. e. conduct, adminiftration. So, in K. Rich. II:
With fearful bloody iffue arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong poffeffion, and our right, for
Eli, Your ftrong poffeffion, much more than your
Or else it must go wrong with you, and me:
Enter the fheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers
Effex. My liege, here is the ftrangest controverfy, 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.Our abbies, and our priories, fhall pay
Re-enter sheriff with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, his brother +.
This expedition's charge.-What men are you?
for the rebels
"Expedient manage must be made, my liege."
3 Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage direction I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.
4 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. perfonages.
Matthew Paris fays:- Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcafus de Brente, Neufterienfis, et fpurius ex parte matris, atque Baftardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam defcenderat, &c."
Matt, Paris, in his Hiftory of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falco, but in his General Hiftory, Falcafins de Brente, as above.
Holinfhed fays, "that Richard I. had a natural fon named Philip, who in the year following killed the vifcount De Limoges to revenge the death of his father." STEEVENS.
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest fon,
Rob. The fon and heir to that fame Faulconbridge. K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir? You came not of one mother then, it feems.
Phil. Most certain of one mother, mighty king,
Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou doft shame thy mother,
And wound her honour with this diffidence,
Phil. I, madam? no, I have no reafon 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.
5 But for the certain knowledge of that truth,
The refemblance between this fentiment and that of Telemachus in the first book of the Ody, is apparent. The paffage is thus tranflated by Chapman :
"My mother, certaine, fayes I am his fonne;
Mr. Pope has obferved that the like fentiment is found in Euripides, Menander, and Ariftotle. Shakespeare expreffes the faine doubt in feveral of his other plays. STEEVENS.