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A C Τ Ι.
1. SCENE I.
A room of state in the palace. Enter king John, queen Elinor, Pembroke, Elex, and
Salisbury, with Chatillon. K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
with us? Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of
3 The Troublesome Reign of King John was written in two parts, by W. Shakespeare and W. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the present play is intirely different, and infinitely superior to it.
Pope. 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 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 Row. ley's works of any conjunction with Shakespeare: the Birth of Merlin is ascribed to them jointly ; though I cannot believe Shakespeare had any thing to do with it. Mr. Capell is equally mittaken 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 some tradition, however erroneous, upon which Mr. Pope's account was founded; I make no doubt that Rowley wrote the first King John: and when Shakespeare's play was called for, and could not be procured from the players, a piratical bookseller reprinted the old one, with W. Sh. in the titlepage. FARMER. Hall, Holinthed, Stowe, &c. are closely followed not only in B 2
In my behaviour', to the majesty,
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud ? controul of fierce and bloody
the conduct, but sometimes in the expressions 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 Hyfforie of Lord Faulconbridge, bastard Son to Richard Cordelion," was entered at Stationers' Hall, Nov. 29. 1614 ; but I have never met with it, and therefore know not whéther 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 some transactions of his reign at the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years.
THEOBALD. 6 In my 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 /peaks in my behaviour to the majefly of England; that is, the king of France speaks in the character which I here allume. 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 ambaflador's fpeech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. Johnson. controul Opposition, from controller. Johnson.
To inforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for
Controulment for controulment; so answer France.
Chat. Then take my king's defiance froin my mouth, The farthest limit of my embassy.
K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace: 9 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 fon? 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
: Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
Controulment for controulment; &c.]
“ And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.
sudden wars." STEEVENS. . 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.
manage ] i, e. conduct, administration. So, in K. Rich. II: B 3
With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for
Eli, Your strong poffeffion, much more than your
Elex: Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Conie 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 sverift. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay Re-enter Sherif' with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, bis
brother 4. This expedition's charge.- What men are you
Phil. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
common for the rebels
STEEVENS. 3 Enter the sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage direction I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.
4 and Pbilip, 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 says :-“ Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcafius de Brente, Neusterienfis, et fpurius ex parte matris, atque Baftardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat, &c."
Matt, Paris, in his History of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Fako, but in his General History, Falcains de Brente, as above.
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.” STEEVENS.
Born in Northamptonshire ; and eldest son,
K. John. What art thou ?
K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir? You came not of one mother then, it seems.
Phil. Most certain of one mother, mighty king,
put you o'er to heaven, and to my mother;
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
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
Phil. I know not why, except to get the land,
I put you
5 But for the certain knowledge of that truth,
o'er to heaven, and to my 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 Odyley, is apparent. The passage is thus translated by Chapman :
“ My mother, certaine, fayes I am his fonne;
“ By any child, the fure truth of his fire.” Mr. Pope has observed that the like sentiment is found in Euripides, Menander, and Aristotle. Shakespeare expreflcs the faine doubt in several of his other plays.. STEEVENS.