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Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much;
BAST. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land; Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy To Germany, there, with the emperor, To treat of high affairs touching that time: The advantage of his absence took the king, And in the mean time sojourn'd at my father's; Where how he did prevail, I shame to speak : But truth is truth; large lengths of seas and shores Between my father and my mother lay, (As I have heard my father speak himself,) When this same lusty gentleman was got. Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd His lands to me; and took it, on his death, That this, my mother's son, was none of his; And, if he were, he came into the world Full fourteen weeks before the course of time. Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine, My father's land, as was my father's will.
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate ; Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him: And, if she did play false, the fault was hers; Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother, Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
they being first, as far as appears, coined in the reign of King Edward II. THEOBALD.
The same contemptuous allusion occurs in The Dow fall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
“ You balf-fac'd groat, you thick-cheek'd chitty-face.” Again, in Hifriomastix, 1610:
“ Whilft I behold yon half-fac'd minion." STBEVENS,
took it, on his death,] i. e. entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying. So, in Hamlet:
this, I take it, “ Is the main motive of our preparations." STEVENS.
Had of your father claim'd this son for his?
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
BAST. Of no more force to dispossess me, fir,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
$ This concludes,] This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, so not liking him, he is not at liberty to reject him. Johnson.
6 Lord of thy prefence, and no land befide?] Lord of thy presence means, master of that dignity and grandeur of appearance that may fufficiently diftinguish thee from the vulgar, without the help of fortune.
Lord of his presence apparently signifies, great in his own person, and is used in this sense by King John in one of the following scenes.
JOHNSON. 9 And I had his, fir Robert his, like him;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is-If I had his pape, fir Robert's as he has
Sir Robert his, for Sir Robert's, is agreeable to the practice of
Who now lives to age,
Sir Robert his, like him.
And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
goes ! 8
His according to a mistaken notion formerly received, being the fign of the genitive case. As the text before stood there was a double genitive. MALONE.
my face fo thin,
Left men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes!] In this very obscure passage our poet is anticipating the date of another coin; humorously to rally a thin face, eclipsed, as it were, by a full blown rose. We must observe, to explain this allusion, that Queen Elizabeth was the first, and indeed the only prince, who coined in England three-half-pence, and three-farthing pieces. She coined thillings, fix-pences, groats, three-pences, two-pences, threehalf-pence, pence, three-farthings, and half-pence. And these pieces all had her head,
and were alternately with the role behind, and without the role. THEOBALD.
Mr. Theobald has not mentioned a material circumstance relative to these three-farthing pieces, on which the propriety of the allusion in some measure depends; viz. that they were made of filver, and consequently extremely thin. From their thinness they were very liable to be cracked. Hence Ben Jonson, in his Every Man in his Humour, says, “ He values me at a crack'd threefarthings." MALONE. So, in The Shoemaker's Holiday, &c. 1610 :
Here's a three-penny piece for thy tidings.". “ Firk. 'Tis but three-half-pence I think: yes, 'tis three-pence; I smell the rose.” STEEVENS.
The sticking roses about them was then all the court-fashion, as appears from this passage of the Conflion Catholique du S. de Sancy, L. II. c. i: “ Je luy ay appris à mettre des roses par tous les coins," i. e. in every place about him, says the speaker, of one to whom he had taught all the court-fashions. WARBURTON.
The roles ftuck in the ear, were, I believe, only roses composed of ribbands. In Marston's What you wil, is the following passage:
“ Dapatzo the elder brother, the foul, he that bought the halfpenny ribband, wearing it in his ear,” &c.
Again, in Every Man out of his Humour: “ This ribband in my ear, or fo.” Again, in Love and Honour, by Sir W. D'Avenant, 1649:
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,'
" A lock on the left side, so rarely hung
“ With ribbanding," &c. I think I remember, among Vandyck's pictures in the Duke of Queenfbury's collection at Ambroshury, to have seen one, with the lock nearest the ear ornamented with ribbands which terminate in roses; and Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy, says, " that it was once the fashion to stick real flowers in the ear."
At Kirtling, in Cambridgeshire, the magnificent residence of the first Lord North, there is a juvenile portrait (supposed to be of Queen Elizabeth) with a red rose sticking in her ear. STEVENS. Marston in his Satires, 1598, alludes to this fashion as fantastical:
“ Ribbanded eares, Grenada nether-stocks.” And from the epigrams of Sir John Davies, printed at Middleburgh, about 1598, it appears that some men of gallantry in our author's time suffered their ears to be bored, and wore their mistress's filken shoe-strings in them. MALONE.
9 And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,] There is no noun to which were can belong, unless the personal pronoun in the line last but one be understood here. I suspect that our author wrote
And though his shape were heir to all this land, Thus the sentence proceeds in one uniform tenour. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, and I had his--and if
legs were, &c. and though his shape were heir, &c. I would give-. Malone.
The old reading is the true one. “ To his shape” means in addition to it. So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ The Greeks are strong, and skilful to their strength,
STEVENS. 2 I would not be fir Nob) Sir Nob is used contemptuously for Sir Robert. The old copy reads--It would not be-. The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. I am not sure that it is neceifary, MALONE.
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year;
ther. BAST. Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name?
Bast. Philip, my liege; so is my name begun; Philip, good old fir Robert's wife's eldest son. K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose
form thou bear'ft: Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great;* Arise fir Richard, and Plantagenet."
Bast. Brother by the mother's side, give me
My father gave me honour, yours gave land :-
i-unto the death.] This expression (a Gallicism,-à la mort) is common among our ancient writers. Steevens.
but arise more great;] The old copy reads only-rise. Mr. Malone conceives this to be the true reading, and that's is here used as a diffyllable.” I do not fupprefs this opinion, though I cannot concur in it. SteeveNS.
5 Arife fer Richard, and Plantagenet.] It is a common opinion, that Plantagenet was the surname of the royal house of England, from the time of King Henry II.; but it is, as Camden observes in his Remaines, 1614, a popular mistake. Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nick-name, by which a grandson of Geffrey, the first Earl of Anjou was distinguished, from his wearing a broomstalk in his bonnet. But this name was never borne either by the first Earl of Anjou, or by King Henry II. the son of that Earl by the Empress Maude; he being always called Henry Fitz-Empress; his son, Richard Caur-de-lion; and the prince who is exhibited in the play before us, John Jans-terre, or lack-land. MALONE. Vol. VIII.