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Bretagne, the elder Brother of King John.
England. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury. Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. HUBERT DE Burgh, Chamberlain to the King. Robert FAULCONBRIDGE, Son of Sir Robert Faulcon
bridge. Philip FAULCONBRIDGE, his Half-brother, Bastard Son
to King Richard the First.
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
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
Enter King John, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Es
SEX, SALISBURY, and others, with Chatillon. King John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
Eli. A strange beginning ;-—borrowed majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
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. 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 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,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your
right; 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
K. John. Let them approach.-
[Exit Sheriff. Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and
1 i. e. gloomy, dismal.
2 i. e. conduct, administration.
Philip, his bastard Brother.
Bast. Your faithful subject, I, a gentleman,
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.
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
'a 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 young
er 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.”
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land. But once he slandered me with bastardy: But whe'r? | be as true begot, or no, That still I lay upon my mother's head; But, that I am as well begot, my liege, (Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me !) Compare our faces, and be judge yourself. If old sir Robert did beget us both, And were our father, and this son like him ;O, old sir Robert, father, on my knee I give Heaven thanks, I was not like to thee. K. John. Why, what a madcap hath Heaven lent
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 groatfive 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.