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K. John.

Do'st thou understand me?
Thou art his keeper.

Act III. Scene 3.

KING JOHN.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-England. The Palace.-Flourish of

Drums and Trumpets.
KING John, upon the throne, QUEEN ELINOR, Essex,

SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, HUBERT, CHATILLON,
English and French Gentlemen, and English Guards,
discovered.
K. John. [Seated.] Now say, Chatillon, what would

France with us?
Cha. (L.) Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of

France,
In my behaviour, to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty, of England here-

Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty !
K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy.
Cha. (L.) Philip of France, in right and true be-

half
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 :
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles,
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.

K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?

Cha. The proud control of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for

blood, Controlment for controlment : so answer France.

Cha. 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 can'st 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; Hubert, look to't :-Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt CHATILLON, HUBERT, and the

French Gentlemen, L.
Eli. [Seated L. of the throne.] 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.

Enter ENGLISH HERALD, L., who whispers Essex.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your

right;
Or else it must go wrong with you and me.

Ess. 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.-.

[Exit English HERALD, L. Our abbeys and our priories shall pay This expedition's charge.

Enter ENGLISH HERALD, with Philip and Robert

FAULCONBRIDGE, L.
What men are you? [Exit ENGLISH HERALD, L.

Faul. (L.) Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge ;
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Cour-de-Lion, knighted in the field.

K. John. What art thou ?
Rob. (L.) The son and lieir to that same Faulcon-

bridge

it ;

K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ? You came not of one mother, then, it seems.

Faul. 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 honour with this diffidence.

Faul. (L. C.) I, madam ? no, I have no reason for 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 pounds a year: Heav'n 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 ?

Faul. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whether I 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 ;-
0, old Sir Robert, father, on my knee,
I give Heaven thanks, I was not like to thee.
K. John. Why, what a mad-cap Heaven hath lent us

here! Eli. [To the King.] He hath a trick of Ceur-de

Lion's face;
The accent of his tongue affecteth him :
Do you not read some token of my son
In the large composition of this man ?

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?

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father lived,
Your brother did employ my father much ;-
Faul. 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 bis 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
Your father's heir must have your father's land.

Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no use,
To dispossess that child, which is not his ?

Faui. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.

Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbriage, And, like thy brother, to enjoy thy land, Or the reputed son of Ceur-de-Lion, Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?

Faul. Madam, and if my brother had my shape And I had his, Sir Robert his, like him; And if my legs were two such riding rods ; My arms such eel-skins stuff?d; my face so thin And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, 'Would I might never stir from off this place, I'd give it every foot to have this face ; I would not be Sir Bob in any case. Eli. I like thee well: Wilt thou forsake thy for

tune, Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me? I am a soldier, and now bound to France. Faul. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my

chance ! Your face hath got five hundred pound a year ;

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