Imágenes de páginas

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 'dis-allow of this?
Chat. 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 'auswer France.
Chat. Then take my King's 'defiance from my mouth-

The farthest 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 honourable 'conductlet him have ;
Pembroke, look to 't. Farewell, Chatillon. (Ex. Chat. & Pem.

The Queen Mother turns to the King :
Q. El. 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 manager of two kingdoms must,

With fearful bloody issue, arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong possession and our right for 'us.
Q. El. Your strong 'possession much more than your right;

Or else it must go 'wrong with you and me. The Sheriff of Northampton has been in conversation with Lord Essex, who now addresses the King : 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.—

Our abbeys, and our priories, shall 'pay

This expedition's charge. The Sheriff returns, followed by two young men, sons of the deceased Sir Robert Faulconbridge; the one robust and noble in appearance, the other mean and contemptible. The King inquires : 2 Compulsion. 3 Escort, guard.

4 Armed power.

[Exit Sheriff.

[To Robert.

K. John.

What men are 'you ?
Faul. 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 Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
K. John. What art 'thou?
Rob. The son and 'heir to that same Faulconbridge.
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 that I doubt,—as all 'men's children may. Q. El. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost'shame thy mother,

And wound her honour with this diffidence.
Faul. 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 born,

Doth be lay claim to 'thine inheritance?
Faul. I know not why,-except to get the land.

But once he jeered me as King 'Richard's son ;
And that I am as 'nobly born as he,
Compare our faces and be judge yourself.
If old Sir Robert's sons were needs 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 us here!
Q. El. He'bath a trick’ of Coeur-de-lion's face.

Do 'you not read some tokens of 'my son

In the large composition of this man?
K. John. Mine eye hath well examinéd his parts,

And finds them 'perfect 'Richard.—Sirrah, speak: [Rob.

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 :
Upon his death-bed, he, by will bequeathed
His lands to 'me; and took it, on his death,
That this—my 'mother's son—was none of 'his;
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 'heir must have your father's land.
2 Colloquial form of he.

3 Peculiar expression,

Rob. Shall then my father's 'will be of no force

To 'dispossess that child which is not his ?
Queen Elinor's grandmotherly shrewdness anticipates the royal
decision : She addresses the robust claimant :
Q. El. Whether hadst thou rather be a 'Faulconbridge,

And like thy brother to enjoy thy 'land ?
Or the 'reputed son of Cour-de-lion,

Lord of thy presence, and 'no land beside ?
Faul. Madam, ... an if my brother had 'my shape,

And I had 'his (Sir Robert's his, like 'him ;)
And if my 'legs were two such riding-rods,
My 'arms such eel-skins stuffed, 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 Nob in

any case! 2. El. I like thee well. Wilt thou 'forsake thy fortune,

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

Your face hath got five hundred 'pound a year,
Yet sell your face for five 'pence, and 'tis dear !-

Madam, I'll follow 'you unto the 'death!
Q. El. Nay, I would have you go 'before me thither.
Faul. Our country manners give our 'betters way.

The amused King inquires :
K. John. What is thy name?
Faul. Philip, my liege; so is my name 'begun;

Philip good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son.
K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose 'form

thou bear'st:
Kneel thou down 'Philip, but 'arise more great ;-

Arise 'Sir'Richard, and Plantagenet.
Faul. Brother by the mother's side, give me your hand:

'My father gave me 'honour, yours gave 'land. K. John. Go, Faulconbridge: now hast thou thy 'desire :

A landless Knight makes 'thee a landed Squire.
Come, madam; and come, Richard; we must 'speed
For France; for 'France! for it is 'more than need. (Exeunt.
acknowledged father of Faulconbridge :) Philip King of France,
and forces : Lewis the Dauphin: the Lady Constance; and her
son Prince Arthur. The Dauphin speaks:
Lew. Before Angiers’ well met, brave Austria.

[To Robert

We must now imagine ourselves in France, before the gates of Angiers, the capital of the province of Anjou. Outside the gates stand-the Arch-duke of Austria (wearing the lion's skin, which he had taken as a spoil from King Richard Caur-de-lion, now the

2 Of thy own person only. 3 Modern name, Angers (in Maine and Loire).

Arthur,—that great forerunner of thy blood,
Richard, (that robbed the lion of his heart,
And fought the Holy Wars in Palestine,)
By this brave Duke came early to his grave:
And, for 'amends to his posterity,
At our importance’ hither is he come,
To spread his colours, boy, in 'thy behalf.

Embrace him, love him, give him 'welcome hither.
Arth. Heaven shall forgive you Coeur-de-lion's 'death,

The rather that you give his offspring 'life:
I 'give you welcome with a powerless 'hand,
But with a 'heart full of unstainéd love :

Welcome before the gates of Angiers, Duke.
Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,

As 'seal to this indenture of my love,-
That to my home I will no more return,
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides;
Even till that 'England, hedged-in with the main,
Salute 'thee for her King: 'till then, fair boy,

Will I not 'think of home, but follow 'arms.
L. Con. O, take his mother's 'thanks, -a 'widow's thanks,-

Till your strong hand shall help to give 'him strength,
To make a 'more requital to your love!
But stay an answer to your embassy ;
My Lord Chatillon may from England bring

That right in 'peace, which here we urge in war. (Euter Chat. K. Phi. A wonder, lady! lo, upon thy 'wish,

Our messenger Chatillon is arrived !

What England says, say 'briefly, gentle lord.
Cha. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege

And stir them up against a 'mightier task.
England, impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in 'arms: The adverse winds
(Whose leisure I have stayed) have given him time
To 'land bis legions, all as soon as I;
With him along is come the Mother-Queen,
An Até,* stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the Lady Blanch of Spain;
2 Importunity.

3 Chalky.

4 The goddess of all evil.

With them a kinsman of the King deceased ;
And 'all the unsettled humours of the land :
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits
Did never float upon the swelling tide,
To do offence and scath in Christendom.
The interruption of their churlish drums
Cuts off 'more circumstance: they are at hand,
To parley, or to 'fight; therefore prepare !

[Drums heard.

The English forces have landed, headed by King John, who is accompanied by his mother Queen Elinor, his niece the Lady Blanch of Castile, and by Faulconbridge, now appointed Commander of the English army. We may imagine the indignant contempt of Faulconbridge, as he scowls on the Archduke of Austria, wearing the lion's skin;—the slayer, wrapped in the spoil of his royal father. King John opens the conference: K. John. Peace be to France,—if France 'in peace permit

Our just and lineal entrance to our own :

If not, bleed France; and peace ascend to heaven !
K. Phi. Peace be to 'England,—if that war 'return

From France to England, 'there to live in peace.-
Look here—upon thy brother 'Geffrey's face ;
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of 'his:
That Geffrey was thy 'elder brother born,
And this his 'son ; England was 'Geffrey's right,
And 'this is Geffrey's : In the name of heaven,
How comes it then that 'thou art called a King ?-
When living blood doth in these temples beat,

Which own the crown that thou o'ermasterest ?
K. John. From whom hast thou this great commission,


To draw my 'answer to thy articles ?
K. Phi. From that Supernal Judge that stirs good thoughts

In 'any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of 'right:
That Judge hath made me guardian to this boy:

Under whose warrant I 'impeach thy wrong.
K. John. Alack! thou dost 'usurp authority.
K. Phi. Excuse ; it is to beat usurping 'down.

Queen Elinor, and the Lady Constance, aroused by this royal
disputation, instantly advance :
Q. El. Who is it thou dost call 'usurper, France ?
Ž. Con. Let 'me make answer :-Thy usurping 'son.

2 Men of unfixed disposition.

« AnteriorContinuar »