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some "commodity” to offer which shall draw sustain this laceration, and that the effects them

should pass away when Constance quits the "To a most base and vile-concluded peace.” stage? The remembrance of Constance can With what skill has Shakspere, whilst he never be separated from the after-scenes in thus painted the spirit of the chivalrous which Arthur appears; and at the very last, times,-lofty in words, but sordid in acts, when the poison has done its work upon the given us a running commentary which in- guilty king, we can scarcely help believing terprets the whole in the sarcasms of the Bas- that the spirit of Constance hovers over him, tard! But amidst all the clatter of conven- and that the echo of the mother's cries is tional dignity which we find in the speeches even more insupportable than the “burn'd of John, and Philip, and Lewis, and Austria, bosom" and the "parch'd lips,” which neithe real dignity of strong natural affections ther his "kingdom's rivers” nor the "bleak rises over the pomp and circumstance of winds” of the north “can comfort with regal ambition with a force of contrast which cold.” By the magic of the poet, the interis little less than sublime. The maternal val of fourteen years between the death of terror and anguish of Constance soon be- Arthur and the death of John is annihilated. come the prominent objects; and the rival Causes and consequences, separated in the kings, the haughty prelate, the fierce knights, proper history by long digressions and tethe yielding citizens, appear but as puppets dious episodes, are brought together. The moved by destiny to force on the most bitter death of Arthur and the events which marked

of that broken-hearted mother. the last days of John were separated in their Matchless as is the art of the poet in these cause and effect by time only, over which scenes ;-matchless as an exhibition of ma- the poet leaps. In the chroniclers we have ternal sorrow only, apart from the whirlwind manifold changes of fortune in the life of of conflicting passions that are mixed up John after Arthur of Brittany has fallen. In with that sorrow;-are we to believe that Shakspere, Arthur of Brittany is at once Shakspere intended that our hearts should revenged.



KING John.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2.
Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc 3. Act IV. sc. 2.

Act V. sc 1; sc. 3; sc. 7.
PRINCE HENRY, son to King John; afterwards

King Henry III.

Appears, Act V. sc. 7. ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey,

late Duke of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John. Appears, Act II. sc. 1. Act III. sc. I; sc. 2; sc. 3.

Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. WILLIAM MARESHALL, Earl of Pembroke. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4. GEFFREY Fitz-PETER, Earl of Essex, chief

justiciary of England.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 7. ROBERT Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. Appears, Act IV. sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 7. HUBERT DE BURGH, chamberlain to the King.

Appears, Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 6. ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, son of Sir Robert


Appears, Act I. sc. 1. PHILIP FAULCONBRIDGE, half-brother to Ro

bert Faulconbridge, bastard son to King Richard I.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. l; sc. 2.
Act III. sc. I; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3.

Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 6; sc. 7.

James GURNEY, servant to Lady Faulcon


Appears, Act I. sc. 1.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 2.

PHILIP, King of France. Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4.

LEWIS, the Dauphin. Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4.

Act V. sc. 2; sc. 5.

ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA. Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. CARDINAL PANDULPH, the Pope's legate. Appears, Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.

Melun, a French lord.

Appears, Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4. CHATILLON, ambassador from France to

King John. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. I. ELINOR, the widow of King Henry II., and

mother of King John. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2.

Act III. sc. 1; sc, 3. CONSTANCE, mother to Arthur. Appears, Act II, sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4. BLANCH, daughter to Alphonso, King of

Castile, and niece to King John.

Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1. LADY FAULCONBRIDGE, mother to the Bastard

and Robert Faulconbridge.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1.

Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriffs,

Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.


In the original edition we have no ‘Names of the Actors.'

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

SCENE 1.—Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.



KING JOHN. Now say, Chatillon, what would France with us ?
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,

In my behaviour", to the majesty,

The borrow'd majesty of England here.
El. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
K. John. Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.

a Behaviour. Haviour, behaviour, is the manner of having, the conduct.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf

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?
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 answer 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 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, for us.
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 ESSEX.
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy,

a Manage has, in Shakspere, the same meaning as management and managery,—which, applied to a state is equivalent to government. Prospero says of Antonio:

" He whom, next thyself,
Of all the world I lov'd, and to him put
The manage of my state."

Come from the country to be judg'd by you,

That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men ? K. John. Let them approach.

Our abbeys, and our priories, shall pay

[Exit Sheriff.

Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and Philip, his bastard Brother.

This expedition's charge.--What men are you?
Bast. 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. 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.
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 honour, 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
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 he lay claim to thine inheritance ?
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.

But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whera 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 ;
O old sir Robert, father, knee

I give Heaven thanks I was not like to thee. à Wher. This in the original is where; it is sometimes wher. The word, however spelt, has the meaning of whether, but does not appear to have been written as a contraction either by Shakspere or his contemporaries.

on my

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