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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.
This might have been prevented and made whole,
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.
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers ESSEX.
Essex. 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
1 i. e. gloomy, dismal.
2 i. e. conduct, administration.
Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBridge, and PHILIP, his bastard Brother.1
This expedition's charge.-What men are you
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;
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
K. John. A good blunt fellow.-Why, being younger 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,
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.
That still I lay upon my mother's head;
And were our father, and this son like him ;-—
I give Heaven thanks, I was not like to thee.
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath Heaven lent us here!
Eli. He hath a trick 2 of Coeur-de-lion's face.
The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
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 groat five 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.
Between my father and my mother lay,
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force, To dispossess that child which is not his?
Bast. 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 Faulconbridge,
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, sir Robert his,3 like him;
1 i. e. "this is a decisive argument."
2 Lord of thy presence means possessor of thy own dignified and manly appearance, resembling thy great progenitor.
3 Sir Robert his, for "Sir Robert's;" his, according to a mistaken notion formerly received, being the sign of the genitive case.
And if my legs were too such riding-rods;
My arms such eel-skins stuffed; my face so thin,
Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings1
And, to 2 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 Nob3 in any case.
Eli. I like thee well.
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
Bast. Brother, take you my land; I'll take my chance.
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year;
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. Bast. Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name Sv
Bast. 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 1 more great :
Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your
hand; My father gave me honor, yours gave land.
1 Queen Elizabeth coined threepenny, threehalfpenny, and threefarthing pieces; these pieces all had her head on the obverse, and some of them a rose on the reverse. Being of silver, they were extremely thin; and hence the allusion. The roses stuck in the ear, or in a lock near it, were generally of riband; but Burton says that it was once the fashion to stick real flowers in the ear. Some gallants had their ears bored, and wore their mistresses' silken shoestrings in them.
2 To his shape, i. e. in addition to it.
4 The old copy reads rise.
5 Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nickname, by which a grandson of Geoffrey, the first earl of Anjou, was distinguished, from his wearing a broomstalk in his bonnet.