Imágenes de páginas

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; Lihat With that half-face would he have all my land),

A half-faced groats five hundred pound a year!

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much ;

Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land;
Your tale must be how be 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 his 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 shores9
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; it 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;


8. The poet makes Faulconbridge allade to the silver groats of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. which had on them a half-face or protile. In the reign of John there were no groats at all, the first being coined in the reign of Edward III. The saine temptuous allusion occurs in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :

“You half-faced groat, you thick cheek'd chitty face.'

9 This is Homeric, and is thus rendered by Chapman in the first lliad :

hills enow, and farre-resounding seas Powre nat their shades and deepes betwecne.'

Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
IIad of your father claim'd this son for his ?
In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world;
In sooth, he might: then, if he were my brother's,
My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
Being none of his, refuse, him: This concludes10,-
My mother's son did get your father's heir;
Your father's heir must have your father's land.
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 Faulcon-

And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presencell, and no land beside?

Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And I had his, Sir Robert his12, like him:
And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
My arms such eel-skins stuff'd; my face so thin,
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,
Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings13

goes !


10 i, e, 'this is a decisive argument.'

11 Lord of thy presence means possessor of thy own dignified and manly appearance, resembling thy great progenitor. In Sir Henry Wotton's beautiful poem of The Happy Man we have a line resembling this :

Lord of himself, though not of lands,

And having nothing yet hath all.' 12 Sir Robert his for «Sir Robert's ;' his, according to a mig. taken notion formerly received, being the sign of the genitive

13 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 ribbon ; 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. Pol. IV.


And, to 14 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 Nob15 in any case.

Eli. 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.
Bast. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my

chance: Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year; Yet sell your face for five pence, and 'tis dear.Madam, l'll follow you unto the death. Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. Bast. Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name? 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 arisel6 more great:
Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet17.
Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your

My father gave me honour, yours gave land:
Now blessed be the hour by night or day,
When I was got, Sir Robert was away.

Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet !
I am thy grandame, Richard; call me so.
Bast. Madam, by chance, but not by truth:

What though?
Something about, a little from the right,

In at the window, or else o'er the hatch18 :

14 To his shape, i. e. in addition to it.
15 Robert.
16 The old copy reads rise.

17 Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nickname, by which a grandson of Geoffrey, the first Earl of Anjou, was distinguished from bis wearing a broom-stalk in his bonnet.

18 These expressions were common in the time of Shakspeare for being born out of wedlock.

Who dares not stir by day, must walk by night:

And have is have, however men do catch: Near or far off, well won is still well shot; And I am I, howe'er I was begot. 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.

Bast. Brother, adieu; Good fortune come to thee! For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.

[Exeunt all but the Bastard. A foot of honour better than I was; But many a many foot of land the worse. Well, now can I make any Joan a lady:-Good den 19, Sir Richard, God-a-mercy, fellow; And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter: For new-made honour doth forget men's names; "Tis too respective20, and too sociable, For your conversion21. Now your traveller22,Jle and his toothpick at my worship's mess23 ; And when my knightly stomach is suffic'd, Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise My picked man of countries24 :--My dear sir

19 Good evening.

20 Respective does not here mean respectful, as the commentators have explained it, but considerative, regardful. See Merchant of Venice, Act v. Sc. 1.

21 Change of condition.

22 It is said, in All's Well that Ends Well, that “a traveller is a good thing after dinner.' In that age of newly excited curiosity, one of the entertainments at great tables seems to have been the discourse of a traveller. To use a toothpick seems to have been one of the characteristics of a travelled man who affected foreign fashions.

23 “At my worship's mess' means at that part of the table where I, as a knight, shall be placed. See note on All's Well that Ends Well, Act' i. Sc. 2.— Your worship' was the regular address to a knight or esquire, in Shakspeare's time, as 'your honour' was to a lord.

24 My picked man of countries may be equivalent to my travelled fop: picked generally signified affected, over-nice, or curious in dress. Conquisite is explained in the dictionaries exquisitely, pikedly: 60 that our modern exquisites and dandies are of the

same race.

(Thus, leaning on my elbow, I begin),
I shall beseech you— That is question now;
And then comes answer like an AB C-book25 :
O sir, says answer, at your best command ;
At your employment; at your service, sir :
No, sir, says question, I, sweet sir, at yours:
And, so, ere answer knows what question would
(Saving in dialogue compliment;
And talking of the Alps, and Apennines,
The Pyrenean, and the river Po),
It draws towards supper in conclusion so.
But this is worshipful society,
And fits the mounting spirit, like myself:
For he is but a bastard to the time,
That doth not smack of observation26
(And so am I, whether I smack, or no);
And not alone in labit and device,
Exterior form, outward accoutrement;
But from the inward motion to deliver
Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth:
Which, though I will not practise to deceive,
Yet, to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising. -
But who comes in such haste, in riding robes ?
What woman-post is this? hath she no husband,
That will take pains to blow a horn before her27 ?

O me! it is my mother;—How now, good lady?
What brings you here to court so hastily?
Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother? where

is he, That holds in chase mine honour up and down? Bast. My brother Robert? old Sir Robert's son?

25 An ABC or absey-book, as it was then called, is a catechism,

26 i. e. he is accounted but a mean man, in the present age, who does not show by his dress, deportment, and talk, that he has travelled and made observations in foreign countries.

23 Shakspeare probably meant to insinuate that a woman who travels about like a post was likely to horn her busband.

« AnteriorContinuar »