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SCENE I. Northampton. A Room of State
in the Palace.
Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE,
Essex, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
| In my behaviour probably means ' In the words and action I am now going to use. In the fifth act of this play the Bastard says to the French king :
Now hear our English king,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles;
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 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 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 3
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,
2 Control here means constraint or compulsion. In the second act of King Henry V. when Exeter demands of the King of France the surrender of his crown, the king answers,
• Or else what follows ? and Exeter replies :
• Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown
Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it.' 3 i. e. gloomy, dismal. Thus in King Henry VI. Part 11. Act i. Sc 2:
Why are thy eyes fixed on the sullen earth ?' And in King Richard II. Act i. Sc. 3 :
• The sullen passage of thy weary steps.' So Milton in his Sonnet to his friend Lawrence:
belp waste a sullen day.'
With very easy arguments of love!
K.John. Our strong possession, and our right
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong
you, 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, 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.
[Exit Sheriff. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE,
and PHILIP, his bastard Brother5.
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
for the rebels Expedient manage must be made, my liege.' 5 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 deceas’d,
A hardie wild-head, rough and venturous.' 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.—Holįnshed 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.'
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest son,
K. John. What art thou ?
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
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 whe'r 6 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;() 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! Eli. He hath a trick7 of Cæur-de-lion's face, The accent of his tongue affecteth him: Do you
not read some tokens 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?
Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my fatber; With that half face would he have all
land: A half-faced groat8 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 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 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 shores 9
7 Shakspeare uses the word trick generally in the sense of a peculiar air or cast of countenance or feature. Thus in All's Well that Ends Well, Act i. Sc. 1 :
• Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.' And in King Henry IV. Part 1.:- That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly mine own opinion; but chiefly a villanous trick of thine eye.'
8 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. The same contemptuous allusion occurs in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601:
* You half-fac'd groat, you thick cheek’d chitty face.' 9 This is Homeric, and is thus rendered by Chapman in the first Iliad :
hills enow, and farre-resounding seas Powre out their shades and deepes betweene.'