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Between my father and my mother lay
mother's son was none of his;
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate ;
my brother, Who, as you say, took pains to get this son, Had 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 concludes 10, 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,
10 i. e. 'this is a decisive argument.'
" Lord of thy presence means possessor of thy own dignified and manly appearance, resembling thy great progenitor. In Sir Henry
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, Sir Robert his 12, like him : And if my legs were too 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-farthings 13
And, to 14 his shape, were heir to all this land,
Eli. I like thee well; Wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
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 mistaken 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. 14 To his shape, i. e. in addition to it.
15 Robert. VOL. IV.
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 16 more great: Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet 17. Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your
hand; 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 !-
In at the window, or else o’er the hatch 18 :
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 bast 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. 16 The old copy reads rise.
Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nick-name, by which a grandson of Geoffrey, the first Earl of Anjou, was distinguished from his wearing a broom-stalk in his bonnet.
18 These expressions were common in the time of Shakspeare for being born out of wedlock.
Well, now can I make any Joan a lady:-
-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 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: so that our modern exquisites and dandies are of the
25 An ABC or absey-book, as it was then called, is a catechism.
It draws towards supper in conclusion so.
is he, That holds in chase mine honour
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.
27 Shakspeare probably meant to insinuate that a woman who travels about like a post was likely to horn her husband.
28 Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick discomfited in the presence of King Athelstan. The History of Guy was a popular book in the poet's age. Drayton has de scribed the combat very pompously in his Polyolbion.