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Bretagne, the elder brother of king John.
Richard the First.
Elinor, the widow of king Henry II, and mother of king
John. Constance, mother to Arthur. Blanch, daughter to Alphonso, king of Castile, and niece
to king John. Lady Faulconbridge, mother to the bastard, and Robert
Lords, ladies, citizens of Angiers, sheriff, heralds, officers,
soldiers, messengers, and other Attendants.
Salisbur;.] Son to King Henry II, by Rosamond Clifford. Steeiens,
ACT I.....SCENE I.
Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, Queen Elinor, PEMBROKE, Essex,
SALISBURY, and Others, with CHATILLON.
K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
Eli. A strange beginning;-borrow'd majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
1 In my behaviour,] The word behaviour seems here to have a signification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, says the envoy, thus speaks in my behaviour to the majesty of England; that is, the King of France speaks in the character which I here assume. I once thought that these twu lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambassador, as a part of his master's message, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the King of France towards the King of England; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. Johnson. In my behaviour means, in the manner that I now do.
M. Mason. In my behaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. So, in the fifth Act of this play, the Bastard says to the French king
- Now hear our English king,
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?
Char. The proud controla of fierce and bloody war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. K. Jorn. Here have we war for war, and blood for
blood, Controlment for controlment: so answer France.3
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;
control -] Opposition, from controller. Johnson. I think it rather means constraint or compulsion. So, in the second Act of King Henry V, when Exeter demands of the King of France the surrender of his crown, and the King answers—"Or else what follows?” Exeter replies:
“Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown
“Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it." The passages are exactly similar. M. Mason. 3 Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
Controlment for controlment : &c.] King John's reception of Chatillon not a little resembles that which Andrea meets with from the King of Portugal, in the first part of Jeronimo, &c. 1605: “ And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.“ Bal. Tribute for tribute then; and foes for foes.
I bid you sudden wars." Steevens. 4 Be thou as lightning -] The similie does not suit well: the lightning, indeed, appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent. Johnson.
The allusion may, notwithstanding, be very proper, so far as Shakspeare had applied it, i. e. merely the swiftness of the light. ning, and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is some reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, Act III, sc. ii, Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, sc. V, Julius Cæsar, Act I, sc. iii, and still more decisively in Measure for Measure, Act II, sc. ii. This old superstition is still prevalent in many parts of the country. Ritson.
King John does not allude to the destructive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only means to say that Chatillon shall appear to the eyes of the French like lightning, which shows that thunder is approaching: and the thunder he alludes to is that of his cannon. Johnson also forgets, that though, philoso
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
[texeunt Chat. and Pem.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.
phically speaking, the destructive power is in the lightning, it
“You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Singe my white head!” M. Mason.
sullen presage — ) By the epithet sullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Fohnson.
I do not see why the epithet sullen may not be applied to a trumpet, with as much propriety as to a bell. In our author's King Henry IV, P. II, we find
" Sounds ever after as a sullen bell ." Malone. That here are two ideas is evident; but the second of them has not been luckily explained. The sullen presage of your own decay, means, the dismal passing bell, that announces your own approaching dissolution. Steevens.
the manage --] i. e. conduct, administration. So, in K. Richard II:
for the rebels “ Expedient manage must be made, my liege.” Steevens.
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. Qur abbies, and our priories, shall pay Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE, and
PHILIP, his bastard Brother. 8
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
K. John. What art thou?
7 Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage direction I have taken from the old quarto. Steevens.
8 and Philip, his bastard Brother.] Though Shakspeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two distinct personages.
Matthew Paris says: “ 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, &c.
Matthew Paris, in his History of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falce, but in his General History, Falcasius de Brente, as above.
Holinshed says that “ Richard I, had a natural son named Phi. lip, who in the year following, killed the Viscount De Limoges, to revenge the death of his father. Steevens.
Perhaps the following passage in the continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543, fol. 24, b. ad ann. 1472, induced the author of the old play to affix the name of Faulconbridge to King Richard's natural son, who is only mentioned in our histories by the name of Philip: " - one Faulconbridge, therle of Kent, his bastarde, a stoute-harted man.”
Who the mother of Philip was is not ascertained. It is said that she was a lady of Poictou, and that King Richard bestowed upon her son a lordship in that province.
In expanding the character of the Bastard; Shakspeare seems to have proceeded on the following slight hint in the original play:
“Next them, a bastard of the king's deceas’d,