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THOUGH this play have the title of the Life and Death of King John, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life ; and takes in only some transactions of his reign to the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years.

THEOBALD. There is extant another play of King John, published in 1591. Shakspeare has preserved the greatest part of the conduct of it, as well as a number of the lines. The number of quotations from Horace, and similar scraps of learning scattered over this motly piece, ascertain it to have been the work of a scholar. It contains likewise a quantity of rhyming Latin, and ballad-metre ; and in a scene where the Bastard is represented as plundering a monastery, there are strokes of humour, which seem, from their particular turn, to have been most evidently produced by another hand than that of our au. thor.

Of this historical drama there is a subsequent edition in 1611, printed for John Helme, whose name appears before none of the genuine pieces of Shakspeară. I admitted this play some years ago as our auihör's own, among the twenty which I published from the old editions ; but a more careful perusal of it, and a further conviction of his custom of borrow. ing plots, sentiments, &c. disposes is to recede from that opinion

Hall, Holinshed, Stowe, &c. are ccsely followed nct only in the conduct, but sometimes in the very expressions throughout the following historical dramas, viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard 11. Henry IV. 2 parts, Henry V. Henry VI. 3 parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII.

STEEVENS. The tragedy of King Fohn, though not written with the ut. most power of Shakspeare, is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters. The lady's grief is very affecting, and the character of the Bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity which this author delighted to exhibit.




King Joun:
Prince HENRY, his son ; afterwards king Henry III.
ARTHUR, duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late duke

of Bretagne, the elder brother of king John. WILLIAM MARESHALL, earl of Pembroke. GEFFREY FITz-PETER, earl of Essex, chief justicia

ry of England. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, earl of Salisbury. ROBERT BIGOT, carl of Norfolk. HUBERT DE BURGH, chamberlain to the king. ROBERT FAULGONBRIDGE, son of Sir Robert Faul

conbridge : PHILIP ŠAULCONBRIDGE, his half-brother, bastard

son to king Richard the first. JAMES GURNEY, servant to Lady Faulconbridge. PETER of Pomfret, a prophet. PHILIP, king of France. Lewis, the dauphis. Arck-duke of Austria...: Cardinal PANDULPH, the pope's legate. MELUN, 8 French tord.. CHATILLON, amb desador from France to king John.

ELINOR, Who widow of king Henry II. and mother of

king föhn: CONSTANCE, mother to Arthur. BLANCH, daughter to Alphonso, king of Castile, and

niece to king John. Lady FAULCONBRIDGE, mother to the bastard, and

Robert Faulconbridge.

Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Ättendants.

SCENE-sometimes in England, and sometimes in





SCENE I.- Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex, SalISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.


King John. ow, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?

Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France,
In my behaviour,' to the majesty,
The horrow'd majesty of England here.

Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
To this fair island, and the territories ;
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine ;
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles ;
And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.

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 : [1] 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. JOHNS. [2] Opposition, from controller. JOHNS.

2 VOL. IV.

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