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Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whis
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro
K. John. Let them approach.-
Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE,
and Philip, his bastard Brother.
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
K. John. What art thou?
bridge. 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 my mother; Of that I doubt, as all men's children
may. Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame
Bast. I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
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.
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 fa
ther; With that half-faces would he have all
land: A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year !
• But whe'r -] Whe'r for whether.
• He hath a trick of Cæur-de-lion's face,] By a trick, in this place, is meant some peculiarity of look or motion.
5 With that half-face —] The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that bore the king's face in profile, so showed but half the face: the groats of all our Kings of England, and indeed all their other coins of silver, one or two only excepted, had a full face crowned; till Henry VII. at the time above-mentioned, coined groats, and half-groats, as also some shillings, with half-faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now.
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father
livd, 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
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
wives. Tell me, how if 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,
took it, on his death,] i. e. entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying.
My mother's son did get your father's heir;
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
? Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?] Lord of his presence apparently signifies, great in his own person, and is used in this sense by King John in one of the following scenes.
8 And I had his, sir Robert his, like him;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is-If I had his shape, sir Robert's us he has.
my face so thin,
Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes!] In this very obscure passage our poet is anticipating the date of another silver coin; humorously to rally a thin face, eclipsed, as it were, by a full blown rose. We must observe, to explain this allusion, that Queen Elizabeth was the first, and indeed the only prince, who coined in England three-half-pence, and three farthing pieces.
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,] “ To his shape," means, in addition to the shape he had been just describing.
Eli. I like thee well; Wilt thou forsake thy for
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
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:
Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet !
? I would not be sir Nob —] Sir Nob is used contemptuously for Sir Robert.
3 Arise sir Richard, and Plantagenet.] It is a common opinion, that Plantagenet was the surname of the royal house of England, from the time of King Henry II. but it is, as Camden observes, in his Remaines, 1614, a popular mistake. Plantagenet was not a family name, but a nick-name, by which a grandson of Geffrey, the first Earl of Anjou, was distinguished, from his wearing a broom -stalk in his bonnet. But this name was never borne either by the first Earl of Anjou, or by King Henry II. the son of that Earl by the Empress Maude; he being always called Henry Fitz-Empress ; his son, Richard Cæur-de-lion; and the prince who is exhibited in the play before us, John sans--terre, or lack-land. Malone.