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Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whis

pers Essex.

Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro

versy,
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.-
Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay

[Exit Sheriff.

Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE,

and Philip, his bastard Brother.
This expedition's charge.-What men are you ?

Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge;
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Cæur-de-lion knighted in the field.

K. John. What art thou?
Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulcon-

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

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!

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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'rI 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;
O 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 trick of Caur-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 fa

ther; With that half-faces would he have all

my

land: A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year !

a

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.

a

6

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
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
Between my father and my mother lay,
(As I have heard my father speak himself,)
When this same lusty gentleman was got.
Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd
His lands to me; and took it, on his death,
That this, my mother's son, was none of his;
And, if he were, he came into the world
Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
My father's land, as was my father's will.

K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him:
And, if she did play false, the fault was hers;
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
That
marry

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;
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,
Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather,-be a Faulcon-

bridge,
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
Or the reputed son of Caur-de-lion,
Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ??

Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
And I had his, sir Robert his, like him;
And if my legs were two 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
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land,
'Would I might never stir from off this place,
I'd give it every foot to have this face;
I would not be sir Nobo in any case.

8

goes !!

.

9

? 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,
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose,

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.

1

Eli. I like thee well; Wilt thou forsake thy for

tune,
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
I am a soldier, and now bound to France.
Bast. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my

chance:
Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year;
Yet sell your face for five pence, and 'tis dear. -
Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.

Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
Bast. Our country manners give our betters

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:
Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great ;
Arise sir Richard, and Plantagenet.'
Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me.

;
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 !

your hand

? 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.

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