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ACT THE FIRST.
Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE,
Essex, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATIL
K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would
France with us ?
Eli. A strange beginning ;- borrow'd majesty!
bassy. 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 ;
1 In the manner. I now do.
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
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong
you, So much my conscience whispers in your ear; Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall hear,
2 Conduct, administration.
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers
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. [Exit Sheriff, Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay
Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE,
and PHILIP, his Bastard Brother. This expedition's charge. - What men are you?
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. Qut 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,
pops me out At least from fair five hundred pound a year : Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land ! VOL. IV.
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 slanderd me with bastardy : But whe'r I be as true-begot, or no, That still I lay upon my mother's head; But, that I am as well begot, my liege, 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
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
father : With that half-face would he have all
land : A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year! Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father
liv’d, Your brother did employ my father much ;
- Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy
3 Trace, outline,
Where how he did prevail, I shame to speak :
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
brother Had of your father claim'd this son for his? In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
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, 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,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,