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Duke of Bretagne, the elder brother of King Johna WILLIAM MARESHALL, Earl of Pembroke. GEFFREY Fitz-PETER, Earl of Essex, chief jus
ticiary of England. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury. ROBERT Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. HUBERT DE BURGH, chamberlain to the King. ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, son of Sir Robert Faul
conbridge. Philip FAULCONBRIDGE, his half-brother, bastard
son to King Richard the First.
ELINOR, the widow of King Henry II. and mother of
niece to King John.
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sherif, Heralds,
Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in
ACT THE FIRST.
Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE,
Essex, ŠALISBURY, 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.
And put the same into
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
your own decay. An honourable conduct let him have: Pembroke, look to't: Farewell, Chatillon.
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE. Eli. What now, my son ? have I not ever said, How that ambitious Constance would not cease, Till she had kindled France, and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son ? This might have been prevented, and made whole, With very easy arguments of love ; Which now the manage * of two kingdoms must With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong with you, and me : 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. 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?
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. 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, 'a pops me out At least from fair five hundred pound a year : Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land ! VOL. IV.