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I put yo
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,
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
Bast. I, madam? no, I have no reason for it;
land! K. John. A good blunt fellow:- Why, being younger
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
& 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,] The resemblance between this sentiment, and that of Telemachus, in the first Book of the Odyssey, is apparent. The passage is thus translated by Chapman:
is My mother, certaine, says I am his sonne;
By any child, the sure truth of his sire." Mr. Pope has observed, that the like sentiment is found in Euripides, Menander, and Aristotle. Shakspeare expresses the same doubt in several of his other plays. Steevens. 1 But whe'r-) Whe'r for whether. So, in The Comedy of Er.
“Good sir, say whe'r you 'll answer me, or no.” Steevens.
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father; With that half-face3 would he have all my land:
2 He hath a trick of Cæur-de-lion's face,] The trick, or tricking, is the same as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face wbich may be sufficiently shown by the slightest outline.
The following passage, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, proves the phrase to be borrowed from delineation:
You can blazon the rest, Signior? “O ay, I have it in writing here o’purpose; it cost me two shillings the tricking." So again, in Cnthia's Revels :
the parish-buckets with his name at length trick’d upon them.” Steevens.
By a trick, in this place, is meant some peculiarity of look or motion. So Helen, in All's Well that Ends Well, says, speaking of Bertram
. 'Twas pretty, though a plague,
“Of every line and trick of his sweet favour." And Gloster, in King Lear, says
“ The trick of that voice I do well remember.” M. Mason. 3 With that half-face - ] The old copy-with half that face. But why with half that face? There is no question but the poet wrote, as I have restored the text: With that half-face Mr. Pope, perhaps, will be angry with me for discovering an anach. ronism of our poet's in the next line, where he alludes to a coin not struck till the year 1504, in the reign of King Henry VII, viz. a groat, which, as well as the half groat, bore but half faces impressed. Vide Stowe's Survey of London, p. 47, Holinshed, Camden's Remains, &c. 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
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
land; Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy
and half-groats, as also some shillings, with half faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now. The first groats of K. Henry VIII, were like those of his father; though afterwards he re; turned to the broad faces again. These groats, with the impression in profile, are undoubtedly here alluded to: though, as I said, the poet is knowingly guilty of an anachronism in it: for, in the time of King John, there were no groats at all; they being first, as far as appears, coined in the reign of K. Edward III.
Theobald. The same contemptuous allusion occurs in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601:
“ You half-fac'd grout, you thick-cheek'd chitty-face." Again, in Histriomastix, 1610:
“ Whilst I behold yon half-fac'd minion.” Steevens.
large lengths of seas and shores Between my father and my mother lay,] This is Homeric, and is thus rendered by Chapman, in the first Iliad:
“ —hills enow, and farre-resounding seas
“ Powre out their shades and deepes between. " Again, in Ovid, De Tristibus, IV, vii, 21:
“ Innumeri montes inter me teque, viæque
Steerens. took it, on his death, 7 i. e. entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying. So, in Himlet:
this, I take it,
And, if he were, he came into the world
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate;
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
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 Faulconbridge, And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land; Or the reputed son of Ceur-de-lion, Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?8
your father might have kept This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world;] The decision of King John coincides with that of Menie, the Indian law. giver: “Should a bull beget a hundred calves on cows not owned by his master, those calves belong solely to the proprietors of the
See The Hindu Laws, &c. translated by Sir W. Jones, London edit. p. 251. Stçevens.
7 This concludes,] This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, so not liking him, he is not at liberty to reject him. Johnson.
8 Lord of thy presence, and no land beside.?] Lord of thy presence can signify only master of thyself, and it is a strange expression to signify even that. However, that he might be, without parting with his land. We should read Lord of the presence, i. e. prince of the blood. Warburton.
Lord of thy presence, and no land beside?] Lord of thy presence means, master of that dignity and grandeur of appearance that may sufficiently distinguish thee from the vulgar, without the help of fortune.
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, sir Robert his, like him;9 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 goes!1
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. Johnson.
9 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 -as he has.
Sir Robert his, for Sir Robert's, is agreeable to the practice of that time, when the 's added to the nominative was believed, I think erroneously, to be a contraction of his. So, Donne:
Who now lives to age, “ Fit to be call’d Methusalem his page?” Johnson. This ought to be printed:
sir Robert his, like him. His, according to a mistaken notion formerly received, being the sign of the genitive case. As the text before stood there was a double genitive. Malone.
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 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.She coined shillings, six-pences, groats, three-pences, two-pences, three-half-pence, pence, three-farthings, and half-pence; and all these pieces had her head, and were alternately with the rose behind, and without the rose. Theobald.
Mr. Theobald has not mentioned a material circumstance re. lative to these three-farthing pieces, on which the propriety of the allusion in some measure depends; viz. that they were made of silver, and consequently extremely thin. From their thinness they were very liable to be cracked. Hence Ben Jonson, in his Every Man in his Humour, says, “He values me at a cracked three-farthings. Malone. So, in The Shoemaker's Holiday, &c. 1610:
Here's a three-penny piece for thy tidings." “ Firk. 'Tis but three-half-pence I think: yes, 'tis three-pence; I smell the rose.” Steevens.
The sticking roses about them was then all the court-fashion, as appears from this passage of the Confession Catholique du S. de Sancy, L. II, c.i: “Je luy ay appris à mettre des roses par tous