Page images

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father livid, Your brother did employ my father much

Pbil. Well, Sir, by this you cannot get my land, . Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.

Rob. And once dispatch'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 feas and shores

my father an my mother lay,
(As I have heard my father fpeak himielf)
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 hazard of all husbands

profile, so thewed but half the face: the groats of all our kings of England, and indeed all their other coins of silver, one or tivo only excepted, had a fall face crowned; t.ll Henry VII. at the time above-mentioned, coined groats and half-groats, as also jom: Phillings, with half faces, i.6. facesin profile, as all our coin has now. The first groats of kirg Henry VIII. were like those of his father ; though afterwards he returned 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 king Edward III. THEOL ALD.

The same contemptuous allusion occurs in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601. You half-fac'd groat, you thick-cheek'd chitty-face."



That marry wives. Tell me, how, if my brother,
Who, as you say, took pains to get this fon,
Had of your father claim'd this son for his ?
In footh, 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. 1 This concludes
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 ?

Phil. Of no more force to dispossess me, Sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.

Eli. Whether hadît thou rather be a Faulconbridge, And, like thy brother, to enjoy thy land; Or the reputed son of Caur-de-lion, · Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?

Phil. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, 3 And I had his, Sir Robert's his, like him;


* This concludes- This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, fo, not liking him, he is not at liberty to reject him. JOHNSON.

? Lord of the prejence, and no lund befide ? ] Lord of thy prefence can fignify only, master of thyself; and it is a strange expretion to fignify even that. However that he might be, without parting with his land. We should read, Lord of the preJence, i.e. prince of the blood. WARBURTON.

Lord of thy presence may fignify something more distinct than mafter of thyself : it means master of that dignity, and grandeur of

appearance, that may sufficiently distinguish thee from the vulgar without the help of fortune.

Lord of his presence apparently signisies, great in his own person, and is used in this fende by king John in one of the following scenes. Johnson.

3 And I had his, Sir Robert his, like him ;] This is obfcure and ill expressed. The meaning is: if I had his bape-Sir Robert's as he hus.

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,


And if my legs were two such riding rods,
My arms such eel-skins stuft ; 4 my face so thin,
5 That in mine ear I durft not stick a rose,
Left men should say, Look, where three-farthings


And, to his shape, were heir to all this land ;


Who now lives to age,
Fit to be call'd Metbufalem his page ? JOHNSON.

my face fo thin, That in mine ear I durft not stick a rose, Left 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 at one and the same time coined shillings, fixa pences, groats, three-pences, two-pences, three-half-pence, pence, three-farthings, and half-pence. And these pieces all had her head, and were alternately with the rose behind, and without the rose. The filling, groat, two-pence, penny, and half-penny had it not: the other intermediate coins, viz. the six-pence, three-pence, three-half-pence, and threefarthings had the role. THEOBALD.

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 threepence, I smell the rose.” STEEVENS.

5 That in mine car I durft not fick a rose,] The sticking roles about them was then all the court-fashion, as appears from this passage of the Confefion Catholique du S. de Sancy, l. 2. C. 1. je luy ay appris à mettre des Roses par toas les coins, i. c. in every place about him, says the speaker, of one to whom he had taught all the court-fashions. WARBURTON.

These roses were, I believe, only roses composed of ribbands. In Marston's What you will is the following pariage.

“ Dupatzo the elder brother, the fool, he that bought the “ half-penny ribband, wearing it in his ear,” &c.

Again, in Every Man in his Humour, - This ribband in " my ear, or so. I think I remember, among Vandyck's pictures in the duke of Queensbury's collection at Amesbury, to have fcen one with the locks ncareit the ear ornamented with gibbands, which terminate in roses. STEVENS.

'Would world


'Would I might never stir from off this place,
I'd give it every foot to have this face;
I would not be Sir Nob in any case.

Eli. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
I am a soldier, and now bound to France.

Pbil. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance: Your face hath got five hundred pound 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. Pbil. Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name?

Pbil. Philip, my liege ; fo is my name begun; Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son. K. Jobn. From henceforth bear his name, whose

form thou bear'ft. Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great ; Arise Sir Richard and Plantagenet.

Phil. Brother by the mother's side, give me you!


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 fpirit of Plantagenet! I am thy grandame, Richard ; call me fo. Phil. Madam, by chance, but not by truth: what

thơ? 3 Something about, a little from the right ;

In • Madam, by chance, but not by truth: what the'?] I am your grandfon, madam, by chance, but not by honefly-what then?

JOHNSON. 7 Something about, a little from the right, &c.] This speech, composed of allusive and proverbial sentences, is obfcure. I am, says the spritely knight, your grandfon, a little irregularly, but every man cannot get what he wishes the legal way. He that dares not go about his designs by day must make bis motions in the night; be, to whom the door is thut, must climb the window, or leap ibe batch. This, however, shall not depress me; for the

8 In at the window, or else o'er the hatch,
Who dares not stir by day, must walk by night,
And have is have, however men do catch;
Near or far off, well won is still well shot;
And I am I, howe'er I was begot.
K. John. Go, Faulconbridge ; now hast thou thy

A landless knight makes thee a landed 'squire.
Come, madam, and come, Richard; we must speed
For France, for France; for it is more than need.

Phil. Brother, adieu ; good fortune come to thee, For thou waft got i'the way of honesty.

[Exeunt all but Philip. 9 A foot of honour better than I was, But many a many foot of land the worse ! Well, now can I make any Joan a lady Good den, Sir Richard- -Godamercy, fellow ;And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter ; For new-made honour doth forget men's names ; * 'Tis too respective and too sociable

[ocr errors]

world never enquires how any man got what he is known to posless, but allows that to have is to have however it was caught, and that he who wins, shot well, whatever was his kill, whether the arrow fell near the mark, or far off it. JOHNSON.

8 In at the window, &c.] These expressions mean, to be born out of wedlock. So in The Family of Love, 1608.

Woe worth the time that ever I gave fuck to a child that came in at the window." So in Northward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607.

kindred that comes in o'er the batch, and failing to • Westminster,” &c. STERVENS.

A foot of honour— A step, un pas. JOHNSON.

-Sir Richard) Thus the old copy. The modern editors arbitrarily read, Sir Robert. STEVENS.

? 'Tis too respective, &c.] i.e. respectful. So in the old comedy called Michaelmas Term, 1607.

“ Seem respective, to make his pride swell like a toad with • dew.” So in The Merchant of Venice, act 5.

“ You should have been respective," &c. STEEVENS.


« PreviousContinue »