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A room of ftate in the palace.

Enter king John, queen Elinor, Pembroke, Effex, and Salisbury, with Chatillion.

King JOHN.

W, fay, Chatillion, what would France with us?


Chat. Thus, after greeting, fpeaks the king of France,

In my behaviour, to the majefty,
The borrow'd majefty of England here.


The troublefome reign of king John was written in two parts, by W. Shakespeare and W. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the prefent play is intirely different, and infinitely fuperior to it.


The edition of 1611 has no mention of Rowley, nor in the account of Rowley's works is any mention made of his conjunction with Shakespeare in any play. King John was reprinted in two parts in 1622. The first edition that I have found of this play in its prefent form, is that of 1623, in fol. The edition of 1591 I have not feen. JOHNSON.

Hall, Holinfhead, Stowe, &c. are clofely followed not only in the conduct, but fometimes in the expreffions throughout the following historical dramas; viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard II. Henry IV. 2 parts, Henry V. Henry VI. 3 parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII. STEEVENS.


The Life and Death — ]Though this play hath this title, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life; and takes in only fome tranfactions of his reign at the time of his demife, being an interval of about feventeen years. THEOBALD.

2 In my behaviour,] The word behaviour feems here to have a fignification that I have never found in any other author

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Eli. A ftrange beginning!—borrow'd majesty!
K. John. Silence, good mother; hear the embaffy.
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy deceafed brother Geffrey's fon,
Arthur Plantagenet, lays moft lawful claim
To this fair ifland, and the territories;
To Ireland, Poitiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine;
Defiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which fways ufurpingly these feveral titles;
And put the fame into young Arthur's hand,
Thy nephew, and right-royal fovereign.

K. John. What follows, if we difallow of this?
Chat. The proud 3 controul of fierce and bloody


To inforce these rights fo forcibly with-held.

K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,

Controulment for controulment; fo anfwer France. Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth, The farthest limit of my embaffy.

K. John. Bear mine to him, and fo depart in peace. 4 Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France; For ere thou canft report, I will be there, The thunder of my cannon fhall be heard. So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,. And 5 fullen prefage of your own decay.—


The king of France, fays the envoy, thus fpeaks in my behaviour to the majefly of England; that is, the king of France fpeaks in the character which I here affume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambaffador as part of his mafter's meffage, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the king of France towards the king of England; but the ambaffador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. JOHNSON.

-controul-] Oppofition, from controller. JOHNSON.

Be thou as lightning-] The fimile does not fuit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is deftructive, and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON.

5 —Sullen prefage-] By the epithet fullen, which cannot be ap


An honourable conduct let him have,
Pembroke, look to't: Farewell, Chatillion.

[Exeunt Chat, and Pem.

Eli. What now, my fon? Have I not ever faid,
How that ambitious Conftance would not ceafe,
Till fhe had kindled France, and all the world,
Upon the right and party of her fon?
This might have been prevented, and made whole
With very eafy arguments of love;
Which now the manage of two kingdoms must
With fearful, bloody iffue arbitrate.

K. John. Our strong poffeffion, and our right for


Eli. Your ftrong poffeffion much more than your

Or else it must go wrong with you and me:
So much my confcience whispers in your ear,
Which none but heaven, and you, and I shall hear.
Enter the fheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers
Effex &

Effex. My liege, here is the ftrangeft controversy,
Come from the country to be judg'd by you,
That e'er I heard. Shall I produce the men?

[Exit fheriff.

K. John. Let them approach.Our abbies and our priories fhall pay This expedition's charge-

Re-enter fheriff with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, his brother 7.

What men are you?


plied to a trumpet, it is plain, that our author's imagination. had now fuggefted a new idea. It is as if he had faid, be a trumpet to alarm with our invafion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognoftick of your own ruin. JOHNSON.

Enter the feriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This ftage-direction I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.


and Philip, his brother.] Though Shakespeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is


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Phil. Your faithful fubject, I, a gentleman
Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,
As I fuppofe, to Robert Faulconbridge;
A foldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
K. John. What art thou?

Rob. The fon and heir to that fame Faulconbridge. K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir; You came not of one mother then, it feems?

Phil. Moft 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 mens' children may.

Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou doft fhame thy mother,

And wound her honour with this diffidence.

Phil. 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, he pops me out
At leaft from fair five hundred pound a year:
Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land!

K. John. A good blunt fellow: why, being younger born, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

Phil. I know not why, except to get the land.
But, once, he flander'd me with bastardy;
But whether I be as true begot, or no,
That still I lay upon my mother's head;

not improper to mention that it is compounded of two distinct perfonages.

Matthew Paris fays" Sub illius temporis curriculo, Fal"cafius de Brente, Neuferienfis, et fpurius ex parte matris, at"que Baftardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo "ante clientelam defcenderat," &c.

Matt. Paris, in his Hiftory of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falco, but in his general History Falcafius de Brente, as above.

Holinfhead fays, that Richard I. had a natural fon named Philip, who in the year following killed the vifcount De Limoges to revenge the death of his father. STEEVENS.


But that I am as well begot, my liege,
(Fair fall the bones, that took the pains for me!)
Compare out faces, and be judge yourself.
If old Sir Robert did beget us both,

And were our father, and this fon 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 mad-cap hath heaven lent us here?

Eli. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face
The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
Do you not read fome tokens of my fon
In the large compofition of this man?

K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts, And finds them perfect Richard.-Sirrah, fpeak, What doth move you to claim your brother's land?

Phil. Because he hath a half-face, like my father; 9 With that half-face would he have all my land: A half-fac'd groat, five hundred pound a year!


He bath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face,] The trick or tricking is the fame as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be fufficiently fhewn by the flightest outline. This expreffion is used by Heywood and Rowley in their comedy called Fortune by Land and Sea." Her face the trick

of her eye, her leer." The following paffages may more evidently prove the expreffion to be borrowed from delineation. Ben Jonfon's Every Man out of his Humour,

66- -You can blazon the reft, Signior?

"O ay, I have it in writing here o' purpose, it coft me two "fhillings the tricking." So again in Cynthia's Revels.

"the parish-buckets with his name at length trick'd upon them." STEEVENS.

With half that face-] But why with half that face? There is no question but the poet wrote, as I have reitored the text, With that half-face-Mr. Pope, perhaps, will be angry with me for discovering an anachronism of our poet's in the next line; where he alludes to a coin not ftruck till the year 1504, in the reign of king Henry VII. viz. a groat, which, as well as the half groat, bare but half faces impreffed. Vide Stow's Survey of London, p. 47. Holling foed, Camden's Remains, &c. The poet fneers at the meagre fharp vifage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a filver groat, that bore the king's face in

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