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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,
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.
us. Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your
1 Farewell, Chatillon.] Spelt Chatillion in the folio, and so anglicised for the sake of the verse elsewhere, (as in the first line of the play) though it might not be necessary to vary from the French pronunciation here, if “ to't” were pronounced as a dissyllable.
the MANAGE-] i. e. the conduct. Shakespeare (though he uses it also in “ Richard II.” &c.) found this word in the old “ King John,” which preceded his own play. The King of France there says,
“ Till I had, with an unresisted shock,
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, 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 abbeys, 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 ?
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;
3 Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers Essex.] The stagedirection in the folio, 1623, is only “ Enter a Sheriff ;” but it is evident that he was Sheriff of Northamptonshire. In the old play of “King John,” he is said to “whisper Salisbury," who stands in the place of Essex.
* Of Caur-de-lion knighted in the field.] In the old “ King John,” a speech like this is assigned to Robert, and not to Philip :
My father (not unknown unto your grace)
At kingly Richard's hand in Palestine.” • I put you o'er to heaven, and to my mother :) In the old “King John," the mother of Philip and Robert being present while the legitimacy of the former is canvassed, Robert says,
“ And here my mother stands to prove him so ;” i. e. not the legitimate son of sir Robert Faulconbridge: the mother affects to be very indignant at the accusation.
Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.
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 ! 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.
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 half that face would he have all my land :
6 But whe'r I be as true begot, or no,] Printed “ But where I be,” &c. in the folios, to indicate that whether, for the sake of the metre, was to be read as one syllable.
A half-fac'd 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 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 seas and shores Between my father and my mother lay, As I have heard my father speak himself, 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 hazards of all husbands That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
7 Because he hath a half-face, like my father,
With half that face would he have all my land :
A half-fac'd groat five hundred pound a year!) This is the reading of all the folios ; and the meaning is, that because Robert had only a thin narrow face, like his father, yet with only half the face of his father, he would have all his father's land. Since the time of Theobald, all editors have printed the second line “ With that half-face,” &c., which does not express what the poet seems to have intended. Philip ridicules Robert for having, in fact, only half of the half-face of his father, yet claiming all the inheritance by reason of it. The allusion in the words,“ half-faced groat,” is to the coin issued by Henry VII. in 1504, (as Theobald pointed out,) with his profile on one side of it. At that date, this was a very unusual mode of representing the king's head upon coins.
• Full FOURTEEN weeks] Six weeks in the old “King John.”
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
Rob. Shall, then, my father's will be of no force
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape,
“Look, where three-farthings goes,"] Philip here again jokes on the thinness of Robert's face. Elizabeth coined thin silver pieces, of the value of three farthings, on which, at the back of the ear, was a rose, and to this Philip alludes. Costard, in “ Love's Labour's Lost,” Vol. ii. p. 315, mentions three-farthing pieces, current when that comedy was written.
10 I would not be sir Nob-] The old copy reads, “ It would not be, &c." The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. In both it is printed sir nobbe, without a capital letter.