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Bretagne, the elder Brother of King John.
King Richard the First.
PHILIP, King of France.
ELINOR, the Widow of King Henry II. and Mother of King
John. CONSTANCE, Mother to Arthur. BLANCH, Daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and Niece
to King John. LADY FAULCONBRIDGE, Mother to the Bastard, and Robert
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers,
Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.
SCENE I. Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace. Enter KING John, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex,
SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON. King John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
Eli. A strange beginning; — borrowed majesty!
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
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 peace. Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France ; For ere thou canst report I will be there, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard. So, hence! be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
And sullen presage of your own decay.-
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.
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. Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers EssEx.
Esser. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judged 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 FAULCON BRIDGE, and PHILIP,
his bastard Brother.
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;
Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother, And wound her honor 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
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath Heaven lent us here !
Eli. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face:
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ; With that half-face would he have all my land. A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year!
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father lived, Your brother did employ my father much ;
Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land;
Rob. And once despatched him in an embassy
His lands to me; and took it, on his death,
Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimato;
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 Coeur-de-lion, Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ?
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, sir Robert his, like him ; And if my legs were two such riding-rods; My arms such cel-skins stuffed; my face so thin, That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose, Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes ! And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, '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.
Bast. Brother, take you my land; I'll take my chance.
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.