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The King John' of Shakspere' was first printed in the With what skill has Shakspere, whilst he thus painted folio collection of his plays, in 1623. We have followed the spirit of the chivalrous times,-lofty in words, but the text of this edition almost literally. “King John' sordid in acts,—given us a running commelitary which is one of the plays of Shakspere enumerated by Francis interprets the whole in the sarcasms of the Bastard ! Meres, in 1598.
But amidst all the clatter of conventional dignity which Dr. Johnson, in his presace to Shakspere, speaking of we find in the speeches of John, and Philip, and Lewis, the division, by the players, of our author's works into and Austria, the real dignity of strong natural affectionis comedies, histories, and tragedies, thus defines what, he rises over the pomp and circumstance of regal ambitiou says, was the notion of a dramatic history in those times : with a force of contrast which is little less than sublime. “ History was a series of actions, with no other than the maternal terror and anguish of Constance soon bechronological succession, independent on each other, come the prominent objects; and the rival kings, the and without any tendency to introduce and regulate the haughty prelate, the fierce knights, the yielding citizens, conclusion.” Again, speaking of the unities of the cri- appear but as puppets moved by destiny to force on lics, he says of Shakspere—“His histories, being weither the most bitter sorrows of that broken-hearted mother. tragedies nor comedies, are not subject to any of their Matchless as is the art of the poet in these scenes ;laws; nothing more is necessary to all the praise which matchless as an exhibition of maternal sorrow only, they expect, than that the changes of action be so pre- apart from the whirlwind of conflicting passions tha: pared as to be understood, that the incidents be various are mixed up with that sorrow ;-are we to believe that and affecting, and the characters consistent, natural, Shakspere intended that our hearts should sustain this and distinct. No other unity is intended, and, there- laceration, and that the effects should pass away when fure, none is to be sought. In his other works he has Constance quits the stage? Are we to believe that he well enough preserved the unity of action." Taking was satisfied that his “incidents should be various ani these observations together, as a general definition of the affecting,” but “independent on each other, and without character of Shakspere's histories, we are constrained to any tendency to produce and regulate the conclusion!" say that no opinion can be farther removed from the Was there to be no “unity of feeling" to sustain and truth. So far from the “unity of action” not being elevate the action to the end? Was his tragedy to be regarded in Shakspere's histories, and being subservient a mere dance of Fantoccini? No, no. The rememto the “chronological succession," it rides over that brance of Constance can never be separated from the succession whenever the demands of the scene require after-scenes in which Arthur appears; and at the very * a unity of a higher order, which connects the events last, when the poison has done its work upon the guilty by reference to the workers, gives a reason for them in king, we can scarcely help believing that the spirit of the motives, and presents men in their causative cha- Constance hovers over him, and that the echo of the
mother's cries is even more insupportable than the The great comecting link that binds together all the “burn'd boson " and the "parched lips," which neither series of actious in the · King John' of Shakspere, his “ kingdom's rivers " vor the “ bleak winds” of the which does uot hold any actions, or series of actions, north can “comfort with cold." By the magic of the which arise out of other causes,—is the fate of Arthur. poet, the interval of fourteen years between the death of From the first to the last scene, the bard struggles and Arthur and the death of John is annihilated. Causes the cruel end of the young Duke of Brittany either lead and consequences, separated in the proper history by to the action, or form a portion of it, or are the direct long digressions and tedious episodes, are brought tocauses of an ulterior consequence.
gether. The attributed murder of Arthur lost John all As an historical picture the King John'is wonder the inheritances of the house of Anjou, and allowed the fully true. What a Gothic grandeur runs through the house of Capet to triumph in his overthrow. Out of whole of these scenes! We see the men of six centuries this grew a larger ambition, and England was iuvarled. ago, as they played the game of their personal ambition The death of Arthur and the events which marked the
--now swearing hollow friendships, now breathing stern last days of John were separated in their cause and denunciations ;--now affecting compassion for the weak effect by time only, over which the poet leaps. It is and the suffering, now breaking faith with the orphan said that a man who was on the point of drowning saw, and the mother;—now
in an instant, all the events of his life in connexion " Gone to be married, gone to swear a peace;" with his approaching end. So sees the poet. It is his now keeping the feast “with slaughtered men;"—now to bring the beginnings and the ends of events into that trembling at, and now braving, the denunciations of real union and dependence which even the philosophical spiritual power ;-and agreeing in nothing but to bend historian may overlook in tracing their course. It is “ their sharpest deeds of malice" on unoffending and the poet's office to preserve a unity of action; it is the peaceful citizens, unless the citizens have some “com- historian's to show a consistency of progress. In the modity" to offer which shall draw them
chroniclers we have manifold changes of fortune in the “ To a most base and vilo-concluded peace."
life of John after Arthur of Brittany las fallen. Ju Coleridge's Liler vry Remains.
Shakspere, Arthur of Brittany is at orice revenged.
KING JOH N.
JAME8 GURNEY, servant to Lady Faulconbriilge. Appears, Act I. se. 1. Act II. sc. 1 ; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2;
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. se. 3. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. l; sc. 3; sc. 7.
Peter OP POMFRET, a prophet.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 2.
Philip, King of France.
Appears, Act II. sc.1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 4. ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late Duke
Lewis, the Dauphin. of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John.
Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4. Appears, Act II, s.1. Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV.
Act V. se. 2 ; sc. 5. se, 1; sc. 3.
ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA. William MARESHALL, Earl of Pembroke.
Appears, Act II. sc. l; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1.
Cardinal PANDULPH, the Pope's legate.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1; sc. 4. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2,
Melun, a French lord.
Appears, Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4.
CHATILLON, ambassador from France to King John. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, Earl of Salisbury.
Appears, Act 1. sc. l, Act II. sc. 1.
Elinor, the widow of King Henry II., and mother of
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 3 Appears, Act IV. sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 7.
Constance, mother to Arthur. HUBERT DE Burgh, chamberlain to the King.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 4 appears, Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 3; sc. 6.
BLANCH, daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and ROBERT FAULcONBRIDGB, son of Sir Robert
niece to King John.
Appears, Act II. sc. I; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1.
LADY FAULCONBRIDGE, mother to the Bastard and Paulip FAULCONBRIDGE, half-brother to Robert
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Fanlconbridge, bastard son to King Richard I. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. 1, sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; $c. 2; Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, * 3. Act IV. sc. 2; $. 3. Act V. sc. l; sc. 2; sc. 6; sc. 7. officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other attendants.
SCENE, SOMETIMES IN ENGLAND; SOMETIMES IN FRANCE.
SCENE I.-Northampton. A Room of State in the Controlment for controlment : so answer France.
Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth,
The farthest limit of my embassy. Enter King John, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex,
K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON.
peace : King John. Now say, Chatillon, what would France Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France ; with us?
For ere thou canst report I will be there, Ckat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard : In my behaviour," to the majesty,
So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
And sullen presage of your own decay.
[Exeunt Chat, and Pom. Of the deceased brother Geffrey's son,
Eli. What now, my son ? have I not ever said, Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
How that ambitious Constance would not cease,
Till she had kindled France, and all the world,
This might have been prevented, and made whole, Which sways usurpingly these several titles;
With very easy arguments of love; And put the same into young Arthur's hand,
Which now the manage of two kingdoms must Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.
With fearful bloody issue arbitrate. K. John. What follows if we disallow of this?
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us, Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody war, Eli. Your strong possession much more than your To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
right; K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for Or else it must go wrong with you and me: blood,
* Manage has, in Shakspere the same meaning as manage. • Behari. Ilaviour, behaviour, is the manner of having, the condoet.
ment and managery--which, applied to a state, is equivalent 1 to government,
So much my conscience whispers in your ear;
Th' advantage of his absence took the king, Which none but Heaven, and you, and I shall bear And in the mean tiine sojourn d at my father's;
Where bow he did prevail, I shame to speak : Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers But truth is truth; large lengths of seas and shores Essex.
Between my father and my mother lay,Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy,
As I have heard my father speak himself,-Come from the country to be judg‘d by you,
When this same lusty gentleman was got. That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men ?
Upon his death-bed be by will bequeath'd K. John. Let them approach. [Exit Sheriff. His lands to me; and took it, on his death, Our abbeys, and our priories, shall pay
That this, my mother's son, was none of his ;
And, if he were, he came into the world
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
My father's land, as was my father's will. This expedition's charge.—What men are you?
K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate ; Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him: Born in Northamptonshire ; and eldest son,
And, if she did play false, the fault was hers; As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge;
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother, Of Cæur-de-lion knighter in the field.
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son, K. John. What art thou?
Had of your father claim'd this son for his ?
K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ? This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world,
In sooth, he might : then, if he were my brother's, Bast. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, My brother might not claim hin; nor your father, That is well known : and, as I think, one father : Being none of his, refuse him: This concludes : But, for the certain knowle:lge of that truth,
My mother's son did get your father's heir ; I put you o'er to Heaven, and to my mother,
Your father's heir must have your father's land. of that I doubt, as all men's children may.
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force, Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy To dispossess that child which is not his ? mother,
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir, And wound her honour, with this diffidence.
Than was bis will to get me, as I think. Bast. I, madam ? no, I have no reason for it,
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge, That is my brother's plea, and none of mine;
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land; The which if he can prove, ’a pops me out
Or the reputed son of Cæur-de-lion, At least from fair five hundred pound a-year :
Lord of thy presence, and no land beside ? Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land ! Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, K. John. A good blunt fellow :- Why, being younger And I had his, sir Robert his, like him ; born,
And if my legs were two such riding-rous;
My arms such eel-skins stuff'd; my face so thin,
Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes But wher & I be as true begot, or no,
And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, That still I lay upon my mother's head ;
'Would I might never stir from off this place, But, that I am as well begot, my liege,
I would give it every foot to have this face; (Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!) I would not be sir Nobd in any case. Compare our faces, and be judge yourself.
Eli. I like thee well : Wilt thou forsake thy fortune, If old sir Robert did beget us both,
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me? And were our father, and this son, like him ;
I am a soldier, and now bound to France. O old sir Robert, father, on my knee,
Bast. Brother, take you my land, I 'll take my I give Heaven thanks I was not like to thee.
Yet sell your face for five pence, and 't is dear.
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. Do you not read some tokens of my son
Bast. Our country manners give our betters way. In the large composition of this man?
K. John. What is thy name? K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts, Bast. Philip, my liege; so is my name begun; And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak, Philip, good old sir Robert's wife's eldest son. What doth move you to claim your brother's land ? K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose form Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ;
thou bearest : With that half-face would he have all
Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great ; A half-facd groat five hundred pound a-year!
Arise sir Richard, and Plantagenet. Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me you: Your brother did employ my father much :
hand; Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land : My father gave me honour, yours gave land : Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.
* Presence may here mean Rob. And once despatch'd lim in an embassy
my land :
priority of place," présence.
We are inclined to receive it in the sense of the man's whole To Germany, there, with the emperor,
carriage and appearance-" a goodly presence.” To treat of high affairs touching that time :
b Sir Robert his. This is the old form of the genitive. Faul.
conbridye says, “If I had his shape-sir Robert's shape-as le # Wher has the meaning of whether, but does not appear to
has," have been written as a contraction either by Shakspere or his c7his shape-in addition to his shape.
d Nob is now, and was in Shakspere's time, a cant wonl kit Trick, here and elsewhere iu Shakspere, means peculiarity.
Now blessed be the hour, by night or day,
Enter Lady FaulCONBRIDGE and James GURNET. When I was got, sir Robert was away. Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet !
O me! it is my mother :-How now, good lady! I am thy grandame, Richard; call me so.
What brings you here to court so hastily? Bast. Madam, by chance, but not by truth : What Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother? where it though?
he? Something about, a little from the right,
That holds in chase mine honour up and down? In at the window," or else o'er the hatch ;
Bast. My brother Robert ? old sir Robert's son ? Who dares not stir by day must walk by night; Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man? And hare is bave, however men do catch :
Is it sir Robert's son that you seek so? Near or far off, well won is still well shot ;
Lady F. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend boy, And I am I, howe'er I was begot.
Sir Robert's son: Why scorn'st thou at sir Robert ? K. John. Go, Faulconbridge; now hast thou thy He is sir Robert's son, and so art thou. desire,
Bast. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.
while ? Cone, madam, and come, Richard; we must speed Gur. Good leave, good Philip. For France, for France ; for it is more than need.
Philip ?-sparrow !a—James, Bast. Brother, adieu ; Good fortune come to thee! There 's toys abroad; anon I 'll tell thee more. For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.
[Exit GURNEY (Exeunt all but the Bastard. Madam, I was not old sir Robert's son; A foot of honour better than I was;
Sir Robert might have eat his part in me But many a many foot of land the worse.
Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his fast : Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.
Sir Robert could do well ; Marry-to confessGood den, sir Richard,-God-a-mercy, fellow; Could he get me ? Sir Robert could not do it; And if his name be George, I 'll call him Peter : We know his handiwork :- Therefore, good mother, For new-made honour doth forget men's names;
To whom am I beholden for these limbs? *T is tuo respective, and too sociable,
Sir Robert never bolp to make this leg. For your conversion. Now your traveller,
Lady F. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too, He and his toothpick at my worship's mess,
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour ? And when my knightly stomach is sufficd,
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave? Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise
Bast. Knight, knight, good mother,— Basilisco-like:b My picked man of countries :d--My dear sir, What! I am dubb'd; I have it on my shoulder. Thus, leaning on my elbow, I begin,)
But, mother, I am not sir Robert's son ; I shall beseech you—That is question now;
I have disclaim'd sir Robert, and my land; And then comes answer like an Abseye book :
Legitimation, name, and all is gone : O, sir, says answer, at your best command;
Then, good my mother, let me know my father; At your employment; at your service, sir :
Some proper man, I hope; Who was it, mother? No, sir, says question, I, sweet sir, at yours :
Lady F. Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge ? And so, ere answer knows what question would,
Bast. As faithfully as I deny the devil. Saving in dialogue of compliment;
Lady F. King Richard Cæur-de-lion was thy father : And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
By long and vehement suit I was seducd The Pyrenean, and the river Po,
To make room for him in my husband's bed. It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
Heaven! lay not my transgression to my charge, But this is worshipful society,
That art the issue of my dear offence, Ani fits the mounting spirit like myself:
Which was so strongly urg d, past my defence. For he is but a bastard to the time,
Bast. Now, by this light, were I to get again, That doth not smack of observation;
Madam, I would not wish a better father. (And so am I, whether I smack, or no;)
Some sins dc bear their privilege on earth, Anil not alone in habit and device,
And so doth yours : your fault was not your folly : Exterior form, outward accoutrement ;
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose, – But from the inward motion to deliver
Subjected tribute to commanding love,Sreet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth:
Against whose fury and unmatched force Wich, though I will not practise to deceive,
The awless c lion could not wage the fight, Yet to avoid deceit I mean to learn;
Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand. For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.-- He that perforce robs lions of their hearts, But who comes in such haste, in riding robes ?
May easily win a woman's. Ay, my mother, What woman-post is this ? hath she no husband, With all my heart I thank thee for my father! That will take pains to blow a horn before her? Who lives and dares but say, thou didst not well la at the spindro, &c. These were proverbial expressions, When I was got, I 'll send his soul to hell. which, by analogy with irregular modes of entering a house. Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin; hed reference to cases such as that of Faul nbridge's.
And they shall say, when Richard me begot, 6 Geddeggood eveuing, good e'en. • Centersun. The Bastard, whose new-made honour" is a
If thou haust said him nay, it had been sin : coatersion, change of condition,-would say that to remem
says it was, he lies; I say, 't was not. [Exeunt. ber men's names (opposed, by implication, to firget) is too restartire (pudetilious, discriminating) and iso sociable for one à Philip I-sparrow! The sparrow was called Philip.-perce is newly attainer rank.
haps from his note, out of which Catullus, in his elesy on Pickes aan of countries. “To pick" is the same as "to Lesbia's sparrow, formed a verb, pipilabat.
b Basilisco-like. Basilisco is a character in a play of Shak. Abery-book, the common name for the first, or A, B, C, book, spere's time, “Soliman and Perseda.' T'lich included the Catechism.
• Awless-the opposite of awful; not inspiring awe.