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Philip, King of France.
Elinor, Queen-Mother of England.
to King John. Lady Faulconbridge, Mother to the Bastard, and Robert
Citizens of Angiers, Heralds, Executioners, Mefengers,
Soldiers, and other Attendants.
The SCENE, fometimes in England; and, sometimes,
(1) The Life and DEATH of
SCENE, the Court of England. Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Eflex,
and Salisbury, with Chatilion.
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of
In my behaviour, to the Majesty, [France, The borrow'd Majesty of England here.
(1) The Life and DEATH-] Tho' this Play have this title, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life; and takes in only some transactions of his reign to the time of his demise, being an. interval of about seventeen years. Of all the English Princes, (as Mr. Warburton observ'd to me,) that Shakespeare has taken into tragedy, King Jobn was the fittest to have made a hero for a tragedy on the ancient plan, Henry IV, V, and VIII, had qualities great enough for it, but were generally fortunate. Richard II, and Henry VI, (fit Verbo Venia) were, at times, little better than polirons: And Richard III. was so black a villain, that the ancients would have thought him fitter, for a gibbet than a stage. But John had that turbulence and grandeur of the passions, that inconftancy of temper, that equal mixture of good and ill, and that series of misfortunes consequent thereto, as might make him very fit for a hero in a juft composition, PS