صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Eli. A strange beginning; borrow'd Majefty!
K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf
Of thy decealed brother Geffry's son,
Artbur Plantagenet, lays lawful claim
To this fair illand, and the territories:
To Ireland, Poitiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine:
Defiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which fways ufurpingly these several titles;
And

put the same into young Arthur's hand, Thy nephew, and right-royal Sovereign.

K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this?

Chat. The proud controul of fierce and bloody war, T'inforce these rights fo forcibly with-held.

K.John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood, Controulment for controulment; so answer France.

Chat. Then take my King's defiance from my mouth, The farthest limit of my embaffy.

K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace. Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France, For ere thou can't report, I will be there, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard. So, hence! be thou the trumpet of our wrath, And fullen presage of your own decay. An honourable conduct let him have, Pembroke, look to't; farewel, Chatilion.

[Exit Chatilion and Pembroke. Eli. What now, my son, have I not ever said, How that ambitious Confiance would not cease, Till she had kindled France and all the world, Upon the right and party of her soni This might have been prevented, and made whole With very easy arguments of love ; Which now the manage of two kingdoms must With fearful, bloody issue arbitrate.

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

Eli. Your strong poffeffion much more than your right, Or else it must go wrong

with

you So much my conscience whispers in your ear, Which none but heav'n, and you, and I fall hear.

and me;

Efex. 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
Our abbies and our priories shall pay
This expedition's charge - What inen are you?
Enter Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, his brother,

Pbil. Your faithful subject, I, a gentleman
Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
A soldier, by the honour-giving-hand
Of Cæur-de-lion knighted in the field.

K. John. What art thou ?
Robert. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge..

K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ? You came not of one mother then, it seems?

Pbil. Most 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 heav'n, and to my mother;
Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.

Eli. Outon thee,rude man! thou dost hamethy mothers 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 least from fair five hundred pound a year :
Heav'n guard my mother's honour, and my land!

K.Job. A good blunt fellow; why, being younger borny, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance !

Phil. I know not why, except to get the land;
But, once, he flander'd me with ballardy:
But whether I be as true begot or no,
That ftill I lay upon my mother's head;.
But that I am as well begot, my Liege,
(Fair fall the bones, that took the pains for me!)
Compare our faces, and be judge yourself,
If old Sir Robert did beget us both;
And were our father, and this son like him ;

o old Sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heav’n thanks, I was not like to thee.

K.John.Why, what a mad-cap hath heav'n lent us here?

Eli. He hach a trick of Cæur-de-lion's face,
The accent of his tongue affecteth him :-
Do you not read forne tokens of my son
In the large composition of this man?

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

Phil. Because he hath a half-face, like my father, With that half-face would he have all my land ? (2) 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 ;

Phil. Well, Sir, by this you cannot get my land.
Your tale must be, how he imploy'd my mother.

Rob. And once dispatch'd him in an embaffy
To Germany; there with the Emperor
'To treat of high affairs touching that time:
Th’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 :

(2) With half that face. ] But why with balf that face? There is no question but the Poet wrote, as I have restor'd the text, With that, balf-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 øruck till the year 1504; in the reign of King Henry VII. viz. a groat, which, as well as the half groat, bear but half-faces impress’d. Vide Stow's Survey of London, p. 47. Holingshed, Camden's Remains, &c. The Poet ineers at the meagre sharp visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a filver groat, that bore the King's face in profile, so shew'd but half the face. The groats of all our Kings of Enge band, and, indeed, all their other coins of filver, one or two only exa septed, had a full face crown'd; till Henry VII, at the time abovemention'd, coin'd groats and half groats, as also fome billings, with half-fants; that is, faces in profile, as all our coin has now. The firft groats of King Henry Vill. were like these of his father; tho'afterwards he return'd to the broad faces again. These groats with the impression in profile, are undoubtedly here alluded to: though, as I said, the Poet is knowinzly guilty of an Anachronism in it: for, in the time of King Jobn there were no groats at all: they being first, as far as appears, coin'd in the reigo of King Edrvard III,

But

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 luffy 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 he did play false, the fault was hers;
Which fault lies on the hazard of all husbands,
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
Who, as you say, took pains to get this fon,
Had of your father claim'd this son for his ?
In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world.
In sooth, he might; then, if he were my brother's,
My brother might not claim him; nor your father,
Being none of his, refuse him; this concludes,
My mother's son did get your father's heir,
Your father's heir must have your father's land.

Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force To difpoffefs that child, which is not his?

Phil. Of no more force to dispoffefs me, Sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.

Eli. Whether hadt thou rather be a Faulconbridge, And, like thy brother, to enjoy thy land: Or the reputed son of Cæur-de-lion, Lord of thy presence, and no land befide? Phil. Madam, and 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 eel-skins Atuft; my face so thin, (3)

That (3) That in mire ear I dursi nos sick a rose,

my face so thin,
Left min Lhould say, look, where three.farthings goes !]

That in mine ear I durl not stick a rofe,
Left 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 ev'ry foot to have this face :
I would not be Sir Nobbe 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.

Phil. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance; Your face hath got five hundred pound a year, Yet sell your face for five pence, and 'tis dear. Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.

Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.. Phil. Our country manners give our betters way. K. John. What is thy name?

Phil. Philip, my Liege, so is my name begun ; Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son. K. John. From henceforth bear his name, whose form

thou bear'ft: Kneel thou down Philip, but rise up more great ; Arise Sir Richards and Plantagenet.

In this very obscure passage our Poet is anticipating the date of arother coin; humorously to rally a thin face, eclipsed, as it were, by a full-blown rosea. We must observe, to explain this allufion, that Queen Elizabeth was the first, and indeed the only, Prince who coin'd in England three-half-pence, and three-farthing pieces. She at one and the same time, coin'd shillings, fix-pences, groats, three-pences, twopences, three-half-pence, pence, three-farthings, and half.pence: And these pieces all had her head, and were aliernately with the role behind, and without the role. The shilling, groat, two-pence, penny, and half-penny had it not: the other intermediate coins, viz, the fix-pence, three-pence, three-half-pence, and three-farthings had the rose. This accurate distinction I owe to the favour and communication of the worthy and ingenious Martin Folkes, Esq;. l'll venture to advance one observation, before I have done with this subject, that as. each of the letter of these pieces were hardly to be distinguish'd in fize from that immediately next to it in value; it was the common practice to deface the rose upon the lesser coin, to make it pass for that next above it in price. And this serves to give light to a passage of Beauwont and Fletcher in their Scornful Lady. He had a bastard, his own toward issue, whipt, and then cropt, for washing out the roles in ibree-fartbings to make them pence.

« السابقةمتابعة »