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Northampton. A Room of State in
King John, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex,
king of France,
In my behaviour, to the majesty, The borrow'd majesty of England here.
Eli. A strange beginning ;-bòrrow'd majesty! K. John. Silence, good mother; hear the embassy.
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays lawful claim To this fair island, and the territories; To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine : Desiring thee to lay aside the sword Which sways usurpingly 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 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 farthest 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 : So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath, And sullen presage of your own decay. An honourable conduct let him have :Pembroke, look to it; Farewell, Chatillon.
[Exeunt Chatillon and Pembroke. Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who
whispers Essex. 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 abbies and our priories shall pay
Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and
Philip, his bastard Brother.
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
K. John. And what art thòu ?
K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the hèir? You came not of one mother then, it seems.
Bast. 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 heaven, and to my mother; Of that I doubt, as all men's children may. Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame
thy mother. 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 pròve, '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. But once he slander'd me with bastardy : Now, whether I be trùe begot, or no, That still I lay upon my mother's head; But, that I am as well begot, my liege, 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 heaven thanks, I was not like to thee. K. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent
us here! Eli. He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face, Do you not read
tokèns of my son In the large composition of this man?
K. John. Mine eye hath well examinēd his parts, And finds them perfect Richard.—Sirrah, speak, What doth move you to claim your brother's land ?
Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv’d, Your brother did employ my father much ; 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. 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. And if my mother's son Dìd get your father's heir; then this concludes, Your father's heir must have your father's lànd.
Rob, Shall then my father's will be of no force, To dispossess that child which is not his?
Bast. Of no more force to dispossèss me, sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. Say, hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge, And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land; Or the reputed son of Cour-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,
Eli. I like thee well; Wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
Eli. Nay, I would have you go befòre me thither.
Bast. 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'st: Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great : Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet. Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your
hand; My father gave me honour, yours gave land. K. John. Go, Faulconbridge; now hast thou thy
desire, A landless knight makes thee a landed squire. — Come, madam, and come, Richard; we must speed For France, for France; for it is more than need.