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  • Title: King John (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-410-3

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Peer Reviewed

    King John (Folio 1, 1623)

    0.1The life and death of King Iohn.

    1Actus Primus, Scæna Prima.

    Enter King Iohn, Queene Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, and Sa-
    lisbury, with the Chattylion of France.

    King Iohn.
    5NOw say Chatillon, what would France with vs?
    Chat. Thus (after greeting) speakes the King
    of France,
    In my behauiour to the Maiesty,
    The borrowed Maiesty of England heere.
    10Elea. A strange beginning: borrowed Maiesty?
    K. Iohn. Silence (good mother) heare the Embassie.
    Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalfe
    Of thy deceased brother, Geffreyes sonne,
    Arthur Plantaginet, laies most lawfull claime
    15To this faire Iland, and the Territories:
    To Ireland, Poyctiers, Aniowe, Torayne, Maine,
    Desiring thee to lay aside the sword
    Which swaies vsurpingly these seuerall titles,
    And put the same into yong Arthurs hand,
    20Thy Nephew, and right royall Soueraigne.
    K. Iohn. What followes if we disallow of this?
    Chat. The proud controle of fierce and bloudy warre,
    To inforce these rights, so forcibly with-held,
    K. Io. Heere haue we war for war, & bloud for bloud,
    25Controlement for controlement: so answer France.
    Chat. Then take my Kings defiance from my mouth,
    The farthest limit of my Embassie.
    K. Iohn. Beare mine to him, and so depart in peace,
    Be thou as lightning in the eies of France;
    30For 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 owne decay:
    An honourable conduct let him haue,
    35Pembroke looke too't: farewell Chattillion.
    Exit Chat. and Pem.
    Ele. What now my sonne, haue I not euer said
    How that ambitious Constance would not cease
    Till she had kindled France and all the world,
    40Vpon the right and party of her sonne.
    This might haue beene preuented, and made whole
    With very easie arguments of loue,
    Which now the mannage of two kingdomes must
    With fearefull bloudy issue arbitrate.
    45K. Iohn. Our strong possession, and our right for vs.
    Eli. Your strong possessiō much more then your right,
    Or else it must go wrong with you and me,
    So much my conscience whispers in your eare,
    Which none but heauen, and you, and I, shall heare.
    50Enter a Sheriffe.
    Essex. My Liege, here is the strangest controuersie
    Come from the Country to be iudg'd by you
    That ere I heard: shall I produce the men?
    K. Iohn. Let them approach:
    55Our Abbies and our Priories shall pay
    This expeditious charge: what men are you?
    Enter Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip.
    Philip. Your faithfull subiect, I a gentleman,
    Borne in Northamptonshire, and eldest sonne
    60As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
    A Souldier by the Honor-giuing-hand
    Of Cordelion, Knighted in the field.
    K. Iohn. What art thou?
    Robert. The son and heire to that same Faulconbridge.
    65K. Iohn. Is that the elder, and art thou the heyre?
    You came not of one mother then it seemes.
    Philip. Most certain of one mother, mighty King,
    That is well knowne, and as I thinke one father:
    But for the certaine knowledge of that truth,
    70I put you o're to heauen, and to my mother;
    Of that I doubt, as all mens children may.
    Eli. Out on thee rude man, yu dost shame thy mother,
    And wound her honor with this diffidence.
    Phil. I Madame? No, I haue no reason for it,
    75That is my brothers plea, and none of mine,
    The which if he can proue, a pops me out,
    At least from faire fiue hundred pound a yeere:
    Heauen guard my mothers honor, and my Land.
    K. Iohn. A good blunt fellow: why being yonger born
    80Doth he lay claime to thine inheritance?
    Phil. I know not why, except to get the land:
    But once he slanderd me with bastardy:
    But where I be as true begot or no,
    That still I lay vpon my mothers head,
    85But that I am as well begot my Liege
    (Faire fall the bones that tooke the paines for me)
    Compare our faces, and be Iudge your selfe
    If old Sir Robert did beget vs both,
    And were our father, and this sonne like him:
    90O old sir Robert Father, on my knee
    I giue heauen thankes I was not like to thee.
    K. Iohn. Why what a mad-cap hath heauen lent vs here?
    Elen. He hath a tricke of Cordelions face,
    The accent of his tongue affecteth him:
    95Doe you not read some tokens of my sonne
    In the large composition of this man?