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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)

    K. Iohn. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
    And findes them perfect Richard: sirra speake,
    What doth moue you to claime your brothers land.
    100Philip. Because he hath a half-face like my father?
    With halfe that face would he haue all my land,
    A halfe-fac'd groat, fiue hundred pound a yeere?
    Rob. My gracious Liege, when that my father liu'd,
    Your brother did imploy my father much.
    105Phil. Well sir, by this you cannot get my land,
    Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother.
    Rob. And once dispatch'd him in an Embassie
    To Germany, there with the Emperor
    To treat of high affaires touching that time:
    110Th' aduantage of his absence tooke the King,
    And in the meane time soiourn'd at my fathers;
    Where how he did preuaile, I shame to speake:
    But truth is truth, large lengths of seas and shores
    Betweene my father, and my mother lay,
    115As I haue heard my father speake himselfe
    When this same lusty gentleman was got:
    Vpon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd
    His lands to me, and tooke it on his death
    That this my mothers sonne was none of his;
    120And if he were, he came into the world
    Full fourteene weekes before the course of time:
    Then good my Liedge let me haue what is mine,
    My fathers land, as was my fathers will.
    K. Iohn. Sirra, your brother is Legittimate,
    125Your fathers wife did after wedlocke beare him:
    And if she did play false, the fault was hers,
    Which fault lyes on the hazards of all husbands
    That marry wiues: tell me, how if my brother
    Who as you say, tooke paines to get this sonne,
    130Had of your father claim'd this sonne for his,
    In sooth, good friend, your father might haue kept
    This Calfe, bred from his Cow from all the world:
    In sooth he might: then if he were my brothers,
    My brother might not claime him, nor your father
    135Being none of his, refuse him: this concludes,
    My mothers sonne did get your fathers heyre,
    Your fathers heyre must haue your fathers land.
    Rob. Shal then my fathers Will be of no force,
    To dispossesse that childe which is not his.
    140Phil. Of no more force to dispossesse me sir,
    Then was his will to get me, as I think.
    Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge,
    And like thy brother to enioy thy land:
    Or the reputed sonne of Cordelion,
    145Lord of thy presence, and no land beside.
    Bast. Madam, and if my brother had my shape
    And I had his, sir Roberts his like him,
    And if my legs were two such riding rods,
    My armes, such eele-skins stuft, my face so thin,
    150That in mine eare I durst not sticke a rose,
    Lest men should say, looke where three farthings goes,
    And to his shape were heyre to all this land,
    Would I might neuer stirre from off this place,
    I would giue it euery foot to haue this face:
    155It would not be sir nobbe in any case.
    Elinor. I like thee well: wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
    Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
    I am a Souldier, and now bound to France.
    Bast. Brother, take you my land, Ile take my chance;
    160Your face hath got fiue hundred pound a yeere,
    Yet sell your face for fiue pence and 'tis deere:
    Madam, Ile follow you vnto the death.
    Elinor. Nay, I would haue you go before me thither.
    Bast. Our Country manners giue our betters way.
    165K. Iohn. What is thy name?
    Bast. Philip my Liege, so is my name begun,
    Philip, good old Sir Roberts wiues eldest sonne.
    K. Iohn. From henceforth beare his name
    Whose forme thou bearest:
    170Kneele thou downe Philip, but rise more great,
    Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet.
    Bast. Brother by th' mothers side, giue me your hand,
    My father gaue me honor, yours gaue land:
    Now blessed be the houre by night or day
    175When I was got, Sir Robert was away.
    Ele. The very spirit of Plantaginet:
    I am thy grandame Richard, call me so.
    Bast. Madam by chance, but not by truth, what tho;
    Something about a little from the right,
    180In at the window, or else ore the hatch:
    Who dares not stirre by day, must walke by night,
    And haue is haue, how euer men doe catch:
    Neere or farre off, well wonne is still well shot,
    And I am I, how ere I was begot.
    185K. Iohn. Goe, Faulconbridge, now hast thou thy desire,
    A landlesse Knight, makes thee a landed Squire:
    Come Madam, and come Richard, we must speed
    For France, for France, for it is more then need.
    Bast. Brother adieu, good fortune come to thee,
    190For thou wast got i'th way of honesty.
    Exeunt all but bastard.

    Bast. A foot of Honor better then I was,
    But many a many foot of Land the worse.
    Well, now can I make any Ioane a Lady,
    195Good den Sir Richard, Godamercy fellow,
    And if his name be George, Ile call him Peter;
    For new made honor doth forget mens names:
    'Tis two respectiue, and too sociable
    For your conuersion, now your traueller,
    200Hee and his tooth-picke at my worships messe,
    And when my knightly stomacke is suffis'd,
    Why then I sucke my teeth, and catechize
    My picked man of Countries: my deare sir,
    Thus leaning on mine elbow I begin,
    205I shaIl beseeeh you; that is question now,
    And then comes answer like an Absey booke:
    O sir, sayes answer, at your best command,
    At your employment, at your seruice sir:
    No sir, saies question, I sweet sir at yours,
    210And so ere answer knowes what question would,
    Sauing in Dialogue of Complement,
    And talking of the Alpes and Appenines,
    The Perennean and the riuer Poe,
    It drawes toward fupper in conclusion so.
    215But this is worshipfull society,
    And fits the mounting spirit like my selfe;
    For he is but a bastard to the time
    That doth not smoake of obseruation,
    And so am I whether I smacke or no:
    220And not alone in habit and deuice,
    Exterior forme, outward accoutrement;
    But from the inward motion to deliuer
    Sweet, sweet, sweet poyson for the ages tooth,
    Which though I will not practice to deceiue,
    225Yet to auoid deceit I meane to learne;
    For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising:
    But who comes in such haste in riding robes?