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of Bretagne, the elder brother of King John. William Mareshall, Earl of Pembroke. Geffrey Fitz-Peter, Earl of Essex, chief justiciary
of England. William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury. Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. Hubert de Burgh, chamberluin to the king. Robert Faulconbridge, son of sir Robert Faulcon.
bridge. Philip Faulconbridge, his half-brother, bastard son
to King Richard the First. James Gurney, servant to Lady Faulconbridge. Peter of Pomfret, a prophet. Philip, King of France. Lewis, the dauphin. Arch-duke of Austria. Cardinal Pandulph, the pope's legate. Melun, a French lord. Chatillon, ambassador from France to King John. Elinor, the widow of King Henry Il. and mother
of King John. Constance, mother to Arthur. Blanch, daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile,
and niece to King John. Lady Faulcoubridge, mother to the bastard, and
Robert Faulconbridge. Lords, ladies, citizens of Angiers, sheriff, heralds,
officers, soldiers, messengers, and other attend.
ants. Scene, sometimes in England, and sometimes in
SCENE I. Northampton. A room of state in the
Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Essex,
Salisbury, and others, wilh Chatillon,
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
bassy. Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim To this fair island, and the territories;
• In the manner I bow do.
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine:
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 furthest 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, The thunder of my cannon shall be heard : 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't: Farewell, Chatillon,
(Ereunt Chatillon and Pembroke. Eli. What now, my son ? have I not ever said, How that ambitious Constance would not cease, Till she had kindled France, and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son? 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 possession, and our right .
for us. Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong with you, and me: So much my conscience whispers in your ear; Which none but leaven, and you, and I, shall hear,
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whis.
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judg'd by you, That e'er I beard: Shall I produce the men? K. John. Let them approach.
[Erit 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. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir? Yon 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, And wound her honour with this diffidence.
Bast. I, madam? do, I have no reason for it; That is my brother's plea, and none of mine; The which if he can prove, '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 inberitance ?