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But this is not true. In the second edition of this old play, in 1611, the letters W. Sh. were put into the title-page, to deceive the purchaser, and to lead him to suppose the piece was Shakspeare's play, which, at that time, was not published. Our author's King John was written, I imagine, in 1596. MALONE.
Though this play have the title of The Life and Death of King John, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life, and takes in only some transactions of his reign to the time of his demise, being an interval of about seventeen years.
Hall, Holinshed, Stowe, &c. are closely followed, not only in the conduct, but sometimes in the very expressions, throughout the following historical dramas, viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard II. Henry IV. two parts, Henry V. Henry VI, three parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII.
"A booke called The Historie of Lord Faulconbridge,bastard Son to Richard Cordelion," was entered at Stationers' Hall, Nov. 29, 1614; but I have never met with it, and therefore know not whether it was the old black letter history, or a play upon the same subject. For the original King John, see Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing-cross. STEEVENS.
The Historie of Lord Faulconbridge, &c. is a prose narrative, in bl. 1. The earliest edition that I have seen of it was printed in 1616.
A book entitled Richard Cur de Lion was entered on the Stationers' Books in 1558.
A play called The Funeral of Richard Cordelion, was written by Robert Wilson, Henry Chettle, Anthony Mundy, and Michael Drayton, and first exhibited in the year 1598. MALONE.
Prince Henry, his Son; afterwards King Henry III. Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, Son of Geffrey, late Duke
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.1
Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk.
Hubert de Burgh, Chamberlain to the King. Robert Faulconbridge, Son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge:
Philip Faulconbridge, his Half-brother, bastard Son to King Richard the First.
James Gurney, Servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
Philip, King of France.
Lewis, the Dauphin.
Archduke 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 II. and Mother of King John.
Constance, Mother to Arthur.
Blanch, Daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and Niece to King John.
Lady Faulconbridge, Mother to the Bastard and Robert Faulconbridge.
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in France.
Salisbury.] Son to King Henry II. by Rosamond Clif
SCENE I. Northampton. A Room of State in the
Enter King JOHN, Queen ELINOR, PEMBROKE, ESSEX, SALISBURY, and Others, with CHATIL
King John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of
In my behaviour,' to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty of England here.
Eli. A strange beginning;-borrow'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 most lawful claim
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine:
Which sways usurpingly these several titles;
1 In my behaviour,] In my behaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. MALONE.
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody
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
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBRoke.
This might have been prevented, and made whole,
Which now the manage2 of two kingdoms must
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your right;
Or else it must go wrong with you, and me:
the manage] i, e. conduct, administration.
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers Essex.
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro
Come from the country to be judg'd by you,
Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and PHILIP, his bastard Brother.
This expedition's charge.-What men are you?
Rob. 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.
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? no, I have no reason for it;