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King John:
Prince Henry, his fon; 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 Eflex, Chief Justiciary

of England. William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury." Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. Hubert de Burgh, Chamberlain to the King. Robert Faulconbridge, son of Sir Robert Faulcon

bridge: Philip Faulconbridge, bis half-brother; bastard Son

to K. 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 Pandulpho, 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, Solliers, Messengers, and other Attendants. SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in



-Salisbury.] Son to King Henry II. by Rosamond Clifford.





Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.

Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Es

sex, SALISBURY, and Others, with CHATILLON.

K. Joun. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France

with us? Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of

France, 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.

2 In


behaviour,] The word behaviour seems here to have a fignification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, says the envoy, thus Speaks in my behaviour to the majesty of England; that is, the King of France speaks in the character which I here assume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambassador as part of his master's message, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the King of France towards the King of England; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. Johnson. In my behaviour means, in the manner that I

M. MASON. In my behaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. So, in the fifth act of this play, the Baitard says to the French king,

“ - Now hear our English king,
For thus his royalty doth speak in me.” Malone.

now do.

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays moft 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.

-control -] Opposition, from controller, Johnson, I think it rather means constraint or compulfion. So, in the second act of King Henry V. when Exeter demands of the King of France the surrender of his crown, and the King answersmo" Or else what follows?” Exeter replies :

Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown

“ Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it.” The passages are exactly similar. M. Mason. 4 Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,

Controlment for controlment; &c.] King John's reception of Chatillon not a little resembles that which Andrea meets with from the King of Portugal in the first part of Jeronimo, &c. 1605:

** And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.-
Bal. Tribute for tribute then; and foes for foes.
" And.
I bid you sudden wars."

Jeronimo was exhibited on the stage before the year 1590.

MALONE. From the following passage in Barnabie Googe's Cupido conquered, (dedicated with his other Poems, in May, 1562, and printed in 1563,) Jeronymo appears to have been written earlier than the earliest of these dates :

Cuat. Then take my king's defiance from my

mouth, The furtheft limit of my embassy. K. John, Bear mine to him, and so depart in

Be thou as lightnings in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canst report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard :

• Mark hym that showes ye Tragedies,

Thyne owne famylyar frende,
By whom y Spaniard's hawty ftyle

" In Englysh verse is pende. B. Googe had already founded the praises of Phaer and Gaf. coigne, and is here descanting on the merits of Kyd.

It is not impossible (though Ferrex and Porrex was acted in 1561) that Hieronymo might have been the first regular tragedy that appeared in an Englifh dress.

It may also be remarked, that B. Googe, in the foregoing lines, seems to speak of a tragedy “ in English verse," as a novelty.

STEEVENS. $ Be thou as lightning-] The fimile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive and the thunder innocent. Johnson.

The allufion may notwithstanding be very proper so far as Shakfpeare had applied it, i. e. merely to the swiftness of the lightning, and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is some reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, AIII. fc. ii

. Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. fc. v. Julius Cæsar, A& I. sc. iii. and still more decisively in Measure for Measure, Act II. sc. ii. This old superstition is still prevalent in many parts of the country. Ritson.

King John does not allude to the destructive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only means to say, that Chatillon shall appear to the eyes of the French like lightning, which shows that thunder is approaching : and the thunder he alludes to is that of his cannon. Johnson also forgets, that though philofophically speaking, the destructive power is in the lightning, it has generally in poetry been attributed to the thunder. So, Lear says:

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
“ Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head!" M. Mason,

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.

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 poffefsion, 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 heaven, and you, and I, shall hear.


sullen presage-] By the epithet fullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Johnson.

I do not fee why the epithet fullen may not be applied to a trumpet, with as much propriety as to a bell. In our author's Henry IV. P. II. we find

“ Sounds ever after as a fullen bell—," Malone. That here are two ideas, is evident; but the second of them has not been luckily explained. The sullen presage of your own decay, means, the dismal paling bell, that announces your own approaching disolution. STEVENS.

- the manage] i. e. conduct, adminiftration. So, in K. Richard II:

for the rebels Expedient manage muft be made, my liege."



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