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Which would be planted newly with the time,- .
This play is deservedly celebrated for the propriety of its fiction, and solemnity, grandeur, and variety of ils action; but it has no nice discriminalions of cbaracter; the events are too great to admit the influence of particular dispositions, and the course of the action necessarily determines the conduct of the agents.
The danger of ambition is well described ; and I know not whether
may not be said, in defence of some parts which now seem improbable, that in Shakspeare's time it was necessary to warn credulity against vain and illusive predictions.
The passions are directed to their true end. Lady Macbeth is merely detested; and though the courage of Macbeth preserves some esteem, yet every reader rejoices at his fall,
C. Whittingham, Printer, Chiswick.
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, Chamberlain 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. 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 Ro
bert Faulconbridge. Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE, sometimes in England, and sometimes in
NORTHAMPTON. A Room of State in the Palace. Enter King John, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE, Essex, SALISBURY, and others, with CHATILLON. K. John. 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. 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; To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine : Desiring thee to lay aside the sword,
Which sways usurpingly these several titles ;
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. [blood,
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for 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.
[Exeunt 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, inuch more than your Or else it must go wrong with you, and me:
[right; So much my conscience whispers in your ear; Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall hear. Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers
Essex. Esser. My liege, here is the strangest controversy, Come from the country to be judg'd by you, That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men? K. John. Let them approach.-. (Exit Sheriff
. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay.