Act I, Scene 1
A room in King John’s palace.
- Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, and
- Salisbury, with the Chatillion of France.
- Now say, Chatillion, what would France with us?
Chatillion2 - 4
- Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France
- In my behavior to the majesty,
- The borrowed majesty, of England here.
- A strange beginning: “borrowed majesty”!
- Silence, good mother, hear the embassy.
Chatillion7 - 15
- 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,
- And put the same into young Arthur’s hand,
- Thy nephew and right royal sovereign.
- What follows if we disallow of this?
Chatillion17 - 18
- The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
- To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
King John19 - 20
- Here have we war for war and blood for blood,
- Controlment for controlment: so answer France.
Chatillion21 - 22
- Then take my King’s defiance from my mouth,
- The farthest limit of my embassy.
King John23 - 30
- 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 honorable conduct let him have.
- Pembroke, look to’t. Farewell, Chatillion.
- Exeunt Chatillion and Pembroke.
Queen Elinor31 - 38
- 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.
- Our strong possession and our right for us.
Queen Elinor40 - 43
- 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 heaven, and you, and I, shall hear.
- Enter a Sheriff and whispers Essex in the ear.
Earl of Essex44 - 46
- 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?
King John47 - 50
- Let them approach.
- Exit Sheriff.
- Our abbeys and our priories shall pay
- This expedition’s charge.
- Enter Robert Faulconbridge and Philip the Bastard.
- What men are you?
Bastard51 - 55
- Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
- Born in Northamptonshire, and eldest son,
- As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge,
- A soldier, by the honor-giving hand
- Of Coeur de Lion knighted in the field.
- What art thou?
- The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.
King John58 - 59
- Is that the elder, and art thou the heir?
- You came not of one mother then, it seems.
Bastard60 - 64
- 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.
Queen Elinor65 - 66
- Out on thee, rude man, thou dost shame thy mother,
- And wound her honor with this diffidence.
Bastard67 - 71
- I, madam? No, 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 honor, and my land!
King John72 - 73
- A good blunt fellow. Why, being younger born,
- Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
Bastard74 - 84
- I know not why, except to get the land;
- But once he slander’d me with bastardy.
- But whe’er I be as true begot or no,
- That still I lay upon my mother’s head,
- But that I am as well begot, my liege
- (Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!),
- Compare our faces, and be judge yourself.
- If old Sir Robert did beget us both,
- And were our father, and this son like him,
- O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee
- I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee!
- Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent us here!
Queen Elinor86 - 89
- He hath a trick of Coeur de Lion’s face,
- The accent of his tongue affecteth him.
- Do you not read some tokens of my son
- In the large composition of this man?
King John90 - 92
- Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
- And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak,
- What doth move you to claim your brother’s land?
Bastard93 - 95
- Because he hath a half-face like my father!
- With half that face would he have all my land—
- A half-fac’d groat five hundred pound a year!
Robert Faulconbridge96 - 97
- My gracious liege, when that my father liv’d,
- Your brother did employ my father much—
Bastard98 - 99
- Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land;
- Your tale must be how he employ’d my mother.
Robert Faulconbridge100 - 116
- And once dispatch’d him in an embassy
- To Germany, there with the Emperor
- To treat of high affairs touching that time.
- Th’ advantage of his absence took the King,
- And in the mean time sojourn’d at my father’s;
- Where how he did prevail I shame to speak.
- But truth is truth. Large lengths of seas and shores
- Between my father and my mother lay,
- As I have heard my father speak himself,
- When this same lusty gentleman was got.
- Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath’d
- His lands to me, and took it on his death
- That this my mother’s son was none of his;
- And if he were, he came into the world
- Full fourteen weeks before the course of time.
- Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine,
- My father’s land, as was my father’s will.
King John117 - 130
- Sirrah, your brother is legitimate,
- Your father’s wife did after wedlock bear him;
- And if she did play false, the fault was hers,
- Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands
- That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother,
- Who, as you say, took pains to get this son,
- Had of your father claim’d this son for his?
- In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept
- This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world;
- In sooth he might; then if he were my brother’s,
- My brother might not claim him, nor your father,
- Being none of his, refuse him. This concludes:
- My mother’s son did get your father’s heir;
- Your father’s heir must have your father’s land.
Robert Faulconbridge131 - 132
- Shall then my father’s will be of no force
- To dispossess that child which is not his?
Bastard133 - 134
- Of no more force to dispossess me, sir,
- Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Queen Elinor135 - 138
- Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge,
- And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;
- Or the reputed son of Coeur de Lion,
- Lord of thy presence and no land beside?
Bastard139 - 148
- Madam, and if my brother had my shape
- And I had his, Sir Robert’s his, like him,
- And if my legs were two such riding-rods,
- My arms such eel-skins stuff’d, my face so thin
- That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose
- Lest men should say, “Look where three-farthings goes!”
- And to his shape were heir to all this land,
- Would I might never stir from off this place,
- I would give it every foot to have this face;
- It would not be Sir Nob in any case.
Queen Elinor149 - 151
- I like thee well. Wilt thou forsake thy fortune,
- Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me?
- I am a soldier, and now bound to France.
Bastard152 - 155
- Brother, take you my land, I’ll take my chance.
- Your face hath got five hundred pound a year,
- Yet sell your face for five pence and ’tis dear.
- Madam, I’ll follow you unto the death.
- Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
- Our country manners give our betters way.
- What is thy name?
Bastard159 - 160
- Philip, my liege, so is my name begun,
- Philip, good old Sir Robert’s wive’s eldest son.
King John161 - 163
- From henceforth bear his name whose form thou bearest:
- Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great,
- Arise Sir Richard, and Plantagenet.
Bastard164 - 167
- Brother by th’ mother’s side, give me your hand;
- My father gave me honor, yours gave land.
- Now blessed be the hour by night or day
- When I was got, Sir Robert was away!
Queen Elinor168 - 169
- The very spirit of Plantagenet!
- I am thy grandame, Richard, call me so.
Bastard170 - 176
- Madam, by chance, but not by truth; what though?
- Something about, a little from the right,
- In at the window, or else o’er the hatch.
- Who dares not stir by day must walk by night,
- And have is have, however men do catch.
- Near or far off, well won is still well shot,
- And I am I, howe’er I was begot.
King John177 - 180
- Go, Faulconbridge, now hast thou thy desire,
- A landless knight makes thee a landed squire.
- Come, madam, and come, Richard, we must speed
- For France, for France, for it is more than need.
Bastard181 - 222
- Brother, adieu, good fortune come to thee!
- For thou wast got i’ th’ way of honesty.
- Exeunt all but Bastard.
- A foot of honor better than I was,
- But many a many foot of land the worse.
- Well, now can I make any Joan a lady.
- “Good den, Sir Richard!” “God-a-mercy, fellow!”
- And if his name be George, I’ll call him Peter;
- For new-made honor doth forget men’s names;
- ’Tis too respective and too sociable
- For your conversion. Now your traveler,
- He and his toothpick at my worship’s mess,
- And when my knightly stomach is suffic’d,
- Why then I suck my teeth, and catechize
- My picked man of countries. “My dear sir,”
- Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,
- “I shall beseech you”—that is question now;
- And then comes answer like an Absey book:
- “O sir,” says answer, “at your best command,
- At your employment, at your service, sir.”
- “No, sir,” says question, “I, sweet sir, at yours”;
- And so ere answer knows what question would,
- Saving in dialogue of compliment,
- And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
- The Pyrenean and the river Po,
- It draws toward supper in conclusion so.
- But this is worshipful society,
- And fits the mounting spirit like myself;
- For he is but a bastard to the time
- That doth not smack of observation—
- And so am I, whether I smack or no;
- And not alone in habit and device,
- Exterior form, outward accoutrement,
- But from the inward motion to deliver
- Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age’s tooth,
- Which though I will not practice to deceive,
- Yet to avoid deceit, I mean to learn;
- For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising.
- But who comes in such haste in riding-robes?
- What woman-post is this? Hath she no husband
- That will take pains to blow a horn before her?
- Enter Lady Faulconbridge and James Gurney.
- O me, ’tis my mother. How now, good lady,
- What brings you here to court so hastily?
Lady Faulconbridge223 - 224
- Where is that slave, thy brother? Where is he,
- That holds in chase mine honor up and down?
Bastard225 - 227
- My brother Robert, old Sir Robert’s son?
- Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man?
- Is it Sir Robert’s son that you seek so?
Lady Faulconbridge228 - 230
- Sir Robert’s son! Ay, thou unreverend boy,
- Sir Robert’s son! Why scorn’st thou at Sir Robert?
- He is Sir Robert’s son, and so art thou.
- James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while?
- Good leave, good Philip.
Bastard233 - 242
- Philip? Sparrow! James,
- There’s toys abroad; anon I’ll tell thee more.
- Exit James Gurney.
- Madam, I was not old Sir Robert’s son;
- Sir Robert might have eat his part in me
- Upon Good Friday and ne’er broke his fast.
- Sir Robert could do well—marry, to confess—
- Could he get me. Sir Robert could not do it;
- We know his handiwork. Therefore, good mother,
- To whom am I beholding for these limbs?
- Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.
Lady Faulconbridge243 - 245
- Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
- That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honor?
- What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
Bastard246 - 252
- Knight, knight, good mother, Basilisco-like.
- What, I am dubb’d! I have it on my shoulder.
- But, mother, I am not Sir Robert’s son,
- I have disclaim’d Sir Robert and my land,
- Legitimation, name, and all is gone;
- Then, good my mother, let me know my father;
- Some proper man, I hope. Who was it, mother?
- Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?
- As faithfully as I deny the devil.
Lady Faulconbridge255 - 260
- King Richard Coeur de Lion was thy father.
- By long and vehement suit I was seduc’d
- To make room for him in my husband’s bed.
- Heaven! Lay not my transgression to my charge,
- That art the issue of my dear offense,
- Which was so strongly urg’d past my defense.
Bastard261 - 278
- Now by this light, were I to get again,
- Madam, I would not wish a better father.
- Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
- And so doth yours: your fault was not your folly;
- Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose,
- Subjected tribute to commanding love,
- Against whose fury and unmatched force
- The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
- Nor keep his princely heart from Richard’s hand.
- He that perforce robs lions of their hearts
- May easily win a woman’s. Ay, my mother,
- With all my heart I thank thee for my father!
- Who lives and dares but say thou didst not well
- When I was got, I’ll send his soul to hell.
- Come, lady, I will show thee to my kin,
- And they shall say, when Richard me begot,
- If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin.
- Who says it was, he lies, I say ’twas not.