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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.
K. John. 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.
Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force,
To dispossess that child which is not his ?
Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, Sir, Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. 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, t and no land beside ?
Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, Sir Robert 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 I goes! And, to his shape, were heir to all this land, 'Would I might never stir from off this place, I'd give it every foot to have this face; I would not be Sir Nob§ in any caso.
Eli. 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.
Bast. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance : Your face hath got five hundred pound a year; Yet sell your face for fivepence, and 'tis dear. Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.
Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither.
Bast. Our country manners give our betters way.
K. John. What is thy name?
Bast. Philip, my liege ; so is my name begun;
Philip, good old Sir Robert's wife's eldest son.
K. John. From henceforth bear his name whose form thou
Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great :
Arise Sir Richard and Plantagenet.
Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your hand;
My father gave me honour, yours gave land:
Now blessed be the hour, by night or day,
When I was got, Sir Robert was away.
Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet !-
I am thy grandame, Richard ; call me so.
Bast. 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.
K. John. 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.
Bast. Brother, adieu ; Good fortune come to thee!
For thou wast got i’ the way of honesty.
[Exeunt all but the BASTARD. A foot of honour better than I was; But many a foot of land the worse. Well, now can I make any Joan a lady Good den,t Sir Richard,-God-a-mercy, felloro ;And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter: For new-made honour doth forget men's names; 'Tis too respective, I and too sociable, For your conversion. Now your traveller -He and his tooth-pick at my worship’s mess; And when my knightly stomach is sufficed, Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise My picked man of countries :||--My dear Sir (Thus leaning on my elbows, I begin), I shall beseech you—That is question now; And then comes answer like an ABC-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 conclusiou 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 practise 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! it is my mother :-How now, good lady!
What brings you here to court so hastily?
Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother, where is he?
That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
Bast. 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 F. 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.
Bast. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while ?
Gur. Good leave, good Philip.
Bast. Philip ?-sparrow ! -James,
There's toys abroad;* anon I'll tell thee more. (Exit 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 Róbert could not do it;
We know his handy-work :-Therefore, good mother,
To whom am I beholden for these limbs ?
Sir Robert never holp to make this leg.
Lady F. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too,
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour !
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
Bast. Knight, knight, good mother,-- Basilisco-like:t
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 ís gone:
Then, good my mother, let me know my father ;
Some proper man, I hope; Who was it, mother?
Lady F. Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge ?
Bast. As faithfully as I deny the devil.
Lady F. King Richard Caur-de-lion was thy father;
By long and vehement suit I was seduced
To make room for him in my husband's bed :-
Heaven lay not my transgression to my charge !
Thou art the issue of my dear offence,
Which was so strongly urged, past my defence.
Bast. 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:
Need 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, 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.
ACT II. SCENE I.-France. Before the Walls of Angiers. Enter on one side, the ARCHDUKE of Austria, and Forces; on
the other, PHILIP, King of France, and Forces; LEWIS, CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and Attendants.
Lew. Before Angiers well met, brave Austria.-
Arthur, that great fore-runner of thy blood,
Richard that robb’d the lion of his heart,
And fought the holy wars in Palestine,
By this brave duke came early to his grave:
And for amends to his posterity,
At our importance, * hither is he come,
To spread his colours, boy, in thy behalf;
And to rebuke the usurpation
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John:
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither.
Arth. God shall forgive you Cour-de-lion's death,
The rather that you give his offspring life,
Shadowing their right under your wings of war:
I give you welcome with a powerless hand,
But with a heart full of unstain'd love:
Welcome before the gates of Angiers, duke.
Lew. A noble boy! Who would not do thee right?
Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss,
As seal to this indenture of my love;
That to my home I will no more return,
Till Angiers, and the right thou hast in France,
Together with that pale, that white-faced shore,
Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides,
And coops from other lands her islanders,
Even till that England, hedegd in with the main,
That water-walled bulwark, still secure
And confident from foreign purposes,
Even till that utmost corner of the west
Salute thee for her king: till then, fair boy,
Will I not think of home, but follow arms.
Const. O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks,
Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength,
To make a more requital to your love.
Aust. The peace of heaven is theirs, that lift their swords In such a just and charitable war.
K. Phi. Well then, to work; our cannon shall be bent
Against the brows of this resisting town.-
Call for our chiefest men of discipline,
To cull the plots of best advantages : *
We'll lay before this town our royal bones,
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen’s blood,
But we will make it subject to this boy.
Const. Stay for an answer to your embassy,
Lest unadvised you stain your swords with blood:
My lord Chatillon may from England bring
That right in peace, which here we urge in war;
And then we shall repent each drop of blood,
That hot rash haste so indirectly shed.
K. Phi. A wonder, lady !-lo, upon thy wish,
Our messenger Chatillon is arrived.-
What England says, say briefly, gentle lord,
We coldly pause for thee; Chatillon, speak.
Chat. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege,
And stir them up against a mightier task.
England impatient of your just demands,
Hath put himself in arms; the adverse winds,
Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time
To land his legions all as soon as I:
His marches are expedientt to this town,
His forces strong, his soldiers confident.
With him along is come the mother-queen,
An Até, stirring him to blood and strife;
With her her niece, the lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the king deceas'd:
And all the unsettled humours of the land,
* Best stations to overawe the town,