CHAT. Then take my king's defiance from my


The furtheft limit of my embaffy.

K. JOHN. Bear mine to him, and so depart in



Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
For ere thou canft report I will be there,
The thunder of my cannon fhall be heard:

"Mark hym that fhowes ye Tragedies,
"Thyne owne famylyar frende,
"By whom ye Spaniard's hawty fiyle

"In English verfe is pende.'

B. Googe had already founded the praifes of Phaer and Gafcoigne, and is here defcanting on the merits of Kyd.

It is not impoffible (though Ferrex and Porrex was aded in 1561) that Hieronymo might have been the first regular tragedy that appeared in an English drefs.

It may alfo be remarked, that B. Googe, in the foregoing lines, feems to speak of a tragedy "in English verfe," as a novelty.


5 Be thou as lightning-] The fimile does not fuit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is deftru&tive and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON.

The allufion may notwithstanding be very proper fo far as Shakspeare 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 elfewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, A& III. fc. ii. Antony and Cleopatra, A& II. sc. v. Julius Cæfar, A& I. fc. iii. and ftill more decifively in Measure for Meafure, A& II. fc. ii. This old fuperftition is ftill prevalent in many parts of the country.


King John does not allude to the deftrudive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only means to fay, that Chatillon fhall · appear to the eyes of the French like lightning, which fhows that thunder is approaching and the thunder he alludes to is that of his cannon. Johnfon alfo forgets, that though philofophically fpeaking, the deftru&tive power is in the lightning, it has generally in poetry been attributed to the thunder. So, Lear fays:

"You fulphurous and thought executing fires,

"Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

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Singe my white head!" M. MASON.


So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
And fullen prefage of your own decay.-
An honourable conduct let him have;-
Pembroke, look to't: Farewell, Chatillon.

[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE. ELI. What now, my fon? have I not ever faid, How that ambitious Conftance would not cease, Till fhe had kindled France, and all the world, Upon the right and party of her fon?

This might have been prevented, and made whole, With very eafy arguments of love;


Which now the manage of two kingdoms muft With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.

K. JOHN. Our ftrong poffeffion, and our right, for us.

ELI. Your ftrong poffeffion, much more than your right;

Or else it must go wrong with you, and me:
So much my confcience whispers in your ear;
Which none but heaven, and you, and I fhall hear.


fullen prefage-] By the epithet fullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now fuggefted a new idea. It is as if he had faid, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognoftick 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.

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That here are two ideas, is evident; but the fecond of them has not been luckily explained. The fullen prefage of your own decay, means, the difmal passing bell, that announces your own approaching diffolution. STEEVENS.


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

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Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whif pers ESSEX.

ESSEX. My liege, here is the ftrangest contro


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, fhall pay

Re-enter Sheriff, with ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and PHILIP, his baftard brother.


This expedition's charge. What men are you?

8 Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This ftage diredion I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.

9 and Philip, his baftard brother.] Though Shakspeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two diftin& perfonages.

Matthew Paris fays: "Sub illius temporis curricula,, Falcafus de Brente, Neufterienfis, & fpurius ex parte matris, atque Baftardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo aute clientelam defcenderat,


Matthew Paris, in his Hiftory of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falco, but in his General Hiftory, Falcafius de Brente, as above.

Holinfhed fays, "That Richard I. had a natural son named Philip, who in the year following killed the Viscount De Limoges to revenge the death of his father," STEEVENS.

Perhaps the following paffage in the Continuation of Elarding's Chronicle, 1543, fol. 24, b. ad ann. 1472, induced the author of the old play to affix the name of Faulconbridge to King Richard's natural fon, who is only mentioned in our hiftories by the name of Philip: one Faulconbridge, therle of Kent, his baftarde,

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a toute-harted man.

It is faid

Who the mother of Philip was, is not afcertained. that he was a lady of Poidou, and that King Richard beftowed upon her fon a lordship in that province.

BAST. Your faithful fubject I, a gentleman,
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest son,
As I fuppofe, to Robert Faulconbridge;
A foldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
K. JOHN. What art thou? ›,

ROB. The fon and heir to that fame Faulcon-

K. JOHN. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir? You came not of one mother then, it feems.

BAST. Moft 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 doft shame thy mother,

And wound her honour with this diffidence.


BAST. I, madam? no, I have no reafon for it; That is my brother's plea, and none of mine; The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out

In expanding the character of the Baftard, Shakspeare feems to have proceeded on the following flight hint in the original play: "Next them, a baftard of the king's deceas'd,

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"A hardie wild-head, rough, and venturous. MALONE.

2 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.]

The refemblance

between this fentiment, and that of Telemachus in the firft Book

of the Odyfey, is apparent. The paffage is thus tranflated by

Chapman :

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Mr. Pope bas obferved that the like fentiment is found in Euripides, Menander, and Ariftotle. Shakspeare expreffes the fame doubt in STEEVENS.

feveral of his other plays.


At least from fair five hundred pound a year: Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land! K. JOHN. A good blunt fellow:-Why, being younger born,

Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?

BAST. I know not why, except to get the land. But once he flander'd me with bastardy: But whe'r I be as true begot, or no,


That ftill 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 fir Robert did beget us both,
And were our father, and this fon like him
O old fir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks, I was not like to thee.
K. JOHN. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent
us here!

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ELI. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-lion's face, 4

3 But whe'r-] Whe'r for whether. Errors:

So, in The Comedy of

"Good fir, fay whe'r you'll anfwer me, or no.



He hath a trick of Caur-de-lion's face,] The trick, or tricking, is the fame as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be fufficiently fhown by the flighteft outliné. This expreffion is ufed by Heywood and Rowley in their comedy called Fortune by Land and Sea: "Her face, the trick of her eye, her leer." The following paffage in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, proves the phrafe to be borrowed from delineation : You can blazon the reft, Signior?

"O ay, I have it in writing here o'purpose; it coft me two fhillings the tricking. So again, in Cynthia's Revels:

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-the parish-buckets with his name at length trick'd upon them." STEEVENS.

By a trick, in this place, is meant fome peculiarity of look or motion. So, Helen, in All's well that ends well, fays, speaking of Bertram:

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