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K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.

Elin. 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 the Sheriff of Northamptonshire,who whispers

Essex.

Essex. 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

Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, his bastard brother.

This expedition's charge. What men are you?
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
Born in Northamptonshire; and eldest son,
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge;
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field.
K. John. What art thou?

Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge.

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

Bast. 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.

Elin. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame thy mother,

And wound her honour with this diffidence.
Bast. 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 honour, and my land!
K. John. 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 slander'd me with bastardy:
But whe'r 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.
K. John. Why, what a madcap hath heaven lent
us here!

Elin. 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?

K, John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,

And finds them perfect Richard.Sirrah, speak,
What doth move you to claim your brother's land?
Bast Because he hath a half-face, like my father;
With that half-face would he have all my land:
A half-faced groat five hundred pound a year!

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much;

Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land;
Your tale must be, how he employ'd my mother.
Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy
To Germany, there, with the emperor,

To treat of high affairs touching that time:
The 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.

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 hazard 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.

Elin. 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 ?

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 eelskins 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'd give it every foot to have this face;

I would not be sir Nob in any case.

Elin. 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.

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Bast. Brother, take you my land, I'll take my chance:

Your face hath got five hundred pounds a year; Yet sell your face for fivepence, and 'tis dear.Madam, I'll follow you unto the death.

Elin. 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 bear'st:

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.

Elin. The very spirit of Plantagenet !—
I am thy grandame, Richard; call me so.

Bast. Madam, by chance, but not by truth : What though?

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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.

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