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Now blessed be the hour by night or day,
Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet!—
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 :1 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 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,3 and too sociable, For your conversion.4 Now your traveller,5— He and his toothpick at my worship's mess;6
1 These expressions were common in the time of Shakspeare for being born out of wedlock. 2 Good evening.
3 Respective does not here mean respectful, as the commentators have explained it, but considerative, regardful.
4 Change of condition.
5 It is said, in All's Well that Ends Well, that "a traveller is a good thing after dinner." In that age of newly-excited curiosity, one of the entertainments at great tables seems to have been the discourse of a traveller. To use a toothpick seems to have been one of the characteristics of a travelled man who affected foreign fashions.
6 "At my worship's mess" means at that part of the table where I, as a knight, shall be placed.—" Your worship" was the regular address to a knight or esquire, in Shakspeare's time, as "your honor" was to a lord. Vol. in. 35
And*when my knightly stomach is sufficed,
Why then I suck my teeth, and catechize
My picked man of countries*—My dear sir,
(Thus, leaning on my elbow,. I begin,)
I shall beseech you—That is question now;
And then comes answer like an A B C-book.—2
0, sir, says answer, at your best command;
At your employment; at your service, sir.-r—
No, sir, says question, /, 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 towards 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;3
(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?
1 My picked man of countries may be equivalent to my travelled fop: vicked generally signified affected, overnice, or curious in dress.
2 An ABCor absey-book, as it was then called, is a catechism.
3 i. e. he is accounted but a mean man, in the present age, who does not show by his dress, deportment, and talk, that he has travelled and made observations in foreign countries.
Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother? Where is he, That holds in chase mine honor up and down?
Bast. My brother Robert ?■ old sir Robert's son? Colbrand the giant,1 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 awhile?
Gur. Good leave, good Philip. Bast. Philip ?—sparrow !2—James,
There's toys abroad;3 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 faell; marly, (to confess !) Could he get me? Sir Robert 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
honor? What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?
Bast. Knight, knight, good mother,—J3asilisco-like.4 What! I am dubbed; I have it on my shoulder.
1 Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick discomfited in the presence of king Athelstan. The History of Guy was a popular book in the Poet's age. Drayton has described the combat very pompously in his Polyolbion.
2 The Bastard means " Philip I Do you take me for a sparrow?" The sparrow was called Philip from its note, which was supposed to have some resemblance to that word, "phip phip the sparrows as they fly."—Lyly's Mother Bombie.
3 i. e. rumors, idle reports.
4 This is a piece of satire on the stupid, old drama of Soliman and Perseda, printed in 1599, which had probably become the butt for stage sarcasm. In this piece there is a bragging, cowardly knight called Basilisco. His pretension to valor is so blown and seen through, that Piston, a buffoon servant in the play, jumps upon his back, and will not disengage him til] he makes Basilisco swear upon his dagger to the contents, and in the terms he dictates; thus:—
But, mother, I am not sir Robert's son ,
I have disclaimed 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?
Lady F. Hast thou denied thyself a Faulconbridge?
Bast. As faithfully as I deny the devil.
Lady F. King Richard Cceur-de-lion was thy
Bast. Now, by this light, were I to get again,
Bas> O, I swear, I swear.
Pist By the contents of this blade,— %
Bas. By the contents of this blade,—
Pist. I, the aforesaid Basilico—
Bas. I, the aforesaid Basilico,—knight, good fellow, knight. Pist. Knave, good fellow, knave.
1 Shakspeare alludes to the fabulous history of king Richard I. which says that he derived his appellation of C(Bur-de-lion from having plucked out a lion's heart, to whose fury he had been exposed by the duke of Austria for having slain his son with a blow of his fist The story is related in several of the old chronicles, as well as in the old metrical romance.
Come, lady, 1 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.
SCENE 1. France. Before the Walls ofAngiers.
Enter, on one side, the Archduke of Austria,1 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 forerunner of thy blood, Richard, that robbed 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,2 hither is he come, To spread his colors, 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 Coeur-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,
1 Leopold, duke of Austria, by whom Richard had been thrown into prison in 1193, died in consequence of a fall from his horse, 1195, some years before the date of the events upon which this play turns. The cause of the enmity between Richard and the duke of Austria is variously related by the old chroniclers. Shakspeare has been led into this anachronism by the old play of King John.