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That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's: In the name of God,
How comes it then, that thou art call'd a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat;)
Which owe the crown that thou o'er-masterest?
K. John. From whom hast thou this great commission,

France,
To draw

my answer from thy articles ? K. Phi. From that supernal judge, that stirs good

thoughts
In any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of right.
That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
Under whose warrant I impeach thy wrong;
And, by whose help, I mean to chástise it.

K. John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
K. Phi. Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.
Eli. Who is it, thou dost call usurper, France ?
Const. Let me make answer;—thy usurping son.

Eli. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king;
That thou may'st be a queen, and check the world!

Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true As thine was to thy husband: and this boy Liker in feature to his father Geffrey, Than thou and John in manners; being as like, As rain to water, or devil to his dam. My boy a bastard! by my soul, I think, His father never was so true begot; It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy fa

ther. Const. There's a good grandam, boy, that would blot

thee.

3

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an if thou wert his mother.] Constance alludes to Elinor's infidelity to her husband, Lewis the Seventh, when they were in the Holy Land; on account of which he was divorced from her. She afterwards (1151) married our king Henry II.

Aust. Peace!
Bast.

Hear the crier.
Aust.

What the devil art thou ? Bast. One that will play the devil, sir, with you, An ’a may catch your hide and you alone. 4 You are the hare of whom the proverb goes, Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard; I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right; Sirrah, look to't; i'faith, I will, i'faith.

Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe,
That did disrobe the lion of that robe!

Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him,
As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass :
But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back;
Or lay on that, shall make your shoulders crack.

Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our ears With this abundance of superfluous breath?

K. Phi. Lewis, determine what we shall do straight.

Lew. Women and fools, break off your conference, King John, this is the very sum

of all

, -
England, and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine,
In right of Arthur do I claim of thee:
Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms?

K. John. My life as soon :-- I do defy thee, France.
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand;
And, out of my dear love, I'll give thee more
Than e'er the coward hand of France can win :
Submit thee, boy.
Eli.

Come to thy grandam, child.
Const. Do, child, go to iť grandam, child;
Give grandam kingdom, and iť grandam will
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig:
There's a good grandam.

4 One that will play the devil, sir, with you,
An'a
may
catch

your hide and you alone. The story is, that Austria, who killed king Richard Cæur-de-lion, wore, as the spoil of that prince, a lion's hide, which had belonged to him.

Arth.

Good my mother, peace ! I would, that I were low laid in my grave; I am not worth this coil that's made for me.

Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.

Const. Now shame upon you, whe’r she does or no! His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes, Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee; Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib'd To do him justice, and revenge on you.

Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth!

Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
Call not me slanderer; thou, and thine, usurp
The dominations, royalties, and rights,
Of this oppressed boy: This is thy eldest son's son,
Infortunate in nothing but in thee;
Thy sins are visited in this poor child;
The canon of the law is laid on him,
Being but the second generation
Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb.

K. John. Bedlam, have done.
Const.

I have but this to say,
That he's not only plagued for her sin,
But God hath made her sin and her the plague

5

5 I have but this to say,

That he's not only plagued for her sin,

But God hath made her sin and her the plague, &c.] The commentators have laboured hard to make out a meaning in this passage. The following by Mr. Henley seems as satisfactory as any. Young Arthur is here represented as not only suffering from the guilt of his grandmother ; but also, by her, in person, she being made the very instrument of his sufferings. As he was not hér immediate, but REMOVED issue -- the second generation from her sin-conceiving womb mit might have been expected, that the evils to which, upon her account, he was obnoxious, would have incidentally befallen him; instead of his being punished for them all, by her immediate infliction, He is not only plagued on account of her sin, according to the threatening of the commandment, but she is preserved alive to her second generation, to be the instrument of inflicting on her grand

On this removed issue, plagu'd for her,
And with her plague, her sin; his injury
Her injury, - the beadle to her sin;
All punish'd in the person of this child,
And all for her: A plague upon

her!
Eli. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce
A will, that bars the title of thy son.

Const. Ay, who doubts that? a will ! a wicked will; A woman's will; a canker'd grandam's will !

K. Phi. Peace, lady; pause, or be more temperate : It ill beseems this presence, cry

aim
To these ill-tuned repetitions. -
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls
These men of angiers; let us hear them speak,
Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's.

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Trumpets sound. Enter Citizens upon the walls. i Cit. Who is it, that hath warn'd us to the walls? K. Phi. 'Tis France, for England. K. John.

England, for itself: You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects,

K. Phi. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects, Our trumpet call’d you to this gentle parle. K. John. For our advantage; - Therefore, hear us

first.
These flags of France, that are advanced here
Before the eye and prospect of your town,
Have hither march'd to your endamagement :
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath;

child the penalty annexed to her sin; so that he is plagued on her account, and with her plague, which is, her sin, that is (taking, by a common figure, the cause for the consequence] the penalty entailed upon it. His injury, or the evil he suffers, her sin brings upon him, and HEB injury, or, the evil she inflicts, he suffers from her, as the beadle to her sin, or erecutioner of the punishment annexed to it.

0 It ill beseems this presence, to cry aim ~] To cry aim is' borrowed probably from archery, and means to incite notice, or raise attention.

C

And ready mounted are they, to spit forth
Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls:
All preparation for a bloody siege,
And merciless proceeding by these French,
Confront your city's eyes, your winking gates ;?
And, but for our approach, those sleeping stones,
That as a waist do girdle you about,
By the compulsion of their ordnance
By this time from their fixed beds of lime
Had been dishabited, and wide havock made
For bloody power to rush upon your peace.
But, on the sight of us, your lawful king,
Who painfully, with much expedient march,
Have brought a countercheck before your gates,
To save unscratch'd your city's threaten'd cheeks, –
Behold, the French, amaz'd, vouchsafe a parle:
And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire,
To make a shaking fever in your walls,
They shoot but calm words, folded up in smoke,
To make a faithless error in

your ears :
Which trust accordingly, kind citizens,
And let us in, your king; whose labour'd spirits,
Forwearied in this action of swift speed,
Crave harbourage within your city walls.

K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us both.
Lo, in this right hand, whose protection
Is most divinely vow'd upon the right
Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet ;
Son to the elder brother of this man,
And king o'er him, and all that he enjoys :
For this down-trodden equity, we tread
In warlike march these

greens
before

your town;
Being no further enemy to you,
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal,

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- your winking gates ;] i.e. gates hastily closed from an apprehension of danger.

8 Forwearied - ) i. e. worn out, Sax.

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