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Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
K. Joun. What art thou ?
bridge. 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.' Eli. 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
In expanding the character of the Bastard, Shakspeare seems to have proceeded on the following Night hint in the original play:
“ Next them, a bastard of the king's deceas'd,
“ A kardie wild-bead, 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 resemblance between this sentiment, and that of Telemachus in the first Book of the Odyley, is apparent. The passage is thus translated by Chapman:
“ My mother, certaine, fayes I am his fonne;
By any child, the sure truth of his fire.”
At least from fair five hundred pound a year :
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 Nander'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 fir Robert did beget us both, And were our father, and this son 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! Eli. He hath a trick of Cour-de-lion's face,
3 But whe'r-] Whe’r for whether. So, in The Comedy of Errors i ~ Good fir, fay whe'r you'll answer me, or no.”
STEEVENS. 4 He hath a trick of Cæur-de-lion's face,] The trick, or tricking, is the same as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be fufficiently shown by the flightest outline. This expression is used by Heywood and Rowley in their comedy called Fortune by Land and Sea : “ Her face, ihe trick of her her leer.” The following passage in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, proves the phrase to be borrowed from delineation :
You can blazon the reft, Signior? “ O ay, I have it in writing here o’purpose; it cost me two shillings the tricking.” So again, in Cynthia's Revels:
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:
The accent of his tongue affecteth him:
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts,
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 ycar!
"'Twas pretty, though a plague,
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour,"
• The trick of that voice I do well remember.” M. MASON. Our author often uses this phrase, and generally in the sense of a peculiar air or cast of countenance or feature. So, in K. Henry VI. Part I: “ That thou art my fon, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion; but chiefly a villainous trick of thinc eye---
MALONE. 4 With that half-face-] The old copy-with half that face. But why with half that face? There is no question but the poet wrote, as I have restored the text: With that half-faceMr. Pope, perhaps, will be angry with me for discovering an anachronism of our poet's in the next line, where he alludes to a coin not struck till the year 1504, in the reign of King Henry VII. viz. a groat, which, as well as the half groat, bore but half faces impressed. Vide Stowe's Survey of London, p. 47. Holinshed, Camden's Remains, &c. The poet sneers at the meagre sharp visage of the elder brother, by comparing him to a silver groat, that bore the King's face in profile, so showed but half the face: the groats of all our Kings of England, and indeed all their other coins of silver, one or two only excepted, had a full face crowned; till Henry VII. at the time above mentioned, coined groats and half-groats, as also fome fhillings, with half faces, i. e. faces in profile, as all our coin has now. The first groats of King Henry VIII. were like those of his father; though afterwards he returned to the broad faces again. These groats, with the impression in profile, are undoubtedly here alluded to: though, as I said, the poet is knowingly guilty of an anachronism in it: for in the time of King John there were no groats at all;
Roo. 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 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 fhores 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,
they being firit, as far as appears, coined in the reign of King Edward III. THEOBALD,
The fame contemptuous allusion occurs in The Dozunfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
“ You half-fac'd groat, you thick-cheek'd chitty-face." Again, in Hiftriomastix, 1610:
“ Whilft I behold yon half-fac'd minion.” Steevens. I took it, on his death,] i. e. entertained it as his fixed opinion, when he was dying. So, in Hamlet:
this, I take it, “ Is the main motive of our preparations." STEEVENS.
Had of your father claim'd this son for his?
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,
BAST. Madam, an if my brother had my shape, And I had his, fir Robert his, like him;?
s This concludes,] This is a decisive argument. As your father, if he liked him, could not have been forced to resign him, so not liking him, he is not at liberty to reject him. Johnson.
6 Lord of thy presence, and no land beside?] Lord of thy presence means, mafter of that dignity and grandeur of appearance that may sufficiently distinguish thee from the vulgar, without the help of fortune.
Lord of his presence apparently signifies, great in his own person, and is used in this sense by King John in one of the following scenes.
JOHNSON 7 And I had bis, fir Robert his, like him;] This is obscure and ill expressed. The meaning is~ If I had his shape, fir Roberi's, as he has.
Sir Robert his, for Sir Robert's, is agreeable to the practice of that time, when the 's added to the nominative was believed, I think erroneously, to be a contraction of his. So, Donne :
Who now lives to age, “ Fit to be callid Methusalem his page?” Johnson. This ought to be printed:
Sis Robert his, like him.