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ACT THE FIRST.
KING John upon the Throne, QUEEN ELINor, EsSEx, SALISBURY, PEMB RoKE, HUBERT, CHATILLoN,+English and French GENTLEMEN, -and English GUARDs, discovered.
R. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us? Cha. Thus, after greeting, speaks the King of France, In my behaviour to the majesty, The borrow'd majesty of England here— Eli. A strange beginning;-borrow'd majesty! K. John. Silence, good mother;-hear the embassy. Cha. Philip of France, in right and true behalf. Of thy deceased brother, Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim To this fair island and the territories;
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine:
Enter ENGL1sh HERALD, who whispers Essex.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us.
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than your right; Or else it must go wrong with you, and me. Ess. 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.[Erit ENGLISH HERALD. Our abbeys and our priories shall pay This expedition's charge.—
Enter ENGLISH HERALD, with PHILIP and Rob ERT FAULCON BRIDGE.
What men are you ? [Erit ENGLISH HERALD.
K. John. A good blunt fellow.—Why, being younger born, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance Faul. I know not why, except to get the land. But once he slander'd me with bastardy: But whether 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. R. John. Why, what a mad-cap hath Heaven lent us here ! Eli. 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 Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, Your brother did employ my father much;Faul. 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.)