« ZurückWeiter »
Siw. Then he is dead?
Rosse. Ay, and brought off the field: your cause of sorrow
Must not be measur'd by his worth, for then
Siw. Had he his hurts before?
Siw. Why then, God's soldier be he!
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knoll'd.
Mal. He's worth more sorrow,
And that I'll spend for him.
Siw. He's worth ne more;
They say, he parted well, and paid his score: So, God be with him!-Here comes newer comfort.
Re-enter MACDUFF, with MACBETH'S Head on a Pole.
Macd. Hail, king! for so thou art: Behold, where stands The usurper's cursed head: the time is free: I see thee compass'd with thy kingdom's pearl, * That speak my salutation in their minds; Whose voices I desire aloud with mine,Hail, king of Scotland!
All. King of Scotland, hail! Mal. We shall not spend a large expense of time,
Before we reckon with your several loves,
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
Took off her life;-This, and what needful else
+ The kingdom's wealth or ornament.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
THIS play was probably written in the year 1596. The action comprehends some of the principal events which occurred from the 34th year of King John's life to the time of his demise; or, during his short reign of seventeen years. Shakspeare has in some respects closely adhered to the old historians and chroniclers; but the Duke of Austria was not accessary to the death of Richard Cœur-de-lion; neither was John himself poisoned by a monk. However the gross licentiousness of the latter---his utter disregard of even the appearances of religion---and his habitual ridicule of the church, might favour such a supposition, it is certain that he died partly of grief, and partly of chagrin, at Newark. These incongruities, with the outline of Faulconbridge's character, our poet very likely derived from some previous dramatic production. With respect to the unfortunate Arthur, when he first fell into the power of his uncle, he was confiued in the castle of Falaise, aud the perfidious monarch endeavoured in vain to procure his assassination. He was afterwards conducted to the castle of Rouen, where John resided, and never afterwards heard of. The manner of his death is uncertain; but it is generally believed that the barbarous tyrant stabbed him with his own hand. Dr. Johnson says of this tragedy: "Though not written with the utmost power of Shakspeare, it is varied with a very pleasing interchange of incidents and characters: the lady's grief is very affecting; and the character of the Bastard contains that mixture of greatness and levity, which this author delighted to exhibit." The latter is, indeed, as odd a personage as any author ever drew; and his language is as peculiar as his ideas; but the scene in which John so darkly proposed to Hubert the murder of his innocent nephew, is beyond the commendation of criucism. Art could add little to its perfection; no change in dramatic taste can injure it; and time itself can subtract nothing from its beauties.------Colly Cibber altered this drama, though not for the best.
PRINCE HENRY, his Son; afterwards King
ARTHUR, Duke of Bretagne, Son of Geffrey,
ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, Son of Sir Robert
PHILIP FAULCONBRIDGE, his Half-brother,
PETER of Pomfret, a Prophet.
ELINOR, the Widow of King Henry II. and
CONSTANCE, Mother to Arthur.
Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sherif,
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true be-
K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would
Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king
In my behaviour, to the majesty,
The borrow'd majesty of England here.
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody war,
Eli. A strange beginning;-borrow' ma. To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld.
In the mauner I now do.
K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood, Controlment for controlment: so answer France.
Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my] (Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me!)
The furthest limit of my embassy.
K. John. Bear mine to him and so depart in And were our father, and his son like him ;
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France;
[Exeunt CHATILLON and PEMBROKE. Eli. What now, my son? have I not ever said,
How that ambitious Constance would not cease, Till she had kindled France, and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son?
This might have been prevented, and made whole,
With very easy arguments of love;
of two kingdoms must With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
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:
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,
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,
And wound ber honour with this diffidence.
Bast. 1, 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. A good blunt fellow :-Why, being younger born,
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
But once he slander'd me with bastardy
O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee
I give heaven thanks, I was not like to thee.
lent us here!
Eli. He hath a trick of Coeur-de-liov'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, [speak, And finds them perfect Richard.-- - Sirrah, 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 pounds a year! Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father
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 Between my father and my mother lay, [shores (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 her's; 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, 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, [father,
My brother might not claim him: nor your 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?
Than was his will to get me, as I think.
Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge,
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land;