William Shakespeare, King John (1594-96):
[K. John.] Why, being younger born,
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance?
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land.
But once he slander'd me with bastardy:
But whe’er 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! (1.1.71-83)
Bast. Brother, adieu: good fortune come to thee!
For thou wast got i' the way of honesty.
Exeunt all but Bastard.
A foot of honour 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 honour doth forget men's names;
'Tis too respective and too sociable
For your conversion. Now your traveller,
He and his toothpick at my worship's mess,
And when my knightly stomach is sufficed,
Why then I suck my teeth and catechise
My picked man of countries: 'My dear sir,'
Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,
'I shall beseech you' – that is question now;
And then comes answer like an Absey book:
'O sir,' says answer, 'at your best command;
At your employment; at your service, sir;'
'No, sir,' says question, 'I, 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 toward 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;
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. (1.1.180-216)
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99):
D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdain’d of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any. In this (though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man) it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchis’d with a clog, therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking. In the meantime let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me. (1.3.27-37)
[Bene.] If their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practise of it lives in John the Bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies. (4.1.187-89)
William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida (1601-03):
Ther. What art thou?
Mar. A bastard son of Priam’s.
Ther. I am a bastard too, I love bastards. I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valor, in everything illegitimate. One bear will not bite another, and wherefore should one bastard? Take heed, the quarrel’s most ominous to us. If the son of a whore fight for a whore, he tempts judgment. Farewell, bastard.(5.7.14-22)
William Shakespeare, King Lear (1605):
Edm. Thou, Nature, art my goddess, to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition, and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word, “legitimate”!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper:
Now, gods, stand up for bastards! (1.2.1-22)
Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's Tail, and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. Edgar – [Enter Edgar.] and pat! he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy. My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o' Bedlam. O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la, mi. (1.2.118-37)
William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale (1610-11):
[Leon.] My child? Away with't! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence
And see it instantly consumed with fire.
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
(And by good testimony), or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire. (2.3.132-41)
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (1611):
[Pros.] This misshapen knave –
His mother was a witch, and one so strong
That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs,
And deal in her command without her power.
These three have robb'd me, and this demi-devil
(For he's a bastard one) had plotted with them
To take my life. Two of these fellows you
Must know and own, this thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine. (5.1.268-76)