Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

either Marlowe or Greene, and doubtless had been exhibited some years before. Creede, in the same year, 1594, published "The First Part of the Contention between the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. probably from its connexion with the story of Richard. This very rare edition, which was long unknown to the collectors of old plays, fell into my possession a few years ago.

Richard III. was written, I imagine, in 1593. See the Essay on the Chronological Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ii. The Legend of King Richard III. by Francis Seagars, was printed in the first edition of The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1559, and in that of 1575, and 1587; but Shakspeare does not appear to be indebted to it. In a subsequent edition of that book printed in 1610, the old legend was omitted, and a new one inserted, by Richard Niccols, who has very freely copied the play before us. In 1597, when this tragedy was published, Niccols, as Mr. Warton has observed, was but thirteen years old. Hist. of Poetry, vol. iii. p. 267.

The real length of time in this piece is fourteen years; (not eight years, as Mr. Theobald supposed;) for the second scene commences with the funeral of King Henry VI. who is said to have been murdered on the 21st of May, 1471. The imprisonment of Clarence, which is represented previously in the first scene, did not in fact take place til 1477-8. MALONE.

I have been favoured by Mr. Rhodes, of Lyons Inn, with the perusal of an ancient interlude which unfortunately has lost the title page and a few lines at the beginning, but which I have not a doubt is the very piece referred to in the Stationers' Registers. As it is probably unique, and appears evidently to have been read and used by Shakspeare, that gentleman has very liberally permitted me to reprint it, and it will be found at the end of this play. Boswell.

KING EDWARD the Fourth.
EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES,
afterwards K. EDWARD V.
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK,
GEORGE, DUKE OF CLARENCE,
RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOSTER, af-
terwards KING RICHARD III.
A young Son of CLARENCE.
HENRY, EARL OF RICHMOND, afterwards KING
HENRY VII.

CARDINAL BOUCHIER, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTER

Sons to the King.

Brothers to the King.

BURY.

THOMAS ROTHERAM, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.
JOHN MORTON, BISHOP OF ELY.

DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.

DUKE OF NORFOLK: EARL OF SURREY, his Son. EARL RIVERS, brother to KING EDWARD'S Queen : MARQUIS OF DORSET, and LORD GREY, her Sons. EARL OF OXFORD. LORD HASTINGS.

LORD STANLEY.

LORD LOVEL.

SIR THOMAS VAUGHAN. SIR RICHARD RATCLIFF.
SIR WILLIAM CATESBY. SIR JAMES TYRREL.
Sir JAMES BLOUNT. SIR WALTER HERBERT.
SIR ROBERT BRAKENBURY, Lieutenant of the Tower.
CHRISTOPHER URSWICK, a Priest. Another Priest.
Lord Mayor of London. Sheriff of Wiltshire.
ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF KING EDWARD IV.
MARGARET, Widow of KING HENRY VI.

DUCHESS OF YORK, Mother to KING EDWARD IV. CLARENCE, and GLOSTER.

LADY ANNE, Widow of EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES, Son to KING HENRY VI.; afterwards married to the DUKE OF GLOSTER.

A young Daughter of CLARENCE.

Lords, and other Attendants; two Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.

SCENE, England.

LIFE AND DEATH

OF

KING RICHARD III.

ACT I. SCENE I.

London. A Street.

Enter GLOSter.

GLO. Now is the winter of our discontent' Made glorious summer by this sun of York 2; And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,

I

Thus, in Sidney's

the WINTER of our discontent] Astrophel and Stella:

"Gone in the winter of my miserie." STEEVENS. 2-this sun of York ;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in memory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross :

[ocr errors]

So, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret:

"Three suns were seen that instant to appear,
"Which soon again shut themselves up in one;
Ready to buckle as the armies were,

"Which this brave duke took to himself alone," &c. Again, in the 22d Song of the Polyolbion :

"And thankful to high heaven, which of his cause had care, "Three suns for his device still in his ensign bare."

Such phænomena, if we may believe tradition, were formerly not uncommon. In the Wrighte's play in the Chester Collection, MS. Harl. 1013, the same circumstance is introduced as attending on a more solemn event :

"That day was seene veramente "Three sonnes in the firmament, "And wonderly together went "And torned into one." STEEVENS. See vol. xviii. p. 403, n. 6. MALONE.

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now,—instead of mounting barbed steeds*,

3 Now are our brows bound with VICTORIOUS WREATHS: OUR BRUISED ARMS, &c.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece : "Made glorious by his manly chivalry,

"With bruised arms and wreaths of victory." Malone. ♦ Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings, Our dreadful marches to delightful MEASURES. Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;

And now,—instead of mounting BARBED STEEDS, &C.] So, in The Tragical Life and Death of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of Magistrates. The first edition of it appeared in 1559, but the lines quoted on the present as well as future occasions throughout this play, are not found in any copy before that of 1610, so that the author was more probably indebted to Shakspeare, than Shakspeare to him:

“ — the battles fought in field before
“Were turn'd to meetings of sweet amitie ;

“The war-god's thund'ring cannons' dreadful rore,
"And rattling drum-sounds' warlike harmonie,
“To sweet-tun'd noise of pleasing minstrelsie.

“God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke his lute,
“And turn'd his rugged frownes to smiling lookes;
"Instead of crimson fields, warre's fatal fruit,
"He bath'd his limbes in Cypris warbling brookes,
“And set his thoughts upon her wanton lookes.”

STEEVENS.

Shakspeare seems to have had the following passage from Lyly's Alexander and Campaspe, 1584, before him, when he wrote these lines: "Is the warlike sound of drum and trump turn'd to the soft noise of lyre and lute? The neighing of barbed steeds, whose loudness filled the air with terror, and whose breaths dimned the sun with smoak, converted to delicate tunes and amorous glances?" &c. REED.

"-delightful measures." A measure was, strictly speaking, a court dance of a stately turn, though the word is sometimes employed to express dances in general.

So, in Romeo and Juliet, vol. vi. p. 43 :

To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,

5

He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

But I,-that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;

I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty, To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;

I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature

"We'll measure them a measure, and be gone." See vol. iv. p. 414, n. 3. MALONE.

"6

-barbed steeds," i. e. steeds caparisoned in a warlike manner. I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of King Henry IV. 1599, says,"The duke of Hereford, came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courser, barbed with blew and green velvet," &c.

Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607: “-armed in a black armour, curiously damask'd with interwinding wreaths of cypress and ewe, his barbe upon his horse, all of black abrosetta, cut in broken hoopes upon curled cypress."

Again, in The Second Part of King Edward IV. by Heywood, 1626:

"With barbed horse, and valiant armed foot."

Barbed, however, may be no more than a corruption of barded. Equus bardatus, in the Latin of the middle ages, was a horse adorned with military trappings. I have met with the word barded many times in our ancient chronicles and romances. An instance or two may suffice. "They mounted him surely upon a good and mighty courser, well barded," &c.

Hist. of Helyas Knight of the Swanne, bl. 1. no date. Again, in Barrett's Alrearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580: Bardes or trappers of horses." Phalera, Lat.

66

Again, Holinshed speaking of the preparations for the battle of Agincourt: -to the intent that if the barded horses ran fiercely upon them," &c. Again, from p. 802, we learn, that bards and trappers had the same meaning. STEEVENS.

See A Barbed horse," and " Bardes," in Minsheu's Dict. 1617, the latter of which he defines "horse-trappings."

[ocr errors]

MALONE.

5 HE capers-] War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at such a distance, that it is almost forgotten. JOHNSON.

6 Cheated of feature by DISSEMBLING nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does

« ÎnapoiContinuați »