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March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell;
What shall I say more than I have infer'd ?
[Drum afar off Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen! Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head! Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood; Amaze the welkin with your broken staves !
A sort of vagabonds,] i. e. a company, a collection.
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves !] That is, fright the skies with the shivers of your lances. Johnson.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, he doth deny to come.
Nor. My lord, the enemy is pass'd the marsh;
bosom: Advance our standards, set upon our foes; Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George, Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons! Upon them! Victory sits on our helms. [Exeunt.
Another Part of the Field.
Alarum : Excursions. Enter NORFOLK, and Forces ;
to him CATESBY. Cate. Rescue, my lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue! The king enacts more wonders than a man, Daring an opposite to every danger; His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights, Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death: Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!
Alarum. Enter King RICHARD. K. Rich. A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a
horse! Cate. Withdraw, my lord, I'll help you to a
horse. K. Rich. Slave, I have set my life upon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die: I think, there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day, instead of him:-
[Exeunt. Alarums. Enter King RICHARD and RICHMOND; and exeunt, fighting.
fighting Retreat, and flourish. Then enter RICHMOND, STANLEY, bearing the Crown, with divers other Lords, and Forces. Richm. God, and your arms, be prais’d, victo
rious friends; The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead. Stan. Courageous Richmond, well hast thou ac
Richm. Great God of heaven, say, amen, to all!But, tell me first, is young George Stanley living?
Stan. He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town; Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us. Richm. What men of name are slain on either
side? Stan. John duke of Norfolk, Walter lord Ferrers, Sir Robert Brakenbury, and sir William Brandon.
Richm. Inter their bodies as becomes their births. Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled, That in submission will return to us; And then, as we have ta’en the sacrament, We will unite the white rose with the red:Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction, That long hath frown'd upon their enmity!-What traitor hears me, and says not,-amen? England hath long been mad, and scarr'd herself; The brother blindly shed the brother's blood, The father rashly slaughter'd his own son, The son, compell’d, been butcher to the sire;
All this divided York and Lancaster,
* Abate the edge-) To abate, is to lower, depress, subdue.
reduce) i. e. bring back; an obsolete sense of the word.
• This is one of the most celebrated of our author's performances; yet I know not whether it has not happened to him as to others, to be praised most, when praise is not most deserved. That this play has scenes noble in themselves, and very well contrived to strike in the exhibition, cannot be denied. But some parts are trifling, others shocking, and some improbable.
Johnson. I agree entirely with Dr. Johnson in thinking that this play from its first exhibition to the present hour has been estimated greatly beyond its merit. From the many allusions to it in books of that age, and the great number of editions it passed through, I suspect it was more often represented and more admired than any of our author's tragedies. Its popularity perhaps in some measure arose from the detestation in which Richard's character was justly held, which must have operated more strongly on those whose grandfathers might have lived near his time, and from its being patronized by the Queen on the throne, who probably was not a little pleased at seeing King Henry VII. placed in the only favourable light, in which he could have been exhibited on the scene.
MALONE. I most cordially join with Dr. Johnson and Mr. Malone in their opinions; and yet perhaps they have overlooked one cause of the success of this tragedy. The part of Richard is, perhaps, beyond
all others variegated, and consequently favourable to a judicious performer. It comprehends, indeed, a trait of almost every species of character on the stage. The hero, the lover, the statesman, the buffoon, the hypocrite, the hardened and repenting sinner, &c. are to be found within its compass. No wonder, therefore, that the discriminating powers of a Burbage, a Garrick, and a Henderson, should at different periods have given it a popularity beyond other dramas of the same author.
Yet the favour with which this tragedy is now received, must also in some measure be imputed to Mr. Cibber's reformation of it, which, generally considered, is judicious : for what modern audience would patiently listen to the narrative of Clarence's dream, his subsequent expostulation with the Murderers, the prattle of his children, the soliloquy of the Scrivener, the tedious dialogue of the Citizens, the ravings of Margaret, the gross terms thrown out by the Duchess of York on Richard, the repeated progress to execution, the superfluous train of spectres, and other undramatick incumbrances, which must have prevented the more valuable parts of the play from rising into their present effect and consequence?-The expulsion of languor, therefore, must atone for such remaining want of probability as is inseparable from an historical drama into which the events of fourteen years are irregularly compressed. STEEVENS.