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The first edition was published in 1597, under the | his throne, but it is undermined by the hatreds even of uitle of · The Tragedy of King Richard the Second.' those who placed him on it. Here is, indeed, “ a king. Four editions in quarto appeared before the folio of dom for a stage." And has the greatest of
dealt 1623. But all that part of the fourth act in which with such a subject without affecting the passions or Richard is introduced to make the surrender of his enlarging the understanding? Away with this. We crown, comprising one hundred and fifty-four lines, will trust our own admiration. was never printed in the age of Elizabeth. The quarto It is the wonderful subjection of the poetical power to of 1608 first gives this scene. That quarto is, with very the higher law of truth-to the poetical truth, which is few exceptions, the text of the play as it now stands. the highest truth, comprehending and expounding the
We scarcely know how to approach this drama, even historical truth—which must furnish the clue to the for the purpose of a few remarks upon its characteristics. proper understanding of the drama of Richard 11.' It We are almost afraid to trust our own admiration when appears to us that, when the poet first undertook we turn to the cold criticism by which opiniou in this country has been wont to be governed. We have been The purple testament of bleeding war,"— told that it cannot “ be said much to affect the passions to unfold the roll of the causes and consequences of or enlarge the understauding.' It may be so. And that usurpation of the house of Lancaster which plunged yet, we think, it might somewhat " affect the pas- three or four generations of Englishmen in bloodshed sions,'--for “
gorgeous tragedy " hath here put on her and misery—he approaches the subject with an in“scepter d pall," and if she bring not Terror in her flexibility of purpose as totally removed as it was pastrain, Pity, at least, claims the sad story for her own. sible to be from the levity of a partisan. There were And yet it may somewhat “enlarge the understand to be weighed in one-scale the follies, the weaknesses, ing,"—for, though it abound not in those sententious the crimes of Richard—the injuries of Bolingbrokemoralities which may fitly adorn“ a theme at school,” the insults which the capricious despotism of the king it lays bare more than one human bosom with a most bad heaped upon bis nobles—the exactions under which searching anatomy; and, in the moral and intellectual the people groaned—the real merits and the popular strength and weakness of humanity, which it discloses attributes of him who came to redress and to repair. In with as much precision as the scalpel rereals to the the other scale were to be placed the afflictions of fallen student of our physical nature the symptoms of health greatness—the revenge and treachery by which the fall or disease, may we read the joroximate and tinal causes was produced—the beartburnings and suspicions which of this world's success or loss, safety or danger, honour accompany every great revolution—the struggles for or disgrace, elevation or ruin. And then, moreover, power which ensue when the established and legitimate the profound truths which, half-hidden to the careless authority is thrust from its seat. - All these phases, perreader, are to be drawn out from this drama, are con- sonal and political, of a deposition and an usurpation, tained in such a splendid frame-work of the picturesque Shakspere has exhibited with marvellous impartiality. and the poetica), that the setting of the jewel almost It is in the same lofty spirit of impartiality which distracts our attention from the jewel itself. We are governs the general sentiments of this drama that Shakbere plunged into the midst of the fierce passions and spere has conceived the mixed character of Richard. the gorgeous pageantries of the antique time. We not If we compare every account, we must say that the only enter the halls and galleries, where is hung Richard II. of Shakspere is rigidly the true Richard. " Armoury of the invincible knights of old,"
The poet is the truest historian in all that belongs to but we see the beaver closed, and the spear in rest :- the higher attributes of history. But with this surpassunder those cuirasses are hearts knocking against the ing dramatic truth in the Richard II.,' perhaps, after steel with almost more than mortal rage ;-the banners all, the most wonderful thing in the whole play—that wave, the trumpet sounds—heralds and marshals are which makes it so exclusively and entirely Shaksperian ready to salute the victor—but the absolute king casts —is the evolvement of the truth under the poetical down his warder, and the anticipated triumph of one form. The character of Richard, especially, is entirely proud champion must end in the unmerited disgrace of subordinated to the poetical conception of it—to some both. The transition is easy from the tourney to the thing higher than the historical propriety, yet including battle-field. A nation must bleed that a subject may all that historical propriety, and calling it forth under be avenged. A crown is to be played for, though the most striking aspects. All the vacillations and “ Tumultuous wars
weaknesses of the king, in the hands of an artist like Skall kin with kia and kind with kind confound." Shakspere, are reproduced with the most natural and The luxurious lord
vivid colours; so as to display their own characteristic “ That erery day under his household roof
effects, in combination with the principle of poetical Did keep ten thousand men,"
beauty, which carries them into a higher region than the perishes in a dungeon ;—the crafty usurper sits upon perfect command over the elements of strong indivi
dualization could alone produce.
KING RICHARD II. .
King RICHARD II.
HENRY Percy, son to the Earl of Northumberland Appears, Aet I. se. l; s. 3; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 2; Appears, Aet II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1 SC. 3. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 5.
Act V. sc. 3 ; se. 6.
Appears, Act II. sc. I ; sc. 3. Act III. sc. I.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 6.
Bishop or Carlisle. son to John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV.
Appears, Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 5. Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act II. se. 3. Act III, sc. ; sc. 3.
ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 1.
LORD MARSHAL; and another Lord.
Appear, Act I. sc. 3.
Sir PIERCE OF Exton.
Appears, Act V. sc. 4; se. 5; sc. 6.
SIR STEPHEN SCROOP.
Appears, Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3.
Captain of a band of Welchmen.
Appears, Act II. sc. 4.
Queen to King Richard.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act III. sc. 4. Act V. sc. I.
DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2.
DUCHESS or York.
Appears, Act V. sc. 2; sc. 3.
Lady attending on the Queen.
Appears, Act III. sc. 4.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Two Gardeners, Act V. se. 1; sc. 6.
Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other attendants. SCENE,-DISPERSEDLY IN ENGLAND AND Wales.
SCENE I.-London. A Room in the Palace. On some apparent danger seen in him,
Aim'd at your highness,--no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to and other Nobles, with him.
face, K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lan. And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear caster,
The accuser, and the accused, freely speak Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,"
(Exeunt some Attendants Brught hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son ; High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and Gaunt. I have, my liege.
Boling. Many years of happy days befal
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege! On some known ground of treachery in him ?
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness ; Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argu- Add an immortal title to your crown!
Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, ment,
K. Rich. We thank you both : get one but flatters • Band. Band and bad are each the past participle passive
us, of the verb to bind; and hence the band that by which a thing As well appeareth by the cause you come ;" la conåned, and the bond, that by which one is constrained, are Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.
Hereford. In the old copies this title is invariably spelt Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object and pronounced Herford. In Hardyage's Chronicle' the word Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ? is always written Herford or Harford. It is constantly Herford, as a disyllable, in Daniel's .Civile Warres.'
On which you come; or you come on.
a You come.
Boling. First, (Heaven be the record to my speech!) | That ever was survey'd by English eye,In the devotion of a subject's love,
That all the treasons, for these eighteen years Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
Complotted and contrived in this land, And free from otser mistegotten hate,
Fetch'd from false Mowbray their first head and spring Come I appellant to this princely presence.
Further I say.--and further will maintain Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
Upon his bad life, to make all this good, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death; My body shall make good upon this earth,
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries; Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
And, consequently, like a traitor coward, Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant;
Sluicd out his innocent soul through streams of blood : Too good to be so, and too bad to live;
Whico blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries, Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
To me for justice and rough chastisement; Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
And, by the glorious worth of my descent, With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat;
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent. And wish (so please my sovereign), ere I move,
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars ! What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this prove.
Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face, Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal: And bid his ears a little while be deaf, 'T is not the trial of a woman's war,
Till I have told this slander of his blood, The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar. Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain :
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears: The blood is hot that must be cool'd for this.
Were he my brother, nay, our kingdom's heir, Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
(As he is but my father's brother's son,) As to be hush'd, and nought at all to say :
Now by my sceptre's awe I make a vow, First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood From giving reins and spurs to my free speech ; Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize Which else would post, until it had return'd
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul : These terms of treason doubled down his throat. He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou ; Setting aside his high blood's royalty,
Free speech, and fearless, I to thee allow. And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
Nor. Then, Bolingtroke, as low as to thy heart, I do defy him, and I spit at him;
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest! Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain :
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais Which to maintain, I would allow him odds ;
Disburs'd I duly to his highness' soldiers : And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot
The other part reserv'd I by consent; Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt, Or any other ground inhabitable a
Upon remainder of a dear account, Wherever Englishman durst set his foot.
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen : Meantime, let this defend my loyalty,
Now swallow down that lie.-For Gloster's death, By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.
I slew bim not; but to my own disgrace, Boling. Pale trembling coward, there I throw my Neglected my sworn duty in that case. gage,
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster, Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
The honourable father to my foe,
Once I did lay an ambush for your life,
I did confess it; and exactly beggd
Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it. Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
This is my fault: As for the rest appeal'd, What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.
It issues from the rancour of a villain, Nor. I take it up; and by that sword I swear, A recreant and most degenerate traitor : Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, Which in myself I boldly will defend; I 'll answer thee in any fair degree,
And interchangeably hurl down my gage Or chivalrous design of knightly trial :
Upon this overweening traitor's foot, And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman If I be traitor, or unjustly fight!
Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom : K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's In haste whereof, most heartily I pray charge ?
Your highness to assign our trial day. It must be great, that can inherit usb
K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruld by So much as of a thought of ill in him.
Boling. Look, what I said my life shall prove it true;- Let 's purge this choler without letting blood :
Our doctors say, this is no month to bleed.
Good uncle, let this end where it begun; Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge
We 'll calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son.
Gauni. To be a make-peace shall become my age :a Inhabitable-uninhabitable, unhabitable. Jonson also uses the word in this sense, strictiy according to its Latin deriva- | Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage.
K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his. b Inherit us. To inherit was not only used in the sense of to Gaunt.
When, Harry? when? : inherit as an heir, but in that of to receive generally. It is here Obedience bids, I should not bid again. used for to cause to receive.
Lewd, in its early signification, means misled, deluded; & Suggest-prompt. and thence it came to stand, as here, for wicked.
b Wher, so used. is an expression of impatience.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one, brot.
Were as seven phials of his sacred blood, Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot : Or seven fair branches springing from one root : My life thou shalt command, but not my shame: Some of those seven are dried by nature's course, The one my duty oves; but my fair name,
Some of those branches by the destinies cut: (Despite of death,) that lives upon my grave,
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloster,— To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
One phial full of Edward's sacred blood, I am disgrac'd, impeachd, and baffled here ;
One flourishing branch of his most royal root, Piered to the soul with slander's venom'd spear ; Is crack'd, and all the precious liquor spilt; The which no balm can cure, but his beart-blood Is hack'd down, and his summer leaves all vaded, Which breatb'd this poison.
By envy's hand, and murther’s bloody axe. K. Rich.
Rage must be withstood : Ah, Gaunt! his blood was thine ; that bed, that womb,
Yet art thou slain in him : thou dost consent
In some large measure to thy father's death,
In that thou seest thy wretched brother die, Is spotless reputation; that away,
Who was the model of thy father's life. Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
Call it not patience, Gaunt, it is despair : A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter'd, k a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Thou show'st the naked pathway to thy life, Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;
Teaching stern murther how to butcher thee : Take honour from me, and my life is done :
That which in mean men we entitle patience Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts. In that I live, and for that will I die.
What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life, K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you The best way is to 'venge my Gloster's death. begin.
Gaunt. Heaven's is the quarrel ; for heaven's subBoling, O, heaven defend my soul from such foul
His deputy anointed in his sight, Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight?
Hath caus'd his death : the which if wrongfully, Or with pale beggar fear impeach my height
Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift Before this outdar'd dastard ? Ere my tongue
An angry arm against his minister. Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong, Duch. Where then, alas ! may I complain myself?b Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
Gaunt. To heaven, the widow's champion and de. The slavish motive of recantiug fear;
fence. And spit it bleeding, in his high disgrace,
Duch. Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt. Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face. Thou go'st to Coventry, there to behold
[Exit GAUNT. Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight:
That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast !
Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom,
That they may break his foaming courser's back, There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
And throw the rider headlong in the lists, The swelling difference of your settled hate;
A caitiff'c recreant to my cousin Hereford ! Since we cannot atone you, you shall see
Farewell, old Gaunt; thy sometimes brother's wise Justice design e the victor's chivalry.
With her companion grief must end ber life. Lord marshal, command our officers at arms
Gaunt. Sister, farewell : I must to Coventry : Be ready to direct these home-alarms. [Exeunt. As much good stay with thee, as go with me!
Duch. Yet one word more ;-Grief boundeth where SCENE II.- London. A Room in the Duke of
it falls, Lancaster's Palace.
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight : Enter Gaunt and DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.
I take my leave before I have begun;
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
Commend me to my brother, Edmund York.
Lo, this is all :-Nay, yet depart not so; But since correction lieth in those hands
Though this be all, do not so quickly go; Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
I shall remember more. Bid him-0, what? Put we our quarrel to the will of Heaven;
With all good speed at Plashy visit me. Who, when he sees the hours ripe on earth,
Alack, and what shall good old York there see, Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
But empty lodgings and unfurnish'd walls, Dich. Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur
? Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones ? Hath love in thy old blood no living fire ?
And what cheer there for welcome but my groans ?
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die;
Aluse you-make you in concord-rause you to be at one. As the captive anciently became a siave, the word gradually Design-designate-point out-exhibit-show by a token. came to indicate a man in a servile condition-a mean crenture ' Ihr part I had, &r.' My consanguinity w Gloster. -a dishonest person.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right, SCENE III.—Open Space near Coventry.
So be thy fortune in this royal fight! Lists set out, and a Throne. Heralds, &c., attending. Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed, Enter the LORD MARSHAL and AUMERLE.
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
Boling. O, let no noble eye profane a tear Mar. My lord Auinerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd ? For me, if I be gor'd with Mowbray's spear; Aum. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in. As confident as is the falcon's flight
Mar. The duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold, Against a bird do I with Mowbray fight.Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet. My loving lord, (to Lord Marshal) I take my leal Aum. Why, then the chainpions are prepar'd, and stay
Of you, my noble cousin, lord Aumerle :For nothing but his majesty's approach.
Not sick, although I have to do with death ; Flourish of trumpets. Enter KING RICHARD, who
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath. takes his seat on his throne ; Gaunt, and several Lo, as at English feasts
, so I regreet Noblemen, who take their places. A trumpet is
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet : sounded, and answered by another trumpet within. Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
O thou, the earthly author of my blood,- (To Garn Then enter Norfolk, in armour, preceded by a
Doth with a two-fold vigour lift me up Herald.
To reach at victory above my head, K. Rich. Marshal, demand of yonder champion And proof unto mine armour with thy prayers; The cause of his arrival here in arms :
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point, Ask him his name; and orderly proceed
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat, a To swear him in the justice of his cause.
And furnish new the name of John of Gaunt, Mar. In God's name and the king's, say who thou Even in the lusty 'haviour of his son. art,
Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee prosperou And why thou com'st thus knightly clad in arms : Be swift like lightning in the execution ; Against what man thou com 'st, and what is thy quarrel : And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thine oath; Fall like amazing thunder on the casque As so defend thee heaven, and thy valour!
Of thy adverse pernicious enemy : Nor. My name is Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk; Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live. Who hither come engaged by my oath,
Boling. Mine innocency, and saint George to thril (Which heaven defend a knight should violate!)
(He takes his sei Both to defend my loyalty and truth
Nor. (Rising.] However heaven, or fortune, cast i To God, my king, and his succeeding issue,
lot, Against the duke of Hereford that appeals me; There lives, or dies, true to king Richard's throne, And, by the grace of God, and this mine arm,
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman: To prove him, in defending of myself,
Never did captive with a freer heart A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace
His golden uncontrolld enfranchisement,
This feast of battle with mine adversary. Trumpet sounds. Enter BOLINGBROKE, in armour, Most mighty liege, and my companion peers, preceded by a Herald.
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years : K. Rich. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms, As gentle and as jocund, as to jest, Both who he is, and why he cometh hither
Go I to fight; Truth hath a quiet breast. Thus plated in babiliments of war;
K. Rich. Farewell, my lord : securely I espy And formally according to our law
Virtue with valour couched in thine eye. Depose him in the justice of his cause.
Order the trial, marshal, and begin. Mar. What is thy name? and wherefore com'st thou [The King and the Lords return to their sea hither,
Mar. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Before king Richard, in his royal lists?
Receive thy lance; and God defend thy right! Against whom comest thou ? and what's thy quarrel ? Boling. [Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
Boling. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Mar. Go bear this lance [to an Officer] to Thom Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
duke of Norfolk. To prove, by
heaven's grace, and my body's valour, 1 Her. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, In lists, on Thomas Mowbray duke of Norfolk, Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself, That he's a traitor, foul and dangerous,
On pain to be found false and recreant, To God of heaven, king Richard, and to me;
To prove the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
A traitor to his God, his king, and him, Mar. On pain of death, no person be so bold, And dares him to set forward to the fight. Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists,
2 Her. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, duke Except the marshal, and such officers
Norfolk, Appointed to direct these fair designs.
On pain to be found false and recreant, Boling. Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's Both to defend himself, and to approve hand,
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, And bow my knee before his majesty :
To God, his sovereign, and to him, disloyal; For Mowbray and myself are like two men
Courageously, and with a free desire,
Attending but the signal to begin.
* Waren coat. Mowbray's waxen coat, into which Blit Mar. The appellant in all duty greets your highness, broke's lance's point may enter, is his frail an penetrable cu And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave.
• To jest, in the sense in which Mowbray here uses is, in K. Rich. We will descend, and fold him in our arms. play a part in a mask.