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THIS history comprises little more than the two last years of this prince. The action of the drama begins with Bolingbroke's appealing the duke of Norfolk, on an accusation of high treason, which fell out in the year 1398; and it closes with the murder of king Richard at Pomfret Castle, towards the end of the year 1400, or the beginning of the ensuing year. THEOBALD.

It is evident from a passage in Camden's Annals, that there was an old play on the subject of Richard the Second; but I know not in what language. Sir Gillie Merick, who was concerned in the hare-brained business of the earl of Essex, who was hanged for it with the ingenious Cuffe, in 1601, is accused, amongst other things, "quod exoletam tragœdiam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curasset."

I have since met with a passage in my lord Bacon, which proves this play to have been in English. It is in the arraignments of Cuffe and Merick, vol. iv. p. 412, of Mallet's edition: "The afternoon before the rebellion, Merick, with a great company of others, that afterwards were all in the action, had procured to be played before them the play of deposing King Richard the Second; -when it was told him by one of the players, that the play was old, and they should have loss in playing it, because few would come to it, there was forty shillings extraordinary given to play, and so thereupon played it was."

It may be worth enquiring, whether some of the rhyming parts of the present play, which Mr. Pope thought of a different hand, might not be borrowed from the old one. Certainly, however, the general tendency of it must have been very different; since, as Dr. Johnson observes, there are some expressions in this of Shakspeare, which strongly inculcate the doctrine of indefeasible right. FARMER.

Bacon elsewhere glances at the same transaction; "And for your comparison with Richard II. I see you follow the example of them that brought him upon the stage, and into print in queen Elizabeth's time." Works, vol. iv. p. 278. The partizans of Essex had, therefore, procured the publication as well as the acting of this play. HoLt White.

It is probable, I think, that the play which Sir Gilly Merick procured to be represented bore the title of HENRY IV. and not of RICHARD JI.

Camden calls it "exoletam tragœdiam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi secundi ;" and Lord Bacon (in his account of The effect of that which passed at the arraignment of Merick and others) says, "That the afternoon before the rebellion, Merick had procured to be played before them the play of deposing King

Richard the Second." But in a more particular account of the proceeding against Merick, which is printed in the State Trials, vol. vii. p. 60, the matter is stated thus: "The story of Henry IV. being set forth in a play, and in that play, there being set forth the killing of the king upon the stage; the Friday before, sir Gilly Merick and some others of the earl's train having an humour to see a play, they must needs have The play of HENRY IV. The players told them that was stale; they should get nothing by playing that; but no play else would serve and sir Gilly Merick gives forty shillings to Philips the player to play this, besides whatsoever he could get.'

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Augustine Philippes was one of the patentees of the Globe playhouse with Shakspeare, in 1603: but the play here described was certainly not Shakspeare's HENRY IV., as that commences above a year after the death of Richard. TYRRWHITT.

This play of Shakspeare was first entered at Stationers' Hall by Andrew Wise, Aug. 29, 1597. STEEVENS.

Mr. Malone thinks that this play was written in 1593, that it was Shakspeare's first tragic performance, and is as manifestly his production as his more highly wrought and finished pieces. Mr. M. wonders that Dr. Farmer should give any countenance to the idle notion entertained by Mr. Pope, that "some of the rhyming parts in this tragedy were of a different hand."


King RICHARD the Second.

EDMUND of Langley, Duke of York;

JOHN of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster ;

Uncles to the

HENRY, surnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, Son

to John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV. Duke of AUMERLE', Son to the Duke of York. MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk.

Duke of SURREY.





Creatures to King Richard.


Lord Marshal; and another Lord.

Captain of a Band of Welchmen.

Queen to King Richard.

Duchess of GLOSTER.

Duchess of YORK.

Lady attending on the Queen.

Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Two Gardeners, Keeper,
Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.

SCENE, dispersedly in ENGLAND and WALES.

1 Duke of Aumerle,] Aumerle, or Aumale, is the French for what we now call Albemarle, which is a town in Normandy. The old historians generally use the French title. STEEvens.

2 Earl Berkley.] It ought to be Lord Berkley. There was no Earl Berkley till some ages after. STEEVENS.

3 Lord Ross.] Now spelt Roos, one of the Duke of Rutland's titles. STEEVENS.




SCENE I.-London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN of Gaunt, and other Nobles, with him.

K. Richard.

OLD John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster †,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band',
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son;
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?
Gaunt. I have, my liege.

K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him, If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;

Or worthily as a good subject should,

On some known ground of treachery in him?

+ Our ancestors appear to have considered men as old, whom we should esteem middle-aged. John of Gaunt was at this time only 58 years old.

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