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Persons Represented. King Richard the Second.
Edmund of Langley, duke of York; } uncles to the king. Henry, furnamed Boling broke, duke of Hereford, fon to
John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV. Duke of Aumerle', fon to the duke of York. Mowbray, duke of Norfolk. Duke of Surrey. Earl of Salisbury. Earl Berkley?. Bushy, Bagot, creatures to king Richard. Green, Earl of Northumberland: Henry Percy, his fon. Lord Ross 3. Lord Willoughby. Lord Fitzwater, Bishop of Carlisle. Abbot of Westminster. Lord Marshal; and another lord. Sir Pierce of Exton. Sir Stephen Scroop. Captain of a band of Welchmen. Queen to king Richard. Dutchess of Glofter. Dutchess 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.
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 Ipelt Roos, one of the duke of Rutland's titles.
A C T I. SCENE I.
London. A Rocm in the Palace. Enter king RICHARD, attended; John of GAUNT, and
other nobles, with him. K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, Haft thou, according to thy oath and band?,
Brought · The life and dealb of King Richard II.] But 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 Anrals, 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 buhness of the earl of Eflex, and was hanged for it, with the ingenious Cuffe, in 1601, is accused, amongst other things, “ quod exoletam tragediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curasiet."
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 ibe 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 extraor. dinary given to play it, and so thereupon played it was."
It may be worth enquiry, whether some of the rbyming 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 differenti fince, as Dr. Johnson observes,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son ;
K. Rich. Tell me moreover, hast thou sounded him,
Gaunt. As near as I could lift him on that argument,On some apparent danger seen in him, Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice. there are some expressions in this of Shakspeare, which strongly incula eate the doctrine of indefeasible right. FARMER.
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 Rio CHARD II.
Camden calls it « exoletam tragediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricbardi fecundi; and lord Bacon (in his account of The Effect of that vibicb pajjed at the arraignment of Merick and others) 1ays, “That, the afternoon before the rebellion, Merick had procured to be played before them, the play of depofing King Richard ebe 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 : that “ 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 a stage; the Friday before, Sir Gilly Merick and some others of the earl's train hava ing an humour to see a play, they must needs have the play of HENRY IV. T) 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 Pbilips the player to play this, besides whatsoever he could get."
Auguftine Philippes was one of the patentees of the Globe playhouse with Shakjpeare in 1603 ; but the play here defcribed was cer.. tainly not Sbakspeare's HENRY IV. as that commences above a year after the death of Ricbard. TYRWHITT.
This play of Shakspeare was first entered at Stationers' Hall by Ane drew Wife, Aug. 29, 1597. STEEVENS.
It was written, I imagine, in the same year. MALONE.
2 — iby carb and band,] When these publick challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. STEEVENS. Band and Bond were formerly synonymous. See vol, ii. p. 178. n. 7.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser, and the accused, freely speak :
[Exeunt fome Attendants. High-ftomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In rage deaf as the sea, hafty as fire. Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and NORFOLK.
Boling. Many years of happy days befal My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness ; Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!
K. Rich. We thank you both : yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come ; Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.-Cousin of Hereford, what doft thou object Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?
Boling. First, (heaven be the record to my speech!) In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence.-Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak, My body shall make good upon this earth,
divine foul answer it in heaven. Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant; Too good to be so, and too bad to live ; Since, the more fair and crystal is the sky, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, With a foul traitor's name Ituff I thy throat; And with, (so please my sovereign,) ere I move, What my tongue fpeaks, my right-drawn 3 sword may
prove. Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal : 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war, The bitter clamour of two eager tongues, 3 - right-drawn] Drawn in a right or just cause. JOHNSON.
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
Boling Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
4 — inbabitable] That is, not babitable, uninhabitable. JOHNSON, Ben Jonson uses the word in the same sense in his Cariline :
“ And pour'd on some inbabitable place." STEEVENS. So also Braithwaite, in his Survey of Histories, 1614: “ Others, in imitation of some valiant knights, have frequented delarts and intabired provinces.” MALONE.