« PreviousContinue »
King Edward IV.
Edward, Prince of Wales, after-
Sons to Edward IV.
Richard, Duke of York,
Richard, Duke of Glofter, Brother to Edward IV.
Cardinal Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Duke of Buckingham.
Duke of Norfolk. Earl of Surrey.
Earl Rivers, brother to K. Edward's Queen.
Earl of Richmond, afterwards King Henry VII,
Sir Thomas Vaughan.
Sir Richard Ratcliff.
Sir Walter Herbert.
Sir Robert Brakenbury, Lieutenant of the Tower.
Elizabeth, Queen of Edward IV.
Sheriff, Purfuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Ghofts, Soldiers, and other Attendants.
London. A Street.
Enter Richard Duke of Glofter.
Glo. Now is the winter of our difcontent Made glorious fummer by this fun of York*;
Life and Death of King Richard III.] This tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this prince, comprizes, at moft, but the laft eight years of his time; for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477; and closes with the death of Richard at Bofworthfield, which battle was fought on the 22d of August, in the year 1485. THEOBALD.
It appears that feveral dramas on the prefent fubject had been written before Shakspeare attempted it. See the notes at the conclufion of this play, which was firft enter'd at Stationers' Hall by Andrew Wife, Oct. 20, 1597, under the title of The Tragedie of King Richard the Third, with the Death of the Duke of Clarence. Before this, viz. Aug. 15th, 1586, was entered, A Tragical report of King Richard the Third, a Ballad. It may be neceffary to remark that the words, fong, ballad, book, enterlude and play, were often fynonymously used. STEEVENS.
this fun of York;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a fun, in memory of the three funs, which are faid to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancaftrians at Mortimer's Cross.
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,
So, in Drayton's Miferies of Queen Margaret:
"Three funs were feen that inftant to appear, "Which foon again fhut 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
"Three funs for his device ftill in his enfign bare.” Again, in the Wrighte's Play in the Chester Collection. M. S. Harl. 1013, the fame prodigy is introduced as attending on a
more folemn event:
"That day was feene veramente
-merry meetings,] 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 1575, but the lines quoted on the prefent as well as future occafions throughout this play, are not found in any copy before that of 1610, fo that the author was more probably indebted to Shakspeare than Shakspeare to him: -the battles fought in fields before
Were turn'd to meetings of fweet amitie;
God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke his lute,
And fet his thoughts upon her wanton lookes. STEEVENS. ▲ Grim-vifag'd war, &c.] Shakspeare feems to have had the following paffage from Lyly's Alexander and Campafpe, 1584, before him, when he wrote these lines: "Is the warlike found "of drum and trump turn'd to the foft noise of lyre and lute è
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds 3,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
But I,—that am not fhap'd for fportive tricks,
I, that am rudely ftamp'd, and want love's majefty,
To ftrut before a wanton ambling nymph;
"The neighing of barbed feeds, whofe loudness filled the air "with terror, and whose breaths dimned the fun with fmoak, converted to delicate tunes and amorous glances? &c."
barbed feeds,] I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, fays,-The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courfer, barbed with blew and green velvet, &c.
So, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607:
armed in a black armour, curioufly damafk'd with interwinding wreaths of cyprefs and ewe, his barbe upon his horse, all of black abrofetta, cut in broken hoopes upon curled cyprefs."
Again, in the 2d Part of K. Edward IV, by Heywood, 1626: "With barbed horfe, 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 horfe adorned with military trappings. I have met with the word barded many times in our ancient chronicles and romances, An inftance or two may fuffice. "They mounted him furely upon a good and mighty courfer, well barded, &c."
Hift. of Helyas Knight of the Swanne, bl. 1. no date, Again, in Barrett's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580: "Bardes or trappers of horfes. Phalera, Lat,
Again, Hollinfhed fpeaking of the preparations for the battle of Agincourt: to the intent that if the barded horses ran fiercely upon them, &c." Again, p. 8oz, he fays, that bards and trappers had the fame meaning.
It is obferved in the Turkish Spy, that the German cuiraffiers, though armed and barbed, man and horfe, were not able to ftand against the French cavalry. STEEVENS.
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 almoft forgotten. JOHNSON.
7 Cheated of feature by diffembling nature,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
7 Cheated of feature by diffembling nature,] By diffembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does another: but nature that puts together things of a diffimilar kind, as a brave foul and a deformed body. WARBURTON. Diffembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful. JOHNSON. Dr. Johnfon hath certainly mistaken, and Dr. Warburton rightly explained the word diffembling; as is evident from the following extract: "Whyle thinges toode in this cafe, and
that the manner of addyng was fometime too fhort and fometime too long, els diffembled and let flip together." Arthur Golding's tranflation of Julius Solinus, 1587. HENLEY.
And defcant on mine own deformity:] Defcant is a term in mufic, fignifying in general that kind of harmony wherein one part is broken and formed into a kind of paraphrafe on the other. The propriety and elegance of the above figure, without such an idea of the nature of defcant, could not be difcerned.
Sir J. HAWKINS.
? And therefore, fince I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded from his deformity, from the envy that rofe at the comparison of his own perfon with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNSON.
' And hate the idle pleafures-] Perhaps we might read And bate the idle pleafures JOHNSON. 2-inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The Induction is preparatory to the action of the play. JOHNSON. Marston has put this line, with little variation, into the mouth of Fame':
"Plots ha' you laid ? inductions dangerous?"