Page images

Buck. My lord,

K. Rich. How chance, the prophet could not at that


Have told me, I being by," that I should kill him?
Buck. My lord, your promise for the earldom,
K. Rich. Richmond!-When last I was at Exeter,
The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,

And call'd it-Rouge-mont: at which name, I started;
Because a bard of. Ireland told me once,

I should not live long after I saw Richmond.

Buck. My lord,

K. Rich.


Ay, what's o'clock?

I am thus bold

To put your grace in mind of what you promis'd me. K. Rich. Well, but what is 't o'clock?


Of ten.

K. Rich. Well, let it strike.9


Upon the stroke

Why let it strike?

K. Rich. Because that, like a Jack,1 thou keep❜st the


These allusions, I trust, have been sufficiently accounted for in the Dissertation annexed to the preceding play. Malone.


7 I being by,] The Duke of Gloster was not by when Henry uttered the prophecy. See Vol. X, p. 393. Our author seldom took the trouble to turn to the plays to which he referred. Malone. Rouge-mont:] Hooker, who wrote in Queen Elizabeth's time, in his description of Exeter mentions this as a 66 very old and antient castle, named Rugemont; that is to say, the Red Hill, taking that name of the red soil or earth whereupon it is situated." It was first built, he adds, as some think, by Julius Cæsar, or rather, and in truth, by the Romans after him. Reed.

9 Well, let it strike.] This seems to have been a proverbial sentence. So, in Pierce's Supererogation, &c. by Gabriel Harvey, 4to. 1593: "Let the clock strike: I have lost more howers, and lose nothing if I find equity." Malone.

1 Because that, like a Fack, &c.] An image, like those at St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Street, and at the market-houses at several towns in this kingdom, was usually called a fack of the clock-house. See Cowley's Discourse on the government of Oliver Cromwell. [Vol. II, p. 650, edit. 1710.] Richard resembles Buckingham to one of those automatons, and bids him not suspend the stroke on the clock-bell, but strike, that the hour may be past, and himself be at liberty to pursue his meditation. Sir J. Hawkins.

Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.

I am not in the giving vein to-day.

Buck. Why, then resolve me whe'r you will, or no. K. Rich. Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein. [Exeunt K. RICH. and Train. Buck. And is it thus? repays he my deep service With such contempt? made I him king for this? O, let me think on Hastings; and be gone To Brecknock,2 while my fearful head is on.


So, in The Fleire, a comedy, 1610:" their tongues are, like a Fack o' the clock, still in labour."

Again, in The Coxcomb, by Beaumont and Fletcher:


Is this your Jack o' the clock-house? "Will you strike, sir?"

Again, in a pamphlet by Deckar, called the Guls Hornbook, 1609: "- - but howsoever, if Powles Jacks be once up with their elbowes, and quarrelling to strike eleven, as soon as eve the clock has parted them, and ended the fray with his hammer, let not the duke's gallery conteyne you any longer."

Perhaps these figures were called Jacks, because the engines of that name which turn the spit were anciently ornamented with such a puppet. In The Gentleman Usher, a comedy, by Chapman, 1606, they are alluding to a roasting Jack, and a man says:

as in that quaint engine you have seen

"A little man in shreds stand at the winder,
"And seem to put all things in act about him,
Lifting and pulling with a mighty stir,

[ocr errors]

"Yet adds no force to it, nor nothing does."

In Lantern and Candle-light, or The Bellman's Second Night-walk, &c. by Deckar, is a passage "of a new and cunning drawing of money from gentlemen," which may tend to a somewhat different explanation of the word-strike: "There is another fraternitie of wandring pilgrims, who merrily call themselves Jackes of the clock-house. The jacke of a clock-house goes upon screws, and his office is to do nothing but strike: so does this noise (for they walke up and down like fidlers) travaile with motions, and whatever their motions get them, is called striking." Steevens.

A Jack with such a figure as Chapman hath described, was for many years exhibited, as a sign, at the door of a White-Smith's shop in the narrowest part of the Strand. Henley.

These automatons were called Jacks of the clock-house, because Jack in our author's time was a common appellation for a mean, contemptible fellow, employed by others in servile offices. Malone.

2 To Brecknock,] To the Castle of Brecknock in Wales, where the Duke of Buckingham's estate lay. Malone.

[blocks in formation]


The same.


Tyr. The tyrannous and bloody act is done;
The most arch deed of piteous massacre,
That ever yet this land was guilty of.
Dighton, and Forrest, whom I did suborn
To do this piece of ruthless butchery,

Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
Melting with tenderness and mild compassion,
Wept like two children, in their death's sad story.
O thus, quoth Dighton, lay the gentle babes,
Thus, thus, quoth Forrest, girdling one another
Within their alabaster innocent arms:
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
Which, in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;3
Which once, quoth Forrest, almost chang'd my
But, 0, the devil-there the villain stopp'd;
When Dighton thus told on,-we smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature,
That, from the prime creation, e'er she fram'd.—
Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse,
They could not speak; and so I left them both,
To bear these tidings to the bloody king.

Enter King RICHARD.


And here he comes:-All health, my sovereign lord! K. Rich. Kind Tyrrel! am I happy in thy news?

30 thus, quoth Dighton, lay the gentle babes,

Thus, thus, quoth Forrest, girdling one another
Within their alabaster innocent arms:

A book of prayers on their pillow lay;] These circumstances were probably adopted from the old song of The most cruel Murther of Edward V, &c. in The Golden Garland of Princely Delight. The thirteenth edition of this collection was published in 1690: "When these sweet children thus were laid in bed, "And to the lord their hearty prayers had said, "Sweet slumbring sleep then closing up their eyes, "Each folded in the other's arms then lies."

It must be owned, however, that there is nothing to assist us in ascertaining the exact date of this and many other of our ancient ballads. Steevens.

[ocr errors]

Tyr. If to have done the thing you gave in charge Beget your happiness, be happy then,

For it is done.
K. Rich.

Tyr. I did, my lord.

K. Rich.

But didst thou see them dead?

And buried, gentle Tyrrel?

Tyr. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them; But where, to say the truth, I do not know.

K. Rich. Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper, When thou shalt tell the process of their death. Mean time, but think how I may do thee good, And be inheritor of thy desire.

Farewel, till then.


I humbly take my leave.

[Exit. K. Rich. The son of Clarence have I pen'd up close ;4 His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage; 5 The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom, And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. Now, for I know the Bretagne Richmond aims At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter, And, by that knot, looks proudly on the crown, To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.

4 The son of Clarence have I pen'd up close ;] In Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire; where he remained 'till the coming of Henry VII, who immediately after the battle of Bosworth sent him to the Tower, and some few years after, most treacherously and barbarously put him to death; being, from a total want of education and commerce with mankind, so ignorant, that he could not, according to Hall, discern a goose from a capon. With this unfortunate young nobleman ended the male line of the illustrious house of Plantagenet. Ritson.

5 His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;] To Sir Richard Pole, Knt. This lady, at seventy years of age, without any legal process, and for no crime but her relation to the crown, was beheaded in the Tower by that sanguinary tyrant Henry VIII. Her son, Lord Montague, had been put to death a few years before, in the same manner, and for the same crime; and the famous Cardinal Pole, another of her children, only escaped the fate of his mother and brother, by keeping out of the butcher's reach.


6 the Bretagne Richmond -] He thus denominates Richmond, because after the battle of Tewksbury he had taken refuge in the court of Francis II, Duke of Bretagne, where by the procurement of King Edward IV, he was kept a long time in a kind of honourable custody. See note on sc. iv. Malone.

Cates. My lord,


K. Rich. Good news or bad, that thou com'st in so bluntly?

Cates. Bad news, my lord: Morton is fled to Richmond And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen, Is in the field, and still his power encreaseth.

K. Rich. Ely with Richmond troubles me more near,
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
Come, I have learn'd, that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitoi" to dull delay;

Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary:
Then ficry expedition be my wing,

Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
Go, muster men: My counsel is my shield;
We must be brief, when traitors brave the field.



The same.

Before the Palace.

Enter Queen MARGARET.

Q. Mar. So, now prosperity begins to mellow,
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd,
To watch the waning of mine enemies.
A dire induction' am I witness to,

And will to France; hoping, the consequence
Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.

Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret! who comes here?

fearful commenting

Is leaden servitor -] Timorous thought and cautious disqui. sition are the dull attendants on delay. Johnson.

8 - fiery expedition -] So, in Hamlet:


[ocr errors]

must send thee hence

"With fiery quickness." Steevens.

begins to mellow, &c.] The same thought occurs in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602:


[ocr errors]

now is his fate grown mellow, "Instant to fall into the rotten jaws "Of chap-fall'n death." Steevens.

dire induction] Induction is preface, introduction, first part. It is so used by Sackville in our author's time. Johnson.

« PreviousContinue »