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PLA Y S
VOLUME THE ELEVENTH.
KING RICHARD II.
KING HENRY IV. PART I.
Black and Co.; J. Black; J. Richardson ; J. Booth; Newman and
R. Baldwin; Cradock and Joy; Sharpe and Hailes; Johnson and Co.;
* The LIFE AND DEATH 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 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 tragediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curasset.” I have since met with a passage
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 enquiry, 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 II.
Camden calls it—"exoletam tragediam de tragica 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