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THE TRAGEDY OF
KING RICHARD II.
AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
AND NEW YORK
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Though first published in 1597, Richard the Second was Date of Com.
position. probably written as early as 1593 or 1594. In the two first issues, that portion of the fourth Act which deals with the deposition of Richard, is not found. In the edition of 1608 it appears with the words on the
“ With new additions of the Parliament Scene, and the deposing of King Richard." That these new additions belonged to the play as originally constructed seems more than probable from the strong likeness they bear in every respect to the rest of the play ; and their omission in the earlier editions, and possibly in the earlier representations, may be accounted for by the subject of deposition being one peculiarly offensive to Elizabeth, whose lieges had in 1596 been exhorted by the Pope to take up arms against her. Whether our play was the one which the accomplices of Essex procured to be acted in February, 1601, in furtherance of the insurrection they had planned, cannot be certainly decided, but the balance of probabilities seems against such a supposition.
From the actual facts of history Shakespeare has made Historical only one important deviation, that of representing the Queen as fully grown up, though she was in reality only some twelve years old. This deviation was of course