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* The LIFE AND DEATH OF KING RICHARD II.) But this history comprises little more than the two last years of this prince.
The aâion of the drama begins with Boliogbroke's appealing the duke of Norfolk, on an accusation of higlı treason, which fell out in the year 1398 ; aod it closes with the murder of King Richard at Pomfret - cattle 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 subje& of Richard the Second; but I know not in what language. Sir Gillie Merick, who was concerned in the bare-brained business of the Earl of Essex, and was hanged for it, with the ingenious Cuffe, in 1601, is accused, amongit other things, " quod exoletam tragoediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curasser.
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 o:hers, that afterwards were all in the a&ion, 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, wbich Mr. Pope thought of a different hand, might not be borrowed from the old one. Certainly however, the general tendency of it muft have been very different ; fince, as Dr. Johnson observes, there are some expressions in this of Shak. speare, which strongly inculcate the do&rine of indefeasible right.
FARMER. Bacon elsewhere glances at the same tranfa&ion. " And for
your comparison with Richard II. I see you follow the example " of them that brought him upon the fage, and into print in Queen " Elizabeth's time." Works. Vol. IV. p. 278. The partizans of Esex had, therefore, procured the publication as well as the ading 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 16 exoletam tragædiam de tragæia ahdicatione regis Ricardi secundi ; and (Lord Bacon in his account of The Effeat of that which passed at the arraignment of Merick and others) fars, “ That the afternoon before the rebellion, Merick had procured to be played before them, the play of deposing King Richard the Second. But in a more particular account of the proceeding againit Merick, which is printed in the State Trials, Vol VII,
matter is stated thus : " The story of HENRY IV. bciag set foring in a play, and in that play there being set forth ile
p Go, the
killing of the king upon a ffage; the Friday before, Sir Gilly Merick aud some others of the earl's train having an humour to see a play, they must needs have the play of Henry IV.
The players told them that was Itale; they should get nothing by playing that; but no play else would serve: and Sir Gilly Menck gives forty fhillings to Philips the player to play this, besides whatsoever he
Augustine Philippes was one of the patentees of the Globe playhouse with Shakspearé in 1603; but the play here described was certainly not Shakspeare's Henry IV. as that commences above' a year after the death of Richard. TYRWHITT.
This play of Shakspeare was first entered at Stationer's Hall by Andrew Wise, Aug. 29, 1597. STEFVENS.
It was written, I imagine, in the fame year, MALONE.
King Richard the Second.
King. Henry, furnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; s uncles to the
to John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV.
, Duke of Aumerle, ) Aumerle, or Aumale, is the French for what we now call Albemarle, which is a town in Normandy. The old hiftorians generally use the French title. STEEVENS.
3 Earl Berkley. ] It ought to be Lord Berkley. There was no Earl Berkley till some ages after. STEEVENS.
4 Lord Rofs. ) Now spelt Roos, one of the Duke of Rutland's titles. STEVENS
Enter King RICHARD, attended; John of GAUNT,
and other nobles, with him.
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd
GAUNT. I bave, my liege.
- they oath and band, ] When thefe public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place 'appoivted. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV. C. iij. it. 3
" The day was set, that all might underland,
" And pledges pawn'd the same to keep aright. The old copies read band inftead of bond. The former is right. So, io The Comedy of Errors:
" My master is arrefted on a band. STEEVENS. Band and Bond were formerly synonymous. Sec pote on the Comedy of Errors, A&. IV. sc. ii. MALONE.
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
[ Exeunt some Attendants,
Nor. Each day ftill better other's happiness;
K. Rich. We thank you both: yet one bat flatters
As well appeareth by the cause you come ;