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* THE LIFE AND DEATH OF KING RICHARD II.] But this hiftory comprifes 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 accufation of high treason, which fell out in the year 1398; and it clofes with the murder of King Richard at Pomfret - cattle towards the end of the year 1400, or the beginning of the enfuing year. THEOBALD,
It is evident from a paffage 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 Effex, and was hanged for it, with the ingenious Cuffe, in 1601, is accused, amongst other things, "quod exoletam tragoediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curaffet.
I have fince met with a paffage 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 others, that afterwards were all in the action, had procured to be played before them the play of depofing King Richard the Second; when it was told him by one of the players, that the play was old, and they fhould have lofs in playing it, because few would come to it, there was forty fhillings extraordinary given to play, and fo thereupon played it was.
It may be worth enquiry, whether some of the rhyming parts of the prefent play, which 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. Johnfon obferves, there are fome expreffions in this of ShakIpeare, which ftrongly inculcate the doctrine of indefeasible right.
Bacon elfewhere glances at the fame tranfaction. "And for 66 your comparison with Richard II. I fee you follow the example "of them that brought him upon the flage, and into print in Queen Elizabeth's time." Works. Vol. IV. p. 278. The partizans of Effex 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 reprefented, bore the title of HENRY IV. and not of RICHARD II.
Camden calls it
"exoletam tragœdiam de tragæia abdicatione regis Ricardi fecundi; and (Lord Bacon in his account of The Effect of that which paffed 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 depofing King Richard the Second." But in a more particular account of the proceeding again Merick, which is printed in the State Trials, Vol VII. P 60, the matter is ftated thus: "The ftory of HENRY IV. being fet for in a play, and in that play there being fet forth the
killing of the king upon a ftage; the Friday before, Sir Gilly Merick aud fome others of the earl's train having an humour to fee a play, they muft needs have the play of HENRY IV. The players told them that was ftale; they should get nothing by playing that; but no play elfe would ferve: and Sir Gilly Merick gives forty fhillings to Philips the player to play this, befides whatsoever he could get.
Auguftine Philippes was one of the patentees of the Globe playhoufe with Shakspeare 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 bý Andrew Wife, Aug. 29, 1597. STEEVENS. It was written, I imagine, in the fame year.
King Richard the Second.
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York; uncles to the John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; S
Henry, furnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, fon
to John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV. Duke of Aumerle, fon to the Duke of York. Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
Duke of Surrey.
Earl of Salisbury. Earl Berkley. $
creatures to King Richard.
Earl of Northumberland;
Henry Percy, his fon.
Lord Rofs. Lord Willoughby. Lord Fitzwater. Bishop of Carlisle. Abbot of Westminster.
Lord Marfhal; and another lord.
Sir Pierce of Exton. Sir Stephen Scroop.
Queen to King Richard.
Duchefs of Glofter.
Duchefs of York.
Lady attending on the Queen.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, two Gardeners, Keeper, Meffenger, Groom, and other Attendants. SCENE, difperfedly in England and Wales.
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 ufe the French title. STEEVENS. 3 Earl Berkley. It ought to be Lord Berkley. Earl Berkley till fome ages after.
There was no
Lord Rofs. Now fpelt Roos, one of the Duke of Rutland's titles. STEEVENS,
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
A C T I.
London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN of GAunt, and other nobles, with him.
K. RICH. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,
Haft thou, according to thy oath and band, * Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold fon; Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leifure would not let us hear, Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? GAUNT. I have, my liege..
K. RICH. Tell me moreover, haft thou founded
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
thy oath and band,] When thefe public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. So, in Spenfer's Fairy Queen, B. IV. C. iij. ft. 3:
"The day was fet, that all might underfland, And pledges pawn'd the fame to keep aright. The old copies read band inftead of bond. The former is right. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
"My mafter is arrefted on a band.
Band and Bond were formerly fynonymous. See note on the
Comedy of Errors, A&. IV. fc. ii. MALONE.
Or worthily, as a good fubject fhould,
On fome known ground of treachery in him? GAUNT. As near as I could fift him on that ar
On fome apparent danger feen in him,
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and
BOLING. Many years of happy days befal
K. RICH. We thank you both: yet one but flatters
As well appeareth by the cause you come;
In the devotion of a fubject's love,
Tendering the precious fafety of my prince,