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are to be found within its compass. No wonder therefore that the discriminating powers of a Burbage, a Garrick, and a Henderson, should at different periods have given it a popularity beyond other dramas of the same author.
Yet the favour with which this tragedy is now received, must also in some measure be imputed to Mr. Cibber's reformation of it, which, generally considered, is judicious: for what modern audience would patiently listen to the narrative of Clarence's Dream, his subsequent expostulation with the murderers, the prattle of his children, the soliloquy of the Scrivener, the tedious dialogue of the citizens, the ravings of Margaret, the gross terms thrown out by the Duchess of York on Richard, the repeated progress to execution, the superfluous train of spectres, and other undramatic incumbrances, which must have prevented the more valuable parts of the play from rising into their present effect and consequence ? — The expulsion of languor therefore must atone for such remaining want of probability as is inseparable from an historical drama into which the events of fourteen years are irregularly compressed.
STEEVENS. The oldest known edition of this tragedy is printed for Andrew Wise, 1597 : but Harrington, in his Apologie for Poetrie, written 1590, and prefixed to the translation of Ariosto, says, that a tragedy of Richard the Third had been acted at Cambridge. His words are, “For tragedies, to omit other famous tragedies, that which was played at St. John's in Cambridge, of Richard the Third, would move, I think, Phalaris the tyrant, and terrifie all tyrannous minded men," &c. He most probably means Shakspeare's; and if so, we may argue, that there is some more antient edition of this play than what I have mentioned; at least this shows how early Shakspeare's play appeared; or if some other Richard the Third is here alluded to by Harrington, that a play on this subject preceded our author's. T. WARTON.
It appears from the following passage in the preface to Nashe's Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriel Harrey's lunt is up, 1546, that a Latin tragedy of King Richard III. had been acted at Trinity college, Cambridge: “ --- or his fellow codshead, that in the Latine tragedie of King Richard, cried--- Ad urbs, ad urbs, ad urbs, when his whole part was no more than-Urbs, urbs, ad armu, ad arma.”
The play on this subject mentioned by Sir John Harrington in his Apologie for Poetrie, 1591, and sometimes mistaken for Shakspeare's, was a Latin one, written by Dr. Legge ; and acted at St. John's in our university, some years before 1588, the date of the copy in the Museum. This appears from a better MS. in our library at Emmanuel, with the names of the original performers.
A childish imitation of Dr. Legge's play was written by one Lacy, 1583; which had not been worth mentioning, were they not confounded by Mr. Capell,
KING HENRY VI.
Puc. These are the city gates, the gates of Rouen, Through which our policy must make a breach.