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Wherefore ? for any good ? Oh no-
Who's there? [Ratcliffe.] 'Tis I, Ratcliffe: Your friends, my lord, are up,
And even now do buckle on their armour:
Hath thrice done salutation to the morn. [K. Richard.] O Ratcliffe, I have had such horrid dreams
What think’st thou ? that our friends will all prove true ? [Ratcliffe.] No doubt, iny lord. [K. Richard.] Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear[Ratcliffe.] Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows. [K. Richard.] Now, by apostle Paul, shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
Arm’d all in proof, and led by shallow Richmond. [Ratcliffe.] What shadows, sir ? Be more yourself, my lord.
It cannot be a dream hath frighted you. [K. Richard.) Perish the thought! No, never be it said,
That fate itself could awe the soul of Richard.
My soul's in arms, and eager for the fray. Every necessary preparation being made, he quits his tent, and addresses those who are to head his forces :
Arm, arm, my lords: the foe is in the field;
And in the midst our archers shall be plac'd.
--What says lord Stanley ? will he bring his power ? [Officer.] He doth refuse, my lord; he will not stir. [K. Richard.] Off with his son George's head. [Officer.] My lord, the enemy has pass'd the marsh :
After the battle let George Stanley die. [K. Richard.] Well, after be it then.
A thousand hearts are swelling in this bosom:
Upon them—on them-charge-come, follow me! After the battle has raged for some time, imagine a central part of the field : Catesby enters, calling for
[Catesby.] Rescue, my lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
The king enacts more wonders than a man:
Here is the king. [K. Richard.] A horse! a horse ! my kingdom for a horse !
[Catesby.] Withdraw, my liege, I'll help you to a horse. [K. Richard.] Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse ! The tumult and rage of the battle reaches its height: at length, it relaxes as if its fury were spent : a retreat is sounded on one side : a flourish of trumpets is heard on the other : then Richmond enters ; afterwards lord Stanley bearing the crown, followed by many other lords : Richmond speaks : [Richmond.] Heaven and your arms be prais’d, victorious The day is ours; the bloody dog is dead. [friends!
[thee! (Stanley.] Victorious Richmond! well hast thou acquitted
And see the just reward that heaven has sent:
Henry the Seventh, rightful king of England. [thee [Richmond.] My lords, I here do make a sacrament,
I will unite the roses white and red,
SUPPLEMENTARY AND CONNECTING MEMORANDA.
Of the Chronicle Plays which bear the name of Shakspeare, the first and the last, King John and Henry VIII., are detached from the rest of the series, the first by several reigns, the last by one. The remainder illustrate, in one unbroken chain, the leading facts in the lives of all the kings from Richard II. to Henry VII. ; so that they may be considered, and, indeed, they have been considered, as one work, divided into plays simply for the convenience of representation. Now, of this work, if there should seem to be a leading political or moral principle which the poet has kept in view through out, it is this—that the deposition of Richard II., and the diverting of the line of succession to the house of Lancaster, was a crime both in the prince to whom the crown was transferred, and in the people who permitted and sanctioned the transfer—a crime of which we are to regard all the bloodshed and misery which extend up to the period we have reached, as the merited punishment. Such is, in fact, the view which one class of political writers, including Hume the historian, take of the leading event, and of those which follow it. But that class of writers who lean to the principles which placed the present royal family on the throne, assert that the expulsion of Richard Il., unless our fathers would have abandoned all thought of liberty, was an act of necessity ; and the solemn recognition by the lords and commons of Henry IV's title, by virtue of the nation's choice, the throne being vacant, an act both necessary and meritorious.* Supposing this allowed, it follows that the miseries of the civil wars, if they must be imputed, not to the general vices of the age, but to a particular act of wrong, ought to be ascribed to the treason of the Yorkists, who, after more than half a century of quiet possession by the other party, set up a claim from which they had been legally barred.
Returning to statements less likely to be questioned or canvassed, it may be remarked that Hume, when he has brought his work to the point before us, thus addresses his reader:-"We have now pursued the history of England through a series of barbarous ages, till we have at last reached the dawn of civility and refinement; and have the prospect both of greater certainty in our historical narrations, and of being able to present to the reader a spectacle more worthy of his attention." On which remark of the historian, we may observe, that what makes well for him does not make well for the poet. On the contrary, we may be said to have got to the extremity of those precincts in which the poet finds his most fit materials, when we have reached the point at which truth can no longer be
* Soe Hallam on the English Constitution, Chap. VIII. of "View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages.” The passage particularly referring to the event alluded to is indicated thus in the margin of the work : “Circumstances attending Henry IV.'s accessiou."
concealed or adorned, and facts appear in their plain, every-day shape, incapable of any colouring from the force of imagination. It is, indeed, more surprising that the poet should have ventured on any part of history subsequent to the point he has reached, than that he should not have proceeded with the reign of Henry VII., whose accession is declared in the scene just finished. There was very little for a poet to dwell on in the character of Henry, or the policy of his reign. He was a strict and severe man of business, a shrewd politician, and a rapacious, but not a splendid tyrant. His policy was correspondent; and if we except the adventures of the two impostors that figured in his reign, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck; if we further except the long sickening imprisonment, and nefarious execution (Nov. 1499) of Edward, son of George duke of Clarence, the last of the Plantagenets, the whole reign of this first of the Tudors is a chain of facts very interesting indeed when traced by the eye of a politician desirous of truth, and nothing but truth, but very flat and very dreary to the poetical eye. One more fact may here be noticed the marriage of Margaret, Henry's eldest daughter, with James IV. of Scotland ; a marriage which, in the second generation, placed a Stuart on the English throne. Henry VII. died in April, 1509 ; and his eldest surviving son (for Arthur the first-born died seven years before his father) was, in his youth, just such a personage as a poet would love to make his hero. In the bloom of earliest manhood, handsome in his person, vigorous and dextrous in exercises of the field, passionately fond of music and poetry, well-taught in literature, who can wonder that the eighth Henry should have left an impression on his subjects, notwithstanding the vices of his maturity, which poetry was able to embody in a substantial form : for indeed it is this Henry, mellowed by double his years, that the poet exhibits, and not the man who, at that age, was fast advancing to the cruel and bigoted tyrant whom we find
in history at the age of fifty. The events in the first twelve years of the reign of Henry VIII. are not touched upon by Shakspeare. During this time, the principal facts were the execution of Empson and Dudley, the instruments of the late king's extortions; the consummation of the king's marriage with Catherine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and the widow of his late brother Arthur (this was in the first year of his reign); the invasion of France by Henry in person, in 1513; and the battle of Spurs: also in the same year, the battle of Flodden-field, gained over the Scuts by the earl of Surrey; the marriage of the princess Mary, Henry's sister, with Lewis XII., on the conclusion of a peace with that sovereign; and her subsequent marriage with the duke of Suffulk, on the death of Lewis three months afterwards. This brings us to the era of Francis I., one of Henry's great contemporaries ; and four years more, to the election of Charles king of Spain to the empire of Germany, under the title of Charles V. Both these potentates courted the favour of Henry, and therefore that of Wolsey, as a means to it. Charles visited Henry in England, while the latter was about to