Page images
PDF
EPUB

Fired with revenge by these aggressions, and means (by their help) forthwith to assemble a encouraged by letters from the leading men of great number of people, that were willing to England-nobility, prelates, magistrates, and take his part." The subsequent events, previous rulers, as Holinsbed describes them-promising to the return of Richard, are most correctly dehim all their aid, power, and assistance, in “ex lineated by our poet. Bolingbroke was joined pulsing" King Richard-Bolingbroke took the | by Northumberland and Harry Percy, by Ross step which involved this land in blood for nearly | and Willoughby. “He sware unto those lords a century. He quitted Paris, and sailed from that he would demand no more but the lands Port Blanc, in Lower Brittany, with very few that were to him descended by inheritance from men-at-arms, according to some accounts—with his father, and in right of his wife.” From three thousand, according to others. This event Doncaster, with a mighty army, Bolingbroke took place about a fortnight after Richard had marched through the counties of Derby or Notsailed for Ireland. His last remaining uncle, tingham, Leicester, Warwick, and Worcester ;the Duke of York, had been left in the govern. " through the countries coming by Evesham ment of the kingdom. He was, however, un- unto Berkley." The Duke of York bad marched fitted for a post of so much difficulty and dan towards Wales to meet the king, upon his exger; and Sbakspere has well described his pected arrival from Ireland. Holinshed says, perplexities, upon hearing of the landing of he "was received into the Castle of Berkley, Bolingbroke :

and there remained till the coming thither of -"if I know

the Duke of Lancaster, whom when he perHow, or which way to order these affairs,

ceived that he was not able to resist, on the Thus disorderly thrust into my hands,

Sunday after the feast of St. James, wbich, as Never believe me."

that year came about fell upon a Friday, he He had been little accustomed to affairs of came forth into the church that stood without state. Hardyng, in his Chronicle, thus de the castle, and there communed with the Duke scribes him at an early period of his life : of Lancaster ..... On the morrow after, the -"Edmonde hyght of Langley of good chere,

foresaid dukes with their power went towards Glad and mery and of his own ay lyved

| Bristow, where (at their coming) they shewed Without wrong as chronicles have breved.

themselves before the town and castle, being When all the lordes to councell and parlyament Went, he wolde to hunt, and also to hawek yng. All gentyll disporte as to a lorde appent, He used aye, and to the pore supportyng."

Froissart describes him as living at his own castle with his people, interfering not with what was passing in the country, but taking all things as they happened. According to Holinshed, the army that he raised to oppose Bolingbroke, “ boldly protested that they would not fight against the Duke of Lancaster, whom they knew to be evil dealt with.” It seems to be agreed, on all hands, that Froissart, who makes Bolingbroke land at Plymouth, and march direct to London, was incorrectly informed. Holinshed, upon the authority of “our English writers," says, “the Duke of Lancaster, after that he had coasted alongst the shore a certain time, and had got some intelligence how the people's minds were affected towards him, landed, about the beginning of July, in York. shire, at a place sometimes called Ravenspur, betwixt Hull and Bridlington, and with him not past threescore persons, as some write : but he was so joyfully received of the lords, knights, and gentlemen of those parts, that he found |

(Elmund of Langley.]

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

an huge multitude of people.” The defection | writers of the period ; and so is the prodigy of of the Welsh under Salisbury is detailed in the the withered bay-trees.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

17 SCENE I.-Bolingbroke's camp, at Bristol." in the fine series of wood-cuts, called Imagines We have given, on the next page, an ancient Mortis, improperly attributed to Holbein. It view of Bristol. Redcliffe Church, which is the is a wonderful composition; and it is by no prominent object in the view, was completed means improbable, as suggested by Douce, that in 1376.

the engraving furnished Shakspere with the 18 SCENE II.---- " There the antick sits,

hint of these splendid lines. Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp." We have given a fac-simile from the seventh

[graphic]

[Bristol.) is SCENE III.

illustrious Edward III. was held by his de

scendants, and by the people, made this oath of !By the honourable tomb he swears,

peculiar solemnity. And yet Bolingbroke vio. That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones.

lated it, in an oath-breaking age. The reverence in which the memory of the

[graphic]

HISTORICAL.

We have hitherto traced the course of events we were of France, and that the king bad sent in Shakspere's History of Richard II. by the us with King Richard into Ireland for recrea aid of the Chronicles' Froissart was a con tion, and to see the country.” This manuscript temporary of Richard ; and in the days of the has been re-published in the twentieth volume king's prosperity had presented him with a of the 'Archeologia,' with a most admirable book "fair enlumined and written," of which, translation, and notes alike distinguished for when the king demanded whereof it treated, their learning and good sense, by the Rev. John the maker of histories “shewed him how it Webb. treated matters of love, whereof the king was The author of the 'Metrical History,' with his glad, and looked in it, and read it in many companion," in the year one thousand and places, for he could speak and read French very four hundred save one, quitted Paris, full of well." Holinshed was, in another sense, a joy;" and, travelling late and early, reached “ maker of histories." He compiled, and that London. He found that Richard had set out, admirably well, from those who had written anzious to journey day and night. He folbefore him; and he was properly Shakspere's lowed him to Milford Haven, where “ he waited great authority for the incidents which he ten days for the north-wind, and passed his time dramatized. But we have now to turn to one pleasantly amidst trumpets and the sounds of of the most remarkable documents that affords minstrelsy." The king had proceeded to Watermaterials for the history of any period—the ford, whither the French knight at length folnarrative of an eye-witness of what took place lowed him. Six days afterwards the king took from the period when Richard, being in Ireland, the field, with the English, for Kilkenny, received the news of Bolingbroke's landing, to whence, after a fortnight's delay, he marched the time when the king was utterly prostrate at directly towards Mac-more (the Irish chieftain) the feet of the man whom he had banished and into the depths of the deserts, who, with his plundered. All the historians have been greatly wild men — Shakspere's “rough, rug-headed indebted to this narrative. It is entitled 'His- kerns "- defied England and its power. The toire du Roy d'Angleterre Richard, traictant usual accompaniment of war was not wanting particulierement la Rebellion de ses subiectz et on this occasion : -" Orders were given by prinse de sa personne. Composee par un gen- the king that every thing should be set fire ta" tlehom'e Francois de marque, qui fut a la suite | Neither were the pageantries of chivalry, the du dict Roy, avecg permission du Roy de gilding of the horrors,-absent from this e France, 1399. The most beautiful, and, ap- pedition. Henry of Monmouth, the son of parently, the earliest copy of this manuscript is Bolingbroke, being then eleven years old, was in the British Museum. It contains sixteen with the king; and Richard knighted him, illuminations, in which the identity of the making, at the same time, eight or ten other portraits and of the costume is preserved knights. The English army appears to have throughout. It appears to have been the pro- suffered greatly from the want of provisions. perty of Charles of Anjou, Count of Maine, A negociation took place with Mac-more, which and formed part of the Harleian collection. ended in nothing. The king's face grew pale Another manuscript of the same history, which with anger, and he sware, in great wrath, by is in the library at Lambeth, was that consulted St. Edward, that no, never, would he depart and quoted by the early historians, and it is from Ireland till, alive or dead, he bad Maccalled, by Holinshed, “A French Pamphlet more in his power. The want of provisions that belongeth to Master John Dee :” the name dislodged the army and drove them to Dublin, of John Dee, with the date 1575, appears in where, for six weeks, they lived “ easy of body the last leaf. The author of the ‘Metrical as fish in Seine." No news came from England. History' informs us, in his title, that he was | The winds were contrary. At last,“ & barge “ Un gentilhom'e Francois de marque;" and, arrived, which was the occasion of much sorrow.” when brought before Bolingbroke, the writer Those who came in her related to the king how says of himself and his companion, “ The Scrope was beheaded by Bolingbrokehow the herald told him, in the English language, that people had been stirred to insurrection-how

HISTORIES. — VOL I.

the invader had taken towns and castles for his thing to lie down upon but straw. Really, he own. " It seemed to me,” says the French lay in this manner for four or six nights; for, knight, “ that the king's face at this turned in truth, not a farthing's worth of victuals or pale with anger, while he said, “Come bither, anything else was to be found in them." In friends. Good Lord, this man designs to de consequence of this poverty the king returned prive me of my country.'” Richard consulted to Conway. The ‘Metrical History' then details, his council on a Saturday, and they agreed to at considerable length, and with great spirit put to sea on the next Monday. The king, and circumstantiality, the remarkable incident however, according to this writer, was deceived of Northumberland entrapping Richard to leave and betrayed by Aumerle, who persuaded him Conway, 80 that he might convey him as his to remain himself, and send Salisbury to raise prisoner to Flint Castle. “This is one of the the Welch against Bolingbroke. The French instances,” says Mr. Courtenay ("Shakspere's knight and his companion departed with Salis- | Historical Plays considered Historically'), “in bury, and landed at Conway. Salisbury raised, which a more minute knowledge of history it seems, forty thousand men within four days. might have furnished Shakspere with some The earl kept them in the field a fortnight; but good scenes and further discriminations of cha they then deserted him, as Shakspere has repre. racter." One would suppose, from this remark, sented, because they heard “no tidings from that the account of the meeting between Northe king." He " tarried eighteen days," says thumberland and the king at Conway, and the the French knight, " after our departure from king's agreement, upon Northumberland's assurIreland. It was very great folly."

ances of safety, to go with him to Flint, was The 'Metrical History' now proceeds to the unrecorded by the chronicler whom Shakspere events which followed the landing of Richard | is known to have consulted. Holinshed relates upon the Welch coast. “He did not stop this affair with great distinctness; and he more. there," says the history, “ considering the dis over gives an account of the ambush described tress, complaints, and lamentations of the poor by the French knight. We must, therefore, people, and the mortal alarm of all. Then he conclude that Shakspere knew his own business resolved that, without saying a word, he would as a dramatist in the omission of the scene. set out at midnight from his host, attended The passage is also given very fully in Stow; by a few persons, for he would on no account and is versified by Daniel in his Civil Warres.' be discovered. In that place he clad himself | “In the castle of Flint," says the Metrical in another garb, like a poor priest of the History,' “King Richard awaited the coming of Minors (Franciscans), for the fear that he had the Duke of Lancaster, who set out from the of being known of his foes. .... Thus the city of Chester on Tuesday, the 22nd of August, king set out that very night, with only thirteen with the whole of his force." King Richard, others, and arrived, by break of day, at Con. “having heard mass, went up upon the walls of way." He here met Salisbury. “At the meet-| the castle, which are large and wide in the inside, ing of the king and the earl, instead of joy, beholding the Duke of Lancaster as he came there was very great sorrow. Tears, lamenta along the sea-shore with all his host." Messentions, sighs, groans, and mourning, quicklygers came from Henry to Richard, and an interbroke forth. Truly it was a piteous sight to view took place between them. Shakspere has behold their looks and countenances, and woeful made Northumberland the negotiator on this meeting. The earl's face was pale with watch occasion, as he really was at Conway. “The ing. He related to the king his hard fate." | king went up again upon the walls, and saw that Aumerle, the constable, according to this writer, the army was two bow-shots from the castle ; basely went off with the king's men-his last then he, together with those that were with him, hope. “The king continued all sorrowful at began anew great lamentation.” At length LanConway, where he had no more with them than caster entered the castle. “Then they made the two or three of his intimate friends, sad and king, who had dined in the donjon, come down distressed. .... Reckoning nobles and other to meet Duke Henry, who, as soon as he per. persons, we were but sixteen in all.” From ceived him at a distance, bowed very low to the Conway they went to Beaumaris, and thence to ground; and, as they approached each other, he Carnarvon. “In his castles, to which he re- bowed a second time, with his cap in his hand; tired, there was no furniture, nor had he any. ) and then the king took off his bonnet, and spake

« PreviousContinue »