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KING RICHARD the Second.
JOHN OF GAUNT, Duke of Lancaster,
EDMUND OF LANGLEY, Duke of York,
uncles to the
HENRY, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, son
to John of Gaunt; afterwards KING HENRY IV.
DUKE OF AUMERLE, son to the Duke of York.
THOMAS MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk.
DUKE OF SURREY.
EARL OF SALISBURY.
BAGOT, servants to King Richard.
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND.
HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, his son.
Bishop of Carlisle.
Abbot of Westminster.
SIR STEPHEN SCROOP.
SIR PIERCE of Exton.
Captain of a band of Welshmen.
QUEEN to King Richard.
DUCHESS OF YORK.
DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER.
Lady attending on the Queen.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, two Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.
SCENE: England and Wales.
DURATION OF TIME
I. Dramatic Time. - Fourteen days represented on the stage, with indeterminable intervals.
II. Historic Time. -From April 29, 1398, to March 12, 1400, when what was officially stated to be the body of Richard was brought to London.
Quarto Early the Literary
RICHARD II. was first published in a edition of 1597, which was entered Stationers' Register on August 29 of that year. title-page is as follows:
The | Tragedie of King Ri-chard the Se-cond. As it hath been publikely acted by the right Honourable the Lorde Chamberlaine his Ser-uants. | London. Printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and | are to be sold at his Shop in Paules Church yard at the signe of the Angel. | 1597.
A second Quarto appeared in the following year, bearing Shakespeare's name. A third, in 1608, was announced to contain 'new additions of the Parliament Sceane, and the deposing | of King Richard, as it hath been lately acted by the Kinges | Majesties Seruantes, at the Globe.' A fourth Quarto, reprinted from the third, appeared in 1615; and on this was evidently based the text of the Folio of 1623, certain errors being corrected, while, on the other hand, a number of short passages were excised, doubtless those currently omitted on the stage. fifth Quarto, entitled 'The Life and Death of King
1 Some extant copies do not contain this announcement, the old title-page having been sub
stantially reprinted from Q2.
The Abdication Scene.
Richard the Second,' appeared in 1634. The First Quarto, so far as it extends, gives the most authoritative text. But in the new additions of the Parliament Sceane" it would appear that the defective text of the [Fourth] Quarto had been corrected from the author's MS. For this part, therefore, the First Folio is our highest authority.'1
The 'new additions' (iv. 1. 159-318) first introduced in the 1608 Quarto are indistinguishable in style from the rest of the play, and undoubtedly belonged to the original text. Their omission during Elizabeth's lifetime is explained by the sinister significance which the story of Richard had acquired in the political intrigues of her later years as a means of veiled allusion to herself. It was dangerous to relate, even with the best intentions, Richard's deposition in print; and Sir John Hayward, who narrated it in his History of the Life and Raigne of Henry IV., in 1599, was censured by the Star Chamber and sent to prison. That such severity was not altogether groundless became clear in 1601 when Sir Gilly Merrick, with a company of Essex's confederates, procured the performance of 'the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard the Second,' on the afternoon before the revolt. 'Know ye not that I am Richard the Second?' said Elizabeth to Lambarde, the Keeper of the Records in the Tower, on his showing her the Rolls of the reign; adding, as an illustration of Essex's ingratitude to his benefactor, that the tragedy in question 'had been played 40tie times in open streets and houses.' 2
We have no definite evidence that this muchdebated tragedy was Shakespeare's Richard II. But the sceptical view has been somewhat over-urged.
1 Cambridge edition, iv. 9.
2 Nichol's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth.