Page images

left the Yorkists to the divulsive energy of their own passions and vices; for in their previous contests had been generated a virulence of self-will that would needs set them at strife

among themselves when they had no common antagonist to strive against. The overbearing pride and arrogance of Warwick would not brook to be crossed, and the pampered caprice of Edward would not stick to cross it: the latter would not have fought as he did, but to the end that he might be king; nor would the former have done so much for him, but that he might have a king subject to his control. It is remarkable that the causes of the deadly feud between the king-maker and his royal creature have never been fully explained. History having assigned several, the Poet, even if he had known better, was amply warranted in taking the one that would be made to tell most on the score of dramatic interest. And the scene at the Court of Louis justifies his choice, it being, in point of sound stage-effect, probably the best in the play; while the representation, however untrue to fact, is true to the temper, the motives, and character of the parties concerned.

The marriage of King Edward with the Lady Elizabeth Grey took place in May, 1464, something more than three years after the battle of Towton. The Queen's influence over her husband, resulting in the preferment of her family, gave apt occasion for those discontents and schisms in the faction which, in whatever line of conduct he had followed, could not have been long without pretexts. The effect of such schisms was to rally and strengthen the opposite faction into a renewal of the conflict. The capture of Edward by Warwick occurred in the Summer of 1469, and was followed by the restoration of Henry, who had been over five years a prisoner in the Tower. The domineering and dictatorial habit of Warwick was not less manifest in his alliance with Henry than it had been with Edward. The Earl had given his oldest daughter to Clarence; and, as she was to inherit her father's immense estates, he thus seemed to have a sure hold on her husband. But the Duke appears to have regarded the marriage as offering him a prospect of the throne; so that the main cord between Clarence and Warwick was broken when the latter gave his second daughter to the son of Henry.

In October, 1470, Edward made his escape to the continent. The following March he returned, and in about a month was fought the battle of Barnet, where he recovered the throne in spite of Warwick, and therefore had a better chance of keeping it. For this success he was much indebted to the perfidy of Clarence, who, having raised a large body of men by commission from Henry, but with the secret purpose of using them for Edward, threw off the mask a few days before, openly renouncing his father-in-law, and rejoining his brother. The death of Warwick at the battle of Barnet left Edward little to fear; and his security was scarce disturbed by the arrival of Queen Margaret, on the very day of that battle, with aid from France; which aid, together with what remained of Henry's late army, was dispatched a few days after in the battle of Tewksbury.

As to the authorship of this dramatic series, perhaps enough was said in connection with the preceding play. But it may not be amiss to add that, if we study the three parts of King Henry the Sixth together with King Richard the Third, we shall find them all to be so connected that each earlier member of the series is a necessary introduction to the following, and each later one a necessary sequel to the preceding; that is to say, they will appear to be four plays only because too long to be one, or two, or three. So manifest and so perfect is the unity and continuity of plan, purpose, matter, action, interest, and characterization running through them, that, if they had all come down to us anonymous, we should naturally have assorted them together as the undoubted workmanship of one and the same hand. This argument for identity of authorship might be pursued to almost any length: but I could add but little to what has been presented by Mr. Grant White, and so must dismiss the subject by simply referring the curious or inquisitive reader to his able and interesting Essay.





Uncles to the Sir HUGH MORTI- (Duke of York.

EDWARD, Prince of Wales, his Son.
LOUIS XI., King of France.
BEAUFORT, Duke of Som-

HOLLAND, Duke of Exeter,
DE VERE, Earl of Oxford,
Earl of Northumberland,
Earl of Westmoreland,
JOHN LORD Clifford,

RICHARD PLANTAGENET, Duke of Mayor of York.




HENRY TUDOR, Earl of Richmond,
WOODVILLE, Earl Rivers.
Lieutenant of the Tower.

Tutor to Rutland. A Nobleman.

Two Keepers. A Huntsman.

EDWARD, Earl of March,
EDMUND, Earl of Rutland, his Sons. A Son that has killed his Father.

A Father that has killed his Son.

MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk,
Marquess of Montague,
NEVILLE, Earl of Warwick,
HERBERT, Earl of Pembroke,


MARGARET, Queen to Henry VI.
LADY GREY, afterwards Queen to
Edward IV.

LADY BONA, Sister to the French

Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry and King Edward, Messengers, Watchmen, &c.

SCENE.- During part of the third Act, in France; during the rest of the Play, in England.


SCENE I.- London. The Parliament-House.

Drums. Some Soldiers of YORK's party break in. Then


MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and others, with white roses in their hats.

War. I wonder how the King escaped our hands.
York. While we pursued the horsemen of the North,
He slily stole away, and left his men :
Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,
Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself,
Lord Clifford, and Lord Stafford, all a-breast,
Charged our main battle's front, and, breaking in,
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.1

Edw. Lord Stafford's father, Duke of Buckingham,
Is either slain or wounded dangerously;

I cleft his beaver with a downright blow:
That this is true, father, behold his blood.

[Showing his bloody sword. Mont. [To YORK, showing his.] And, brother,2 here's the Earl of Wiltshire's blood,

1 The circumstances of old Clifford's death are here stated in accordance with the facts, though in a manner very different from the representation given near the close of the preceding play. But discrepancies of this sort are so frequent and so glaring in these plays, that it seems hardly worth the while to note them in detail. In the present scene, the author brings into close juxtaposition events that were in fact widely separated. The first battle of St. Alban's was fought May 22, 1455; and the Parliament of Westminster, represented in this scene, was opened October 7, 1460. In October, 1459, the Yorkists had been dispersed, and the duke himself with his son Edmund had fled to Ireland; but they soon rallied again, and in July, 1460, a terrible battle was fought at Northampton, wherein the Yorkists were again victorious, and got the King into their hands, and compelled him soon after to call the Parliament in question.

2 In this play York and Montague are made to address each other several times as brothers. Perhaps the author thought that John Neville, Marquess of Montague, was brother to York's wife, whereas he was her nephew. Montague was brother to the Earl of Warwick; and the Duchess of York was half-sister to their father, the Earl of Salisbury. See volume viii. page 140, note 8.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »