Page images

K. Rich. Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to

Buck. I hear the news, my

lord. K. Rich. Stanley, he's your wife's son:-Well,

look to it. Buck. My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise, For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd; The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables 13, Which you have promised I shall possess.

K. Rich. Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey Letters to Richmond, you

shall answer it. Buck. What says your highness to my just re

K. Rich. I do remember me,-Henry the Sixth
Did prophesy, that Richmond should be king,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
A king ?—perhaps

Buck. My lord,
K. Rich. How chance, the prophet could not at

that time, Have told me, I being by 14, that I should kill him?

Buck. My lord, your promise for the earldom

13 King Henry IV. married one of the daughters and coheirs of Humphrey Bohun, earl of Hereford; and the other was married to Thomas duke of Gloster, fifth son of King Edward III. who was created earl of Hereford, in 1386, by King Richard II. his only daughter Anne having married Edmund earl of Stafford. The duke of Buckingham (who was the grandson of this Edmund and Anne) had some pretensions to claim a new grant of the title, but he had not a shadow of right to the moiety of the estate, which if it devolved to King Edward IV. with the crown, was now the property of his children, or otherwise belonged to the right heirs of King Henry IV. Many of our historians, however, ascribe the breach between him and Richard, to Richard's refusing to restore the moiety of the Hereford estate; and Shakspeare has followed them.

14 The duke of Gloster, according to the former play, was not by when King Henry uttered the prophecy, but the poet does not often trouble himself about such minute points of accuracy,

K. Rich. Richmond !- When last I was at Exeter, The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle, And call’d it-Rouge-mont 15 : at which name, I

Because a bard of Ireland told me once,
I should not live long after I saw Richmond.

Buck. My lord,
K. Rich. Ay, what's o'clock?

I am thus bold To put your grace in mind of what you promis' me.

K. Rich. Well, but what is't o'clock?

Upon the stroke Of ten.

K. Rich. Well, let it strike.

Why, let it strike?
K. Rich. Because that, like a Jack 10, thou keep'st

the stroke Betwixt thy begging and my

meditation. I am not in the giving vein to-day.

Buck. Why, then resolve me whe'r you will, or no. 15 Hooker, who wrote in Queen Elizabeth's time, in his description of Exeter, mentions this as a very old and antient castle, named Rugemont; that is to say Red Hill, taking the name of the red soil or earth whereupon it is situated. It was first built, he adds, as some think, by Julius Cæsar, but rather, and in truth, by the Romans after him.

16 This alludes to the jack of the clock house, mentioned before in King Richard II. Act v. Sc. 5. It was a figure made in old public clocks to strike the bell on the outside ; of the same kind as those still preserved at St. Dunstan's church in Fleet Street. Richard compares Buckingham to one of the automatons, and bids him not to suspend the stroke on the clock bell; but strike, that the noise may be past, and himself at liberty to pursue his meditations. Jack was a term of contempt, occurring before in this play; the following passage from Cotgrave, in voce Fretillon, will further elucidate its meaning, ' A jacke of the clocke-house ; a little busie-bodie, medler, jack-stickler; one that has an oare in every man's boat, or his hand in every man's dish.' The sycophant lords in Timon of Athens are called minutejacks.

K. Rich. Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.

[Exeunt King RICHARD and Train. Buck. And is it thus ? repays he my deep service With such contempt? made I him king for this? 0, let me think on Hastings; and be gone To Brecknock 17, while my fearful head is on. [Exit.

SCENE III. The same.

Enter TYRREL. Tyr. The tyrannous and bloody act is done; The most arch deed of piteous massacre, That ever yet this land was guilty of. Dighton, and Forrest, whom I did suborn To do this piece of ruthless butchery, Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs, Melting with tenderness and mild compassion, Wept like two children, in their death's sad story. O thus, quoth Dighton, lay the gentle babes,Thus, thus, quoth Forrest, girdling one another Within their alabaster innocent arms: Their lips were four red roses on a stalk, Which, in their summer beauty, kiss'd each other. A book of prayers on their pillow lay; Which once, quoth Forrest, almost chang’d my But, 0, the đevilthere the villain stopp’d; When Dighton thus told on, -we smothered The most replenished sweet work of nature, That, from the prime creation, e'er she fram’d.Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse, They could not speak; and so I left them both, To bear this tidings to the bloody king.

Enter KING RICHARD. And here he comes:-Allhealth, my sovereign lord ! K. Rich. Kind Tyrrel! am I happy in thy news ?

17 His castle in Wales.


Tyr. If to have done the thing you gave in charge
Beget your happiness, be happy then,
For it is done.

K. Rich. But didst thou see them dead?
Tyr. I did, my lord.
K. Rich.

And buried, gentle Tyrrel ? Tyr. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them; But where, to say the truth, I do not know.

K. Rich. Come to me, Tyrrel, soon, at after supper, When thou shalt tell the process of their death. Mean time, but think how I may do thee good, And be inheritor of thy desire. Farewell, till then. Tyr.

I humbly take my leave. [Erit. K.Rich. The son of Clarence have I pen'd up close; His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage; The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom, And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. Now, for I know the Bretagne 1 Richmond aims At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter, And, by that knot, looks proudly on the crown, To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.

Enter CATESBY. Cate. My lord, K. Rich. Good news or bad, that thou com'st in

so bluntly? Cate. Bad news, my lord; Morton ? is fled to

Richmond; And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen, Is in the field, and still his


increaseth. K. Rich. Ely with Richmond troubles me more

near, "He thus denominates Richmond, because after the battle of Tewksbury he had taken refuge in the court of Francis II. duke of Bretagne, where by the procurement of Edward IV, he was kept a long time in honourable custody.

2 Bishop of Ely.

Than Buckingham and his rash levied strength.
Come,- I have learn'd, that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay 3;
Delay leads impotent and snail pac'd beggary:
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
Go, muster men: My counsel is my shield;
We must be brief, when traitors brave the field.


SCENE IV. The same. Before the Palace.

Enter Queen MARGARET. Q. Mar. So, now prosperity begins to mellow, And drop into the rotten mouth of death . Here in these confines slily have I lurk’d, To watch the waning of mine enemies. A dire induction ? am I witness to, And will to France; hoping, the consequence Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical. Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret! who comes


Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the Duchess of

YORK. Q. Eliz. Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender

babes! My unblown flowers, new appearing sweets ! If yet your gentle souls fly in the air,

3 Timorous thought and cautious disquisition are the dull attendants on delay.

now is his fate grown mellow,
Instant to fall into the rotten jaws
Of chap-fall’n death.'

Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602. King Richard III. was printed in 1597, Marston is therefore the imitator.

2 Induction is preface, introduction, or prologue. As in the instance of Sackville's Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates.



« PreviousContinue »