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They would restrain 32 the one, distain the other.
[Drum afar off.
32 To restrain is to abridge, to diminish, to withhold from. Thus in Cymbeline :
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd,
And pray'd me oft forbearance.' 33 Thus Holinshed:– You see further, how a company of traitors, thieves, outlaws, and runagates, be aiders and partakers of this feate and enterprise. And to begin with the earl of Richmond, captaine of this rebellion, he is a Welsh milksop, brought up by my moother's means and mine, like a captive in a close eage in the court of Francis duke of Britaine,' p. 756. Holinshed copied this verbatim from Hall, edit. 1548, fol. 54; bat his printer has given us by accident the word moother instead of brother; as it is in the original, and ought to be in Shakspeare. In the first edition of Holished the word is rightly printed brother. So that this circumstance not only shows that the poet follows Holinshed, but points out the edition used by him.
34 Fright the skies with the shivers of your lances. A similar idea is more tamely expressed in W. Smith’s Palsgrave, 1613 :
'Spears flew in splinters_half the way to heaven.'
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord, he doth deny to come.
Nor. My lord, the enemy is pass’d the marsh 35 ;
SCENE IV. Another part of the Field.
Forces; to him CATESBY.
35 There was a large marsh in Bosworth plain between the two armies. Henry passed it, and made such a disposition of his forces that it served to protect his right wing. By this movement he gained also another point, that his men should engage with the sun behind them, and in the faces of his enemies ; a matter of great consequence when bows and arrows were in
1 i. e. daringly opposing himself, or offering himself as an opponent to every danger. Sbakspeare uses opposite for opponent in Twelfth Night, and several other places. And Marston, in his Antonio and Mellida, 1602:
Myself, myself, will dare all opposites.'
Alarum. Enter King RICHARD. K. Rich. A horse! a horse ! my kingdom for a
horse! Cate. Withdraw, my lord, I'll help you to a horse. K. Rich. Slave, I have set
upon a cast,
[Exeunt. Alarums. Enter King RICHARD and RICHMOND;
and exeunt fighting. Retreat, and flourish. Then enter RICHMOND, STANLEY, bearing the Crown, with divers other Lords, and Forces. Richm. God, and your arms, be prais'd, victo
rious friends; The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.
2 Shakspeare had employed this incident with historical propriety in the First Part of King Henry IV. He had here also good ground for his poetical exaggeration. Richard, according to Polydore Virgil, was determined if possible to engage with Richmond in single combat. For this purpose he rode furiously to that quarter of the field where the earl was; attacked his standard bearer, Sir William Brandon, and killed him; then assaulted Sir John Cheny, whom he overthrew. Having thus at length cleared his way to his antagonist, he engaged in single combat with him, and probably would have been victorious, but that at that instant Sir William Stanley with three thousand men joined Richmond's army, and the royal forces fled with great precipitation. Richard was soon afterwards overpowered by numbers, and fell, fighting bravely to the last moment.
3 In the old interlude on the subject of Richard III. which Mr. Boswell printed at the end of this play, this line stands :
• A horse! a horse! a fresh horse!' Burbage, the alter Roscius of Camden, appears to have been the original Richard. Bishop Corbet, in his Iter Boreale, introduces his host at Bosworth describing the battle, and
when he would have say'd King Richard died, And call’d A horse! a horse! -he Burbage cried.'
Stan. Courageous Richmond, well hast thou ac
Richm. Great God of heaven, say, amen, to all! — But, tell me first, is young George Stanley living ?
Stan. He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town; Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.
Richm. What men of name are slain on either side?
Stan. John duke of Norfolk, Walter Lord Ferrers, Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.
Richm. Inter their bodies as becomes their births. Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled, That in submission will return to us; And then, as we have ta'en the sacrament, We will unite the white rose with the red :Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction, That long hath frown'd upon their enmity! What traitor hears me, and says not,-amen ? England hath long been mad, and scarr’d herself; The brother blindly shed the brother's blood, The father rashly slaughter'd his own son, The son, compelld, been butcher to the sire; All this divided York and Lancaster, Divided, in their dire division.0, now, let Richmond and Elizabeth, The true succeeders of each royal house, By God's fair ordinance conjoin together! And let their heirs (God, if thy will be so), Enrich the time to come with smooth-fac'd peace, With smiling plenty, and fair prosperous days! Abate* the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
4 i. e. diminish, or take away.
That would reduces these bloody days again!
5 To reduce is to bring back; an obsolete sense of the word, derived from its Latin original, reduco. • The mornynge forsakyng the golden bed of Titan, reduced the desyred day.'— Eurialus and Lucretia, 1560.
This is one of the most celebrated of our author's performances; yet I know not whether it has not happened to him as to others, to be praised most when praise is not most deserved. That this play has scenes noble in themselves, and very well contrived to strike in the exhibition, cannot be denied. But some parts are trifling, others shocking, and some improbable.- JOHNSON.
Malone says, he agrees with Dr. Johnson in thinking that this play, from its first exhibition to the present hour, has been estimated greatly beyond its merits. He attributes (but I think erroneously) its popularity to the detestation in which Richard's character was held at the time Shakspeare wrote, and to the patronage of Queen Elizabeth, who was pleased at seeing King Henry VII. placed in the only favourable light in which he could be placed on the scene.' Steevens, in the following note, has stated the true grounds of the perpetual popularity of the play, which can only be attributed to one cause—the wonderful dramatic effect produced by the character of Richard.-S. W. S.
I most cordially join with Dr. Johnson and Mr. Malone in their opinions; and yet, perhaps, they have overlooked one cause of the success of this tragedy. The part of Richard is, perhaps beyond all others, variegated, and consequently favourable to a judicious performer. It comprehends, indeed, a tract of almost every species of character on the stage: the hero, the lover, the statesman, the buffoon, the hypocrite, the hardened and repenting sinner, &c. are to be found within its compass. No wonder, therefore, that the discriminating powers of a Burbage, a Garrick, and a Henderson, should at different periods have given it a popularity beyond other dramas of the same author.-STEEVENS.