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the chronological succession of events, as they | another, that it was unnecessary for the poet to occurred in the real history of the times, is con- leap over any long intervals of time. Bolingstantly disregarded. In the Richard II.' that broke first appealed Norfolk of treason, in chronological succession is as strictly adhered January, 1398. Richard was deposed in Septo. The judgment of the poet is remarkably | tember, 1399. exhibited in these opposite modes of working. The first scene of this Act exhibits the course He had to mould a drama out of the disjointed of the quarrel between Bolingbroke and Mowmaterials of the real history of John, in which bray, as it proceeded, after Harry Hereford's events, remote in the order of time, and ap " boisterous late appeal." We must observe, parently separated as to cause and consequence, that the Bolingbroke of Shakspere is called should all conduce to the development of one Duke of Hereford (or Earl of Derby, his former great action-the persecution of Arthur by his title) by all the old historians; it being pretty uncle, and the retribution to which the fate of clear that he was not distinguished by the Arthur led. In the life of Richard II. there name of Bolingbroke till after he had assumed were two great dramatic events, far separated the crown. Drayton states this without any in the order of time, and having no connection qualification. We must, however, follow the in their origin or consequences. The rebellion poet in calling him Bolingbroke. It is some of Wat Tyler, in 1381, might, in itself, have what difficult to understand the original cause formed the subject of a drama not unworthy of the quarrel between Bolingbroke and Nor. of the hand of Shakspere. It might have folk. They were each elevated in rank at the stood as the “ First Part” of the Life of Richard Christmas of 1398, probably with the view, II. Indeed, it is probable, that a play in which | on the part of Richard, to propitiate men this event formed a remarkable feature did of such power and energy. They were the exist. But the greater event of Richard's life only two who remained of the great lords who, was the banishment and the revolt of Boling twelve years before, had driven Richard's fa broke, which led to his own deposition and his vourites from his court and kingdom, and had death. This is the one event which Shakspere triumphantly asserted their resistance to his has made the subject of the great drama before measures at the battle of Radcot Bridge. The us. With a few very minute deviations from Duke of Gloster, the uncle of the king, with history-deviations which are as nothing com whose party Bolingbroke and Norfolk had pared with the errors of the contemporary always been confederated, was murdered at historian, Froissart—the scenes which this play Calais, in 1398. Bolingbroke, in the same year, presents, and the characters which it develops, had received a full pardon in parliament for are historically true to the letter. But what a his proceedings in 1386. “In this parliament, wonderful vitality does the truth acquire in our bolden at Shrewsbury," says Holinshed, “Henry poet's hands! The hard and formal abstractions Duke of Hereford accused Thomas Mowbray of of the old chroniclers—the figures that move certain words, which he should utter in talk, about in robes and armour, without presenting had betwixt them as they rode together lately to us any distinct notions of their common before, betwixt London and Brainford, sounding human qualities,-here show themselves to us highly to the king's dishonour.” Froissart (we as men like ourselves,-partaking of like pas quote from Lord Berners' translation) gives a sions and like weaknesses; and, whilst they different version of the affair, and says " On a exhibit to us the natural triumph of intellectual day the Earl of Derby and the Earl Marshal vigour and decision over frailty and irresolution, communed together of divers matters; at last, they claim our pity for the unfortunate, and among other, they spake of the state of the our respect for the “ faithful amongst the faith- king and of his council, such as he had about less." But in the Chronicles,' Shakspere found him, and believed them; so that, at the last, the rude outline ready to his hand, which he the Earl of Derby spake certain words which was to fill up with his surpassing colouring. be thought for the best, wenynge that they There was nothing in the course of the real should never have been called to rehearsal, events to alter for the purposes of dramatic which words were neither villainous nor outpropriety. The history was full of the most rageous.” Froissart then goes on to make the stirring and picturesque circumstances; and Earl Marshal repeat these words to the king, the incidents came so thick and fast upon one and Derby to challenge him as a false traitor, after the breach of confidence. Shakspere has / armour-all these were to be wholly imagined followed Holinshed. The accusation of Boling upon the ancient stage. Our poet, in his chorus broke against Norfolk was first made, according to Henry V' thus addresses his audience : to this chronicler, at Shrewsbury; and “there
“Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; was a day appointed, about six weeks after, for Into a thousand parts divide one man, the king to come unto Windsor, to hear and to And make imaginary puissance: take some order betwixt the two dukes which
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them had thus appealed each other.” The scene then
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth." proceeds in the essential matters very much as To assist our readers in seeing the “ imaginary is exhibited by Shakspere, except that the ap- | puissance” of the lists of Coventry, we subjoin pellant and defendant each speak by the mouth | Holinshed's description : of a knight that had “license to speak.” “ The Duke of Aumerle, that day, being Norfolk is accused of being a false and disloyal high constable of England, and the Duke of traitor-of appropriating eight thousand nobles, Surry, marshal, placed themselves between which he had received to pay the king's soldiers them, well armed and appointed ; and when at Calais --of being the occasion of all the they saw their time, they first entered into the treason contrived in the realm for eighteen lists with a great company of men appareled years-and, by his false suggestions and main silk sendall, embroidered with silver, both licious counsels, having caused the Duke of richly and curiously, every man having a tipped Gloster to be murdered. Norfolk, in the answer staff to keep the field in order. About the by his knight, declares that Henry of Lancaster hour of prime came to the barriers of the lists, hath “ falsely and wickedly lied as a false and the Duke of Hereford, mounted on a white disloyal knight;" and he then, in his own per courser barded with green and blue velvet, emson, adds the explanation which Shakspere broidered sumptuously with swans and antelopes gives about the use of the money for Calais. of goldsmith's work, armed at all points. The The chronicler, however, makes him say not a constable and marshal came to the barriers, word about Gloster's death; but he confesses | demanding of him what he was; he answered that he once “ laid an ambush to have slain I am Henry of Lancaster Duke of Hereford, the Duke of Lancaster that there sitteth." The which am come hither to do mine endeavour king once again requires them to be asked, if against Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, as they would agree and make peace together; a traitor untrue to God, the king, his realm, “ but they both flatly answered that they would and me.' Then, incontinently, he sware upon not; and withal the Duke of Hereford cast the holy evangelists, that his quarrel was true down his gage, and the Duke of Norfolk took and just, and upon that point he required to it up. The king, perceiving this demeanour enter the lists. Then he put by his sword, betwixt them, sivare by St. John Baptist, that which before he held naked in his hand, and, he would nerer seek to make peace betwixt putting down his visor, made a cross on his them again." The combat was then appointed borse, and with spear in hand entered into the to be done at Coventry, “ some say upon a lists, and descended from his horse, and set him Monday in August; other, upon St. Lambert's down in a chair of green velvet, at the one end day, being the 17th September; other, on the of the lists, and there reposed himself, abiding 11th September."
the coming of his adversary. The narrative of Holinshed, upon which “Soon after him, entered into the field with Shakspere has founded the third Scene of this great triumph, King Richard, accompanied with Act, is most picturesque. We see all the gorge all the peers of the realm, and in his company ous array of chivalry, as it existed in an age was the Earl of St. Paul, which was come out of pageants, called forth with unusual magnifi. of France in post to see this challenge percence upon an occasion of the gravest import. formed. The king had there above ten thousand The old stage of Shakspere's time could exhibit men in armour, least some fray or tumult might none of this magnificence. The great company rise amongst his nobles, by quarrelling or parof men appareled in silk sendall—the splendid taking. When the king was set in his seat, coursers of the combatants, with their velvet which was richly hanged and adorned, a kinghousings—the king on his throne, surrounded at-arms made open proclamation, prohibiting by his peers and his ten thousand men in all men, in the name of the king, and of the
high constable and marshal, to enterprise or and closed his beaver, and cast his spear into attempt to approach, or touch any part of the the rest, and when the trumpet sounded, set lists upon pain of death, except such as were forward courageously towards his enemy, six or appointed to order or marshal the field. The seven paces. The duke of Norfolk was not proclamation ended, another herald cried : 'Be fully set forward, when the king cast down his hold here Henry of Lancaster Duke of Hereford warder, and the heralds cried, 'Ho, ho !' Then appellant, which is entered into the lists royal the king caused their spears to be taken from to do his devoir against Thomas Mowbray Duke them, and commanded them to repair again to of Norfolk defendant, upon pain to be found their chairs, where they remained two long false and recreant.'
hours, while the king and his council deliber“ The duke of Norfolk hovered on horseback ately consulted what order was best to be had at the entrance of the lists, his horse being in so weighty a cause." barded with crimson velvet, embroidered richly The sentence of Richard upon Bolingbroke with lions of silver and mulberry trees; and and Norfolk was, in effect, the same as Shakwhen he had made his oath before the constable spere has described it; but the remission of a and marshal that his quarrel was just and true, portion of the term of Bolingbroke's banishbe entered the field manfully, saying aloud : ment did not take place at the lists of Coventry.
God aid him that hath the right,' and then he Froissart says, that when Bolingbroke's day of departed from his horse, and sate him down in departure approached, he came to Eltham, to his chair, which was of crimson velvet, curtained the king, who thus addressed him :-“ As God about with white and red damask. The lord help me, it right greatly displeaseth me the marshal viewed their spears, to see that they words that hath been between you and the earl were of equal length, and delivered the one marshal; but the sentence that I have given is spear himself to the duke of Hereford, and for the best, and for to appease thereby the sent the other unto the duke of Norfolk by a people, who greatly murmured on this matter; knight. Then the herald proclaimed that the wherefore, cousin, yet to ease you somewhat of traverses and chairs of the champions should your pain, I release my judgment from ten year be removed, commanding them on the king's to six year. Cousin, take this aworth, and behalf to mount on horseback, and address ordain you thereafter." The earl answered and themselves to the battle and combat.
said; “ Sir, I thank your grace, and when it “ The duke of Hereford was quickly horsed, I shall please you, ye shall do me more grace."
ACT II. 14 SCENE I.—"His livery."
| 15 SCENE I.—“That late broke from the Duke of MALONE gives the following explanation of this
Exeter." passage:-“On the death of every person who Thomas, the son of the Earl of Arundel, was held by knight's service, the escheator of the in the custody of the Duke of Exeter, and court in which he died summoned a jury, who escaped from his house-broke from him. The inquired what estate he died seised of, and of description could not apply to “ Reignold, Lord what age his next heir was. If he was under Cobham ;"--and, therefore, Malone has introage, he became a ward of the king's; but if he duced a line, which he supposes, or something was found to be of full age, he then had a right like it, to have been accidentally omitted :to sue out a writ of ouster le main,—that is, his “ The son of Richard, Earl of Arunde, livery,—that the king's hand might be taken off, | That late broke from the Duke of Exeter." and the land delivered to him.” Bolingbroke had appointed attorneys to execute this office
" SCENE II.—"Like perspectives." for him, if his father should die during the These perspectives were produced by cutting a period of his banishment.
| board, so that it should present a number of sides, or flats, when looked at obliquely. To gaz'd upon”-it showed "nothing but confusion.” these sides, a print or drawing, cut into parts Dr. Plot, in his 'History of Staffordshire,' dewas affixed; so that looked at "awry” the whole scribes these "perspectives.” picture was seen-looked at direct—"rightly |
HISTORICAL. John of Gaunt, who, in the first line of this was born in 1366, must have been a father at play, is called,
twenty-one. Froissart thus speaks of the death
of John of Gaunt:-"So it fell, that, about the “Old John of Gaunt, time-honourd Lancaster,”
feast of Christmas, Duke John of Lancaster, was the fourth son of Edward III., by his Queen who lived in great displeasure, what because Philippa. He was called of Gant or Ghent, the King had banished his son out of the realm from the place of his birth ;-was born in 1340, for so little a cause, and also because of the evil and died in 1999. The circumstance of the governing of the realm by his nephew, King king naming him as Old John of Gaunt, has Richard; (for he saw well if he long persevered, many examples in the age of Shakspere. Spen- and were suffered to continue, the realm was ser calls the Earl of Leicester an old man, likely to be utterly lost)—with these imagina though he was then not fifty; Lord Huntington tions and other, the duke fell sick, whereon he represents Coligny as very old, though he died died; whose death was greatly sorrowed of all at fifty-three. There can be little doubt, we his friends and lovers." apprehend, that the average duration of human Shakspere found no authority in the Chroni. life has been much increased during the last cles' for the fine death-scene of John of Gaunt; two centuries; and, at that period, marriages but the principal circumstance for which he were much earlier, so that it was not uncommon reproaches the king—that England “is now for a man to be at the head of a family before leas'd out”-is distinctly supported. Fabian he was twenty. When John of Gaunt was fifty- says, “In this 22nd year of King Richard, the eight (in the year of Bolingbroke's appeal against common fame ran, that the king had letten to Mowbray), Henry of Monmouth, his grandson, farm the realm unto Sir William Scrope, Earl was eleven years old ; so that Bolingbroke, who l of Wiltshire, and then treasurer of England, to
Sir John Bushey, Sir John Bagot, and Sir Henry changed upon us from good to evil, ever since Green, Knights. The subsequent reproach of the death of good King Edward the Third, in the confederated lords, that
whose days justice was well kept and ministered: “Daily new exactions are devis'd;
in his days there was no man so hardy in EngAs blanks, benevolences,"
land to take a hen or a chicken, or a sheep, is also fully supported. The "blanks” were
without he had paid 'truly for it; and now-amost ingenious instruments of pillage, princi- | days, all that we have is taken from us, and yet pally devised for the oppression of substantial we dare not speak; these things cannot long and wealthy citizens. For these blanks they of endure, but that England is likely to be lost London “were fain to seal, to their great charge, without recovery: we have a king now that will as in the end appeared. And the like charters | do nothing; he entendeth but to idleness, and
to accomplish bis pleasure, and by that he realm, whereby great grudge and murmuring sheweth he careth not how every thing goeth, arose amongst the people; for when they were so he may have his will. It were time to 80 sealed, the king's officers wrote in the same
provide for remedy, or else our enemies will rewhat'liked them, as well for charging the parties joice and mock us." There is a remarkable with payment of money, as otherwise."
corroboration of the state of cruel oppression in The general condition of the country, while which the common people lived, furnished by a the commons were “pillid," and the nobles | copy of the stipulations made by the Duke of “ fin'd,” by Richard and his creatures, was, ac Surrey, in 1398, on taking upon him the governcording to Froissart, most lamentable. Wement of Ireland :-“ Item, That he, the lieucopy the passage, as it is highly characteristic tenant, may have, at sundry times, out of every of the manners of the times. The period thus parish, or every two parishes, in England, a man described is that immediately before the depar. and his wife, at the cost of the king, in the land ture of Richard for Ireland :-"The state gene of Ireland, to inhabit the same land where it is rally of all men in England began to murmur wasted upon the marshes.” (Cotton MS.) This and to rise one against another, and ministering compulsory colonization must have been most of justice was clean stopped up in all courts of odious to the people, who knew that the “wild England; whereof the valiant men and prelates, men" of Ireland, amongst whom they were to who loved rest and peace, and were glad to pay be placed, kept the government in constant their duties, were greatly abashed: for there terror. rose in the realm companies in divers routs, | The seizure of Bolingbroke's patrimony by keeping the fields and highways, so that mer. Richard, after the death of Gaunt, is thus dechants durst not ride abroad to exercise their scribed by Holinshed; and Shakspere has most merchandise for doubt of robbing: and no man accurately followed the description as to its knew to whom to complain to do them right, facts : “The death of this duke gave occasion reason, and justice, which things were right pre- of encreasing more hatred in the people of this judicial and displeasant to the good people of realm toward the king, for he seized into his England, for it was contrary to their accustom- hands all the goods that belonged to him, and able usage; for all people, labourers and mer also received all the rents and revenues of his chants in England, were wont to live in rest | lands, which ought to have descended unto the and peace, and to occupy their merchandise | Duke of Hereford, by lawful inheritance, in repeaceably, and the labourers to labour their voking his letters patent, which he had granted lands quietly; and then it was contrary, for to him before, by virtue whereof he might make when merchants rode from town to town with his attornies general to sue livery for him, of their merchandise, and had either gold or silver any manner of inheritances or possessions that in their purses, it was taken from them; and might from thenceforth fall unto him, and that from other men and labourers out of their his homage might be respited with making reahouses these companions would take wheat, sonable fine: whereby it was evident that the oats, beefs, muttons, porks, and the poor men king meant his utter undoing.” The private durst speak no word. These evil deeds daily malice of Richard against his banished cousinmultiplied so, that great complaints and lamen
"The prevention of noor Bolingbroke, tations were made thereof throughout the
About his marriage"realm, and the good people said, the time is is also detailed in the 'Chronicles.'