صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death:
Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

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 my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die;

I think there be six Richmonds in the field
Five have I slain to-day, instead of him :— 1

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! [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 praised, victorious friends;

The day is ours; the bloody dog is dead

Stan. Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee!

Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty,

From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
Have I plucked off, to grace thy brows withal:
Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.

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?

1 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 at that instant sir William Stanley, with three thousand men, joined Richmond's army, and the royal forces fled with great precipitation.

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 frowned upon their enmity!-
What traitor hears me, and says not,-Amen?
England hath long been mad, and scarred herself;
The brother blindly shed the brother's blood,
The father rashly slaughtered his own son,
The son, compelled, been butcher to the sire;
All this divided York and Lancaster,
Divided, in their dire division.—

O, 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-faced peace,
With smiling plenty, and fair, prosperous days!
Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
That would reduce these bloody days again,
And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
Let them not live to taste this land's increase,
That would with treason wound this fair land's peace!
Now civil wounds are stopped, Peace lives again ;
That she may long live here, God say-Amen.

1 i. e. diminish, or take away.


2 To reduce is to bring back; an obsolete sense of the word.

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"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 its popularity to the detestation in which Richard's character was held at the time that Shakspeare wrote, and to the patronage of queen Elizabeth," who was pleased at seeing king Henry VII. placed in the only favorable 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.

"I most cordially join with Dr. Johnson and Mr. Malone in their ɔpinions; 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 favorable to a judicious performer. It comprehends, indeed, a trait 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.



It is the opinion of Johnson, Steevens, and Malone, that this play was written a short time before the death of queen Elizabeth, which happened on the 24th of March, 1602-3. The eulogium on king James, which is blended with the panegyric of Elizabeth, in the last scene, was evidently a subsequent insertion, after the succession of the Scottish monarch to the throne; for Shakspeare was too well acquainted with courts, to compliment, in the lifetime of queen Elizabeth, her presumptive successor; of whom, history informs us, she was not a little jealous. That the prediction concerning king James was added after the death of the queen, is still more clearly evinced, as Dr. Johnson has remarked, by the awkward manner in which it is connected with the foregoing and subsequent lines.

After having lain by some years, unacted, probably on account of the costliness of its exhibition, it was revived in 1613, under the title of " All is True," with new decorations, and a new Prologue and Epilogue; and this revival took place on the very day, being St. Peter's, on which the Globe Theatre was burnt down. The fire was occasioned, as it is said, by the discharge of some small pieces of ordnance called chambers, in the scene where king Henry is represented as arriving at cardinal Wolsey's gate at Whitehall, one of which, being injudiciously managed, set fire to the thatched roof of the theatre.* Dr. Johnson first suggested that Ben

* The circumstance is recorded by the continuator of Stowe; and in a MS. letter of Thomas Lorkin to sir Thomas Puckering, dated London, this last of June, 1613, it is thus mentioned :-"No longer since than yesterday, while Bourbage his company were acting at the Globe the play of Henry VIII., and there, shooting of certayne chambers in way of triumph, the fire catched," &c.-MS. Harl. 7002.

So in a letter from John Chamberlaine to sir Ralph Winwood, dated London, 8th July, 1613:-"But the burning of the Globe, or Playhouse, on the Bankside, on St. Peter's day, cannot escape you; which fell out by a peale of chambers (that I know not upon what occasion were to be used in the play), the tampin or stopple of one of them lighting in the thatch that covered the house, burned it to the ground in less than two hours, with a dwelling-house adjoining; and it was a great marvaile and faire grace of God that the people had so little harm, having but two narrow doors to get out at.”—Winwood's Memorials, vol. iii. p. 469. The event is also recorded by sir Henry Wotton, in his letter of the 2d of July, 1613, where

Jonson might have supplied the Prologue and Epilogue to the play upon the occasion of its revival. Dr. Farmer, Steevens, and Malone, support his opinion; and even attribute to him some of the passages of the play.

Mr. Gifford has controverted this opinion of Jonson having been the author of the Prologue and Epilogue of this play, and thinks the play which was performed under the title of All is True was a distinct performance, and not Shakspeare's Henry the Eighth. To this it has been answered,—“That the Prologue, which has always accompanied Shakspeare's drama from its first publication in 1623, manifestly and repeatedly alludes to the title of the play which was represented on the 29th of June, 1613, and which we know to have been founded on the history of king Henry the Eighth, affords a strong proof of their identity, as appears by the following passages:—

Such as give

Their money out of hope they may believe,

May here find truth too,' &c.

Gentle readers know

To rank our chosen truth with such a show

As fool and fight is,' &c.

'To make that only true we now intend.'

And though sir Henry Wotton mentions it as a new play, we have Stowe and Lorkin who call it The play of Henry the Eighth.'"

"That the Prologue and Epilogue were not written by Shakspeare, is, I think, clear from internal evidence," says Mr. Boswell; but it does not follow that they were the production of Ben Jonson's pen. That gentleman has clearly shown that there was no intention of covertly sneering at Shakspeare's other works in this Prologue; but that this play is opposed to a rude kind of farcical representation on the same subject by Samuel Rowley. This play, or interlude, which was printed in 1605, is probably referred to in the following entry on the books of the Stationers' Company :-"Nathaniel Butter, Feb. 12, 1604, That he get good allowance for the Enterlude of King Henry VIII. before he begin to print it; and with the warden's hand to yt, he is to have the same for his copy." Stowe has observed that "Robert Greene had written somewhat on the same story;" but there is no evidence that it was in a dramatic form: it may have been something historical, and not by the dramatic poet of that name; as Stowe cites the authority of Robert Greene, with Robert Brun, Fabian, &c., in other places of his Chronicle.

This historical drama comprises a period of twelve years, commencing in the twelfth year of king Henry VIII. (1521), and ending with the

he says, it was at "a new play, acted by the king's players at the Bank's Side, called All is True, representing some principal pieces of the reign of Henry the Eighth."-Reliquia Wotton, p. 425, Ed. 2d.

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