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King Richard the Second.
John of Gaunt ; afterwards King Henry IV.
creatures to king Richard,
ord Willoughby. Lord Fitzwater.
messenger, groom, and other attendants. SCENE, dispersedly, in England and Wales.
i Duke of Aumerle, ) Aumerle, or Aumale, is the French for what we now call Albemarle, which is a town in Normandy. The old historians generally use the French title. STEEVENS.
2 Earl Berkley.] It ought to be Lord Berkley. There was no Earl Berkley till some ages after. STEEVENS. 3 Lord Rors.] Now Ipelt Roos, one of the duke of Rutland's titles.
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. A Room in the Palace. Enter king RICHARD, attended; John of Gaunt, and
other nobles, with him. K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band?,
Brought The life and dealb of King Richard II.) But this history comprises little more than the two last years of this prince. The action of the drama begins with Bolingbroke's appealing the duke of Norfolk, on an accusation of high treason, which fell out in the year 1398 ; and it closes with the murder of king Richard at Pomfret-castle towards the end of the year 1400, or the beginning of the ensuing year. THEOBALD.
It is evident from a paffage in Camden's Anrals, that there was an old play on the subject of Richard the Second ; but I know not in what language. Sir Gillie Merick, who was concerned in the hare-brained business of the earl of Effex, and was hanged for it, with the ingenious Cufte, in 1601, is accused, amongst other things, “ quod exoletam tragædiam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Ricardi Secundi in publico theatro coram conjuratis datâ pecuniâ agi curasiet.”
I have since met with a passage in my lord Bacon, which proves this play to have been in English. It is in the arraignments of Cuffe and Merick, vol. iv. p. 412, of Mallet's edition : « The afternoon before the rebellion, Merick, with a great company of others, that afterwards were all in the action, had procured to be played before them the play of depofing king Richard ebe Second ; -when it was told him by one of the players, that the play was old, and they should have loss in playing it, because few would come to it, there was forty shillings extraordinary given to play it, and so thereupon played it was.”
de may be worth enquiry, whether some of the rbyming parts of the present play, which Mr. Pope thought of a different hand,"might not be borrowed from the old one. Certainly however, the general tendency of it must have been very different ; fince, as Dr. Johnson observes,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son ;
K. Rich. Tell me moreover, hast thou sounded him,
Gaunt. As near as I could fift him on that argument,-
there are some expressions in this of Shakspeare, which strongly incul. eate the doctrine of indefeasible right. FARMER.
It is probable, I think, that the play which Sir Gilly Merick procured to be represented, bore the title of HENRY IV. and not of Ri. CHARD II.
Camden calls it - " exoletam tragediam de tragicâ abdicatione regis Richardi secundi; and lord Bacon (in his account of The Effect of ibal ubicb passed at the arraignment of Merick and others) 1ays, “That, the afternoon before the rebellion, Merick had procured to be played before them, the play of deposing King Richard the Second." But in a more particular account of the proceeding against Merick, which is printed in the State Trials, vol. vii. p. 60, the matter is stated thus : that “ the story of Henry IV. being set forth in a play, and in that play there being set forth the killing of the king upon a ftage; the Friday before, Sir Gilly Merick and some others of the earl's train hava ing an humour to see a play, they must needs have the play of HENRY IV. The players told them, that was stale; they should get nothing by playing that; but no play else would serve: and Sir Gilly Merick gives forty thillings to Pbilips the player to play this, befides whatsoever he could get."
Auguftine Pbilippes was one of the patentees of the Globe playhouse with Sbakspeare in 1603; but the play here defcribed was certainly not Sbakspeare's HENRY IV. as that commences above a year after the death of Richard. TYRWHITT.
This play of Shakspeare was first entered at Stationers' Hall by Ana drew Wife, Aug. 29, 1597. STEEVENS.
It was written, I imagine, in the same year. MALONE.
2 — ihy oarb and band,] When these publick challenges were ac-
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser, and the accused, freely speak :
[Exeunt some Attendants, High-ftomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In
rage deaf as the sea, hafty as fire. Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and Norfolk.
Boling. Many years of happy days befal My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness ; Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!
K. Rich. We thank you both : yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come ; Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.Cousin of Hereford, what doft thou object Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?
Boling. First, (heaven be the record to my speech!)
Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant;
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
Boling: Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
4 — inhabitable] That is, not babirable, uninhabitable. JOHNSON. Ben Jonson uses the word in the same sense in his Catiline :
“And pour'd on some inbabitable place." STEEVENS. So also Braithwaite, in his Survey of Histories, 1614: “ Others, in imitation of some valiant knights, have frequented delarts and inkabited provinces.” MALONE.