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OBSERVATIONS.

The Life and Death of King Richard 111.-This tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this Prince, comprizes, at most, but the last eight years of his time : for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477 ;* and closes with the death of Richard at Bosworth-field, which battle was fought on the 22d of August, 1485. THEOBALD.

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 deserve ed. 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. I agree entirely with Dr. Johnson in thinking that this play from its first exhibition to the present hour has been estimated greatly beyond its merit. From the many allusions to it in books of that age, and the great number of editions it passed through, I suspect it was more often represented and more admired than any of our author's tragedies. Its popularity perhaps in some measure arose from the detestation in which Richard's character was justly held, which must have operated more strongly on those whose grand-fathers might have lived near this time ; and from its being patronized by the Queen on the throne, who probably was not a little pleased at seeing King Henry VII. placed in the only favourable light in which he could have been exhibited on the scene. MALONE.

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 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. Yet the favour with which this tragedy is now received, must also in some measure be imputed to Mr. Cibber's reformation of it, which, generally considered, is judicious.

STEEVENS. • The real length of time in this piece is fourteen years ; (not eight years as Mr. Theobald supposed :) for the second scene commences with the funeral of King Henry VI. who, according to the received account, was murdered on the 21st May, 1471. The imprisonment of Clarence, which is represented

previously in the first scene, did not take place till 1477-8. MALONE.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

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King EDWARD the Fourth. EDWARD, Prince of Wales, afterward: K. Edward V.

80n8 to the king: RICHARD, duke of York, GEORGE, duke of Clarence, RICHARD, duke of Gloster, af- brothers to the king.

terwards King Richard III. A young son of Clarence. HENRY, earl of Richmond, afterwards K. Henry VII. Cardinal BOURCHIER, archbishop of Canterbury. THOMAS ROTHERAM, .archbishop of York,

JOHN MORTON, bishop of Ely. Duke of BUCKINGHAM. Duke of NORFOLK : Earl of SURREY, his son. Earl RIVERS, brother to king Edward's queen. Marquis of DORSET, and Lord GREY, her sons. Earl of OXFORD. Lord HASTINGS. Lord STAN

Lord LOVEL. Sir THOMAS VAUGHAN. Sir RICHARD RATCLIFF. Sir WILLIAM CATESBY. Sir JAMES TYRREL. Sir JAMES BLOUNT. Sir WALTER HERBERT. Sir ROBERT BRAKENBURY, lieutenant of the Tower. CHRISTOPHER URSWICK, a priest. Another Priest. Lord Mayor of London. Sheriff of Wiltshire.

LEY.

ELIZABETH, queen of king Edward IV.
MARGARET, widow of king Henry VI.
Duchess of YORK, mother to king Edward IV. Cla-

rence, and Gloster. Lady ANNE, widow of Edward prince of Wales, son

to king Henry VI. ; afterwards married to the duke

of Gloster. A young daughter of Clarence.

Lords, and other Attendants ; two Gentlemen, a Pur

suivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.

SCENE, England.

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II.

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Gloster.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York ;'
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths ;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments ;
Our stern alarums chang'a to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.2
Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now,-instead of mounting barbed steeds, 3
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I,--that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass ;
1, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty,
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph ;
I, that an curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, 4
Deform’d, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable,

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[1] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in men. ory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross. STEEV.

[2] A measure was strictly speaking, a court dance of a stately turn, though the word is sometimes employed to express dances in general. STEEV.

(3] Barbed steeds i. e. steeds caparisoned in a warlike manner. warde, in his life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, says, “The duke of Here. ford came to the barriers, mounted upon a white courser, barbed with blew and green velvet,” &c. STEEV.

[4] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does another : but nature that puts together things of a dissimiiar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body. WARBURRON.

26 VOL. V.

6

'That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them ;
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity ;
And therefore,-since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.5
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other :
And, if king Edward be as true and just, ?
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up ;
About a prophecy, which says that G
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence comes.

Enter CLARENCE guarded, and BRAKENBURY.
Brother, good day : What means this armed guard,
That waits upon your grace ?

Clar. His majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.

Glo. Upon what cause ?
Clar. Because my name is-George.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours ;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers :
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
That you shall be new christen'd in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?

Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know ; for, I protest,
As yet I do not : But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says a wizard toid him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be ;
And, for my name of George begins with G,

[5] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richa:d proceed. d from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNS.

[6] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play, JOHNS. [7] That is, it Edward keeps his word. JOHNS.

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