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poses that it was written in 1593, but he does not produce a single fact or argument to establish his position; nor perhaps could any be adduced beyond the circumstance, that having assigned the “Comedy of Errors” to 1592, and “ Love's Labour's Lost” to 1594, he had left an interval between those years in which he could place not only “ Richard II.” but * Richard III.” In fact, we can arrive at no nearer approximation; although Chalıners, in his “Supplemental Apology,” contended that a note of time was to be found in the allusions in the first and second Acts to the disturbances in Ireland. It is quite certain that the rebellion in that country was renewed in 1594, and proclaimed in 1595: but it is far from clear that any reference to it was intended by Shakespeare. Where the matter is so extremely doubtful, we shall not attempt to fix on any particular year. If any argument, one way or the other, could be founded upon the publication of Daniel's "Civil Wars,” in 1595, it would show that that poet had made alterations in subsequent editions of his poem, in order, perhaps, to fall in more with the popular notions regarding the history of the time, as produced by the success of the play of our great dramatist. Meres mentions “Richard the 2" in 1598.
Respecting the “new additions" of "the deposing of King Richard” we have some evidence, the existence of which was not known in the time of Malone, who conjectured that this scene had originally formed part of Shakespeare's play, and was “suppressed in the printed copy of 1597, from the fear of offending Elizabeth,” and not published, with the rest, until 16082. Such may have been the case, but we now know that there were two separate plays upon the events of the reign of Richard II., and the deposition seems to have formed a portion of both. On the 30th Aprl, 1611, Dr. Simon Forman saw " Richard 2,” as he expressly calls it, at the Globe Theatre, for which Shakespeare was a writer, at which he had been an actor, and in the receipts of which he was interested. In his original Diary, (MS. Ashm. 208,) preserved in the Bodleian Library, Forman inserts the following account of, and observations upon, the plot of the “Richard II.," hé having been present at the representation :
“Remember therein how Jack Straw, by his overmuch boldness, not being politic, nor suspecting any thing, was suddenly, at Smithfield Bars, stabbed by Walworth, the
2 There might be many reasons why the exhibition of the deposing of Richard II. would be objectionable to Elizabeth, especially after the insurrection of Lords Essex and Southampton. Thorpe's Custumale Roffense, p. 89, contains an account of an interview between Lambarde (when he presented his pandect of the records of the Tower) and Elizabeth, shortly subsequent to that event, in which she observed, “ I am Richard the Second, know you not that ?” Lambarde replied, “ Such a wicked imagination was determined and attempted by a most unkind gentleman, the most adorned creature that ever your Majestie made.” “He (said the Queen) that will forgett God will alsoe forgett his benefactors." The publication of the edition of 1608, without the mention on the title-page of the Parliament Scene, and the deposing of King Richard," might have been contemplated about this date.
Mayor of London; and so he and his whole army was overthrown. Therefore, in such case, or the like, never admit any party without a bar between, for a man cannot be too wise, nor keep himself too safe. 'Also, remember how the Duke of Glouster, the Earl of Arundel, Oxford, and others, crossing the King in his humour about the Duke of Erland (Ireland) and Bushy, were glad to fly and raise a host of men: and being in his castle, how the Duke of Erland came by night to betray him, with 300 men; but, having privy warning thereof, kept his gates fast, and would not suffer the enemy to enter, which went back again with a fly in his ear, and after was slain by the Earl of Arundel in the battle. Remember, also, when the Duke (i. e. of Gloucester) and Arundel came to London with their army, King Richard came forth to them, and met them, and gave them fair words, and promised them pardon, and that all should be well, if they would discharge their army; upon whose promises and fair speeches they did it: and after, the King bid them all to a banquet, and so betrayed them, and cut off their heads, &c., because they had not his pardon under his hand and seal before, but his word. Remember therein, also, how the Duke of Lancaster privily contrived all villainy to set them all together by the ears, and to make the nobility to envy the King, and mislike him and his government; by which means he made bis own son king, which was Henry Bolingbroke. Remember, also, how the Duke of Lancaster asked a wise man whether himself should ever be king; and he told him no, but his son should be a king: and when he had told him, he hanged him up for his labour, because he should not bruit abroad, or speak thereof to others. This was a policy in the Commonwealth's opinion, but I say it was a villain's part, and a Judas' kiss, to hang the man for telling him the truth. Beware by this example of noblemen and their fair words, and say little to them, lest they do the like to thee for thy good will."
The quotation was first published in “New Particulars regarding Shakespeare and his Works,” 8vo, 1836, where it was suggested that this “ Richard II.” might be the play which Sir Gilly Merrick and others are known to have procured to be acted the afternoon before the insurrection headed by the Earls of Essex and Southampton, in 1601; (Bacon's Works by Mallet, iv. 320) but in a letter, published in a note to the same tract, Mr. Amyot argued, that "the deposing of King Richard " probably formed no 'part of the play Forman saw, and that it might actually be another, and å lost play by Shakespeare, intended as a “ first part” to his extant drama on the later portion of the reign of that monarch. It is also true that Forman says nothing of the formal deposition of Richard II. ; but he tells us that in the course of the drama the Duke of Lancaster “made his own son King,” and he could not do so without something like a deposition exhibited or narrated. It is also to be observed, that if Forman's account be at all correct, Shakespeare could never have exhibited the characters of the King and of Gaunt so inconsistently in two parts of the same play. The Richard and
the Gaunt of Forman, with their treachery and cruelty, are totally unlike the Pichard and Gaunt of Shakespeare. For these reasons we may, perhaps, arrive at the conclusion, that it was a distinct drama, and not by Shakespeare. We may presume, also, that it was the very piece which Sir Gilly Merrick procured to be represented, and for the performance of which, according to a passage in the arraignment of Cuffe and Merrick, the latter paid forty shillings additional, because it was an old play, and not likely to attract an audience.
The very description of the plot given by Forman reads as if it were an old play, with the usual quantity of blood and treachery. How it caine to be popular enongh, in 1611, to be performed at the Globe must be matter of mere speculation : perhaps the revival of it by the party of the Earls of Essex and Southampton had recalled public attention to it, and improvements might have been made which would render it a favourite in 1611, though it had been neglected in 1601.
Out of these improvements, and out of this renewed popularity, may, possibly, have grown the “new additions," which were first printed with the impression of Shakespeare's “ Richard II.” in 16083, and which solely relate to the deposing of the King. On the other hand, if these “ new additions," as they were termed in 1608, were only a suppressed part of the original play, there seems no sufficient ground for concluding that it was not Shakespeare's drama which was acted at the instance of Sir Gilly Merrick in 1601. If it were written in 1593, as Malone imagined, or even in 1596, according to the speculation of Chalmers, it might be called an old play in 1601, considering the rapidity with which dramas were often written and brought out at the period of which we are speaking. If neither Shakespeare's play, nor that described by Forman, were the pieces selected by Sir Gilly Merrick, there must have been three distinct plays, in the possession of the company acting at the Globe, upon the events of the reign of Richard II.
For the incidents of this “most admirable of all Shakespeare's purely historical plays," as Coleridge calls it, (Lit. Rem. ii. 164,) our great poet appears to have gone no farther than linshed, who was himself indebted to Hall and Fabian. However, Shakespeare has nowhere felt himself bound to adhere to chronology when it better answered his purpose to desert it. Thus, the Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., is spoken of in Act v. sc. 3, as frequenting taverns and stews, when he was in fact only twelve years old. Marston, in á
3 It may perhaps be inferred that there was an intention to publish the “ history," with these “new additions,” in 1603 : at all events, in that year the right in “ Richard II.” Richard III." and "Henry IV.” part i. was transferred to Matthew Law, in whose name the plays came out when the next editions of them appeared. The entry relating to them in the books of the Stationers' Company runs thus:
"27 June 1603 “Matth. Lawe) in full Courte, iij Enterludes or playes. The
first of Richard 3d The sec Richard d. The third of Henry the 4, the first pte. all Kings."
short address before his “ Wonder of Women," 1606, aiming a blow at Ben Jonson, puts the duty of a dramatić author in this respect upon its true footing, when he says, “I have not laboured to tie inyself to relate anything as a historian, but to enlarge everything as a poet;" and what we have just referred to in this play is exactly one of those anachronisms which, in the words of Schlegel, Shakespeare committed "purposely and most deliberately." His design, of course, was in this instance to link together “Richard IÍ.” and the first part of " Henry IV.”
of the four quarto editions of “Richard II.” the most valuable, for its readings and general accuracy beyond all dispute, is the impression of 1597. The other three quartos were, piore or less, printed from it, and the folio of 1623 seems to have taken the latest, that of 1615, as the foundation of its text; but, from a few words found only in the folio, it may seem that the player-editors referred also to some extrinsic authority. It is quite certain, however, that the folio copied obvious and indisputable blunders from the quarto of 1615. There are no fewer than eight places where the folio omits passages inserted in the quartos, in one instance to the destruction of the continuity of the sense, and in most to the detriment of the play. Hence not only the expediency, but the absolute necessity of referring to the quarto copies, from which we have restore i all the missing lines, and have distinguished them by placing them between brackets.
4 "Ich unternehme darzuthun, dass Shakespeare's Anachronismen mehrentheils geflissentlich und mit grossem Bedacht angebracht sind.”—Ueber dramatische Kunst and Litteratur, vol. ii. 43.
KING RICHARD THE SECOND.
QUEEN TO King RICHARD.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Gardeners, Keeper,
Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.