« AnteriorContinuar »
Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out,
And keep it safe for our remembrance :
Return the precedent to these lords again;
That, having our fair order written down,
Both they and we, perusing o'er these notes,
May know wherefore we took the sacrament,
And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.
Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
A voluntary zeal, and unurg'd faith,
To your proceedings; yet, believe me, prince,
I am not glad that such a sore of time
Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt,
And heal the inveterate canker of one wound,
By making many: Oh! it grieves my soul,
That I must draw this metal from my side
To be a widow-maker; Oh! and there,
Where honourable rescue and defence,
Cries out upon the name of Salisbury:
But such is the infection of the time,
That, for the health and physic of our right,
We cannot deal but with the very hand
Of stern injustice and confused wrong.-
And is't not pity, O my grieved friends!
That we, the sons and children of this isle,
Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
Wherein we step after a stranger march
Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up
Her enemies' ranks, (I must withdraw
Upon the spot of this enforced cause,)
To grace the gentry of a land remote,
And follow unacquainted colours here?
What, here ?-O nation, that thou coulds't re- Vive le roy! as I have bank'd their towns?
What men provided, what munition sent,
To underprop this action is't not 1,
That undergo this charge? who else but I,
And such as to my claim are liable,
Sweat in this business, and maiutain this war?
Have I not heard these islanders shout out,
Have I not here the best cards for the game,
To win this easy match play'd for a crown?
And shall I now give o'er the yielded set!
No, on my soul, it never shall be said.
Pand. You look but on the outside of this
That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about, Would bear thee from the knowledge of thy. self,
Into the purse of rich prosperity,
As Lewis himself :-so, nobles, shall you all,
That kuit your sinews to the strength of mine.
To give us warrant from the hand of heaven
And on our actions set the name of right,
With holy breath.
Enter PANDULPH, attended. And even there, methinks, an angel spake: Look, where the holy legate comes apace,
Pand. Hail, noble prince of France!
The next is this,-king John hath reconcil'd
Himself to Rome; his spirit is come in,
That so stood out against the holy church,
The great metropolis and see of Rome :
Therefore thy threat'ning colours now wind up,
And tame the savage spirit of wild war;
That, like a lion foster'd up at hand,
It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmtul than in show.
Lew. Your grace shall pardon me, I will not
And grapple thee unto a pagan shore;
Where these two Christian armies might com
The blood of malice in a vein of league,
And not to spend it so unneighbourly!
Lew. A noble temper dost thou show in this;
And great affections, wrestling in thy bosom,
Do make an earthquake of nobility.
Oh! what a noble combat hast thou fought,
Between compulsion, and a brave respect! •
Let me wipe off this honourable dew,
That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks;
My heart hath melted at a lady's tears,
Being an ordinary inundation!
But this effusion of such manly drops,
This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul,
Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amaz'd
Than I had seen the vaulty top of heaven
Figur'd quite o'er with burning meteors.
Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury,
And with a great heart heave away this storm.
Commend these waters to those baby eyes,
That never saw the giant world enrag'd;
Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
Come, come for thou shalt thrust thy hand as The youth says well:-Now hear our English
I come, to learn how you have dealt for him;
And, as you answer, I do know the scope
And warrant limited unto my tongue.
Pand. The Dauphin is too wilful-opposite,
And will not temporize with my entreaties;
He flatly says, he'll not lay down his arins.
Bast. By all the blood that ever fury breath'd,
I am too high-born to be propertied,⚫
To be a secondary at control,
Or useful serving-man, and instrument,
To any sovereign state throughout the world.
Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars,
Between this chastis'd kingdom and myself,
And brought in matter that should should feed
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.
You taught me how to know the face of right,
Acquainted me with interest to this land,
Yea, thrust this enterprize into my heart;
And come you now to tell me, John bath made
His peace with Rome? What is that peace to
I, by the honour of my marriage-bed,
After young Arthur, claim this land for mine;
And, how it is half-conquer'd, must I back,
Because that John hath made his peace with
Am I Roine's slave? What penny bath Rome borne,
Lew. Outside or inside, I will not return
Till my attempt so much be glorified
Before I drew this gallant head of war,
As to my ample hope was promised
And cull'd these fiery spirits from the world,
To outlook conquest, aud to win renown
Even in the jaws of danger and of death.-
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us!
Enter the BASTARD attended.
Bast. According to the fair play of the
Let me have audience; I am sent to speak:—
My holy lord of Milan, from the king
For thus his royalty doth speak in me.
He is prepar'd; and reason too, he should:
This apish and unmannerly approach,
This harness'd masque, aud unadvised revel,
This unbair'd sauciness, and boyish troops,
The king doth smile at; and is well prepar'd
To whip this dwarfish war, these piginy arms,
From out the circle of his territories.
+ Leap over the hatch.
That hand, which had the strength, even at your | SCENE IV.-The same.-Another part of the
To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch;⚫
To dive, like buckets, in concealed wells;
To crouch in litter of your stable planks;
To lie, like pawns, lock'd up in chests
To bug with swine; to seek sweet safety out
In vaults and prisous; and to thrill, and shake,
Even at the crying of your nation's crow, t
Thinking his voice an armed Englishman ;-
Shall that victorious hand be feebled here,
That in your chambers gave you chastisement?
No: Know, the gallant monarch is in arms;
And like an eagle o'er his aeric towers,
To souse annoyance that comes near his nest.-
And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,
You bloody Neros, ripping up the womb
Of your dear mother England, blush for shame :
For your own ladies, and pale visag'd maids,
Like Amazons, come tripping after drums;
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change,
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts
To fierce and bloody inclination.
Lew. There end thy brave, and turn
face in peace;
We grant thou canst outscold us: fare
We hold our time too precious to be spent
With such a brabbler.
Pand. Give me leave to speak.
Bast. No, I will speak.
Lew. We will attend to neither :
Strike up the drums; and let the tongue of war
Plead for our interest, and our being here.
Bast. Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will
Pem. It is the count Melun.
Sal. Wounded to death.
Mel. Fly, noble English, you are bought and
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion, [sold;
And welcome home again discarded faith.
Seek out king John, and fall before his feet;
For, if the French be lords of this loud day,
He means to recompense the pains you take,
By cutting off your heads: Thus hath he sworn,
And I with him, and many more with me,
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's-Bury;
Even on that altar, where we swore to you
Dear amity and everlasting love.
Sal. May this be possible? may this be true ?
Mel. Have I not hideous death within my
Retaining but a quantity of life;
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax
Resolved from his figure 'gainst the fire ? +
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit ?
Why should I then be false; since it is true
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of your's
Behold another day break in the east:
But even this night,-whose black contagious
Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,-
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire;
Paying the fine of rated treachery,
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your king;
The love of him,-and this respect besides,
For that my grandsire was an Englishman,-
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the field;
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
In peace and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.
Sal. We do believe thee,-Aud beshrew my
of this most fair occasion, by the which
But I do love the favour and the form
We will untread the steps of damned flight;
And like a bated and retired flood,
Leaving our rankness and irregular course,
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faul- Stoop low within those bounds we have' o'er-
And calmly run on in obedience,
Even to our ocean, to our great king John.-
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
For I do see the cruel pangs of death [flight;
Right in thine eye.-Away, my friends! New
And happy newness, that intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading of MELUN.
SCENE V.-The same.-The French Camp.
And so shall you, being beaten: Do but start
And echo with the clamour of thy drum,
And even at hand a drum is ready brac'd,
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine;
Sound but another, and another shall
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear,
And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder:
(Not trusting to this halting legate here,
Whom he bath us'd rather for sport than need,)
Is warlike John; and in his forehead sits
A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day
To feast upon whole thousands of the French.
Lew. Strike up our drums, to find this dau-
Bast. And thou shalt and it, Dauphin, do not
SCENE III.-The same.-A Field of Battle.
Alarums. Enter King JoHN and HUBERT.
K. John. How goes the day with us? O tell
Hub. Badly, I fear: How fares your
K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me
Lies heavy ou me; O my heart is sick I
Desires your majesty to leave the field;
And send him word by me, which way you go.
K. John. Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the
Mess. Be of good comfort; for the great
The crowing of a cock.
Leap over the hatch.
That was expected by the Dauphin here,
Are wreck'd three nights ago on Godwin sands.
This news was brought to Richard but even now;
The French fight coldly, and retire themselves.
K. John, Ah me! this tyrant fever burns me up,
And will not let ine welcome this good news.
Set on toward Swinstead: to my litter straight;
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint.
Enter SALISBURY, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and
Sal. I did not think the king so stored with
Pem. Up once again; put spirit in the French;
If they miscarry, we miscarry too. *
Sal. That misbegotton devil, Faulconbridge,
In spite of spite, alone upholds the day.
Pem. They say, king John, sore sick, hath
left the field.
Enter MELUN wounded, and led by Soldiers.
Mel. Lead me to the revolts of England here.
Sal. When we were happy, we had other
Enter LEWIS and his Train.
Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was
loath to set;
not amongst the revolters: He
maintained his loyalty unshaken, during the lowest
fortune of the king.Hume.
An allusion to the images made by witches.
But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush,
When the English measur'd backward their own
In faint retire: O bravely came we off, [ground,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tatter'd colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. Where is my prince the Dauphin?
Lew. Here:-What news?
Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English SCENE VII.-The Orchard of Swinsteadlords,
By his persuasion, are again fallen off: [long,
And your supply, which you have wish'd so
Are cast away, and sunk, on Godwin sands.
Lew. Ah! foul shrewd news!-Beshrew thy
I did not think to be so sad to-night,
As this hath made me.-Who was he, that said
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers?
Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lew. Well; keep good quarter and good care
The day shall not be up so soon as I, [to-night;
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow.
SCENE VI.-An open Place in the Neigh bourhood of Swinstead-Abbey.
Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty
And tempt us not to bear above our power !——
I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide,
These Lincoln washes have devoured them;•
Myself, well-mounted, hardly have escap'd.
Away, before! conduct me to the king;
I doubt, he will be dead, or ere I come.
Bast. Who thou wilt: an if thou please, Thou may'st befriend me so much, as to think 1 come one way of the Plantagenets.
Hub. Unkind remembrance! thou, and
Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon
That any accent, breaking from thy tongue,
Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine
I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
Hub. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk :
I left him almost speechless, and broke out
To acquaint you with this evil: that you might
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Than if you had at leisure known of this.
Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to
Enter Prince HENRY, SALISBURY, and BIGOT. P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood
I In their continuance, will not feel themselves.
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Leaves them insensible; and his siege is now
Against the mind, the which he pricks and
Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks, and peradventure, may recover.
Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his
Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all
And brought prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon'd them,
And they are all about his majesty.
Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain.
(Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-
Foretell the ending of mortality.
Doth, by the idle comments that it makes,
Pem. His highness yet doth speak; and holds belief,
That, being brought into the open air,
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.
It would allay the burning quality
P. Hen. Let him he brought into the orchard
Doth he still rage?
Pem. He is more patient,
Than when you left him; even now he sung.
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce ex-
Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what
Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night, To find you out.
K. John. Aye, marry, now my soul hath el-
Bast. Brief, then; and what's the news?
Hub. O my sweet Sir, news fitting to the
It would not out at windows, nor at doors,
There is so hot a summer in my bosom,
That all my bowels crumble up to dust:
Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen
Upon a parchment; and against this fire
Do I shrink up.
P. Hen. How fares your majesty ?
K. John. Poison'd,-ill-fare;-dead, forsook,
With many legions of strange fantasies;
Which, in their throng and press to that last
Confound themselves. 'Tis strange, that death
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death;
His soul and body to their lasting rest.
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are
born To set a form upon that indigest Which he hath left so shapeless and so wude. Re-enter BIGOT and Attendants, who bring in King JOHN in a Chair.
Are turned to one thread, one little hair:
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by,
Which holds but till thy news be uttered:
And then all this thou see'st, is but a clod,
And module of confounded royalty.
Bast. The Dauphin is preparing hitherward;
Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer
For, in a night, the best part of my power,
As I upon advantage did remove,
Were, in the washes, all unwarily,
Devoured by the unexpected flood.
The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest,
Who half an hour since came from the Dau-
Sal. It seems you know not then so much
And brings from him such offers of our peace
As we with honour and respect may take,
With purpose presently to leave this war.
Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence.
Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already;
For many carriages he hath despatch'd
To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel
To the disposing of the cardinal :
[The King dies. Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead
My liege! my lord !-But now a king,-now
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords,
If you think meet, this afternoon will post
To consummate this business happily.
Bast. Let it be so ;-And you, my noble
P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so
What surety of the world, what hope, what
With other princes that may best be spar'd,
Shall wait upon your father's funeral.
P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be in
For so he will'd it.
Bast. Thither shall it then,
And happily may your sweet self put on
The lineal state and glory of the land!
To whom, with all submission, on my knee,
I do bequeath my faithful services
And true subjection everlastingly.
Sal. And the like tender of our love we
To rest without a spot for evermore.
P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give
When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Bast. Art thou gone so? 1 do but stay be-
To do the office for thee of revenge;
And then my soul shall wait on
As it on earth hath been thy servant still.-—
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right
Where be your powers? Show now your mended
And instantly return with me again,
To push destruction and perpetual shame
Out of the weak-door of our fainting land:
Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be
The Dauphin rages at our very heels.
And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Bast. O let us pay the time but needful
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.—
This England never did, (nor never shall,)
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them: Nought shall make
If England to itself do rest but true.
A stone coffin, containing the body of King Jobu, was discovered in Worcester cathedral, July 17, 1797.
LITERARY AND HISTORICAL NOTICE.
THE action of this drama comprises little more than the two last years of King Richard's reign. It commences with Bolinbroke's accusation of treason against Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, in 1898, and terminates with the murder of Richard at Pomfret Castle, about the year 1400. Shakspeare wrote the play in 1397, deriving his mar terials chiefly from Hollinshed's Chronicle, many passages of which, he has almost literally embodied with his own. The speech of the Bishop of Carlisle, in defence of King Richard's unalienable right, and immunity from human jurisdiction, is particularly copied from that old writer. The historical points of the tragedy are consequently accurate; for notwithstanding the Lancasterian prejudices of those who have recorded ha reign, Richard was a weak prince, and unfit for government. He had capacity enough, but no solid judgment, nor good education: he was violent in temper, profuse in expence, fond of idle show, devoted to favourites, and addicted to low society. Yet his punishment outbalanced his offence. Dr. Johnson has remarked of this play, that it cannot be said " much to affect the passions, or enlarge the understanding ;” but it is impossible to contemplate the abject degradation of the unfortunate monarch, as drawn by the poet, without questioning the truth and judgment of this critical rescript. In dignity of thought and fertility of expression, it is certainly superior to many of Shakspeare's productions, however it may yield to them in attractive incident of highly-wrought catastrophe. Yet where can we find a combination of circumstances more truly pathetic, than those with which Shakspeare has surrounded the short career of Richard, from his landing in Wales, to his murder at Pomfret. If the bitterness of his sorrow when deserted by his friends, and bearded by his harone--if the lowliness and patience of his carriage, whilst exposed to the insults of the rabble, and greeted with the mockery of homage by his aspiring rival---if the majesty of his sentiments, soaring above conscious belplessness or constitutional imbecility---and if his heroic resistance when despatched by his savage assailants---are not calculated to "affect the passions, or enlarge the understanding," there is no dramatic portraiture that is capable of doing so.
KING RICHARD THE SECOND.
EDMUND OF LANGLEY, Duke of
JOHN OF GAUNT, Duke of Lan-
EARL OF SALISBURY.
EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND.
HENRY PERCY, his Son.
BISHOP OF CARLISLE
ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER.
LORD MARSHAL; and another Lord.
SIR PIERCE of Exton.
SIR STEPHEN SCROOP.
Captain of a Band of Welshmen.
HENRY, surnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of He-
reford, Son to John of Gaunt; after-
wards King Henry IV.
DUKE OF AUMERLE, Son to the Duke of York.
MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk.
DUKE OF SURREY.
Creatures to King Richard.
SCENE I-London.-A Room in the
QUEEN to King Richard.
DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.
DUCHESS OF YORK.
LADY attending on the Queen.
SCENE, dispersedly in England, and Wales.
Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN of
GAUNT, and other Nobles, with him.
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time houour'd
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, two Gerdeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.
Hast thon, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son;
Here to make good the boisterous late ap
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mow-