Page images

Enter STANLEY. K. Rich. My mind is chang'd. Stanley, what news

with you? Stan. None good, my liege, to please you with the

Nor none so bad, but well may be reported.

K. Rich. Heyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad !
What need'st thou run so many miles about,
When thou may'st tell thy tale the nearest way?
Once more, what news?

Richmond is on the seas.
K. Rich. There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate,8 what doth he there?

Stan. I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
K. Rich. Well, as you guess?

Stan. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton, He makes for England, here to claim the crown.

K. Rich. Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd ?
Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd ?
What heir of York' is there alive, but we?
And who is England's king, but great York's heir?
Then, tell me, what makes he upon the seas?

Stan. Unless for thát, my liege, I cannot guess.
K. Rich. Unless for that he comes to be your liege,

8 White-liver'd runagate,] This epithet, descriptive of cowar. dice, is not peculiar to Shakspeare. Stephen Gosson in his School of Abuse, 1579, speaking of the Helots, says: “ Leave those precepts to the white-livered Hylotes.”

Steevens. 9 What heir of York -] i. e. What son of Richard Duke of York? Ritson.

Richard asks this question in the plenitude of power, and no one dares to answer him. But they whom he addresses, had they not been intimidated, might have told him, that there was a male heir of the house of York alive, who had a better claim to the throne than he; Edward Earl of Warwick, the only son of the Usurper's elder brother, George Duke of Clarence; and Eliza. beth, the eldest daughter of Edward IV, and all her sisters, had a better title than either of them. Malone.

The issue of King Edward had been pronounced illegitimate, the Duke of Clarence attainted of high treason,-and the usurper declared “the undoubted heir of Richard duke of York,” -_by act of parliament: so that, as far as such a proceeding can alter the constitution, and legalize usurpation and murder, he is perfectly cor. xect and unanswerable. Ritson.

You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.

Stan. No, mighty liege ;therefore mistrust me not.

K. Rich. Where is thy power then, to beat him back? Where be thy tenants, and thy followers? Are they not now upon the western shore, Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?

Stan. No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.

K. Rich. Cold friends to me: What do they in the north, When they should serve their sovereign in the west?

Stan. They have not been commanded, mighty king:
Pleaseth your majesty to give me leave,
I’il muster up my friends; and meet your grace,
Where, and what time your majesty shall please.'
K. Rich. Ay, ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with

I will not trust you, sir.2

Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful;
I never was, nor never will be false.
K. Rich. Well, go, muster men. But, hear you, leave

Your son, George Stanley: look your heart be firm,
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
Stan. So deal with him, as I prove true to you.

[Exit Sran.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate,
Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
With many more confederates, are in arms.

Enter another Messenger. 2 Mess. In Kent, my liege, the Guildfords are in arms; And every hour more competitors3 ,

1 No, mighty liege;] So, the quarto. Folio-No, mny good lord.

Malone. 2 I will not trust you, sir.] So, the quarto. Folio-But I'll not trust thee. Malone.

3 - more competitors -- ] That is, more opponents. Johnson.

Competitors do not here mean opponents, but associates. See a note on this subject in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, where Sir Proteus, speaking of Valentine, says:

Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.

Enter another Messenger. 3 M288. My lord, the army of great BuckinghamK. Rich. Out on ye, owls! nothing but songs of death?

[He strikes him. There, take thou that, till thou bring better news.

3 M€88. The news I have“ to tell your majesty,
Is that, by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham's army is dispers’d and scatter'd;
And he himself wander'd away alone,
No man knows whither.
K. Kich.

0, I cry you mercy : There is my pursc, to cure that blow of thine. Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd Reward to him that brings the traitor in? 3 Mess. Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.

Enter cnother Messenger. 4 Aless. Sir Thoinas Lovel, and lord marquis Dorset, 'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms. But this good comfort bring I to your highness, The Bretagne navy is dispers’d by tempest: Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks, If they were bis assistants, yea, or no; Who answer'd him, they came from Buckingham Upon his party: he, mistrusting them, Blois'd sail, and made his course again for Bretagne.5

« Myself in council his competitor." That is, his associate. M. Mason.

See Vol. II, p. 183, n. 4. Steevens.
4 The news I have &c.] So, the folio. The quarto reads:

“ Your grace mistakes; the news I bring is good;

“My news is,” &c. Malone. 5 a nd made his course again for Bretagne.] Henry Tudor Earl of Richmond, the eldest son of Edmund of Hadham Earl of Richmond, (who was half-brother to King Henry VI) by Margaret, the only daughter of John the first Duke of Somer. set, who was grandson to John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, was carried by his uncle Jasper Earl of Pembroke immediately after the battle of Tewksbury into Britany, where he was kept in a kind of honourable custody by the Duke of Bretagne, and where he remained till the year 1484, when he made his escape and fled for protection to the French court. Being considered at that

K. Rich. March on, march on, since we are up in arms; If not to fight with foreign enemies, Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

Enter CatesBY. Cates. My liege, the duke of Buckingham is taken, That is the best news; That the earl of Richmond Is with a mighty power landed at Milford, 6 Is colder news, but yet they must be told,? K. Rich. Away towards Salisbury; while we reason

here, 8 A royal battle might be won and lost:Some one take order, Buckingham be brought To Salisbury ;-the rest march on with me. [Exeunt.

time as nearest in blood to King Henry VI, all the Lancastrian party looked up to him even in the life-time of King Edward IV, who was extremely jealous of him; and after Richard usurped the throne, they with more confidence supported Richmond's claim. The claim of Henry Duke of Buckingham was in some respects inferior to that of Richmond; for he was descended by his mother from Edmund the second Duke of Somerset, the younger brother of Duke John; by his father from Thomas Duke of Gloster, the younger brother of John of Gaunt : but whatever priority the Earl of Richmond might claim by his mother, he could not plead any title through his father, who in fact had no Lancastrian blood whatsoever: nor was his maternal title of the purest kind, for John the first Earl of Somerset was an illegitimate son of John of Gaunt. Malone.

6 landed at Milford,] The Earl of Richmond embarked with about 2000 men at Harfleur in Normandy, August 1st, 1485, and landed at Milford Haven on the 7th. He directed his course to Wales, hoping the Welsh would receive him cordially, as their countryman, he having been born at Pembroke, and his grandfather being Owen Tudor, who married Katharine of France, the widow of King Henry V. Malone.

they must be told.] This was the language of Sbakspeare's time, when the word news was often considered as plural. See note on Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, sc. i, Vol. XIII. All the modern editors, however, read-it must be told.

Malone. 8 — while we reason here,] i. e. while we talk bere. See Vol: IV, p. 356, n. 8. Malone. 9 A royal battle might be won and lost:) So, in Macbeth:

When the battle 's lost and won.This antithetical phrase is found in several of our ancient wri: . ters. Steevens.

A Room in Lord Stanley's House.
Enter STANLEY and Sir Christopher URSWICK.

Stan. Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:
That, in the sty of this most bloody boar, .
My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold;

1 Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me: The person, who is called Sir Christopher here, and who has been styled so in the Dramatis Personce of all the impressions, I find by the Chronicles to have been Christopher Urswick, a bachelor in divinity: and chaplain to the Countess of Richmond, who had intermarried with the Lord Stanley. This priest, the history tells us, frequently went backwards and forwards, unsuspected, on messages betwixt the Countess of Richmond, and her husband, and the young Earl of Richmond, whilst he was preparing to make his descent on England. Theobald.

This Christopher Urswick was afterwards Almoner to King Henry VII, and retired to Hackney, where he died in 1521. On his tomb, still to be seen in that church, it is said “ Ad exteros reges undecies pro patria Legatus; Deconatum Eboracensem, Archidia conatum Richmundie, Decanatum Windesoriæ, habitos vivens reliquit. Episcopatum Norwicensem oblatum recusavit.”Weaver, who has printed this inscription, concludes his eulogium thus: “here let him rest as an example for all our great prelates to admire, and for few or none to imitate.Reed.

This circumstance is also recorded by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, 4th edit. p. 187: “But most part they are very shame. fast; and that makes them with Pet. Blesensis, Christopher Urswick, and many such, to refuse honours, offices, and preferment."

Dr. Johnson has observed, that Sir was anciently a title assumed by graduates. This the late Mr. Guthrie disputes; and says, it was a title sold by the pope's legates, &c. that his holiness might be on the same footing with the king. Steevens.

In The Scornful Lady of Beaumont and Fletcher, Welford says to Sir Roger, the curate, “I acknowledge you to be your art's master."-"I am but a bachelor of art, sir," replies Sir Roger. Mr. Guthrie would have done well to have informed us, how Sir Roger could possibly have bought his title of the pope's nuncio; when, as Abigail tells us, he had only “twenty nobles de claro, besides his pigges in posse." Farmer.

See Vol III, p 9, n. 1. Steevens.

The title of Sir is still appropriated to Bachelors of Arts in the University of Dublin; and the word Bachelor evidently derived from the French bas Chevalier, that is, a lower kind of Knight. -This accounts for the title of Sir being given to Bachelors.

M. Mason.

« PreviousContinue »