« PreviousContinue »
STUDIES have of this nature been of late
So out of fashion, so unfollowed, that
It is become more justice to revive
The antic follies of the times than strive
To countenance wise industry: no want
Of art doth render wit or lame or scant
Or slothful in the purchase of fresh bays ;
But want of truth in them who give the praise
To their self-love, presuming to out-do
The writer, or—for need--the actors too.
But such this author's silence best befits,
Who bids them be in love with their own wits.
From him to clearer judgments we can say
He shows a history couched in a play ;
A history of noble mention, known,
Famous, and true ; most noble, 'cause our own ;
Not forged from Italy, from France, from Spain,
But chronicled at home; as rich in strain
Of brave attempts as ever fertile rage
In action could beget to grace the stage.
We cannot limit scenes, for the whole land
Itself appeared too narrow to withstand
Competitors for kingdoms; nor is here
Unnecessary mirth forced to endear
A multitude : on these two rests the fate
Of worthy expectation,-truth and state.
Sir WILLIAM STANLEY, Lord Chamberlain.
Earl of OXFORD.
Earl of SURREY.
Fox, Bishop of Durham.
URSWICK, Chaplain to the King.
Sir ROBERT CLIFFORD.
HIALAS, a Spanish Agent.
JAMES IV., King of Scotland.
Earl of HUNTLEY.
Earl of CRAWFORD.
MARCHMONT, a Herald.
STEPHEN FRION, his Secretary.
JOHN A-WATER, Mayor of Cork.
HERON, a Mercer.
SKELTON, a Tailor.
ASTLEY, a Scrivener.
Sheriff, Constable, Officers, Messenger, Guards,
Soldiers, Masquers, and Attendants.
Lady KATHERINE GORDON.
Countess of CRAWFORD.
JANE DOUGLAS, Lady Katherine's attendant.
SCENE-Partly in ENGLAND, partly in SCOTLAND
SCENE I.- Westminster. The royal Presence-chamber.
Enter King HENRY, supported to the throne by the Bishop
of DURHAM and Sir WILLIAM STANLEY; Earls of
OXFORD and SURREY, and Lord DAWBENEY. A
T ING HEN. Still to be haunted, still
to be pursued,
Still to be frightened with false appari-
Of pageant majesty and new-coined
As if we were a mockery king in state,
Only ordained to lavish sweat and blood,
In scorn and laughter, to the ghosts of York,
Is all below our merits :' yet, my lords,
My friends and counsellors, yet we sit fast
In our own royal birthright ; the rent face
1" At this time the king began again to be haunted with sprites by the magic and curious arts of the Lady Margaret, who raised up the ghost of Richard, Duke of York, second son to King Edward the Fourth, to walk and vex the king,” &c.- Bacon's Henry VII.
And bleeding wounds of England's slaughtered people
Have been by us as by the best physician,
At last both throughly cured and set in safety;
And yet, for all this glorious work of peace,
Ourselves is scarce secure.
The rage of malice
Conjures fresh spirits with the spells of York.
For ninety years ten English kings and princes,
Threescore great dukes and earls, a thousand lords
And valiant knights, two hundred fifty thousand
Of English subjects have in civil wars
Been sacrificed to an uncivil thirst
Of discord and ambition : this hot vengeance
Of the just powers above to utter ruin
And desolation had rained on, but that
Mercy did gently sheathe the sword of justice,
In lending to this blood-shrunk commonwealth
A new soul, new birth, in your sacred person.
Daw. Edward the Fourth, after a doubtful fortune,
Yielded to nature, leaving to his sons,
Edward and Richard, the inheritance
Of a most bloody purchase : these young princes,
Richard the tyrant, their unnatural uncle,
Forced to a violent grave:—so just is Heaven,
Him hath your majesty by your own arm,
Divinely strengthened, pulled from his boar's sty,'
And struck the black usurper to a carcass.
Nor doth the house of York decay in honours,
Though Lancaster doth repossess his right;
For Edward's daughter is King Henry's queen,-
A blessèd union, and a lasting blessing
For this poor panting island, if some shreds,
Some useless remnant of the house of York
Grudge not at this content.
Margaret of Burgundy Blows fresh coals of division.
1 An allusion to the armorial bearings of Richard III,
Without or heat to scorch or light to cherish.
Daw. York's headless trunk, her father ; Edward's
Her brother, king; the smothering of her nephews
By tyrant Gloster, brother to her nature;
Nor Gloster's own confusion,-all decrees
Sacred in heaven,----can move this woman-monster,
But that she still, from the unbottomed mine
Of devilish policies, doth vent the ore
Of troubles and sedition.
. In her age-
Great sir, observe the wonderi-she grows fruitful,
Who in her strength of youth was always barren :
Nor are her births as other mothers' are,
At nine or ten months' end ; she has been with child
Eight, or seven years at least; whose twins being born,
A prodigy in nature, --even the youngest
Is fifteen years of age at his first entrance,
As soon as known i' the world ; tall striplings, strong
And able to give battle unto kings,
Idols of Yorkish malice.
Daw. . And but idols ; A steely hammer crushes 'em to pieces. - K. Hen. Lambert, the eldest, lords, is in our service, Preferred by an officious care of duty From the scullery to a falconer;strange example! Which shows the difference between noble natures And the base-born: but for the upstart duke,
1 “It is the strangest thing in the world,” said Henry's ambas. sador to the archduke, “ that the Lady Margaret should now, when she is old, at the time when other women give-over child-bearing, bring forth two such monsters, being not the births of nine or ten months, but of many years. And whereas other natural mothers I ring forth children weak and not able to help themselves, she bringeth forth tall striplings, able soon after their coming into the world to bid battle to mighty kings.”
? Lambert Simnel, taken prisoner at the battle of Newark, had been made a turnspit in the king's kitchen, and was afterwards promoted to the office of under-falconer. Ford