« PreviousContinue »
To the Rightly Honourable
EARL OF NEWCASTLE, VISCOUNT MANSFIELD, LORD
BOLSOVER AND OGLE.1
UT of the darkness of a former age,-en
lightened by a late both learned and an honourable pen, 2--I have endeavoured to personate a great attempt, and in it a greater danger. In other labours you may read actions of antiquity dis
coursed ; in this abridgment find the actors themselves discoursing, in some kind practised as well what to speak as speaking why to do. Your lordship is a most competent judge in expressions of such credit ; commissioned by your known ability in examining, and enabled by your knowledge in determining, the monuments of time. Eminent titles may, indeed, inform who their owners are, not often what. To yours the addition of that information in both cannot in any application be observed flattery, the authority being established by truth. I can only acknowledge the errors in writing mine own; the worthiness of the subject written being a perfection in the story and of it. The custom of your lordship's entertainments-even to strangers—is rather an example than a fashion : in which consideration I dare not profess a curiosity ; but am only studious that your lordship will please, amongst such as best honour your goodness, to admit into your noble construction
JOHN FORD. i William Cavendish (nephew to the first Earl of Devonshire), was born in the year 1592, and was early in favour with James 1. He continued in favour with Charles I., and engaged on the Royalist side during the civil war. He was created Duke of Newcastle in 1665, and died in 1676, at the advanced age of 84.
23.e. That of Lord Bacon.
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
ady 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
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 blessed 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,