Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

HISTORICAL

We have avoided any previous illustration of them, we may consider that there was an histhe history and character of Richard's queen, torical as well as a dramatic propriety in the reserving a short notice for this Act, in which character which Shakspere has drawn of her. she occupies so interesting a position. Richard In the garden scene at Langley we have scarcely was twice married. His first wife, who was more elevation of character than might belong called the good Queen Anne, died in 1894. His to a precocious girl. In one part, however, of second wife, the queen of this play, was Isabel, the last scene with Richard, we have the majesty eldest daughter of Charles VI., of France. of the high-minded woman; When Richard espoused her, on the 31st of

"What, is my Richard both in shape and mind October, 1396, she was but eight years old. The

Transform'd and weaken'd? Hath Bolingbroke alliance with France gave the greatest dissatis Deposed thine intellect? Hath he been in thy heart?" faction in England, and was one amongst the many causes of Richard's almost general unpo

The poet, however, had an undoubted right to pularity. Froissart mentions Richard's obstinacy

mould his materials to his own purpose. Daniel, in this matter with great naiveté : “It is not

in his descriptive Poem of the Civil Wars, which pleasant to the realm of England that he should

approaches to the accuracy of a chronicle, makes marry with France, and it hath been shewed

" the young affected queen" a much more prohim that the daughter of France is over young,

minent personage than Shakspere does. These and that this five or six year she shall not be

are her words, as she witnesses the procession able to keep him company; thereto he hath

of Richard and Bolingbroke-an imaginary situanswered and saith, that she shall grow right

ation altogether : well in age.” Isabel was espoused at Paris, by " And yet, dear lord, though thy ungrateful land proxy. Froissart says, “as I was informed, it Hath left thee thus; yet I will take thy part:

I do remain the same, under thy hand; was a goodly sight to see her behaviour : for all

Thou still doth rule the kingdom of my heart: that she was but young, right pleasantly she bare Il all be lost, that government doth stand; the port of a queen.” Isabel lived at Windsor,

And that shall never from thy rule depart:

And, so thou be, I care not how thou be: under the care of Lady de Coucy : but this lady was dismissed for her extravagance, and an

Let greatness go, so it go without thee." English woman, Lady Mortimer, succeeded her Poor Isabel was sent back to France; and in the charge. It appears from the Metrical there she became, a second time, the victim of History' that Richard was very much attached a state alliance, being married to the eldest son to her. In his lamentations in Conway Castle of the Duke of Orleans, who was only nine years he uses these passionate expressions : “My old. Her younger sister became the wife of our mistress and my consort ! accursed be the man, Henry V. little doth he love us, who thus shamefully sepa- | The writer of the 'Metrical History' appears rateth us two. I am dying of grief because of to have conceived a violent suspicion of Aumerle it. My fair sister, my lady, and my sole desire. and of all his proceedings. He represents him Since I am robbed of the pleasure of beholding as the treacherous cause of Richard's detention thee, such pain and affliction oppresseth my in Ireland; and, in the conspiracy of the Abbot whole heart, that, oftentimes, I am hard upon of Westminster and the other lords, he is dedespair. Alas! Isabel, rightful daughter of scribed as basely becoming privy to their France, you were wont to be my joy, my hope, designs, that he might betray them to Henry IV. and my consolation; I now plainly see, that Shakspere's version of the story is the more through the great violence of fortune, which dramatic one which is given by Holinshed. hath slain many a man, I must wrongfully be “This Earl of Rutland departing before from removed from you." When we observe, that Westminster, to see his father the Duke of York, Froissart describes the girl of eight years old, as he sat at dinner had his counterpart of the as deporting herself right pleasantly as a queen, indenture of the confederacy in his bosom. The and read of the lamentations of Richard for their father, espying it, would needs see what it was : separation, as described by one who witnessed and though the son humbly denied to shew it, the father being more earnest to see it, by force skull was found uninjured. Thomas of Waltook it out of his bosom, and, perceiving the singham, who was living at the time of Richard's contents thereof, in a great rage caused his death, relates that the unhappy captive volun. horses to be saddled out of hand, and spitefully tarily starved himself. His body was removed reproving his son of treason, for whom he was | to the Tower, where it was publicly exhibited. become surety and main pernour for his good The story of his voluntary starvation is, howbearing in open parliament, he incontinently ever, doubtful; that of his violent assassination mounted on horseback to ride towards Windsor seems altogether apocryphal. In an important to the king, to declare to him the malicious document, whose publication we owe to Sir intent of his son and his accomplices. The Earl Henry Ellis—the manifesto of the Percies of Rutland, seeing in what danger he stood, took against Henry the Fourth, issued just before his horse and rode another way to Windsor, in the battle of Shrewsbury-Henry is distinctly post, so that he got thither before his father, charged with having caused Richard to perish and when he was alighted at the castle-gate, | from hunger, thirst, and cold, after fifteen days he caused the gates to be shut, saying, that he and nights of sufferings unheard of among must needs deliver the keys to the king. When Christians. Two years afterwards Archbishop he came before the king's presence, he kneeled | Scroop repeats the charge; but he adds, what down on his knees, beseeching him of mercy unquestionably weakens its force, " ut vulgariter and forgiveness, and declaring the whole matter dicitur." There is one other story which has unto him in order as everything had passed; formed the subject of a very curious controversy, obtained pardon; and therewith came his father, but which it would be out of place here to detail and, being let in, delivered the indenture which –that espoused by Mr. Tytler—that Richard he had taken from his son, unto the king; who escaped, and lived nineteen years in Scotland. thereby perceiving his son's words to be true, The various arguments for and against this changed his purpose for his going to Oxford, and incredible tale may be found in a paper, by the dispatched messengers forth to signify unto the late amiable and accomplished Lord Dover, Earl of Northumberland bis high constable, and read before the Royal Society of Literaturo. to the Earl of Westmorland bis high marshal, The conflicting evidence as to the causes of and to others his assured friends, of all the Richard's death in Pomfret Castle is very ably doubtful danger and perilous jeopardy.”

detailed by Mr. Amyot, in the 20th volume of The death of Richard the Second is one of the 'Archæologia.' The prison-scene in Shak. those historical mysteries which, perhaps, will spere will, perhaps, more than any accredited never be cleared up. The story which Shak- relation, continue to influence the popular belief; spere has adopted, of his assassination by Sir | and yet, on the other hand, we have the beauPiers of Exton and his followers, was related by tiful passage in Gray's Bard, to support the less Caxton in his addition to Hygden's 'Polychro dramatic story : nicon ;' was copied by Fabyan, and, of course,

"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows, found its way into Holinshed. The honest old

While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, compiler, however, notices the other stories In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes; that he died either by compulsory famine or by

Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helın;

Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's spray, voluntary pining. Caxton borrowed his account,

That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey. it is supposed, from a French manuscript in the royal library at Paris, written by a partisan of Fill high the sparkling bowl,

The rich repast prepare, Richard. In his Chronicle, printed two years

Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast: before the additions to the ‘Polychronicon,' Cax.

Close by the regal chair ton takes no notice of the story of the assassina

Fell thirst and famine scowl

A baleful smile upon their bafiled guest.” tion by Sir Piers of Exton; but says “He was enfamined unto the death by his keeper, ...... yet The body of Richard was brought to London ; much people in England, and in other lands, and being publicly exposed, was removed to said, that he was alive many year after his | Langley for intermeut. Henry V., who appears death.” It is a remarkable confirmation of the always to have cherished a generous regard for belief that Richard did not die by the wounds the memory of the unfortunate king, caused it of a battle-axe, that when his tomb was opened to be removed, in great state, to Westminster in Westminster Abbey, some years since, his | Abbey.

[blocks in formation]

SCENES.

Of the architectural drawings by Mr. Poynter, houses, but many of its earlier features were the room in the Palace, Act I., is imaginary, preserved, and the engraving affords a key to bat it presents an example of the architectural explain several authentic particulars as to its style of the period. The interior is represented condition two centuries and a half earlier. as tapestried, with the well-known cognizances of Westminster Hall was erected by Richard, and Richard II, the sun and the white hart. The finished in 1399. The first business of the street leading to the Tower, Act V., is also meeting of Parliament in the edifice which the imaginary. The exterior of Westminster Hall, king bad caused to be built out of his exactions Act IV., is an attempt at restoration. Hollar of the wealth of his subjects, was to proceed to has left a view of New Palace Yard, dated his deposition. 1647. It was at that time surrounded by

COSTUME.

For the male costume of this play we are ferring them to the cuts in this number, taken overwhelmed with authorities. Not only do we from an illuminated copy of Froissart, and possess elaborately-executed portraits and morepresenting the quarrel and combat between numental effigies of Richard, and the greater the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk, and Richard number of the other historical personages, but II. surrendering his crown to Bolingbroke, by the time is particularly rich in illuminated comparison of which with those from the ‘Memanuscripts, and in anecdotes illustrative of trical History,' they will perceive the difference the dress and armour of the people at large. in the fashions of the times, and avoid con

The poems of Chaucer and the chronicles of founding the former with those which are given Froissart are full of information on these points ; as undoubted authorities for the costume of this and in the Harleian Collection of MSS. there play. is the well-known and invaluable • Metrical The foppery of dress prevailing during the History of the deposition of Richard II., by a reign of Richard II. is the universal theme of gentleman of the household of Charles the VI. satire and reprobation amongst the poets and of France, and who attended Richard during historians of the day; and York, in the first the whole of the period he describes'. The Scene of the second Act of this play, speaks MS. is liberally illustrated by miniatures ex- with perfect truth of our “apish nation" limphibiting all the principal scenes of that eventful ing in base imitation after the “ fashions in story, and containing portraits, of the dress at proud Italy," or wherever the “ world tbrusts least, of Richard II., Bolingbroke, the Earls of forth a vanity;" & passage which Dr. Johnson Northumberland, Westmorland, Exeter, Salis bas presumed, of course, to be a mistake of bury, the Bishop of Carlisle, &c., &c.

Shakspere, or, rather, a wilful anachronism of This circumstance is the more fortunate, as, the man who gave “ to all nations the customs although we possess numberless illuminated of England, and to all ages the manners of his copies of Froissart, all that have come under own!” Richard himself was (as the Rev. Mr. our notice have been executed as late, at least, Webb has remarked in his description of the as the commencement of the reign of our Metrical History' aforesaid — Archäologia,' Henry VI., and, consequently, present us with vol. XX.) the greatest fop of his day'. He had the dress and armour of another century. We a coat estimated at thirty thousand marks, the take this opportunity of impressing this fact value of which must chiefly have arisen from upon the minds of our readers, by at once re

• The Monk of Evesham describes him as extravagantly • See Historical Mustrations to Act III. | splendid in his entertainments and dress.

the quantity of precious stones with which it, and chained under a tree, was worn by all Richwas embroidered, such being one of the many | ard's friends and retainers. In the wardrobe extravagant fashions of the time. Those of account of his twenty-second year is an entry of working letters and mottoes on the dresses, a belt and sheath of a sword, of red velvet, emand cutting the edges of the mantles, hoods, broidered with white harts crowned, and with &c., into the shape of leaves and other devices, rosemary branches. will be seen by referring to the portrait of The armour of this reign was nearly all of Richard in the Jerusalem Chamber at West plate; & neck-piece of chain fastened to the minster, and the illuminations of the Metrical bascinet, and called the camail, and the indented History Bolingbroke, in the miniatures of edge of the chain-apron depending below the that work, is represented in mourning for his jupon, or surcoat, being nearly all the mail father. When he entered London with the visible. The jupon introduced during the precaptive Richard in his train, he was dressed, ceding reign was a garment of silk, or velvet, according to Froissart, in a short jack, or jacket, richly embroidered with the armorial bearings of cloth of gold, “a la fachon d’Almayne." of the wearer, fitting tight to the shape, and

Of John of Gaunt we are told that he wore confined over the hips by a magnificent girdle. his garments “ not wide,” and yet they became (Vide that of the Black Prince at Canterbury.) him “full well.” In the Cotton MS., marked in the 'Metrical History,' however, Richard and D 6, he is represented granting the claims at his knights are represented in loose surcoats, the coronation of Richard II., as Lord High sometimes with sleeves, and embroidered all Steward of England. He is attired in a long over with fanciful devices, the king's being party-coloured robe, one half white, the other golden ostrich feathers. The armour worn by blue, such being the family colours of the Bolingbroke, when he entered the lists at CoHouse of Lancaster. White and red were, how ventry, was manufactured expressly for him at 'ever, assumed by Richard II. as his livery | Milan by order of Galeazzo Visconti, to whom colours, and, as such, worn by the courtiers and he had written on the subject. citizens on state occasions.

The chronicler Hall (and Holinshed follows The sleeves of John of Gaunt's robe, it will him), describing this event, asserts, but without be observed, are tight, and reach to the wrist, quoting his authority, that Bolingbroke's horse after the old fashion of Edward the III.'s time: was caparisoned with blue and green velvet, but bearing out the words of the old poet be- | embroidered all over with swans and antelopes fore quoted, who praises him for not giving his badges and supporters), and that the housway to the extravagancies of his nephew's ings of the Duke of Norfolk's charger were of court; Chaucer, the Monk of Evesham, and the crimson velvet, embroidered with silver lions author of an anonymous work, cited by Cam. (his paternal arms) and mulberry trees, & punden, and called 'The Eulogium,' all complain ning device, the family name being Mowbray. of the large, long, and wide sleeves, reaching The vizor of the bascinet, or war helmet of this almost to the feet, which even the servants | time, was of a singular shape, giving to the wore in imitation of their masters.

wearer almost the appearance of having the The shoes had excessively long pikes, some head of a bird. A specimen is to be seen in times crooked upwards, and then called crac- the Tower of London, and a still more perfect kowes (probably from Cracow, in Poland), and, one is in the armoury of Sir S. Meyrick, at according to the author of 'The Eulogium,' occa- | Goodrich Court. sionally fastened to the knees by chains of gold No feathers, as yet, decorated the helmet or silver. The chaperon, or hood, of this reign is unless they formed the heraldic crest of the of a most indescribable shape, and is sometimes family, and then only the tournament helmet. worn over the capucium or cowl. Single ostrich Of the female characters in the play, the feathers are also seen occasionally in front of Duchess of Gloster is the only one for whose the hood, or cap. The hair was worn long in dress we have any precise authority; and it is the neck and at the sides, and elderly persons probable that she is represented on her monuare generally represented with forked beards. mental brass in Westminster Abbey, which fur

The decoration of the white hart, crowned nishes it, in the habit of a nun of Barking • The statute passed in prohibition of such vanities calls

Abbey, to which place she retired after her husthese dresses " apparel broider'd of stone."

band's murder, and took the veil. The nuns of

Barking, however, being of the order of St. mantle, which, as well as the skirt of the gown, Benedict, the dress, both in hue and form, or robe, was frequently embroidered with arwould resemble the mourning habit of a widow morial bearings. Leithieullier, in his observaof high rank at that period, which was quite tions on Sepulchral Monuments, has remarked, conventual in its appearance, even to the barbe, that in such cases, the arms on the mantle are or plaited chin-cloth.

always those of the husband, and the others The general dress of ladies of quality, during those of the lady's own family. the reign of Richard II., consisted of the kirtle, The hair was worn in a gold fret, or caul, of a sort of low-bodied gown, with long tight net-work, surmounted by a chaplet, or garland, sleeves, and made to fit very close to the figure, of goldsmith's work, a coronet, or a veil, accordover which was worn a singularły-shaped sleeve ing to the fancy or rank of the wearer. The less gown, or robe, with a very full skirt and effigy of Anne of Bohemia, and the illuminated train, the front and edges generally trimmed MS. entitled 'Liber Regalis, preserved in Westwith ermine, or other rich furs, and giving the minster Abbey, and executed in the time of appearance of a tight spencer over a loose dress, Richard II., may be considered the best authoinstead of which it is, as nearly as possible, the rities for the royal and noble female costume of exact reverse.

the period. Over this, on state occasions, was worn a long

[graphic][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »