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ment, and a hare happening to pass between battle with the Romans, commands Belarius, the two hosts, some merriment was produced, Guiderius, and Arviragus, thus :and the knights were called the knights of the
“Bow your knees : hare. This is an example of the custom of
Arise my knights of the battle; I create you
Companions to our person." knighting before a battle. At a later period we have an instance of knighting after a fight.
• SCENE I.-“ A half-facd groat.” Henry VIII., after the battle of Spurs, in 1514, made Sir John Pechye Banneret and John The half-face is the profile ;—and the allusion Carré Knight, both of them having done great had probably become .proverbial, for it occurs service in the encounter b. When the “honour. also in a play, 'The Downfall of Robert Earl giving hand” of the first Richard created of Huntington,' 1601,Robert Faulconbridge a knight “ in the field,” | “You half-fac'd groat, you thick-cheek'd chitty-face.” we are not told by the poet whether it was the profile of the sovereign is given in one for the encouragement of valour or for the re. or two of our early coins; but Henry VII. was ward of service. But in 'Cymbeline' we have the first king who made an extensive issne of an example of the bestowing of the honour as coins with the half-face. The following is a the guerdon of bravery. The king, after the copy of the “half-faced groat” of Henry VII.
• SCENE I.—“ Look, where three-farthings goes." | SCENE I.—“ Arise Sir Richard, and
Plantagenet." The three-farthing silver-piece of Elizabeth was, as the value may import, extremely thin; L Shakspere, with poetical propriety, confers - and thus the allusion of Faulconbridge, “my upon the bastard the surname by which the face so thin." “ It was once the fashion,” says | royal house of Anjou was popularly known. | Burton ( Anatomy of Melancholy '), “ to stick Plantagenet was not the family name of that real flowers in the ear;" and thus the thin face house, though it had been bestowed upon an and the rose in the ear, taken together, were to ancestor of John from the broom in his bonnet be avoided
-the Planta genista. Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes;"
6 SCENE I. “ Now your traveller, for the three-farthing piece was not only thin,
He and his tooth-pick.” and therefore might be associated with the “thin face," but it bore a rose which assimilated
One of the characteristics of the “picked with the rose in the ear. This coin was called man of countries " was the use of a toothpick; the “ three-farthing rose," and the following is
while the Englishman who adhered to his own a copy of it:
customs would “suck” his teeth. It is unnecessary to cite passages to show that the toothpick was considered a foreign frivolity. Gascoigne, Ben Jonson, Overbury, and Shirley, bave each allusions to the practice.
• Baker's Chronicle.
SCENE I.—“ Colbrand the giant."
we have a long and sonorous description of the hard, that he slew the lyon, and therefore some great battle between Colbrand the Danish giant say he is called Rycharde Cure de Lyon; but and Guy of Warwick, — which the general some say he is called Cure de Lyon, because of reader will find in Southey's 'Specimens.' The his boldenesse and hardy stomake." Our readers legends of Sir Guy were well known in Shak. may compare this with the following extract spere's time; and the fierce encounter between from the old Metrical Romance of Richard this redoubted champion and “ Colbrande,” | Coeur-de-Lion :who fought
“The poet tells us, that Richard, in his return "On foote, for horse might heave him none," from the Holy Land, having been discovered in had been recited round many a hearth, from the habit of a palmer in Almayne,' and apthe old " histories." A curious specimeu of prehended as a spy, was by the king thrown the legends of Sir Guy and Sir Bevis, from a | into prison. Wardrewe, the king's son, hearing black-letter quarto of the middle of the six of Richard's great strength, desires the jailor to teenth century, is given in Capell’s ‘School of let him have a sight of his prisoners. Richard Shakespeare.'
being the foremost, Wardrewe asks him, ' if he • SCENE I.
dare stand a buffet from his hand ?' and that
on the morrow he shall return him another. “ The awless lion could not wage the fight,
Richard consents, and receives a blow that Nor keep his princely heart from Richards
staggers him. On the morrow, having prehand."
viously waxed his hands, he waits his anThe reputation for indomitable courage, and tagonist's arrival. Wardrewe accordingly, pro prodigious physical strength, of Richard I., ceeds the story, 'held forth as a trewe man,' transferred this story from románce to history. and Richard gave him such a blow on the cheek, Rastall gives it in his Chronicle; “ It is saydas broke his jaw-bone, and killed him on the that a lyon was put to Kynge Richarde, beynge spot. The king, to revenge the death of his in prison, to have devoured him, and when the son, orders, by the advice of one Eldrede, that lyon was gapynge, he put his arme in his a lion, kept purposely from food, shall be turned mouthe, and pulled the lyon by the harte so loose upon Richard. But the king's daughter
And the lyon them amonge;
He loked aboute as he were madde ;
HISTORICAL. It would appear scarcely necessary to entreat “ the magnificent dramatic Epopée, of which the reader to bear in mind,-before we place in the separate pieces are different cantos ”-stand apposition the events which these scenes bring in the same relation to the contemporary before us, and the facts of history, properly so historians of the events they deal with, as a called,--that the ' Histories' of Shakspere are landscape does to a map. Mr. Courtenay says, Dramatic Poems. And yet, unless this circum- “Let it be well understood that if in any case stance be watchfully regarded, we shall fall into i derogate from Shakspere as an historian, it is the error of setting up one form of truth in as an historian only.” Now, in the sense in contradiction to, and not in illustration of, which Mr. Courtenay uses the word "historian,' another form of truth. It appears to us a worse -by which he means one who describes past than useless employment to be running parallels events with the most accurate observances of between the poet and the chronicler, for the time and place, and with the most diligent purpose of showing that for the literal facts of balancing of conflicting testimony-Shakspere history the poet is not so safe a teacher as the has no pretensions to be regarded. The princhronicler; and yet, we have had offered to us ciple, therefore, of viewing Shakspere's history a series of laborious essays, that undertakes to through another medium than that of his art, solve these two problems,-" What were Shak and pronouncing, upon this view, that his spere's authorities for his history, and how far historical plays cannot be given to our youth as has he departed from them? And whether the “properly historical,” is nearly as absurd as it plays may be given to our youth as properly would be to derogate from the merits of Mr. historical." * The writer of these essays decides Turner's beautiful drawings of coast scenery, the latter question in the negative, and main- by maintaining and proving that the draughtstains that these pieces are “ quite unsuitable as man had not accurately laid down the relative a medium of instruction to the English youth ;" | positions of each bay and promontory. It
and his great object is, therefore, to contra- would not be, to our minds, a greater mistake dict, by a body of minute proofs, the assertion to confound the respective labours of the land. of A. W. Schlegel, with regard to these plays, scape painter and the hydrographer, than to that “the principal traits in every event are subject the poet to the same laws which should given with so much correctness, their apparent govern the chronicler. There may be, in the causes and their secret motives are given with poet, a higher truth than the literal, evolved in 80 much penetration, that we may therein study spite of, or rather in combination with, his history, so to speak, after nature, without fearing minute violations of accuracy; we may in the that such lively images should ever be effaced poet better study history, “ so to speak, after from our minds." Schlegel appears to us to nature,” than in the annalist,because the poet have hit the true cause why the youth of Eng- masses and generalizes his facts, subjecting land have been said to take their history from them, in the order in which he presents them Shakspere. The “lively images” of the poet to the mind, as well as in the elaboration which present a general truth much more completely he bestows upon them, to the laws of his art, than the tedious narratives of the annalist. which has a clearer sense of fitness and proporThe ten English histories' of Shakspere- tion than the laws of a dry chronology. But, at
. Shakspere's Historical Plays considered historically any rate, the structure of an historical drama By the Right Hon. T. P. Courtenay.
| and of an historical narrative are so essentially different, that the offices of the poet and the oath, bestowed on him knighthood, and took historian must never be confounded. It is not him with him to Paris. to derogate from the poet to say that he is not | We may assume this point of the history of an historian ;-it will be to elevate Shakspere Arthur as determining the period when Shak. when we compare his poetical truth with the spere's play of 'King John'commences. truth of history. We have no wish that he had | The hostility of Elinor to Constance is mani. been more exact and literal.
fested in the first Scene :The moving cause of the main action in the " What now, my son ! hare I not ever said, play of King John' is put before us in the very
How that ambitious Constance would not cease,
Till she had kindled France, and all the world, first lines. Chatillon, the ambassador of France,
Upon the right and party of her son ?" thus demands of John the resignation of his
Holinshed assigns the reason for this enmity : crown :
-“Surely Queen Elinor, the king's mother, " Philip of France, in right and true behalf
was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son,
moved thereto by envy conceived against his Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
mother, than upon any just occasion given in To this fair island, and the territories; To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine."
the behalf of the child; for that she saw if he In the year 1190, when Arthur was only two
were king how his mother Constance would look
to bear most rule within the realm of England, years old, his uncle, Richard Caur-de-Lion,
till her son should come to lawful age to govern contracted him in marriage with the daughter
of himself.” of Tancred, king of Sicily. The good will of Richard towards Arthur, on this occasion, might be in part secured by a dowry of twenty thousand golden oncie which the Sicilian king paid in advance to him; but, at any rate, the infant duke of Brittany was recognised in this deed, by Richard, as “our most dear nephew, and heir, if by chance we should die without issue." : When Richard did die, without issue, in 1199, Arthur and his mother Constance, who was really the duchess regnant of Brittany, were on friendly terms with him, although in 1197 Richard had wasted Brittany with fire and sword; but John produced a testament by which Richard gave him the crown. The adherents of John, however, did not rely upon this instrument; and, if we may credit Matthew Paris, John took the brightest gem of the house of Anjou, the crown of England, upon the principle of election. His claim was recognised also in Normandy. Maine, Touraine, and Anjou, on the other hand, declared for Arthur; and at Angiers the young prince was proclaimed king of England. As Duke of Brittany Arthur held
(Queen Elinor.] his dominion as a vassal of France ;—but Con Philip the bastard, whose character infuses stance, who knew the value of a powerful pro- so much life and spirit into these scenes, is thus tector for her son, offered to Philip Augustus noticed in Holinshed; nor is there any other of France, that Arthur should do homage not mention of him :-" The same year also (the only for Brittany, but also for Normandy, Maine, first of John), Pbilip, bastard son to King Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou. Philip encouraged Richard, to whom his father had given the castle the pretensions of Arthur to the provinces for and honour of Coynack, killed the Viscount of which he had offered homage, and he met his Lymoges, in revenge of his father's death, who young vassal at Mans, where he received his was slain (as ye have heard) in besieging the
See Daru, 'Histoire de Bretagne,' tome i. p. 381. castle of Chalus Cheverell."
• SCENE I.
| consisted of merchant vessels, collected from all
the ports of the kingdom, each of which was “ A braver choice of dauntless spirits,
bound, when required by the king, to furnish Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er, him with a certain number. John had a few Did never float upon the swelling tide.”
| galleys of his own. The first great naval victory The troops of William the Conqueror are said of England, that of the Damme, or of the to have been borne to the invasion of England Sluys, was won in the reign of John, in 1213. The upon several thousand barks. Henry II. em- | following representation of “ English bottoms” barked his forces for the conquest of Ireland in is composed from several authorities, viz. :four hundred vessels. In both these periods Cotton MS. Claudius D. 2, temp. Henry I.; the craft must have been mere boats. But MS. at Bennet Coll. Cambridge, (engraved in when Richard carried his soldiers to the Holy Strutt's “Manners') temp. Henry III. ; and Royal Land, his armament consisted of many large MS. 2 B. vii. temp. Edward I. ships. This brilliant navy for the most part
10 SCENE I.-—"As great Alcides' shoes upon an " SCENE I.—“St. George,—that swinged,” &c. ass.”
How exceedingly characteristic is this speech The ass was to wear the shoes, and not to of the Bastard ! “ Saint George ” was the bear them upon his back, as Theobald supposed, great war-cry of Richard ;-but the universal and therefore would read shows. The “shoes humourist lets down the dignity of the champion of Hercules” were as commonly alluded to in in a moment, by an association with the hostess's our old poets, as the exc pede Herculem was a sign. The author of Waverley employs this familiar allusion of the learned.
I device precisely with the same poetical effect,