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much, for be had never seen it since his father had been laid there.” The personal narrative of the French knight here closes; the remainder of his narrative being given on the faith of another person, a clerk. From Westminster, Richard was removed to the Tower. The parliament, which began on the 13th September, drew up thirty-three “articles objected to King Richard, whereby he was counted worthy to be deposed from his principality."
The scene of fiery contention in Westminster Hall, with which this act opens, follows the chroniclers very literally. Shakspere has, however, placed this remarkable exhibition of vindictive charges and recriminations before the deposition of Richard. It took place after Henry's coronation. The protest of the Bishop of Carlisle, whom Holinshed calls “a bold bishop and a faithful,” also, according to most authorities, followed the deposition. It is stated to have been made on a request from the commons that Richard might have“ judgment decreed against him, so as the realm were not troubled by him.” There is considerable doubt whether this speech was delivered at all. It does not appear that Richard made his resignation in parliament, but that Northumberland and other peers, prelates and knights, with justices and notaries, attended the captive on the 29th September, 1399, in the chief chamber of the king's lodging in the Tower, where he read aloud and subscribed the scroll of resignation, saying that, if it were in his power, he would that the Duke of Lancaster there present should be his successor. These instruments were read to the parliament the day following. So Holinshed relates the story. Froissart, however, details the ceremonies of the surrender with more minuteness : “On a day the Duke of Lancaster, accompanied with lords, dukes, prelates, earls, barons, and knights, and of the notablest men of London, and of other good towns, rode to the Tower, and there alighted. Then King Richard was brought into the hall, apparelled like a king in his robes of state, his sceptre in his hand, and his crown on his head ; then he stood up alone, not holden nor stayed by no man, and said aloud, 'I have been king of England, duke of Aquitaine, and lord of Ireland, about twenty-one years, which seigniory, royalty, sceptre, crown, and heritage I clearly resign here to my cousin Henry of Lancaster; and I desire him here, in this open presence, in entering of the same possession, to take this sceptre :' and so delivered it to the duke, who took it.” There can be no doubt that this apparently willing resignation, which his enemies said was made even with a merry countenance, was extorted from Richard by the fear of death. Northumberland openly proclaimed this when he rebelled against Henry. In a very curious manuscript in the library of the King of France, from which copious extracts are given in Mr. Webb's notes to the Metrical History,' there is a detailed account of a meeting between Richard and Boling broke in the Tower, at which York and Aumerle were present, - where the king, in a most violent rage, says, “I am king, and will still continue king, in spite of all my enemies." Shakspere has most skilfully portrayed this natural struggle of the will of the unhappy man against the necessity by which he was overwhelmed. The deposition scene shows us,-as faithfully as the glass which the poet introduces exhibits the person of the king,—the vacillations of a nature irresolute and yielding, but clinging to the phantom of power when the substance had passed away. There can be no doubt that Shakspere's portrait of Richard II. is as historically true as it is poetically just.
The chroniclers have shown us the fierce, and, as we should call them in moderu times, the brutal contests of the peers in the first parliament of Henry IV. But we have bad lately opened to us a most curious record of the days of Richard, which shows us a parliament that more nearly approaches to our notions of an assembly of men called together for the public good, but not forgetting their private interests in their peaceful moods; and deporting themselves as meu do who have mighty ques
tions to deliberate upon, but who hring to that deliberation the sloth, the petty feelings, and the other individual characteristics that remind us that great legislators are sometimes small men. The Camden Society, which is doing for literature the very reverse of what the Roxburgh Club did—which is making unpublished and rare tracts accessible to all men, instead of gaining a petty reputation by rendering scarce things known, and then causing them to be scarcer,—has published an “ Alliterative Poem on the Deposition of King Richard II.' This most curious production is printed from a manuscript in the public library at Cambridge. There seems to be no doubt that the poem was written about the time when Richard fell into the hands of his enemies :—the first lines represent the author as being informed that “Henrri was entrid on the est half” of the kingdom, while Richard “werrid be west on the wilde Yrisshe.” The author of the poem appears to have been a partisan of Bolingbroke—the transcriber was of the opposite faction ; and to this circumstance we owe the loss of the more important part of the original composition; for he broke off abruptly in the description of Richard's servile parliament, the parliament that, giving a colour to his exactions and despotic exercise of authority, led to the great revolution which ended in his deposition. Of this famous parliament the following is a part of the description to which we have alluded :
“ And somme slombrid and slepte, and said but a lite;
And somme malilid with the mouth, and nyst what they ment;
A-ffor the wynde tfresshely, to make a good ffare."
“ And some slumbered and slept, and said but a little; and some stammered with the mouth, and knew not what they meant; and some were paid, and held to that, and would no further a-foot, for fear of their masters; and some were so sullev and grave in their wits, that before they came to the close they were so much encumbered, that their conclusions could be construed by no baron on the bench, nor by no one else of the borough,
,--so blind, and so bald, and so bare was their reason. And some were so fierce at the first coming, that they were bent on a bout, and bare a topsail afore the wind freshly, to make a good fare.”—Unchangeable human nature!
SCENE I.—London. A Street leading to the Tower.
Enter QUEEN and Ladies.
Enter KING RICHARD and Guards.
you in pity may dissolve to dow,
K. Rich. Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,
a N-erected—erected for evil.
b The queen, in a series of bold metaphors, compares her “condemned lord a ruin, or a mere outward form of greatness. He is “the model where old Troy did stand”—the representation of the waste on which the most renowned city of antiquity once stood.
c Inn. We doubt whether the word is here used as Falstaff uses it-“Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn ?" An inn was originally a dwelling-a place of cover or protection. We have still the Inus of Court; Lord Bray brooke's seat in Essex, commonly called Audley-End, is, properly, Audley-Inn. When the queen opposes the term alehouse to inn, she certainly does not mean, as Monck Mason thiuks, to discriminate between two classes of houses of entertainment, but between a publichouse and a “ beauteous mansion."
Shows us but this : I am sworn brother,a sweet,
Queen. What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
K. Rich. A king of beasts, indeed; if aught but beasts,
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND, attended.
North. My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is chang’d; You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.
a Sworn brother. Military adventurers were sometimes leagued to share each others' fortunes--to divide their plunder, and even their honours. They were then fratres jurati-sworn brothers.
And, madam, there is order ta’en for
K. Rich. Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal
North. My guilt be on my head, and there an end.
K. Rich. Doubly divorc'd ?-Bad men, ye violate
Queen. And must we be divided ? must we part ?
a The kiss was an established form of the ancient ceremony of afhancing. (See Illustrations of Two Gentlemen of Verona,' Act II. Scene 2.)
Queen. So the folio. The quartos, wife. • Hallowmas. The first of November, -opposed to “sweet May.”