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The scene* now introduces us to the French court, where Louis XI. receives the supplications of Margaret for succour against the Yorkists:
'' Now, therefore, be it known to noble Louis,
Scotland hath will to help, but cannot help."
Louis promises aid, but Warwick arrives, to demand the Lady Bona (described as the sister of Louis, but really sister of his queen, Charlotte of Savoy), in marriage for Edward. This had been announced before by Warwick himself:
"From whence shall Warwick cut the sea to France,
This story of the Lady Bona, and of Warwick's taking offence, is in Holinshed ;J but the meeting between Margaret and Warwick at this time at Paris, and its consequences, are Shakspeare's own. The embassy of that earl to obtain for his master
the hand of the Lady Bona is assigned to the year 1464, after the battle of Hexham, and he found Louis not at Paris, but at Tours,* Margaret was not then in France.
With one exception, however, of doubtful authority, there is no ground in contemporary historians, French or English, for Edward's suit to this Lady Bona.-f- It was probably taken from Polydore Vergil.J It is remarkable that Hearne's fragment repeats and refutes a story which sends Warwick not to France but to Spain; to seek in marriage, not Bona of Savoy, but Isabel of Castile. But all such suits, it is added, were fruitless, because the princes of Europe had not confidence in the stability of Edward's throne.
On the arrival of the news of Edward's marriage, Shakspeare reconciles Margaret and Warwick, who now becomes a zealous Lancastrian; and when Louis, who now promises succour to Margaret, not unnaturally asks for some pledge of the loyalty of the convert, Warwick answers,
* Hoi., 283.
t See Ritson's note in Bosw. 467 ; and Lingard, 189, who shows that Warwick was not in France at the time of Edward's marriage. The authority which he overlooks is the Chronicle in Leland, ii. 500.
t P. 513, edit. 1£46. He was probably not even born a the time.
'' This shall assure my constant loyalty,
Margaret's visit, as we have seen, was earlier, and the promised aid was actually given. As the poet has placed this visit too late, so has he placed another, at which some of the circumstances of the play did occur, much too soon.
It was in 1470 that Margaret and Warwick did unite against Edward, and cement their union, under the mediation of Louis, by the marriage of their children. Prince Edward was betrothed to Anne (not eldest, but), second daughter of Warwick. It does not appear that the French king sent any succours to the Lancastrians at any period after the declaration of Edward's marriage.
In the fourth act there is a glimmering of the truth, but by no means a clear development. We have the outbreak of the dislike of the nobles to Edward's marriage. * Clarence openly tells his brother that he has made an enemy of the King of France, and dishonoured Warwick, and Montagu regrets the loss of the alliance of France. Some notable lines follow:—
* The persons present, besides the king, queen, and tha two princes, are Somerset, Montagu, Pembroke, Stafford, and Hastings.
"Hast. Why, knows not Montagu, that of itself England is safe if true within itself ?*
Mon. Yes, but the safer when 'tis back'd with France.
Hast. "Tis better using France than trusting France: Let us be back'd with God and with the seas, Which he hath given for peace impregnable. And with their helps only defend ourselves: In them, and in ourselves, our safety lies.
Cla. For this one speech, Lord Hastings well deserves To have the heiress of the Lord Hungerford.
K. Edw. Ay, what of that? it was my will and grant, And for this once, my will shall stand the law.
Glou. And yet, methinks, your grace has not done well, To give the heir and daughter of Lord Scales, Unto the brother of your loving bride, She better would have fitted me, or Clarence, But in your bride you bury brotherhood.
Cla. Or else you would not have bestow'd the heir Of the Lord Bonville on your new wife's son, And leave your brothers to go speed elsewhere.
K. Edw. Alas, poor Clarence! is it for a wife That thou art malcontent? I will provide thee.
Cla. In choosing for yourself, you showed your judgment,
Which, being shallow, you shall give me leave,
The passages in which the power of England
* See King John in Bosw., xv. 374. to maintain herself without foreign alliances, are enlarged and strengthened in this play, form those which are found in "the Contention." They are conformable to Shakspeare's general views, so far as we can collect them, and to the policy of the English court at the time of his writing.
The discontent expressed at the favours bestowed upon the queen's relatives, is warranted by history. The estrangement of Warwick could not have arisen at once, or directly, out of the marriage with Lady Grey, to whose eldest daughter (afterwards the wife of Henry VII.) he stood sponsor.*
I do not know whence Shakspeare took his enumeration of alliances. It is true that the son of Lord Hastings was married to the heiress of Hungerford,-f- that the queen's brother, Anthony Widville, married the heiress of the last Lord Scales,! and that her son, Thomas Grey, Marquis of Dorset, had the heiress of Bonville. §
The queen herself speaks conformably with her character:—
"My lords, before it pleased his Majesty,
» W. VVyrc, 505.
-J- William, first Lord Hastings, of Ashby; married Warwick's sister. BankB, iii. 397.
% lb., p. .631. § lb., ii. 52.