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ration, and calls himself king, at the instigation of a Sir James Montgomery (who refuses otherwise to join him), Gloucester, and his other friends.
I apprehend that this is the first scene in which
old, ought to have been mentioned. Until this time he was a boy at the court of Burgundy.
We have now once more Henry as king, surrounded by Warwick and other nobles, including Montagu, who, since Edward had expressed apprehensions of his fidelity, had, in fact, been playing rather fast and loose.* Warwick thus appropriately assigns the parts : “ In Warwickshire I have true-hearted friends, Not mutinous in peace, yet bold in war ; These will I muster up :-and thou, son Clarence, Shall stir up, in Suffolk, Norfolk, and in Kent, The knights and gentlemen to come with thee; Thou, brother Montagu, in Buckingham, Northampton, and in Leicestershire, shalt find Men well inclin’d to hear what thou commandest:
Warwick was approaching, and that 6,000 men, who had hitherto worn the white rose, had, at the instigation of Montagu, thrown away that device, and, tossing their bonnets in the air, cried, God bless King Henry. He refers to Croyl. Cont., Comines, Hearne's Fragment, Stow, and Hall. I cannot find the white rose in any one of the passages to which he refers.
* See Restoration, p. 5,7,12; and Leland, 503.
And thou, brave Oxford, wondrous well beloved
Warwick, and all but Exeter, now leave Henry with Exeter alone, to meet the enemy in Warwickshire.
The meek Henry now enumerates his own claims upon his people, as giving him a probability of success : “That's not my fear, my meed has done me fame :
I have not stopp'd mine ears to their demands,
* I do not know why the eastern counties and Kent are assigned to Clarence. The Beauchamps and Nevilles possessed Warwick Castle, as the Grevilles now do. The Montagus have possessions in Northamptonshire, and it is possible that the marquis had some connexion with that property. The De Veres were Earls of Oxford at the time when the title necessarily implied a connexion with the county.
How far the mildness of Henry's character affected his government, or whether justice was promptly administered, I know not; there was certainly no extraordinary grant of subsidies in his reign; but the expenses of the war and his household occasioned great embarrassment in his finances.
He is cut short in this soliloquy by his rival, who enters with troops, seizes Henry, and sends him to the Tower. And the Yorkists, too, proceed to Coventry, to meet Warwick.
But, in truth, the gathering of the two parties in that part of England had taken place without a meeting in the field, before Edward came to London.* Into that city the Yorkist king was admitted by the influence of Archbishop Neville, who deserted the cause which his brother had espoused, and then it was Henry was again made prisoner; though not in the first instance incarcerated, for Edward took him about with his army.
In the fifth act we have all parties assembled near Coventry; the Lancastrians being in possession of the city; and Edward soon appearing before it. Warwick is soon joined by Montagu, Oxford, and Somerset ; but Clarence discards his red rose. One of those impossible dialogues occurs which are, perhaps, unavoidable, in dramatising history accord.
* Lingard, 207, from Leland, ii. 508; and see Restoration, p. 16.
ing to Shakspeare's plan ; in the course of which Gloucester tells Warwick, “ You left poor Harry at the bishop's palace,
And ten to one you'll meet him at the Tower.”
This is wrong: Henry was now at large, and in possession of the government; but had this scene been put before that which precedes it, the history (with this exception) would have been tolerably accurate.
While Warwick held Coventry, a parley took place between Clarence and his brother's party, which ended in leaving Warwick; and it is at least doubtful whether he ever sincerely connected himself with the present views of his father-in-law, in favour of the house of Lancaster. *
It is very reasonable to express his defection from the Lancastrian side, on the stage, by the action of throwing away the red rose. I can hardly believe otherwise than that the inveterate tradition which assigned that badge on the one side, and a white rose to the other, is founded on truth. Yet I am bound to say, that as I could discover no foundation for the dispute in the Temple garden, t which in Shakspeare is the origin of the roses, so neither can I find any authority for the use of the roses themselves, as an especial and popular symbol. So far
as I can ascertain Polydore Vergil* is the earliest and the only Chronicler who mentions the two roses, and his notice is, that they were adopted by the respective partisans of Edward I. and his brother Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, maternal ancestor of the Henries. However this may be, I am assured by the best-informed antiquaries and heralds,t that the two roses, with the colours assigned to them by Shakspeare, were borne by the chiefs of the rival factions, among their heraldic devices; and it is certain that the Tudor kings bore the red and white roses conjoined. But the kings of both houses had other devices, some of which, we have seen, are specially named by writers who are silent about the roses. A passage has been already quoted, which mentions the rose as the Yorkist symbol, and the white rose is mentioned as King Edward's device in an instrument of the first year of his reign. But I find nothing about the red rose, nor anything to show that the living
* P. 320.
+ This is the general result of personal information, referring to Excerpta Historien, p. 160; Archæologia xxi. 14. Retros. Rev., 2d ser., ii. 502; Coll. Topograph. iii. 53, and other works. This information is quite inconsistent with the story of the Temple gardens.
| Pat. 1 Edw. IV., in Anstis, i. 119.