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Richard now avows, in the play, his treacherous plans for setting King Edward and Clarence at variance, “ Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.” And the result of these plots soon appears, when there “enter Clarence, guarded, and Brackenbury," who was lieutenant of the Tower, and Richard persuades his brother that his misfortunes are owing to the queen and her relations, through whose influence Lord Hastings also had been sent to the Tower, and subsequently released, on making an humble supplication to her.
The incarceration of Clarence is misplaced ; it did not occur until the year 1478, whereas it is placed by our poet in 1471. The story of the G is from Holinshed, * and is to be found in Rous.t But I do not find, even in Holinshed, the insinuation that Edward's jealousy of Clarence, and his consequent proceedings, were brought about or fomented
* Hul., 346 ; Hall, 326. + P.215.
by Gloucester. It is one of the instances which abound in the play, of that which may, indeed, be almost deemed its design, the blackening of the character of the king, whom the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth had dethroned. It is true that there was jealousy between Edward's two brothers. It arose out of an event which Shakspeare places after the imprisonment of Clarence, namely, the marriage of Richard with the widow of Prince Edward,* sister to the Duchess of Clarence. We have seen,t on the occasion of the first marriage of this lady, how jealous Clarence was of a participation in the inheritance of Neville : this jealousy was now removed, but even supposing (for which there is no reason) that the angry feeling was the more violent on the part of the brother whose marriage occasioned it, his interest in the cause of quarrel was not promoted by the death of Clarence five years afterwards.
Not even Sir Thomas More, who is so much relied upon by those who have the worst opinion of Richard, imputes to him the disfavour or death of Clarence.
* Relying upon the authority given by Lingard (v. 201), I have considered Anne as married to Prince Edward, but I am not quite satisfied. The Croyland Continuation says only that she was betrothed, p. 553.
+ P. 68. See Lingard, 226, and Fenn, ii. 91, 127.
It is remarkable that Shakspeare, while he introduces Gloucester courting the widowed Anne in the public streets, when attending the funeral of her father-in-law, had not heard the circumstances of the marrriage, as related by a cotemporary. This writer tells us, that Clarence concealed his sister-in-law from the pursuit of Gloucester, but that she was at last discovered in London, in the disguise of a cook-maid,* and then placed in sanctuary. How Anne was induced to assume this disguise,—whether Richard had any difficulty in persuading her to marry him, not any where appears.
Although the marriages of the fifteenth century – perhaps, the women of that time - are not to be judged by our present notions, I cannot but regard this marriage of Anne as a material point in the evidence which disproves Gloucester's part in the death of Prince Edward and King Henry.
We have now the queen and her relatives, Riverst and Grey,I lamenting the illness of King Edward, and speculating upon the probable consequences of his death, and especially the protectorship of Gloucester. The company is enlarged by the arrival of
* Croyl. Cont., 557. † Anthony Widville, the queen's brother. Banks, iii. 316. | Richard Grey, the queen's son. Banks, iii, 258.
Buckingham* and Stanley ;t to whose compli-
To your good prayer will scarcely say Amen :
I hate not you for her proud arrogance." · I do not know of any ground for the queen's imputation of peculiar hostility to the Countess of Richmond, other than her connexion with the house of Lancaster. She was the daughter of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and wife, first of Edmund, Earl of Richmond, then of Sir Henry Stafford, g and now of Lord Stanley.
Gloucester enters, in company with Hastings and Dorset, || and breaks forth against the queen's relatives :“ They do me wrong, and I will not endure it. Who are they that complain unto the king, That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly, * Henry Stafford, son of him who was killed at Northampton, see p. 6.
+ Thomas Stanley, second Lord Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby; lineal ancestor of the present earl. Collins, iii. 58.
See yol. i. p. 231. § Of the family of the Duke of Buckingham. || Thomas Grey, the queen’s son by her first husband. He was Lord Ferrers, of Groby, by inheritance, and created Marquis of Dorset by Edward IV. Banks, ii. 191 ; iii. 258.
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
By silken, sly, insinuating jacks ?” It may be doubted, whether this pretension to a rugged manner, and an inaptitude to the arts of cajolery, is quite consistent with the wooing of the Princess Anne, which has been described.
More's narrative ascribes to Richard the arts of dissimulation :
“ He was malicious, wrathful, and envious......... Free was he called of dispense, and somewhat above his power liberal ; with large gifts he gat him unsteadfast friendship, for which he was fain to pill and spoil in other places, and get him steadfast hatred. He was close and secret, a deep dissembler, lowly of countenance, arrogant of heart, outwardly companionable where he inwardly hated, not letting to kiss whom he thought to kill, despicious and cruel, not for evil will alway, but ofter for ambition, and either the surety or increase of his estate."'*
Richard now throws off all restraint, and scolds at the Widvilles and the queen herself, laying par