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mons for the execution of the sentence, I find nothing in the Rolls.
The affair is unconquerably mysterious. No reason is assigned why a parliamentary sentence should be secretly put into execution.
The second act introduces Edward in his last illness, having effected an apparent reconciliation between Rivers and Hastings, * Dorset and Buckingham.
Holinshed + and Sir Thomas More, I both mention the king's dying injunctions to his courtiers to live in amity together; but here is a striking illustration of the nature of historical speeches. The same volume contains two versions of the deathbed oration of King Edward, and there is scarcely a similarity between the two in a single sentence. Either of them would have furnished Shakspeare with the ground of an excellent speech. Gloucester enters, and adds his asseverations of good-will towards the queen's friends; but mentions the death of Clarence, whom Edward professes to have reprieved: “But he, poor man, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear :
* William Hastings, first Lord Hastings, of Ashby-de-laZouche. The Marquis of Hastings is his representative, through a female. + P. 355,
$ In Hol., 363.
Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,
That came too lag to see him buried.” I know of no authority for these contradictory orders. For what follows, there is the authority of Sir Thomas More, who adds to the account of Clarence's execution
“Sure it is, that though King Edward were consenting to his death, yet he both did much lament his unfortunate chance, and repent his sudden execution, insomuch, that when any person sued to him for the pardon of malefactors condemned to death, he would accustomably say, and chiefly speak, 0, unfortunate brother, for whose life not one would make suit! openly and apparently meaning that by some of the means of some of the nobility he was deceived, and brought to his confusion.”
When the Stanley of the play solicits pardon for one of his dependants, who had committed homicide :-“K. Edw. Have I a tongue to doom a brother's death,
And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave ?
Who told me, in the field at Tewksbury,*
Edward dies, t and much time is now taken up in the lamentations of his widow, his mother, and the two children of Clarence. The old Duchess of York, who did in fact live for some years after the * I do not know where Shakspeare found this incident. † April 9, 1483.
accession of Henry VII., joins with the rest in im. puting faults of all sorts to her son Richard ; and he appears in these scenes as a hypocrite and a scoffer. They call for no further observations.
It is now proposed by Buckingham, that the young prince, Edward, should be brought from Ludlow, where he held his court as Prince of Wales, in order to be crowned ; and that he should come “ with some little train” only.
“ Rivers. Why with some little train, my lord of Buck
ingham ? Buck. Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude The new-heald wound of malice should break out, Which would be so much the more dangerous, By how much the estate is yet ungovern'd. Where every horse bears his commanding rein, And may direct his course as please himself, As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent, In my opinion, ought to be prevented.
Glou. I hope the king made peace with all of us, And the compact is firm and true in me.
Rivers. And so in me; and so I think in all. Yet since it is but green, it should be put, To no apparent likelihood of breach, Which haply by much company might be urg'd : Therefore I say, with noble Buckingham, That it is meet so few should fetch the prince.” Gloucester and Buckingham, who is at this time
his devoted humble servant, agree privately toge-
There is no very material variation here from Holinshed and Sir Thomas More. Gloucester and Rivers did not meet immediately on Edward's death; Gloucester was in the north, having been engaged in a campaign against the Scots. Rivers had the care of the prince at Ludlow. It was at first intended that young Edward should be brought up to London accompanied by an imposing force; but Gloucester, or his friends, of whom the chief were Buckingham and Hastings, persuaded the queen that it would be much better for the peace of the country, and for avoiding suspicions, that. the train should be small.
And this account of Sir Thomas More is, generally, supported by contemporary authority. But the small train appears to have been the subject of much debate in the council.*
We have now a scene in which the occurrences of the journey from Ludlow are related to the queen and the Duchess of York, who have with them the Archbishop of York,t and the young
* Croyl, Cont., 565; see Lingard, 238.