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spired against him. Of the which divers writers affirm the Marquis of Suffolk and the Duke of Buckingham to be the chief, not unprocured by the Cardinal of Winchester and the Archbishop of York.” Human nature, if not history, justifies the jealousy which his lay associates felt of the Cardimal, while they co-operated with him against Duke Humphrey; of whom the prelate's envious feeling is thus expressed :“What though the common people favour him, Calling him Humphrey, the good Duke of Gloucester, Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice, Jesu maintain your royal ercellence / Will God preserve the good Duke Humphrey 2" Whethamstedet has borne testimony to the popularity of Gloucester, and Fabyan tells us that “ for his honourable and liberal demeanour he was surnamed the good Duke of Gloucester.”: Salisbury and Warwick are made, arbitrarily, to take the part of Gloucester, and so apparently does York. This allocation of parts is quite fair in dramatising history; nor, indeed, is the fact contrary to history, though not specifically warranted. “Salis. I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloucester Did bear him like a noble gentleman;
* John Kemp, afterwards Cardinal, Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury. + P. 466. t P. 619.
Oft have I seen the haughty cardinal—
There is sad confusion here as to Warwick. The Warwick of the play is clearly intended to be the younger Neville, son of Salisbury; but he did not attain the title until 1449: Beauchamp, his brother-in-law and predecessor, died in the year of the present scene, 1445, but he it was who had distinguished himself in France, though it was Neville himself who acquired popularity.
“Full fraught was this nobleman with good qualities right excellent and many, all which a certain natural grace did unto all estates so far forth recommend, that with high and low he was in singular favour and good liking, so as (unsought-for) it seemed in authority among them he grew able to command all alone.”
Nor is it without his usual authority that Shakspeare ascribes some part of this lord's popularity to his good table:—
“The Earl of Warwick, as one to whom the commonwealth was much bounden, and ever had in great favour with the commons of this land, by reason of the exceeding household which he daily kept in all countries wherein he sojourned or lay; and when he came to London he kept such a house that sir owen were eaten at a breakfast, and every tavern was full of his meat, for who that had any acquaintance in that house he had as much sod and roast as he might carry upon a long dagger.”
I know not why York in this scene of the play professes his intention of seeming to favour Humphrey; a part of the plot which is soon forgotten.
In prosecution of their schemes against Gloucester, Suffolk and the Cardinal are made the instigators of Hume (or Hum as he is called in the older play) in drawing Eleanor Cobham, the Duchess of Gloucester, into practices of witchcraft and treason.
Holinshed certainly insinuates that the accusation of the Duchess was effected by the enemies of her husband, who had recently preferred fresh charges against Beaufort.f.
* Hol., 301.
+ These are given at length by Hall (197) and Holinshed (198), under the year 1441. Lingard (v. 116) supposes them
“Divers secret attempts were advanced forward this season against the noble man Humphrey Duke of Gloucester a far off, which in conclusion came so near that they bereft him both of life and land, as shall hereafter more plainly appear. For first this year (1441) Dame Eleanor Cobham, wife to the said Duke, was accused of treason, for that she by sorcery and enchantment intended to destroy the King, to the intent to advance her husband unto the crown. Upon this she was examined in St. Stephen's Chapel before the Bishop of Canterbury, and there by examination convict, and adjudged to do penance in three open places within the city of London. Polychronicon saith, she was enjoined to go through Cheapside with a taper in her hand, and after that adjudged to perpetual imprisonment in the Isle of Man under the keeping of Sir John Stanley, knight.* The matter laid against them [for Bolingbroke and the others are named, as in the play] was, for that they, at the request of the said Duchess, had devised an image of wax representing the King, which, by their sorcery,
to have been presented to the King in 1439. The Chroniclers say that they were referred to the council, which consisted chiefly of ecclesiastics, and therefore nothing came of them ; but I can find in Nicolas no list in which ecclesiastics are the more numerous. For the articles of charge, there is no earlier authority than Hall: he must either have forged them (which is extremely improbable) or have taken them from an older writer or record. Can no antiquary find them? There are other cases of this kind. * See Priv. Coun., vi. 58.
by little and little consumed, intending thereby in conclusion to waste and decay the King's person.” “
For the prophecies which the conjurors extract from their spirits I find no authority. An insinuation that the charge against Eleanor was part of the scheme of “persons near about the King,” is found in Fabyan.'t It certainly came opportunely to bring the Duke into disrepute; but “he bore all things patiently, and said little.”
He made no attempt to save her:
“I cannot justify whom the law condemns;”
and it is possible that he was not very sorry to get rid of a wife who, though probably no witch, was not the most amiable or purest of women. Whatever part Beaufort may have had in this affair, Queen Margaret certainly had none. Though Suffolk in the play announces it to the Queen as a contrivance to get the Duchess out of her way, it really occurred three years before she came to England.: The scene of the dropped fan and the box of the ear, and the descriptive tirade against Eleanor, are imaginary. From respect to the fair critic, I * Hol., 203. + P. 614. Lingard says (v. 118) that Fabyan's ground is, that Margery Jourdain lived near Winchester; but that
is not the ground of Fabyan, who clearly writes from tradition. t Hol., 204, and Grafton, 622.