Ross,” Willoughby, and Northumberland, are correctly placed among the malcontent peers. All these joined Bolingbroke when he landed; and Northumberland had been declared a traitor by Richard, and his estate confiscated, because he refused to join Richard in Ireland. § Young Percy ays that his uncle, Worcester, left the king,

“Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.”

The conversation of these noblemen describes the state of England,and the misgovernment of Richard, -->{

in language quite consistent with the Chronicles; but such as, in the case of King John, Shakspeare appears studiously to avoid. In both cases he freely charges the kings with murder, or intended murder; but in the former he cautiously abstains from characterizing those offences against the nobles and people which led to the combination against the royal authority. He now freely puts into the mouth of malcontent peers—

* This was probably William Lord Roos, of Hamlake, ancestor in the female line of the present Lord de Roos. Banks ii. 445. + William Lord Willoughby, ancestor in the female line of the present Lord Willoughby of Eresby. Banks, ii. 593. f Henry Lord Percy, first Earl of Northumberland of that name, ancestor in the female line of the Duke of Northumberland. Collins, ii. 253. § Turner, ii. 317; Collins, ii. 257.

“Ross. The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes, And lost their hearts; the nobles hath he fined For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts. “Willoughby. And daily new exactions are devised; As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what. *

And Northumberland in plain terms excites his followers to resistance:—

“North. If then we shall shake off our slavish yoke, Imp out our drooping country's broken wing, Redeem from broking pawn the blemish'd crown,

* Act ii. Sc. 1. Hardyng, a contemporary, says (p.347)—

“Great tax aye the king took through all the land,
For which commons him hated free and bold.”

And Stow (p.319), “he compelled all the religious gentlemen and commons to set their seals to blanks, to the end he might, as it pleased him, oppress them severally, or all at once.” Richard had said in Act i. Sc. 4,

“Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters, Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich, They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold.”

Some of the commons paid 1000 marks, some 1000l., and see Hol. ii. 849. Benevolences, I suspect, acquired that name at a later period—voluntary contributions were so called in the time of Henry the Seventh; but Richard made many persons, who were under accusation on account of the former proceedings against his favourites (ancient quarrels), compound for pardon, and pay large sums pro benevolentiá sud recuperandá. Turner, ii. 317. The taxes with which Richard is reproached were all imposed by Act of Pariament: but they nevertheless formed part of the charge against him. See Hume, iii. 41.


Wipe off the dust that hides our sceptre's gilt,
And make high majesty look like itself,
Away with me in post to Ravenspurg.”

This difference between the two plays may be accounted for by the difference of the materials. Nothing is said in the old play of King John, and very little in Holinshed, of the King's offences; whereas those of Richard are repeatedly set forth. still, I cannot help observing, though i know not how to account for it, that the dramatist here dwells upon popular grievances, which, in the other play he treats with contempt, though history has certainly handed down John as, not less than Richard, the oppressor of his people. It is, however, true that Shakspeare has, even in this play, not only much of high-flown loyalty and assertion of the sacredness of the kingly character, but some expressions disrespectful to the commons; yet these latter are put into the mouths of the king's favourites,” and the ministers of his maladministration, whom the poet apparently represents as not undeservedly punished.*

“Bushy. The wavering commons; for their love
Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them,
By so much fills their heart with deadly hate.”

It does not appear in the play, but it is true, * Act ii. Sc. 3. + Act iii. Sc. 1.

that the gentleman who thus treats “the hateful commons,” was their Speaker.”

The Chronicle+ is also followed in the march of Bolingbroke from Ravenspurg to Berkeley Castle, and in his interview with the Duke of York, who soon gave up the notion of opposing him. I suspect too, that York, who, according to our authority, must have been in Bristol T when it fell into the hands of Bolingbroke, did, in fact, negociate with the invader, and preserve a neutrality, but not without a struggle, well described by Shakspeare, between his loyalty and his disgust at the king's misgovernment.

“If I know

How, or which way, to order these affairs,
Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen;–
The one's my sovereign, whom both my oath
And duty bids defend; the other, again,
Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong’d,
Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.”$

# Parl. Hist. i. 221. Hol.

+ Hol. 853. I know not on what authority.

f Lingard says that Sir Peter Courtenay, Governor of Bristol, gave it up to the Duke of York as Regent, but he gives no authority but Walsingham, who does not bear him out; nor do any of the Chronicles which I have searched. That Sir Peter was Governor of Calais appears in Rymer, viii. 83.

T Wals. 554, § Act ii. Sc. 2.

This is addressed to the queen; but Isabel was in truth now a child of eight or nine years old.*

We are told that York was more of sportsman than a politician.

“When all the lords to council and parliament
Went, he would to hunting and also to hawking.”f

Shakspeare makes York a doubtful adherent of Henry; even at a later period.: I do not know whether there is any warrant for this, except in his original hesitation.

Johnson; thinks that the next scene, between the Earl of Salisbury|| and “a Captain,” is out of its place. The scene has little interest, and the question is unimportant, but the transposition which the Doctor suggests would be more conformable to

* Bosw., 53. She is correctly placed with Bushy and Green, but her residence was not in the king's palace, but at Wallingford Castle. Another anachronism consists in mentioning now the death of the widowed Duchess of Gloucester, who died after the accession of Henry. Plashy was Gloucester's seat in Essex.

t Hardyng, p. 340. t At Flint, in Act iii. Sc. 3.

§ Bosw. 86.

| John de Montacute, third Earl of that family. Collins says, but Sir Egerton Brydges denies, that the present Montagus are descended from his brother. If so, there must be a legal claim to the old earldom ; but it was given to the Nevilles, descendants in the female line. Salisbury was certainly an adherent of Richard.

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