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cherous on the part of the king,” the poet takes no notice. Nor does Holinshed mention the king's intended breach of faith in respect of the amnesty. This is one of the instances in which a more minute knowledge of history might have furnished Shakspeare with some good scenes, and further discriminations of character. By placing the negociation with Northumberland at Flint, Shakspeare loses the opportunity of describing the disappointment of the king, when he found himself, on his progress to join Henry at Flint, a prisoner to Northumberland, who had concealed the force by which he was accCompanied. The failure of Northumberland to pay the accustomed respect to the king is not an unimportant matter, because his undertaking that Bolingbroke would, be contented with his own inheritance, as the son and heir of John of Gaunt, leaving the crown on the head of Richard, is a constituent part of the treachery. In the dialogue it is preserved; but not so the stipulations which Bolingbroke made through Northumberland, as to the punishment of the murderers of the Duke of Gloucester, and the redress of other grievances. Holinshed is followed in describing Bolingbroke
* Hol., 856. The fullest account is in Turner, ii. 329-30, chiefly from the contemporary MS. Hardyng, a servant of the Percies (p. 351), represents Northumberland as himself deceived by Henry. See Arch., 240.
as still claiming, even now that the king was in his power, only that which of right belonged to him. Shakspeare chose this version of the story, rather than the more authentic narrative of Stow ; from which, as well as from his authority, we learn that the duke, though he did not at once claim the crown, gave the king to understand that he should take a share in the government.
“Fair cousin of Lancaster,” said Richard, “you be right welcome.”
Then Duke Henry replied, bowing very low to the ground—
“My Lord, I am come sooner than you sent for me, the reason whereof I will tell you:—the common report of your people is such, that you have, for the space of twenty or two-and-twenty years, governed them very badly and very injuriously, and in so much that they are not well contented therewith. But if it please our Lord, I will help you to govern them better than they have been governed in time past.”
King Richard answered him—
From the appearance of his enemies before Flint Castle, the king apparently gave himself up for lost; and Shakspeare is, therefore, justified in putting into his mouth the language of despair:
-- must he lose
My gorgeous palace for an hermitage,
And much more in the same strain. The last mentioned sacrifice was severe, as this king was . celebrated for the richness of his dress.” It was, perhaps, only upon passionate exclamations of this sort that his enemies founded their assertion, to which we shall come presently, of his having at this time promised to resign his crown.
A scene is now devoted to the Queen. The conversation which she overhears between the gardener and his assistants is an invention of the poet, not unworthy of observation. The king's misgovernment and ruin are here attributed to the overgrown power of his favourites.
“Gardener. Go, bind thou up yon dangling apri-
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
* See Bosw., 112. * Act iii., Sc. 4.
The fourth act commences with the accusation of Aumerle in full parliament, by Bagot, for the murder of the Duke of Gloucester. Except in placing this occurrence before the deposition of Richard, the poet has here followed the Chronicle and the Records.”
He has followed them also with sufficient exactness in his account of the submission of Richard after his arrival in London, though I know not
* Hol., iii. 4; and Parl. Hist., i. 283.
why he makes Henry's assumption of the throne precede the resignation of the unfortunate king. Holinshed gives the thirty-three articles,” in which Richard was charged with various acts of oppression and misgovernment, as well as with the injury done to the Duke of Lancaster.
“Divers of the king's servants, which by licence had access to his person, comforted him (being with sorrow almost consumed, and in manner half dead) in the best wise they could, to regard his health and save his life. And, first, they advised him willingly to suffer himself to be deposed, and to resign his right of his own accord, so that the Duke of Lancaster might, without murder or battle, obtain the sceptre and diadem; after which, they well perceived, he gaped, by means whereof they thought he might be in perfect assurance of his life long to continue.”t
The Chronicler is uncertain whether this was friendly advice, or the result of Henry's subornation; but, after some time, being reminded of his supposed promise, Richard “answered benignly, and said that such promise he made, and so to do the same was at that hour in full purpose to perform and fulfil.”
Shakspeare makes York and Northumberland the principal actors here. The former urges him
* For an analysis of these articles, with a very ingenious comment, very much in favour of Richard, see Hume, iii. 41.
t Hol., 861.