Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

THE following SUMMARY ACCOUNT* of the times and places of the feveral battles fought between the two houses of York and Lancaster, and of the numbers killed on both fides, is given by Truffel, at the end of his Hiftory of England, a book of little value, but in matters of this kind tolerably correct. I have compared his account with our earliest historians, and in fome places corrected it by them.

1. THE BATTLE OF SAINT ALBANS, fought on the 23d of May 1455, between Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and King Henry VI. In this battle the Duke of York was victorious, and Henry was taken prifoner.

KILLED, on the royal fide 5041, (among whom were Edmond Duke of Somerfet, Henry Earl of Northumberland, Humphrey Earl of Stafford, and Thomas Lord Clifford ;) on the fide of the Duke of York, 600. TOTAL-5641.

2. THE BATTLE OF BLOARHEATH in Shropshire, fought on the 30th of September 1459, between James Lord Audley on the part of King Henry, and Richard Nevil Earl of Salisbury on the part of the Duke of York; in which battle Lord Audley was flain, and his army defeated.

KILLED-2411.

3. THE BATTLE OF NORTHAMPTON, 20th of July, 1460, between Edward Plantagenet, Earl of March, eldest son of the Duke of York, and Richard Nevil Earl of Warwick, on the one fide, and King Henry on the other; in which the Yorkifts were victorious.

KILLED-1035, among whom were John Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury, Humphrey Duke of Buckingham, and Sir William Lucy.

4. THE BATTLE OF WAKEFIELD, December 30, 1460, between Richard Duke of York and Queen Margaret; in which the Duke of York was defeated.

KILLED-2801, among whom were the Duke of York, Edmond Earl of Rutland his fecond fon, Sir John and Sir Hugh Mortimer, his base uncles, and the Earl of Shrewsbury. Richard Nevil Earl of Salisbury was in this battle taken prisoner, and afterwards beheaded at Pomfret.

5. THE BATTLE OF MORTIMER'S CROSS, in Herefordshire,

* Mr. Ritfon, among his Remarks, 1783, p. 130, has alfo enumerated the following battles, &c. but as Mr. Malone's fubfequent account of the fame occurrences is the more ample of the two, I have adopted it.

STEEVENS.

on Candlemas-day, 1460-1, between Edward Duke of York, on the one fide, and Jasper Earl of Pembroke, and James Butler Earl of Wiltshire, on the other; in which the Duke of York was victorious.

KILLED-3800, among whom was Sir Owen Tuther or Tudors, who married Queen Katharine, the widow of King Henry V.

6. THE SECOND BATTLE OF SAINT ALBANS, February 17,. 1460-1, between Queen Margaret on the one fide, and the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Warwick on the other; in which the Queen obtained the victory.

KILLED 2303; among whom was Sir John Grey, a Lancas trian, whofe widow, Lady Grey, afterwards married King Edward the Fourth.

7. THE ACTION AT FERRYBRIDGE, in Yorkshire, March 38, 1461, between Lord Clifford on the part of King Henry, and the Lord Fitzwalter on the part of the Duke of York.

KILLED 230, among whom were Lord Fitzwalter, John Lord Clifford, and the baftard fon of the Earl of Salisbury.

8. THE BATTLE OF TOWTON, four miles from York, PalmSunday, March 29, 1461, between Edward Duke of York and King Henry; in which King Henry was defeated.

KILLED-37,046, among whom were Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Lords Nevil, Beaumond, Willoughby, Wells, Roos, Gray, Dacres, and Fitzhugh. The Earl of Devonshire was taken prisoner, and foon afterwards beheaded at York.

9. THE BATTLE OF HEDGELEY MOOR, in Northumberland, April 29, 1463, between John Nevil Viscount Montague, on the part of King Edward IV. and the Lords Hungerford and Roos on the part of King Henry VI: in which the Yorkists were

victorious.

KILLED-108, among whom was Sir Ralph Percy.

10. THE BATTLE OF HEXHAM, May 15, 1463, between Viscount Montague and King Henry, in which that King was defeated.

KILLED-2024. Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerfet, and the Lord Roos and Hungerford, fighting on the fide of King Henry, were taken prifoners, and foon afterwards beheaded.

11. THE BATTLE OF HEDGECOTE, four miles from Banbury, July 25, 1469, between William Herbert Earl of Pembroke, on the part of King Edward, and the lords Fitzhugh and Latimer,

and Sir John Conyers, on the part of King Henry; in which the Lancaftrians were defeated.

KILLED-5009. The Earl of Pembroke and his brother, Richard Widville Earl of Rivers, father to King Edward's Queen, Sir John Widville, John Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, the Lords Willoughby, Stafford, and Wells, were taken prisoners, and foon afterwards beheaded.

13. THE BATTLE OF STAMFORD, in Lincolnshire, October 1, 1469, between Sir Robert Wells and King Edward; in which the former was defeated and taken prifoner. The vanquished who fled, in order to lighten themselves threw away their coats, whence the place of combat was called Lofecoatfield.

KILLED-10,000.

14. The Battle of BARNET, on Eafter-Sunday, April 14, 1471, between King Edward on one fide, and the Earl of Warwick, the Marquis of Montague, and the Earl of Oxford, on the part of King Henry VI. in which the Lancaftrians were defeated.

KILLED 10,300; among whom were the Earl of Warwick, the Marquis of Montague, the Lord Cromwell, and the fon and heir of Lord Say.

In a letter which was written at London four days after the battle of Barnet, the total number killed on both fides is faid to have been "more than a thousand." Pafion Letters, Vol. II. p. 65. Fabian, the nearest contemporary historian, says

1500.

The custom among our old writers of using Arabick numerals, has been the cause of innumerable errors, the careleffness of a tranfcriber or printer by the addition of a cipher converting hundreds into thoufands. From the inaccuracy in the prefent inftance we have ground to fufpect that the numbers faid to have fallen in the other battles between the houses of York and Lancafter, have been exaggerated. Sir John Pafton who was himfelf at the battle of Barnet, was probably correct.

15. THE BATTLE OF TEWKSBURY, May 3, 1471, between King Edward and Queen Margaret, in which the Queen was defeated, and she and her fon Prince Edward were taken prisoners.

On the next day the Prince was killed by King Edward and his brothers, and Edmond Duke of Somerfet beheaded.

KILLED 3,032. Shortly afterwards, in an action between the baftard fon of Lord Falconbridge and fome Londoners, 1092 perfons were killed.

16. THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH, in Leicestershire, Auguft 22, 1495, betweeen King Richard III, and Henry Earl of Richmond,

afterwards King Henry VII. in which King Richard was defeated and flain.

KILLED, on the part of Richard, 4,013, among whom were John Duke of Norfolk, and Walter Lord Ferrers; on the part of Richmond, 181.

THE TOTAL NUMBER of perfons who fell in this conteft, was NINETY-ONE THOUSAND AND TWENTY-SIX. MALONE.

The three parts of King Henry VI. are fufpected, by Mr. Theobald, of being fuppofititious, and are declared, by Dr. Warburton, to be certainly not Shakspeare's. Mr. Theobald's fufpicion arises from fome obfolete words; but the phrafcology is like the reft of our author's ftyle, and fingle words, of which however I do not observe more than two, can conclude little.

Dr. Warburton gives no reafon, but I fuppofe him to judge upon deeper principles and more comprehenfive views, and to draw his opinion from the general effect and spirit of the compofition, which he thinks inferior to the other historical plays.

From mere inferiority nothing can be inferred; in the productions of wit there will be inequality. Sometimes judgment will err, and sometimes the matter itfelf will defeat the artist. Of every author's works one will be the beft, and one will be the worst. The colours are not equally pleafing, nor the attitudes equally graceful, in all the pictures of Titian or Reynolds.

Diffimilitude of ftyle and heterogeneoufnefs of fentiment, may fufficiently show that a work does not really belong to the reputed author. But in thefe plays no fuch marks of fpuriousness are found. The diction, the verfification, and the figures, are Shakfpeare's. These plays, confidered, without regard to characters and incidents, merely as narratives in verfe, are more happily conceived, and more accurately finished than thofe of K. John, Richard II. or the tragick scenes of King Henry IV. and V. If we take these plays from Shakspeare, to whom shall they be given? What author of that age had the fame eafinefs of expreffion and fluency of numbers?

Having confidered the evidence given by the plays themselves, and found it in their favour, let us now enquire what corroboration can be gained from other teftimony. They are afcribed to Shakspeare by the first editors, whofe atteftation may be received in queftions of fact, however unfkilfully they fuperintended their edition. They feem to be declared genuine by the voice of Shakspeare himself, who refers to the fecond play in his epilogue to King Henry V. and apparently connects the first Act of King Richard III. with the laft of The Third Part of King Henry VI. If it be objected that the plays were popular, and

that therefore he alluded to them as well known; it may be anfwered, with equal probability, that the natural paflions of a poet would have difpofed him to feparate his own works from thofe of an inferior hand. And, indeed, if an author's own teftimony is to be overthrown by speculative criticism, no man can be any longer fecure of literary reputation.

Of these three plays I think the fecond the beft. The truth is, that they have not fufficient variety of action, for the incidents are too often of the fame kind; yet many of the characters are well difcriminated. King Henry, and his Queen, King Edward, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Earl of Warwick, are very strongly and diftin&tly painted,

The old copies of the two latter parts of King Henry VI. and of King Henry V. are fo apparently imperfect and mutilated, that there is no reafon for fuppofing them the firft draughts of Shakspeare. I am inclined to believe them copies taken by fome auditor who wrote down, during the reprefentation, what the time would permit, then perhaps filled up fome of his omiffions at a fecond or third hearing, and, when he had by this method formed fomething like a play, fent it to the printer.

JOHNSON.

So, Heywood, in the Preface to his Rape of Lucrece, (fourth impreffion,) 1630:

"-for though fome have used a double fale of their labours, first to the stage and after to the prefs, for my own part I here proclaim myfelf ever faithful to the first, and never guilty of the laft yet fince fome of my plays have (unknown to me, and without any of my direction,) accidentally come into the printer's hands, and therefore fo corrupt and mangled (copied only by the ear,) that I have been as unable to know them as afhamed to challenge them, this therefore I was the willinger," &c. COLLINS.

There is another circumstance which may serve to strengthen Dr. Johnson's fuppofition, viz. that most of the fragments of Latin verses, omitted in the quartos, are to be found in the folio; and when any of them are inferted in the former, they are shamefully corrupted and misfpelt. The auditor, who underftood English, might be unfkilled in any other language.

STEEVENS.

I formerly coincided with Dr. Johnson on this subject, at a time when I had examined the two old plays published in quarto under the title of The Whole Contention of the Two famous Houfes of York and Lancaster, in two parts, with less attention than I have lately done. That dramas were fometimes imperfectly taken down in the theatre, and afterwards published in a

« PředchozíPokračovat »