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THIS tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this prince comprises, at moft, but the last eight years of his time; for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477; and clofes with the death of Richard at Bofworth field, which battle was fought on the 22d of Auguft, in the year 1485. THEOBALD.

It appears that several dramas on the prefent fubject had been written before Shakspeare attempted it. This play was firft entered at Stationers' Hall by Andrew Wife, Oct. 20, 1597, under the title of The Tragedie of King Richard the Third, with the Death of the Duke of Clarence. Before this, viz. Aug. 15th, 1586, was entered, A Tragical report of King Richard the Third, a Ballad. It may be neceffary to remark that the words, fong, ballad, book, enterlude and play, were often fynonymously used. STEEVENS.

This play was written, I imagine, in the fame year in which it was first printed,-1597. The Legend of King Richard III. by Francis Seagars, was printed in the first edition of The Mirrour for Magifirates, 1559, and in that of 1575, and 1587, but Shakspeare does not appear to be indebted to it. In a subsequent edition of that book printed in 1610, the old legend was omitted, and a new one inferted, by Richard Nichols, who has very freely copied the play before us. In 1597, when this tragedy was published, Nichols, as Mr. Warton has obferved, was but thirteen years old. Hift. of Poetry, Vol. III. p. 267.

The real length of time in this piece is fourteen years; (not eight years, as Mr. Theobald fuppofed ;) for the fecond fcene commences with the funeral of King Henry VI. who, according to the received account, was murdered on the 21ft of May, 1471. The imprifonment of Clarence, which is reprefented previously in the first scene, did not in fact take place till 1477-8.

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It has been fince obferved to me by Mr. Elderton, (who is of opinion Richard was charged with this murder by the Lancastrian historians ithout any foundation,) that "it appears on the face of the publick Accounts allowed in the exchequer for the maintenance of King Henry and his numerous attendants in the Tower, that he lived to the 12th of June, which was twenty-two days after the time affigned for his pretended affaffination; was expofed to the publick view in St. Paul's for fome days, and interred at Chertsey with much folemnity, and at no inconfiderable expence."


King EDWARD the Fourth.

EDWARD, Prince of Wales, afterwards

King Edward V.

RICHARD, Duke of York,

GEORGE, Duke of Clarence,

Sons to the king.

RICHARD, Duke of Glofter, after-Brothers to the king. wards King Richard III.

A young fon of Clarence.

HENRY, Earl of Richmond, afterwards King Henry VII. Cardinal BOURCHIER, Archbishop of Canterbury.

THOMAS ROTHERAM, Archbishop of York. JOHN MORTON, Bishop of Ely.


Duke of NORFOLK: Earl of SURREY, his fon.
Earl RIVERS, Brother to King Edward's Queen:
Marquis of DORSET, and Lord GREY, her fons.
Earl of OXFORD.

Lord LovEL.




Sir ROBERT BRAKENBURY, Lieutenant of the Tower.
CHRISTOPHER URSWICK, a Priest. Another Priest.
Lord Mayor of London. Sheriff of Wiltshire.

ELIZABETH, Queen of King Edward Iỵ.

MARGARET, widow of King Henry VÍ.

Duchefs of YORK, mother to King Edward IV. Clarence, and Glofter.

Lady ANNE, widow of Edward Prince of Wales, fon to King Henry VI.; afterwards married to the Duke of


A young daughter of Clarence.

Lords, and other Attendants; two Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.

SCENE, England.



London. A Street.



Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious fummer by this fun of York;
And all the clouds, that lower'd upon our house,
In the deep bofom of the ocean bury'd.

Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarumis chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-vifag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now,-instead of mounting barbed steeds,
To fright the fouls of fearful adversaries,-
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

But I,—that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass ;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majefty,
To ftrut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by diffembling nature,
Deform'd, unfinish'd, fent before my time

Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that fo lamely and unfafhionable,

That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them ;—
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pafs away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the fun,
And defcant on mine own deformity :
And therefore, fince I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-fpoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And, if king Edward be as true and just,
As I am fubtle, falfe, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up;
About a prophecy, which fays-that G

Of Edward's heirs the murderer fhall be.

Dive, thoughts, down to my foul! here Clarence comes.

Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY.

Brother, good day: What means this armed guard,
That waits upon your grace?


His majesty,

Tendering my perfon's fafety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause?


Because my name is-George.

Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours ¿
He should, for that, commit your godfathers :-
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,


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