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"The Tragedie of King Richard the second. As it hath beene publikely acted by the right Honourable the Lorde Chamberlaine his Seruants. London Printed by Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules church yard at the signe of the Angel. 1597." 4to. 37 leaves.
“The Tragedie of King Richard the fecond. As it hath beene publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare. London Printed by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules churchyard at the signe of the Angel. 1598." 4to. 36 leaves.
“ The Tragedie of King Richard the Second : with new additions of the Parliament Sceane, and the deposing of King Richard. As it hath been lately acted by the Kinges Maiesties seruantes, at the Globe. By William Shake-speare. At London, Printed by W. W. for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules churchyard, at the signe of the Foxe. 1608.” 4to. 39 leaves.
“ The Tragedie of King Richard the Second : with new additions of the Parliament Sceane, and the deposing of King Richard. As it hath been lately acted by the Kinges Maiesties seruants, at the Globe. By William Shake-speare. At London, Printed for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe. 1615.” 4to. 39 leaves.
In the folio of 1623, “ The life and death of King Richard the Second” occupies twenty-three pages, viz. from p. 23 to p. 45, inclusive. The three other folios reprint it in the same form, and in all it is divided into Acts and Scenes.
On the opposite page we have given the titles of four quarto editions of “King Richard II.," which preceded the publication of the folio of 1623, and which were all published during the life-time of Shakespeare : they bear date respectively in 1597, 1598, 1608, and 1615. It will be observed that the title of the edition of 1608 states that it contains “new additions of the Parliament Scene, and the deposing of King Richard.” The Duke of Devonshire is in possession of an unique copy, dated 1608, the title of which merely follows the wording of the preceding impression of 1598, omitting any notice of "new additions," though containing the whole of them. The name of our great dramatist first appears in connection with this historical play in 1598, as if Simmes the printer, and Wise the stationer, when they printed and published their edition of 1597, did not know, or were not authorised to state, that Shakespeare was the writer of it. Precisely the same was the case with “ King Richard III.," printed and published by the same parties in the same year, and of which also a second edition appeared in 1598, with the name of the author.
We will first speak regarding the date of the original production of “Richard II.," and then of the period when it is likely that the “new additions” were inserted.
It was entered on the Stationers' Register in 1597, in the following manner :
' 29 Aug. 1597. Andrew Wise.] The Tragedye of Richard the Seconde." This memorandum was made anterior, but perhaps only shortly anterior, to the actual publication of “Richard II.," and it forms
1 There is another circumstance belonging to the title-page of the Duke of Devonshire's copy which deserves notice : it states that the play was printed " as it hath been publikely acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine, his seruantes.” The company to which Shakespeare belonged were not called the servants of the Lord Chamberlain after James I. came to the throne, but “the King's Majesty's servants," as in the title-page of the other copy of 1608. This fact might give rise to the supposition, that it had been intended to reprint an edition of Richard II., including “ the Parliament scene,” but not mentioning it, before the death of Elizabeth ; but that for some reason it was postponed for about five years.
the earliest notice of its existence. Malone supposes that it was written in 1593, but he does not produce a single fact or argument to establish his position ; nor perhaps could any he adduced beyond the circumstance, that having assigned “The Comedy of Errors" to 1592, and “Love's Labour's Lost” to 1594, he had left an interval between those years in which he could place not only “Richard II." but “ Richard III.” In fact, we can arrive at no nearer approximation; although Chalmers, in his “Supplemental Apology," contended that a note of time was to be found in the allusions in the first and second Acts to the disturbances in Ireland. It is quite certain that the rebellion in that country was renewed in 1594, and proclaimed in 1595 : but it is far from clear that any reference to it was intended by Shakespeare. Where the matter is so extremely doubtful, we shall not attempt to fix on any particular year. If any argument, one way or the other, could be founded upon the publication of Daniel's “ Civil Wars,” in 1595, it would show that that poet had made alterations in subsequent editions of his poem, in order, perhaps, to fall in more with the popular notions regarding the his. tory of the time, as produced by the success of the play of our great dramatist, Meres mentions “Richard the 2" in 1598.
Respecting the "new additions” of “the deposing of King Richard” we have some evidence, the existence of which was not known in the time of Malone, who conjectured that this scene had originally formed part of Shakespeare's play, and was “suppressed in the printed copy of 1597, from the fear of offending Elizabeth," and not published, with the rest, until 1608?. Such may have been the case, but we now know that there were two separate plays upon the events of the reign of Richard II., and the deposition seems to have formed a portion of both. On the 30th April, 1611, Dr. Simon Forman saw “Richard 2,” as he expressly calls it, at the Globe Theatre, for which Shakespeare was a writer, at which he had been an actor, and in the receipts of which he was interested. In his original Diary, (MS. Ashm. 208,) preserved in the Bodleian Library, Forman inserts the following account of, and observations upon, the
? There might be many reasons why the exhibition of the deposing of Richard II. would be objectionable to Elizabeth, especially after the insurrection of Lords Essex and Southampton. Thorpe’s Custumale Roffense, p. 89, contains an account of an interview between Lambarde (when he presented his pandect of the records in the Tower) and Elizabeth, shortly subsequent to that event, in which she observed, “I am Richard the Second, know you not that ?” Lambarde replied, “ Such a wicked imagination was determined and attempted by a most unkind gentleman, the most adorned creature that ever your Majestie made." “ He (said the Queen) that will forgett God will alsoe forgett his benefactors.” The publication of the edition of 1608, without the mention on the title-page of “ the Parliament Scene, and the deposing of King Richard," might have been contemplated about this date.
plot of the “Richard II.,” he having been present at the representation:
“ Remember therein how Jack Straw, by his overmuch boldness, not being politic, nor suspecting any thing, was suddenly, at Smithfield Bars, stabbed by Walworth, the Mayor of London; and so he and his whole army was overthrown. Therefore, in such case, or the like, never admit any party without a bar between, for a man cannot be too wise, nor keep himself too safe. Also, remember how the Duke of Glouster, the Earl of Arundel, Oxford, and others, crossing the King in his humour about the Duke of Erland (Ireland) and Bushy, were glad to fly, and raise a host of men: and being in his castle, how the Duke of Erland came by night to betray him, with 300 men; but, having privy warning thereof, kept his gates fast, and would not suffer the enemy to enter, which went back again with a fly in his ear, and after was slain by the Earl of Arundel in the battle. Remember, also, when the Duke (i. e. of Gloucester) and Arundel came to London with their army, King Richard came forth to them, and met them, and gave them fair words, and promised them pardon, and that all should be well, if they would discharge their army; upon whose promises and fair speeches they did it: and after, the King bid them all to a banquet, and so betrayed them, and cut off their heads, &c., because they had not his pardon under his hand and seal before, but his word. Remember therein, also, how the Duke of Lancaster privily contrived all villainy to set them all together by the ears, and to make the nobility to envy the King, and mislike him and his government; by which means he made his own son king, which was Henry Bolingbroke. Remember, also, how the Duke of Lancaster asked a wise man whether himself should ever be king; and he told him no, but his son should be a king: and when he had told him, he hanged him up for his labour, because he should not bruit abroad, or speak thereof to others. This was a policy in the Commonwealth's opinion, but I say it was a villain's part, and a Judas' kiss, to hang the man for telling him the truth.
Beware by this example of noblemen and their fair words, and say little to them, lest they do the like to thee for thy good will."
The quotation was first published in “New Particulars regarding Shakespeare and his Works," 8vo, 1836, where it was suggested that this “Richard II.” might be the play which Sir Gilly Merrick and others are known to have procured to be acted the afternoon before the insurrection headed by the Earls of Essex and Southampton, in 1601; (Bacon's Works by Mallet, iv. 320) but in a letter, published in a note to the same tract, Mr. Amyot argued, that "the deposing of King Richard " probably formed no part of the play Forman saw, and that it might actually be another, and a lost play by Shakespeare, intended as a “first part” to his extant drama on the