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THE action of this play opens just after the first battle of St. Albans [May 23, 1455], wherein the York faction carried the day; and closes with the murder of king Henry VI. and the birth of prince Edward, afterwards king Edward V. [November 4, 1471]. So that this history takes in the space of full sixteen years.

The title of the old play, which Shakspeare altered and improved, is, "The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the Death of good King Kenry the Sixth: with the whole Contention between the Two Houses of Lancaster and Yorke: as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembroke his Servants. Printed at London by P. S. for Thomas Millington, and are to be solde at his Shoppe under St. Peter's Church in Cornewal, 1595." There was another edition in 1600, by the same publisher; and it was reproduced with the name of Shakspeare on the title page, printed by T. P. no date, but ascertained to have been printed in 1619.

The present historical drama was altered by Crown, and brought on the stage in 1680, under the title of The Miseries of Civil War. Surely the works of Shakspeare could have been little read at that period; for Crown, in his prologue, declares the play to be entirely his own composition:

"For by his feeble skill 'tis built alone,

The divine Shakspeare did not lay one stone."

Whereas the very first scene is that of Jack Cade, copied almost verbatim from the Second Part of King Henry VI., and several others from this Third Part, with as little variation.

This play is only divided from the former for the convenience of exhibition; for the series of action is continued without interruption, nor are any two scenes of any play more closely connected than the first scene of this play with the last of the former.-Johnson

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SIR JOHN Mortimer,

SIR HUGH MORTIMER, Uncles to the Duke of York.

HENRY, Earl of Richmond, a Youth.


LORD RIVERS, Brother to Lady Grey. SIR WILLIAM STANLEY SIR JOHN MONTGOMERY. SIR JOHN SOMERVILE. Tutor to Rutland. Mayor of York. Lieutenant of the Tower. Nobleman. Two Keepers. A Huntsman. A Son that has killed his Father. A Father that has killed his Son.


LADY GREY, afterwards Queen to Edward IV.

BONA, Sister to the French Queen.

Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry and King Edwara. Messengers, Watchmen, &c.

SCENE, during part of the third act, in France; during all the rest of the play, in England.




SCENE I. London. The Parliament House.

Drums. Some Soldiers of York's party break in. Then, enter the DUKE of YORK, Edward, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and others, with white roses in their hats.

War. I WONDER how the king escaped our hands. York. While we pursued the horsemen of the north, He slyly stole away, and left his men;

Whereat the great lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat,

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• Cheered up the drooping army; and himself,

Lord Clifford, and lord Stafford, all abreast,

Charged our main battle's front; and, breaking in,

Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.'

Edw. Lord Stafford's father, duke of Buckingham, Is either slain, or wounded dangerous.

I cleft his beaver with a downright blow;

That this is true, father, behold his blood.

[Showing his bloody sword.

Mont. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltshire's


[To YORK, showing his.

Whom I encountered as the battles joined.

1 See the former play. Shakspeare has fallen into this inconsistency

by following the old plays in the construction of these dramas.

Rich Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.' [Throwing down the DUKE of SOMERSET's


*York. Richard hath best deserved of all my


What, is your grace dead, my lord of Somerset ?
Norf. Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt!
Rich. Thus do I hope to shake king Henry's head
War. And so do I.-Victorious prince of York,
Before I see thee seated in that throne
Which now the house of Lancaster usurps,
I vow by Heaven, these eyes shall never close.
This is the palace of the fearful king,

And this the regal seat: possess it, York;
For this is thine, and not king Henry's heirs'.

York. Assist me then, sweet Warwick, and I will; For hither we have broken in by force.

Norf. We'll all assist you; he that flies shall die. York. Thanks, gentle Norfolk.-Stay by me, my


And, soldiers, stay, and lodge by me this night.
War. And, when the king comes, offer him no vio-


• Unless he seek to thrust you out by force.


[They retire. *York. The queen, this day, here holds her parlia


But little thinks we shall be of her council.

*By words or blows here let us win our right.
Rich. Armed as we are, let's stay within this house.
War. The bloody parliament shall this be called,
Unless Plantagenet, duke of York, be king;
And bashful Henry deposed, whose cowardice
Hath made us by-words to our enemies.

1 Shakspeare was also led into this anachronism by the old plays. At the time of the first battle of St. Albans, where Richard is represented to have fought in the last scene of the preceding play, he was not one year old; having been born at Fotheringay castle, October 21, 1454. At the time to which the third scene of the present act refers, he was but six years old; and in the fifth act, in which Henry is represented as having been killed by him in the Tower, not more than sixteen and eight months.

York. Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute

I mean to take possession of my right.

War. Neither the king, nor he that loves him best, The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.1 I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown.

[WARWICK leads YORK to the throne, who seats himself.

Flourish. Enter KING HENRY, Clifford, NORTHUMBERLAND, WESTMORELAND, EXETER, and others, with red roses in their hats.

K. Hen. My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits, Even in the chair of state! Belike, he means (Backed by the power of Warwick, that false peer) To aspire unto the crown, and reign as king.Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father;

And thine, lord Clifford; and you both have vowed


On him, his sons, his favorites, and his friends.

North. If I be not, Heavens, be revenged on me! Clif. The hope thereof makes Clifford mourn in


West. What, shall we suffer this? Let's pluck him


My heart for anger burns; I cannot brook it.

K. Hen. Be patient, gentle earl of Westmoreland. Clif. Patience is for poltroons, and such as he; He durst not sit there had your father lived. My gracious lord, here in the parliament Let us assail the family of York.

North. Well hast thou spoken, cousin; be it so. K. Hen. Ah, know you not the city favors them, And they have troops of soldiers at their beck?

Exe. But when the duke is slain, they'll quickly fly

1 Hawks had sometimes little bells hung on them, perhaps to dare the Dirds; that is, to fright them from rising.

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