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Higgins's INDUCTION is at the head of the Lives from Brutus to the Conquest. Those from the Conquest to Lord CROMWELL's legend written by Drayton and now first added, are introduced by Sackville's INDUCTION. After this are placed such lives as had been before omitted, ten in number, written by Niccols himself, with an INDUCTIONb. As it illustrates the history of this work, especially of Sackville's share in it, I will here insert a part of Niccols's preface prefixed to those TraGEDIES which happened after the Conquest, beginning with that of Robert Tresilian. Hauing hitherto continued the storie from the first entrance of Bryte into this iland, with the Falles of svch PRINCES as were neuer before this time in one volume comprised, I now proceed with the rest, which take their beginning from the Conquest : whose penmen being many and diuerse, all diuerslie affected in the method of this their Mirrour, I purpose onlie to follow the intended scope of that most honorable personage, who by how mvch he did surpasse the rest in the eminence of his noble condition, by so mvch he hath exceeded them all in the excellencie of his heroicall stile, which with golden pen he hath limmed out to posteritie in that worthie object of his minde the TRAGEDIE OF THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, and in his Preface then intituled Master Sackvils INDUCTION. This worthy president of learning intended to perfect all this storie of himselfe from the Conquest. Being called to a more serious expence of his time in the great state affaires of his most royall ladie and soueraigne, he left the dispose thereof to M. Baldwine, M. Ferrers, and others, the composers of these Tragedies : who continving their methode, which was by way of dialogue or interlocvtion betwixt euerie Tragedie, gaue it onlie place before the dvke of Bvckingham's COMPLAINT. Which order I since hauing altered, haue placed the INDUCTION in the beginninge, with euerie Tragedie following according to svccession and ivst compytation of time, which before was not obserued.”
In the Legend of King Richard the Third, Niccols appears to have copied some passages from Shakspeare's tragedy on that history. In the opening of the play Richard says,
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Drayton wrote three other legends on this plan, Robert duke of ormandy, Matilda, and Pierce Gaveston, of which I shall speak more particularly under that writer. b Fol. 555.
Fol. 253. Compare Baldwyne's Pro
logue at fol. cxiv. b. edit. 1559. ut supr.
* [A measure was, strictly speaking, a court-dance of a stately turn; but the word was also employed to express dances in general. Steevens apud Shakspeare. Park.]
To fright the souls of fearfull adversaries,
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute. These lines evidently gave rise to part of Richard's soliloquy in Niccols's Legend.
The battels fought in field before
And set his thoughts upon her wanton lookes.
Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
Tomorrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.e
I thought that all those murthered ghosts, whom I
And 'gainst me gaue a iudgement full of fearef. But some of the stanzas immediately following, which are formed on Shakspeare's ideas, yet with some original imagination, will give the reader the most favourable idea of Niccols as a contributor to this work.
For loe, eftsoones, a thousand hellish hags,
c Act i. sc. 1. e Act v.
d Pag. 753. sc. ult. Drayton has also described these visionary terrors of Ri.. chard. Polyolb. S. xxii. When to the guilty king, the black fore
Most cruelly to death, and of his Wife, and
friend Lord Hastinges, with pale hands prepared
as they would rend Him peacemeal: at which oft he roareth
in his sleep. The Polyolbion was published in 1612.
running night, Appear the dreadful ghosts of Henry and
his Son, Of his owne brother George, and his two
f Pag. 764.
From forth my bed into a place like hell,
Tormented in such trance long did I lie,
About mine eares a buzzing feare still few,
Thus with my guiltie soules sad torture torne
My feare I did conceale, &c.& If internal evidence was not a proof, we are sure from other evidences that Shakspeare's tragedy preceded Niccols's legend. The tragedy was written about 1597. Niccols, at eighteen years of age, was admitted into Magdalene college in Oxford, in the year 1602h. It is easy to point out other marks of imitation. Shakspeare has taken nothing from Seagars's Richard the Third, printed in Baldwine's collection, or first edition, in the year 1559. Shakspeare, however, probably catched the idea of the royal shades, in the same scene of the tragedy before us, appearing in succession and speaking to Richard and Richmond, from the general plan of the MIRROUR FOR MagiSTRATES: more especially, as many of Shakspeare's ghosts there introduced, for instance, King Henry the Sixth, Clarence, Rivers, Hastings, and Buckingham, are the personages of five of the legends belonging to this
6 Pag. 764.
Magdalene Hall, where he was graduated in Arts, 1606. Ibid.
View of Niccols's edition of the Mirrour for Magistrates. High esti
mation of this Collection. Historical Plays, whence.
By way of recapitulating what has been said, and in order to give a connected and uniform view of the MIRROUR FOR MAGISTRATES in its most complete and extended state, its original contents and additions, I will here detail the subjects of this poem as they stand in this last or Niccols's edition of 1610, with reference to two preceding editions, and some other incidental particularities.
Niccols's edition (after the Epistle Dedicatorie prefixed to Higgins's edition of 1587, an Advertisement to the Reader by Niccols, a Table of Contents, and Thomas Newton's recommendatory verses above-mentioned,) begins with an Induction called the Author's INDUCTION, written by Higgins *, and properly belonging to his edition. Then follow these Lives.
Albanact youngest son of Brutusa. Humber king of the Huns. King Locrine eldest son of Brutus. Queen Elstride concubine of Locrine. Sabrina daughter of Locrine. King Madan. King Malin. King Mempric. King Bladud. Queen Cordelia. Morgan king of Albany. King Jago. Ferrex. Porrex. King Pinnar slain by Molucius Donwallo. King Stater. King Rudacke of Wales. King Kimarus. King Morindus. King Emerianus. King Cherinnus. King Varianus. Irelanglas cousin to Cassibelane. Julius Cesar. Claudius Tiberius Nero. Caligula. King Guiderius. Lelius Hamo. Tiberius Drusus. Domitius Nero. Galba. Vitellius. Londric the Pict. Se
Fulgentius a Pict. Geta. Caracallab. All these from Albanact, and in the same order, form the first part of Higgins's edition of the
year 1587. But none of them are in Baldwyne's, or the first, collection, of the year 1559; and, as I presume, these lives are all written by Higgins. Then follow in Niccols's edition, Carausius, Queen Helena, Vortigern, Uther Pendragon, Cadwallader, Sigebert, Ebba, Egelred, Edric, and Harold, all written by Thomas Blener Hasset, and never before printed t. We have next a new titled, “ The variable Fortyne and vnhappie Falles of svch princes as hath happened since the Conquest. Wherein may be seene, &c. At London, by Felix Kyngston. 1609.” Then, after an Epistle to the Reader, subscribed
c Where they end at fol. 108 a.
[Blenerhasset's contributions to this edition had been previously and separately printed in 1578.—PRICE.]
d After p. 250.
R.N. (that is Richard Niccols), follow, Sackville's INDUCTION. Cavyll's Roger Mortimer. Ferrers's Tresilian. Ferrers's Thomas of Woodstock. Churchyard's [Chaloner's] Mowbray. Ferrers's King Richard the Second. Phaer's Owen Glendour. Henry Percy. Baldwyne's Richard earl of Cambridge. Baldwyne's Montague earl of Salisbury. Ferrers's Eleanor Cobham. Ferrers's Humfrey duke of Gloucester. Baldwyne's William De La Poole earl. of Suffolk. Baldwyne's Jack Cade. Ferrers's Edmund duke of Somerset. Richard Plantagenet duke of York. Lord Clifford. Tiptoft earl of Worcester. Richard lord Warwick. King Henry the Sixth. George Plantagenet duke of Clarence. Skelton's King Edward the Fourth. Woodvile lord Rivers. Dolman's Lord Hastings. Sackville's Duke of Buckingham. Collingburne. Cavyll's Blacksmith. Higgins's Sir Nicholas Burdet. Churchyard's Jane Shore. Churchyard's Wolsey. Drayton's Lord Cromwell. All these, (Humfrey, Cobham, Burdet, Cromwell, and Wolsey, excepted,) form the whole, but in a less chronological disposition, of Baldwyne's collection, or edition, of the year 1559, as we have seen above: from whence they were reprinted, with the addition of Humfrey, Cobham, Burdet, and Wolsey, by Higgins, in his edition aforesaid of 1587, and where Wolsey closes the work. Another title then appears in Niccols's edition?, “A Winter Nights Vision. Being an addition of svch Princes especially famovs, who were exempted in the former HISTORIE. By Richard Niccols, Oxon. Magd. Hall. At London, by Felix Kyngston, 1610." An Epistle to the Reader, and an elegant Sonnet to Lord Charles Howard lord High Admiral, both by Niccols, are prefixed 8. Then follows Niccols's INDUCTION to these new livesh. They are, King Arthur. Edmund Ironside. Prince Alfred. Godwin earl of Kent. Robert Curthose. King Richard the First. King John. King Edward the Second. The two Young Princes murthered in the Tower, and King Richard the Third'. Our author, but with little propriety, has annexed “ England's Eliza, or the victoriovs and trivmphant reigne of that virgin empresse of sacred memorie Elizabeth Queene of England, &c. At London, by Felix Kyngston, 1610." This is a title page. Then follows a Sonnet to the virtuous Ladie the Lady Elizabeth Clere, wife to sir Francis Clere, and an Epistle to the Reader. A very poetical INDUCTION is prefixed to the ELIZA, which contains the history of queen Elizabeth, then just dead, in the octave stanza. Niccols, however, has not entirely preserved the whole of the old collection, although he made large additions. He has omitted King James the First of Scotland, which appears in Baldwyne's edition of 1559", and in Higgins's of 1587! He has also omitted, and pro
e That is, from p. 250. f After p. 547.
8 From the Sonnet it appears, that our author Niccols was on board Howard's ship the Arke, when Cadiz was taken.
This was in 1596. See also page 861.
Ending with p. 769.
I Fol. 137 b.