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honorable death of the hero on the field of battle."-But Shakspeare nas satisfied our moral feelings:-"He shows us Richard in his last moments already branded with the stamp of reprobation. We see Richard and Richmond, on the night before battle, sleeping in their tents; the spirits of those murdered by the tyrant ascend in succession, and pour out their curses against him, and their blessings on his adversary. These apparitions are, properly, merely the dreams of the two generals made visible. It is no doubt contrary to sensible probability, that their tents should only be separated by so small a space; but Shakspeare could reckon on poetical spectators, who were ready to take the breadth of the stage for the distance between the two camps, if, by such a favor, they were to be recompensed by beauties of so sublime a nature as this series of spectres, and the soliloquy of Richard on his awaking." *
Steevens observed that the favor with which the tragedy has been received on the stage in modern times "must in some measure be imputed to Cibber's reformation of it." The original play was certainly too long for representation, and there were parts which might, with advantage, have been omitted in representation, as "dramatic encumbrances;" but such a piece of clumsy patchwork as the performance of Cibber, was surely any thing but "judicious;" and it is only surprising, that the taste which has led to other reformations in the performance of our great dramatic Poet's works, has not given to the stage a judicious abridgment of this tragedy in his own words, unencumbered with the superfluous transpositions and gratuitous additions which have been so long inflicted upon us.
* Schlegel's Lectures on Dramatic Literature, vol. ii. p. 246.
KING EDWARD THE FOURTH.
EDWARD, Prince of Wales, afterwards
RICHARD, Duke of York,
Sons to the King.
RICHARD, Duke of Gloster, afterwards Brothers to the King. King Richard III.
JOHN MORTON, Bishop of Ely.
Duke of Buckingham.
young Son of Clarence.
HENRY, Earl of Richmond, afterwards King Henry VII.
THOMAS ROTHERAM, Archbishop of York.
Duke of Norfolk: Earl of Surrey, his Son.
Marquis of Dorset, and LORD GREY, her Sons.
Earl of Oxford. LORD HASTINGS. LORD STANLEY. LORD LOVEl.
SIR THOMAS VAUGHAN. SIR RICHARD RATCLIFF.
SIR WILLIAM CATESBY. SIR JAMES TYRREL.
ELIZABETH, Queen of King Edward IV.
Duchess of York, Mother to King Edward IV., Clarence, and
LADY ANNE, Widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, Son to King
Lords, and other Attendants, two Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.
KING RICHARD THE THIRD.
SCENE I. London. A Street.
Gloster. Now is the winter of our discontent
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
But I,—that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
1 The cognizance of Edward IV. was a sun, in memory of the three suns which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross.
3 i. e. steeds caparisoned or clothed in the trappings of war. is properly barded, from equus bardatus, Latin of the middle ages.
4 Feature is proportion, or beauty, in general. By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, but nature that puts together things of a dissimilar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body.
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.1
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! 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 person's safety, hath appointed This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause?
Clar. 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, That you shall be new christened in the Tower. But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
1 This is from Holinshed.
As yet I do not.
But, as I can learn,
And, for my name of George begins with G,
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are ruled by
'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower;
Clar. By Heaven, I think there is no man secure, But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds That trudge betwixt the king and mistress Shore. Heard you not what an humble suppliant Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me ;
Glo. Even so? An please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say.
1 The queen and Shore.