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to produce, with full effect, these mingled emotions of compassion and esteem, than the passages which paint the sentiments and deportment of the fallen monarch. Patience, submission, and misery, were never more feelingly expressed than in the following lines :
“ K. Rich. What must the king do now? Must he submit?
The king shall do it. Must he be depos'd ?
and with what an innate nobility of heart does he repress the homage of his attendants !
“ Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence; throw away respect,
have but mistook me all this while:
Nor does his conduct, in the hour of suffering and extreme humiliation, derogate from the philosophy of his sentiments. In that admirable opening of the second scene of the fifth act, where the Duke of York relates to his Duchess the entrance of Bolingbroke and Richard into London, the demeanour of the latter is thus pourtrayed :
* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xi. p. 108. Act iii. sc. 3.
+ Ibid. vol. xi. p. 98. Act iii. sc. 2. VOL. 11.
inom vand as falling by the hand of Sir Piers of inte hua wollowed the Chronicle of Holinshed; but there
wowok but this unhappy monarch either starved himself minimum of despair, or was starved by the cruelty of his
is in the account which Speed has given us of this tragedy, in die wpieve that we possess, the relation of Polydore Virgil be liinishing can be conceived more diabolical than the conduct of Fatti ad his agents. “ His diet being served in,” says that hisEn la sobida "sud set before him in the wonted Princely manner, hee Widt bde milired either to taste, or touch thereof."
Surely,” adds Yenile in a manner which reflects credit on his sensibility, “hee is Hivis man who at the report of so exquisite a barbarisme, as Richard's Patamishment, feeles not chilling horror and detestation ; what if but liv #justly condemned galley-slave so dying? but how for an Himnointed King whose character (like that of holy orders) is inHeleble?”
Of the secondary characters of this play, « Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,” and his son Henry Bolingbroke, are brought kurward with strict attention to the evidence of history; the chivalric spirit, and zealous integrity of the first, and the cold, artificial features of the second, being struck off with great sharpness of outline, and strength of discrimination.
* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xi. pp. 145, 146. Act v. sc. 2. + Historie of Great Britaine, folio, pp. 766.777. 2d edit. 1623.
12. HENRY THE FOURTH; Part The First: 1596; 13. HENRY THE FOURTH; PART THE SECOND: 1596 :
That both these plays were written in the year 1596, will, we think, appear from consulting the arguments and quotations adduced by Mr. Malone to prove them the compositions of 1597 and 1598, and by Mr. Chalmers with the view of assigning them to the years 1596 and 1597; for while the latter gentleman has rendered it most probable, from the allusions which he has noticed in the play itself, that the First Part was written in 1596, the authorities and citations produced by the former, for the assignment of the Second Part to the year 1598, almost necessarily refer it, strange as it may appear, with only one exception *, and that totally indecisive, to the very same year which witnessed the composition of its predecessor, namely 1596! Influenced by this result, and by the observation of Dr. Johnson, that these dramas appear “ to be two, only because they are too long to be one t, we have placed them under the same year, convinced, with Mr. Malone, that they could not be written before 1596; and induced, from the arguments to which he, and his immeditate successor in chronological research have advanced, though with a different object, to consider them as not written after that period. I
* The exception alluded to consists in a quotation from Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, first acted in 1599, as an authority for supposing the Second Part of King Henry IV. to have been written in 1598; and it is a remarkable circumstance, that both Mr. Malone and Mr. Chalmers have each committed an error in referring to this passage. It is in Act v. sc. 2. where Fastidius Brisk, in answer to Saviolina, says,-“ No, lady, this is a kinsman to Justice Silence," which Mr. Malone has converted into Justice Shallow; while Mr. Chalmers tells us, that “Ben Jonson, certainly, alluded to the Justice Silence of this play, in his Every Man in his Humour."-Vide Reed's Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 288. and Chalmers's Supplemental Apology, p. 331.
+ Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xii. p. 3.
# I have not the smallest doubt but that Meres, in his List of our author's Plays, published in September, 1598, meant to include both parts under his mention of Henry IV.; speaking of the poet's excellence in both species of dramatic composition, he says, comedy, witness his Gentlemen of Verona, &c. &c.; — for tragedy, his Richard II. Richard III. Henry IV.”; and had he recollected the Parts of Henry the Sixth, he would have included them, also, under the bare title of Henry VI.
The inimitable genius of Shakspeare is no where more conspicuous than in the construction of these dramas, whether we consider the serious or the comic parts. In the former, which involve occurrences of the highest interest in a national point of view, the competition, and we may say, the contrast between Percy and the Prince of Wales, is supported with wrivalled talent and discrimination. Full of a fiery and uncontrollable courage, mingled with a portion of arrogance and spleen, generous, chivalric, and open, and breathing throughout a lotiv, and even sublime spirit, Hotspur appears before us a youthful model of enthusiastic and impetuous heroism.
Yet, noble and exciting as this character must be pronounced, notwithstanding the very obvious allor of a vindictive and ungorernalle temper, it is completely overshadowed by that which is attributed to the Prince of Wales; a result which mar, with a perfect conviction of certainty, be ascribed to the combination of two rery powertul causes, - to the rare union, in fact, of great and raried
intellextual energri with the utmost amiability of disposition. Percy has but the virtues and accomplishments of a military adrenturer, for in society he is boisterous, self-willed and unaccommodating; while Henry, to bravery equally gallant and undaunted, adds all the endearing arts of social intercourse. He is gay, witty, gentle, and goodtempered, with such a high relish for humour and frolic as to lead him, through an over-indulgence of this propensity, into numerous scenes of dissipation and idleness, and into a familiarity with persons admirably well calculated, it is true, for the gratification of the most ferile and comic imagination, but who, in every moral and useful light, are altogether worthless and degraded.
From the contaminating influence of such dangerous connections. he is rescued by the rigour of his mind, and the goodness of his heari; for, possessing a clear and unerring conception of the character of Talstaff and his associates, though he tolerate their intimary trom a reprehensible love of wii and humour, he beholds, with a consciousness of self-abasement, the depravity of their principies.
and is guarded against any durable injury or impression from these dissolute companions of his sport.
The effect, however, of this temporary delusion is both in a moral and dramatic light, singularly striking; contemned and humiliated in the eyes
of those who surround him, little expectancy is entertained, not even by the King himself, of any permanently vigorous or dignified conduct in his son ; for though he has, more than
once, exhibited himself equal to the occasion, however great, which has called him forth, he has immediately relapsed into his former wild and eccentric habits. When, therefore, annihilating the gloom which has hitherto obscured his lustre, and shaking off his profligate companions like
dew-drops from the lion's mane,” he comes forward, strong in moral resolution, dignified without effort, firm without ostentation, and consistent without a sense of sacrifice, a denouement is produced, at once great, satisfactory, and splendid.
If the serious parts of these plays, however, be powerful and characteristic, the comic portion is still more entitled to our admiration, being rich, original, and varied, in a degree unparalleled by any other writer.
There never was a character drawn, perhaps, so complete and individualized as that of Falstaff, nor one in which so many contrasted qualities are rendered subservient to the production of the highest entertainment and delight. In the compound, however, is to be found neither atrocious vices, nor any decided moral virtues; it is merely a tissue, though woven with matchless skill, of the agreeable and the disagreeable, the former so preponderating as to stamp the result with the power of imparting pleasurable emotion.
Sensuality, under all its forms, is the vice of Falstaff; wit and gaiety are his virtues.
An ingenious Essay has been lately published by Mr. Luders, in which an attempt is made, with some success, to prove, that the youthful dissipation ascribed to Henry, by the chroniclers, is without any adequate foundation. It is probable, however, that Shakspeare, had he been aware of this, would have preferred the popular statement, from its superior aptitude for dramatic effect.