Page:Richard II (1921) Yale.djvu/135

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
King Richard the Second
123
 

man, preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (Shakespearean excerpts reprinted in Trans. New Shakspere Society, 1875–1878, App. II.), refers to a play of Richard II, acted at the Globe Theater, April 30, 1611; unlike Shakespeare's, it began with Wat Tyler's rebellion and concerned itself with the machinations of the barons during Richard's tutelage. It seems to have been completely lost. Again, on the eve of the Essex rebellion (February 8, 1601), 'the play of deposing King Richard II' was performed before the conspirators. One of them, Sir Gilly Merrick, got Shakespeare's company to put it on, after a payment of a bonus of forty shillings to overcome their objection that 'the play was old and that they should have a loss in playing it, because few would come to it.' Camden refers to it as 'exoletam tragoediam.' In spite of the fact that Shakespeare's Richard II, printed in quarto four times in ten years, is ill described as obsolete, the probabilities are in favor of its being the play concerned. It may well be that the players, reluctant to offend either Essex or the Queen, offered unpopularity as an excuse for demanding an extra sum as insurance against prosecution. Finally, there exists another play, A Tragedy of Richard II, concluding with the Murder of the Duke of Gloster at Calais, in a manuscript of about 1600, privately printed by Halliwell-Phillips in 1870, and reprinted in Shakespeare Jahrbuch, XXXV. 3–121. This is a rather crude play in a style between Greene's and Kyd's, dealing with Richard II's reign from his betrothal to Anne of Bohemia in 1382 to the murder of Gloucester in 1397. The German editor thinks, with good reason, that it was earlier than Richard II and unconnected with it. The hypothesis that it forms a 'first part' of Shakespeare's Richard II, written afterward, or continued by him, is disposed of by the following anomalies: (1) the death of the favorite, Green, who