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should have added that, subsequently to the 8th of Edward III., when a taxation was made upon all the cities, towns, boroughs, &c., by compositions, the fifteenth became a sum crtain, namely, the fifteenth part of their then existing value. The distinction between the taxes called fifteenths and tenths (quindismes and dismes), and the subsidy, in later times, Camden expresses thus :-"A fifteen and a tenth (that I may note it for forrainers' sakes) is a certain taxation upon every city, borough, and town; not every particular man, but in general in respect of the fifteenih part of the wealth of the place. A subsidy we call that which is imposed upon every man, being cessed by the powle, man by man, according to the valuation of their goods and lands."


(1) SCENE VI.-0, God forgire my sins, and pardon thee. The circumstances attending the death of Henry VI. are involved in deep obscurity. The balance of testimony supports the popular tradition that he was murdered on the night of Edward's entry into London, 21st May, 1471 :-" And the same nughte that Kynge Edwarde came to Londone, Kynge llerry, beynge inwarde in presone in the Toure of Londone, was putt to dethe, the xxj. day of Maij, on a tywesday nyght, betwyx xj. and xij. of the cloke, beynge thenne at the Toure the Duke of Gloucetre, brothere to Kynge Edwarde, and many other; and one the morwe he was chestyde and brought to Paulys, and his face was opyne that every manne myghte see hyme; and in hys lyinge he bledde one the pament ther; and afterward at the Blake Fryres was broughte, and ther he hlede new and fresche; and from thens he was caryed to Chyrchsey abbey in a bote, and burved there in oure Lady chapelle."

Dr. Warkworth, whose chronicle furnishes the above extract, was a contemporary writer, Master of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, from 1473 to 1498, and a man of learning and ability. Fabyan, a citizen of London in the time of Henry the Seventh, is more explicit :-““Of the death of this Prynce dyverse tales were tolde: but the most common fame wente, that he was stykked with a dagger by the handes of the Duke of Gloucester.”

On the other hand, the Yorkist party contended that the deposed monarch died of grief and melancholy:-" In every party of England, where any commotion was begonne for kynge Henry's party, anone they were rebuked, so that it appered to every mann at eye the sayde partie was extinete and repressed for evar, without any mannar hope of agayne quikkening: utterly despaired of any maner of hoope or relere. The certaintie of all whiche came to the knowledge of the sayd Henry, Inte called Kyng, being in the Tower of London; not havynge, afore that, knowledge of the saide matars, he toke it to so great dispite, ire, and indingnation, that, of pure displeasure, and melencoly, he dyed the xxiij day of the monithe of May. Whom the kynge dyd to be browght to the friers prechars at London, and there, his funerall service donne, to be caried, by watar, to an Abbey upon Thamys syd, xvj myles from London, called Chartsey, and there honorably enteryd.”- Arrivall of Eduard Il'.




“SHAKSPEARE's choice fell first on this period of English history, so full of misery and horrors of every kind, because the pathetic is naturally more suitable than the characteristic to a young poet's mind. We do not yet find here the whole maturity of his genius, yet certainly its whole strength. Careless as to the apparent unconnectedness of contemporary events, he bestows little attention on preparation and development: all the figures follow in rapid succession, and announce themselves emphatically for what we ought to take them ; from scenes where the effect is sufficiently agitating to form the catastrophe of a less extensive plan, the poet perpetually hurries us on to catastrophes still more dreadful.

" The First Part contains only the first forming of the parties of the White and Red Rose, under which blooming ensigns such bloody deeds were afterwards perpetrated ; the varying results of the war in France principally fill the stage. The wonderful saviour of her country, Joan of Arc, is pourtrayed by Shakspeare with an Englishman's prejudices : yet he at first leaves it doubtful whether she has not in reality a heavenly mission ; she appears in the pure glory of virgin heroism ; by her supernatural eloquence (and this circunstance is of the poet's invention) she wins over the Duke of Burgundy to the French cause ; afterwards, corrupted by vanity and luxury, she has recourse to hellish fiends, and comes to a miserable end. To her is opposed Talbot, a rough iron warrior, who moves us the more powerfully, as, in the moment when he is threatened with inevitable death, all his care is tenderly directed to save his son, who performs his first deeds of arms under his eye. After Talbot has in vain sacrificed himself, and the Maid of Orleans has fallen into the hands of the English, the French provinces are completely lost by an impolitic marriage ; and with this the piece ends. The conversation between the aged Mortimer in prison, and Richard Plantagenet, afterwards Duke of York, contains an exposition of the claims of the latter to the throne : considered by itself, it is a beautiful tragic elegy.

“ In the Second Part, the events more particularly prominent are the murder of the honest Protector, Gloucester, and its consequences; the death of Cardinal Beaufort ; the parting of the Queen from her favourite Suffolk, and his death by the hands of savage pirates ; then the insurrection of Jack Cade under an assumed name, and at the instigation of the Duke of York. The short scene where Cardinal Beaufort, who is tormented by his conscience on account of the murder of Gloucester, is visited on his death-bed by Henry VI., is sublime beyond all praise. Can any other poet be named who has drawn aside the curtain of eternity at the close of this life with such overpowering and awful effect? And yet it is not mere horror with which the mind is filled, but solemn emotion ; a blessing and a curse stand side by side ; the pious King is an image of the heavenly mercy which, even in the sinner's last moments, labours to enter into his soul. The adulterous passion of Queen Margaret and Suffolk is invested with tragical dignity, and all low and ignoble ideas carefully kept out


of sight. Without attempting to gloss over the crime of which both are guilty, without seeking to remove our disapprobation of this criminal love, he still, by the magic force of expression, contrives to excite in us a sympathy with their sorrow. In the insurrection of Cade he has delineated the conduct of a popular demagogue, the fearful ludicrousness of the anarchical tumult of the people, with such convincing truth, that one would believe he was an eye-witness of many of the events of our age, which, from ignorance of history, have been considered as without example.

“ The civil war only begins in the Second Part; in the Third it is unfolded in its full destructive fury. The picture becomes gloomier and gloomier ; and seems at last to be painted rather with blood than with colours. With horror we behold fury giving birth to fury, vengeance to vengeance, and see that when all the bonds of human society are violently torn asunder, even noble matrons became hardened to cruelty. The most bitter contempt is the portion of the unfortunate ; no one affords to his enemy that pity which he will himself shortly stand in need of. With all, party is family, country, and religion, the only spring of action. As York, whose ambition is coupled with noble qualities, prematurely perishes, the object of the whole contest is now either to support an imbecile king, or to place on the throne a luxurious monarch, who shortens the dear-bought possession by the gratification of an insatiable voluptuousness. For this the celebrated and magnanimous Warwick spends his chivalrous life ; Clifford revenges the death of his father with blood-thirty filial love ; and Richard, for the elevation of his brother, practises those dark deeds by which he is soon after to pave the way to his own greatness. In the midst of the general misery, of which he has been the innocent cause, King Henry appears like the powerless image of a saint, in whose wonder-working influence no man any longer believes : he can but sigh and weep over the enormities which he witnesses. In his simplicity, however, the gift of prophecy is lent to this pious king: in the moment of his death, at the close of this great tragedy, he prophesies a still more dreadful tragedy with which futurity is pregnant, as much distinguished for the poisonous wiles of coldblooded wickedness as the former for deeds of savage fury.”-SCHLEGEL.




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