תמונות בעמוד

And bade him chuse what death he would defire : For death was due to him that had prouokt God's ire.

[ocr errors]

But when as none of them he sawe him take,
He to him raught a dagger sharpe and keene,

it him in hand: his hand did quake
And tremble like a leafe of aspin greene,
And troubled bloud through his pale face was seene
To come and goe,' with tydinges from the hart, ,
As it a running messenger had beene.

At last, resolv'd to worke his finall smart
He lifted up his hand that backe againe did start *.

[ocr errors]

The three first books of the FAERIE QUEENE were published in 1590. Higgins's Legend of Cordelia in 1587..

At length the whole was digested anew with additions, in 1610, by Richard Niccols, an ingenious poet, of whom more will be said hereafter, under the following title. " A MIR

ROUR FOR MAGISTRATES', being a true Chronicle-history of ! the untimely falles of fuch unfortunate princes and men of note as haue happened fince the firði entrance of Brute into this Iland

vntill this our age. NEWLY ENLARGED with a las part called a Winter Night's Vision being an addition of such Tragedies especially famous as are exempted in the former Historie, with a poem annexed called ENGLANDS ELIZA. At London, imprinted by Felix Kyngston, 1610 ?.”

1610 ?." Niccols arranged s edition thus. Higgins's INDUCTION is at the head of the ves from Brutus to the Conquest. Those from the conquest LORD Cromwell's legend written by Drayton and now

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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 INDUCTION 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. “ Having hitherto « continued the storie from the first entrance of BRVTE 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 diuerlie affected “ in the method of this their MIRROUR, I purpose onlie to “ follow the intended scope of that most honorable personage, “ who by how much he did surpasse the rest in the eminence of “ his noble condition, by so much he hath exceeded them all in " the excellencie of his heroicall ftile, which with golden pen “ he hath limmed out to pofteritie in that worthic object of his « minde the TRAGEDIE OF THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM, “ and in his Preface then intituled MASTER SACKUILS “ 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 foueraigne, he left the

dispose therof to M. Baldwine, M. Ferrers, and others, the

compofers of these Tragedies: who continving their methode, “ which was by way of dialogue or interlocvtion betwixt euerie • Tragedie, gaue it onlie place before the dyke of Bvckingham's «• COMPLAINT. Which order I Gince hauing altered, haue “ placed the Induction in the beginninge, with euerie Tra“ gedie following according to svecession and ivft computation ** of time, which before was not obserued."

• Drayton wrote three other legends on this plan, Robert duke of Normandy, Ma · Fol. 253. Compare Baldwyne's Protilda, and Pierce Gaveston, of which I fhall logue at fol. cxiv, b. edit, 1559. ut fupr. speak more particularly under that writer,

b fol. 555•

In the Legend of king Richard the Third, Niccols appears to have copied some passages from Shakespeare's Tragedy on that history. In the opening of the play Richard says,

Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments ;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings ;
Our dreadfull marches to delightfull measures,
Grim-visag'd War hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barbęd steeds,
To fright the souls of fearfull adversaries,

capers nimbly in a lady's chamber To the lascivious pleasing of a lute,


hese lines evidently gave rise to part of Richard's soliloquy in Ciccols's Legend.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The battels fought in field before
Were turn'd to meetings of sweet amitie :
The war-god's thundring cannons dreadfull rore,
And rattling drum-sounds warlike harmonie,
To sweet-tun'd noise of pleasing minstralle.

God Mars laid by his Launce and tooke his Lute,
And turn'd his rugged frownes to smiling lookes ;
In stead of crimson fields, warres fatall fruit,
He bathed his limbes in Cypre's warbling brookes,
And set his thoughts upon her wanton lookes *.

of the tent-scene in Shakefpeare is also imitated by Niccols. iard, starting from his horrid dream, says,

C Am i. Sc. i.

d Pag. 7534

LI 2


[ocr errors]

Methought the fouls of all that I had murder'd
Came to my tent, and every one did threat
To morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard'.

So Niccols,

I thought that all those murthered ghosts, whom I
By death had sent to their vntimely graue,
With balefull noise about my tont did crie,
And of the heauens with fad complaint did craue,
That they on guiltie wretch might vengeance haue :
To whom I thought the iudge of heauen gaue eare,
And gainst me gaue a iudgement full of feare'.

But some of the stanzas immediately following, which are formed on Shakespeare'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,
Leauing th' abode of their infernall cell,
Seasing on me, my hatefull body drags
From forth my bed into a place like hell,
Where fiends did naught but bellow, howle and yell,
Who in sterne strife stood gainst each other bent,
Who should my hatefull bodie most torment.


[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Tormented in such trance long did I lie,
... Till extreme feare did rouze me where I lay,
.:: And caus'd me from my naked bed to fie:

Alone within my tente I durft not stay,
This dreadfull dreame my foule did so affray :
When wakt I was from Neepe, I for a space
Thought I had beene in some infernall place.

About mine eares a buzzing feare still flew,
My fainting knees languish for want of might;
V pon my bodie stands an icie dew;
My heart is dead within, and with affright
The haire vpon my head doth stand vpright:
Each limbe about me quaking, doth resemble
A riuers ruth, that with the wind doth tremble.

Thus with my guiltie soules sad torture torne
The darke nights dismall houres I past away:
But at cockes crowe, the message of the morne,
My feare I did conceale, &c .

If internal evidence was not a proof, we are sure from other idences that Shakespeare's tragedy preceded Niccols's legend. he tragedy was written about 1597. Niccols, at eighteen ars of age, was admitted into Magdalene college in Oxford,

the year 1602". It is easy to point out other marks of itation. Shakespeare has taken nothing from Seagars's Rird the third, printed in Baldwine's collection, or first edition, che

year 1559. Shakespeare, however, probably catched the of the royal shades, in the same scene of the tragedy beus, appearing in succession and speaking to Richard and

ag. 764.
egiftr. Univ. Oxon. He retired to

Magdalene Hall, where he was graduated in Arts, 1606. Ibid,


« הקודםהמשך »