Imatges de pÓgina

whence probably the modern French blouse), appears to have been a sort of supertunic or surcoat in vogue about this time; and in winter it is said to have been lined with fur. The common Norman mantle used for travelling, or ' out-of-door exercise, had a capuchon to it, and was called the capa.

The capuchon, or hood, with which this garment was furnished, appears to have been the usual covering for the head; but hats and caps, the former of the shape of the classical Petasus, and the latter sometimes of the Phrygian form, and sometimes flat and round like the Scotch bonnet, are occasionally met with during the twelfth century. The beaux, however, during John's reign, curled and crisped their hair with irons, and bound only a slight fillet round the head, seldom wearing caps, in order that their locks might be seen and admired. The beard was closely shaven, but John and the nobles of his party are said to have worn both beard and moustache, out of contempt for the discontented Barons. The fashion of gartering up the long hose, or Norman chausses, sandal-wise prevailed amongst all classes; and when, on the legs of persons of rank, these bandages are seen of gold stuff, the effect is very gorgeous and picturesque.

The dress of the ladies may best be understood from an examination of the effigies of Eleanor, Queen of Henry II., and of Isabella, Queen of King John, and the figure of Blanch of Castile on her great seal. Although these personages are represented in what may be called royal costume, the general dress differed nothing in form, however it might in material. It consisted of one long full robe or gown, girdled round the waist, and high in the neck, with long tight sleeves to the wrist (in the Sloane MS. above mentioned the hanging cuffs in fashion about forty years earlier appear upon one figure); the collar sometimes fastened with a brooch; the head bound by a band or fillet of jewels, and covered with the wimple or veil. | To the girdle was appended, occasionally, a small pouch or aulmoniere. The capa was used in travelling, and in winter pelisses (Pelices, pelissons) richly furred [whence the name] were worn under it.

King John orders a gray pelisson with nine bars of fur to be made for the Queen. Short boots, as well as shoes, were worn by the ladies. The King orders four pairs of women's boots, one of them to be fretatus de giris (embroidered

with circles), but the robe, or gown, was worn so long that little more than the tips of the toes are seen in illuminations or effigies of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the colour is generally black, though there can be no doubt they were occasionally of cloth of gold or silver richly embroidered.

Gloves do not appear to have been generally worn by females; but, as marks of nobility, when they were worn they were jewelled on the back.

The mantle and robe or tunic, of the effigy of Queen Eleanor, are embroidered all over with golden crescents. This may have been some family badge, as the crescent and star are seen on the great seal of Richard I., and that monarch is said to have possessed a mantle nearly covered with half moons and orbs of shining silver.

The armour of the time consisted of a hauberk and chausses made of leather, covered with ironrings set up edgewise in regular rows, and firmly stitched upon it, or with small overlapping scales of metal like the Lorica squamata of the Ro


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The hauberk had a capuchon attached to it, which could be pulled over the head or thrown back at pleasure. Under this was sometimes worn a close iron skull-cap, and at others the hood itself was surmounted by a 'chapel de fer," or a large cylindrical helmet, flattened at top, the face being defended by a perforated plate or grating, called the "aventaile" (avant taille), fastened by screws or hinges to the helmet. A variety of specimens of this early vizored head-piece may be seen on the seals of the Counts of Flanders in Olivarius Vredius' History; and the seal of Prince Lewis of France (one of the personages of this play) exhibits a large and most clumsy helmet of this description. The seal of King John presents us with a figure of the monarch wearing over his armour the military surcoat as yet undistinguished by armorial blazonry. On his head is either a cylindrical helmet, without the aventaile, or a cap of cloth or fur. It is difficult, from the state of the impressions, to decide which. He bears the knightly shield, assuming at this period the triangular or heater shape, but exceedingly curved or embowed, and emblazoned with the three lions, or leopards, passant regardant, in pale, which are first seen on the shield of his brother, Richard I.

The spur worn at this period was the goad or pryck spur, without a rowel. The principal

weapons of the knights were the lance, the sword, and the battle-axe. The shape of the sword may be best ascertained from the effigy of King John, who holds one in his hand; the pommel is diamond shaped, and has an oval cavity in the centre for a jewel.

The common soldiery fought with bills, long and cross-bows, slings, clubs, and a variety of rude but terrific weapons, such as scythes fastened to poles (the falcastrum), and a sort of spear, with a hook on one side, called the guisarme. The arbalaste, or cross-bow, is said to have been invented in the previous reign, but Ware mentions it as having been known to the Normans before the Conquest. In the close rolls of John is an order, dated 2nd April, 1208, to the bailiff of Porchester, to cause machines for flinging stones, called petrariæ and mango

nelli, to be made for the King's service, and to let Droyo de Dieppe and his companions have iron and other things necessary for making of them. Philip sent to his son Louis a military engine called the malvoisine (bad neighbour), to batter the walls of Dover Castle.

The costume of the following personages of the drama will be found in their portraits which are introduced into the Historical Illustrations: -King John, Queen Elinor, King Philip, Prince Lewis, Blanch of Castile, Salisbury, Pembroke, Henry III. We have, however, endeavoured to give a general impression of the military and priestly costume of the period, in the following group, which refers to the oath taken by the English barons interchangeably with Prince Lewis and his knights,

"Upon the altar at St. Edmund's-Bury."

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THE first edition was published, in 1597, under the title of The Tragedy of King Richard the Second.' Four editions in quarto appeared before the folio of 1623. But all that part of the fourth act in which Richard is introduced to make the surrender of his crown, comprising one hundred and fifty-four lines, was never printed in the age of Elizabeth. The quarto of 1608 first gives this scene.

We scarcely know how to approach this drama, even for the purpose of a few remarks upon its characteristics. We are almost afraid to trust our own admiration when we turn to the cold criticism by which opinion in this country has been wont to be governed. We have been told that it cannot "be said much to affect the passions or enlarge the understanding." It may be so. And yet, we think, it might somewhat "affect the passions," - for gorgeous tragedy" hath here put on her "scepter'd pall," and if she bring not Terror in her train, Pity, at least, claims the sad story for her own. And yet it may somewhat "enlarge the understanding," for, though it abound not in those sententious moralities which may fitly adorn "a theme at school," it lays bare more than one human bosom with a most searching



anatomy; and, in the moral and intellectual strength and weakness of humanity, which it discloses with as much precision as the scalpel reveals to the student of our physical nature the symptoms of health or disease, may we read the proximate and final causes of this world's success or loss, safety or danger, honour or disgrace, elevation or ruin. And then, moreover, the profound truths which, half-hidden to the careless reader, are to be drawn out from this drama, are contained in such a splendid frame-work of the picturesque and the poetical, that the setting of the jewel almost distracts our attention from the jewel itself. We are here plunged into the midst of the fierce passions and the gorgeous pageantries of the antique time. We not only enter the halls and galleries, where is hung

"Armoury of the invincible knights of old," but we see the beaver closed, and the spear in rest-under those cuirasses are hearts knocking against the steel with almost more than mortal rage;-the banners wave, the trumpet sounds-heralds and marshals are ready to salute the victor-but the absolute king casts down his warder, and the anticipated triumph of one proud champion must end in the unmerited disgrace of both. The transition is easy from the tourney to the

battle-field. A nation must bleed that a subject may be avenged. A crown is to be played for, though

"Tumultuous wars

Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound." The luxurious lord

"That every day under his household roof Did keep ten thousand men" perishes in a dungeon;-the crafty usurper sits upon his throne, but it is undermined by the hatreds even of those who placed him on it. Here is, indeed, "a kingdom for a stage." And has the greatest of poets dealt with such a subject without affecting the passions or enlarging the understanding? Away with this. We will trust our own admiration.

It is the wonderful subjection of the poetical power to the higher law of truth-to the poetical truth, which is the highest truth, comprehending and expounding the historical truth-which must furnish the clue to the proper understanding of the drama of 'Richard II.' It appears to us that, when the poet first undertook

"to ope

The purple testament of bleeding war," to unfold the roll of the causes and consequences of that usurpation of the house of Lancaster which plunged three or four generations of Englishmen in bloodshed and misery-he approaches the subject with an inflexibility of purpose as totally removed as it was possible to be from the levity of a partisan. There were to be weighed in one scale the follies, the weaknesses, the crimes of Richard-the injuries of Bolingbrokethe insults which the capricious despotism of the king had heaped upon his nobles-the exactions under which the people groaned

-the real merits and the popular attributes of him who came to redress and to repair. In the other scale were to be placed the afflictions of fallen greatness-the revenge and treachery by which the fall was produced— the heartburnings and suspicions which accompany every great revolution-the struggles for power which ensue when the established and legitimate authority is thrust from its seat. All these phases, personal and political, of a deposition and an usurpation, Shakspere has exhibited with marvellous impartiality.

It is in the same lofty spirit of impartiality which governs the general sentiments of this drama that Shakspere has conceived the mixed character of Richard. If we compare erery account, we must say that the Richard II. of Shakspere is rigidly the true Richard. The poet is the truest historian in all that belongs to the higher attributes of history. But with this surpassing dramatic truth in the 'Richard II.,' perhaps, after all, the most wonderful thing in the whole play-that which makes it so exclusively and entirely Shaksperian-is the evolvement of the truth under the poetical form. The character of Richard, especially, is entirely subordinated to the poetical conception of it-to something higher than the historical propriety, yet including all that historical propriety, and calling it forth under the most striking aspects. All the vacillations and weaknesses of the king, in the hands of an artist like Shakspere, are reproduced with the most natural and vivid colours; so as to display their own characteristic effects, in combination with the principle of poetical beauty, which carries them into a higher region than the perfect command over the elements of strong individualization could alone produce.

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