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The next news is, -I have to London sent
[Presenting a paper. Boling. We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy
pains; And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.
Enter FITZWATER. Fitz. My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London The heads of Brocas, and sir Bennet Seely; Two of the dangerous consorted traitors, That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.
Boling. Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot; Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.
Enter Percy, with the Bishop of Carlisle. Percy. The grand conspirator, abbot of West
doom : Choose out some secret place, some reverend room, More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life; So, as thou liv'st in peace, die free from strife: For though mine enemy thou hast ever been, High sparks of honour in thee have I seen. Enter Exton, with Attendants bearing a Coffin.
Exton. Great king, within this coffin I present Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies The mightiest of thy greatest enemies, Richard of Bourdeaux, by me hither brought.
Boling. Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast
o This play is extracted from the Chronicle of Holinshed, in which many passages may be found which Shakspeare has, with very little alteration, transplanted into his scenes; particularly a speech of the Bishop of Carlisle, in defence of King Richard's unalienable right, and immunity from human jurisdiction.
Jonson, who, in his Catiline and Sejanus, has inserted many speeches from the Roman historians, was perhaps induced to that practice by the example of Shakspeare, who had condescended sometimes to copy more ignoble writers. But Shakspeare had more of his own than Jonson; and, if he sometimes was willing to spare his labour, showed by what he performed at other times, that his extracts were made by choice or idleness rather than necessity.
This play is one of those which Shakspeare has apparently revised; but as success in works of invention is not always proportionate to labour, it is not finished at last with the happy force of some other of his tragedies, nor can be said much to affect the passions, or enlarge the understanding. Johnson.
The notion that Shakspeare revised this play, though it has long prevailed, appears to me extremely doubtful; or, to speak more plainly, I do not believe it. MALONE.