Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

" with at any time, he passed them over without the least " Thought of Resentment or Revenge. As Homer had

a Zoilus, so Mr. Rowe had sometimes his: For there

were not wanting Malevolent People, and Pretenders “ to Poetry too, that would now and then Bark at his “ best Performances; but he was so much conscious of “ his own Genius, and had so much good Nature as to “ forgive them, nor could he ever be Tempted to retura 46 them an Answer.” p. XXIV.

“ He dy'd like a Christian and a Philosopher, in " Charity with all Mankind, and with an absolute “ Resignation to the Will of God. He kept up his good “ Humour to the last, and took leave of his Wife and “ Friends, immediately before his last Agony, with the

same Tranquility of Mind, and the same Indifference “ for Life, as tho’ he had been upon taking but a short 66 Journey. He was twice Married, first to a Daughter 66 of the Deceased Mr. Persons, one of the Auditors of " the Revenue, and afterwards to a daughter of Mr. Devenish of a good Family in Dorsetshire: By the “ first he had a Son, and by the second a Daughter, both

yet living.” p. xxv.

Pope wrote an Epitaph upon Rowe which is not affixed to his monument, but is printed in Pope's Works.

The Tragedy of JANE SHORE, from its name, from the Dramatis. Personæ, most of whom are to be found in Shakspeare's Richard the III., and from the author's professing in the Prologue, that it is taken from the Old Ballad of Jane Shore, might be supposed to be an Historical Play; but, in fact, it ought to be considered merely as a stage performance, not being conformable to historic truth, but varying widely from it. The following dates will set this matter in a clear light. King Edward the IV th died April the 9th, 1483, in

the 42d year of his age. The Young Princes arrived in London May the 4th in Anthony Earl Rivers, Lord Richard Gray and Sir

the same year.

Thomas Vaughan were beheaded at Pomfret June 13. Lord Hastings was beheaded on the same day, which

was the day on which the Council was held to de

termine on the coronation. Richard was crowned July 6. A proclamation was issued by Richard against Thomas

Marquis of Dorset, accusing him of adultery with

Jane Shore, Oct. 23. And Jane Shore's penance was probably about the same

time. Richard the third died August 22, 1485. Jane Shore was alive when Sir Thomas More wrote his

History of Richard the IIId. in 1513. Walpole and Granger say that she lived to the 18th of

Henry the VIIIth. He came to the throne in 1509, consequently she died 1527, 44 years after the death of Lord Ilastings.*

* There are at least three Postraits of Jane Shore extant. The first is in the Provost's lodge at Eton, of which Horace Walpole, io his Anecdotes of Painting in England, (Vol. 1. p. 44.) observes, that it is " probably an original, as her confessor was Provost of " that College, and by her intercession recovered their lands, of

which they had been despoiled, as having owed their foundation to“ Edward's competitor." 'From this there is a large 410, mezzotinto print by John Faber. The print is dated 1483, in. M.S. see Granges's Biographical History of England, Vol. 1. p. 49.

The second is in the gallery of the Provost's lodge at King's College, to which she is also considered as a benefactress from her jotercession with Edward in their behalf.

The third was in the possession of the late Dr. Peckard, master of Magdalen College, Cambridge, but is not in the lodge of that College

From the two last-mentioned pictures there are engravings hy Bartolozzi in Harding's Shakspeare Ilustrated. These Portraits appear to have been taken at about the age of two or three and twenty, and if that in the Provost's lodge at Etoo be similar to that in the lodge at King's, and the M. S. daie mentioned by Granger be a date on the picture, then she would have been born about the year 1460, and would have been 67 at the time of her death.

According to these dates, her age at the time of this play, is that of the picture, yet she says, A. 1. $. 11.

My form, alas! has long forgot 10 please; &c. and again she says to Hastings, A. 11.

Nor turn your eyes this way, where sin and misery,
Like loathsome weeds, have over-run the soil, .
And the destroyer, Shame, bas laid all wiste.

now.

For farther particulars of these events the reader is referred to the very ingenious and interesting Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third. By Mr. Horace WALPOLE, the late Lord Orford. Where he will see that it is probable that the penance of Jane Shore is not to be imputed to Richard, and that there is some reason to think that Jane Shore was divorced from her husband.

In The Ballad (which is in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Vol. II.) Jane Shore is represented as having married at the instigation of her friends and contrary to her wishes; and that, on her becoming the mistress of Edward, her husband left her and died abroad. No mention is made of Hastings, nor of her having criminal intercourse with any one after the death of Edward. A Mrs. Blague is introduced, to whom she kad intrusted her jewels, and who denied them to her again in her distress; she, however, denied them only from a motive of covetousness, Alicia denied them in her madness and hatred to her supposed rival. It appears therefore that, in the play, the attributing to Hastings the seduction of a woman of noble birth is the calumny of the author. * There is a character mentioned in the ballad similar to that of Belmour,

the rest,

66 But yet one friend among
" Whom I before had seen distrest,
" And sav'd his life, condemn'd to die,
“ Did give me food to succour me:

« 12mo.

* The Biographia Dramatica on this play says, that “ the author " in the plot of it has in great measure followed the History of this “ unhappy fair one, as related in a Collection of Novels in 6 vols.

This History I have not been able to see. Only some odd volumes of these Select Novels by Croxall, the first four pube Jished in 1720, the last two in 1721, are in our Public Library.

If The Life and Death of Jane Shore which is now sold at the Ballad Shops be the same with this Novel, then the Novel very much follows the Ballad, except that Hastings is there made the Pander of Edward the IVth. in procuring him Jane Shore as a mistress, and it also represents her as becoming bis mistress after the death of Edward.

- For which, by lawe, it was decreed
66 That he was hanged for that deed;
56 His death did grieve me so much more,

“ Than had I dyed myself therefore.” Several objections have been made to different parts of this play, which I will now consider.

Mr. Cumberland, in his Critique on Jane Shore, says, “ it is a trick beneath the dignity of tragedy, and too 6 infamous, too ridiculous, for a character of Alicia's “ cast to change Jane Shore's petition, by a slight-of6 hand manæuvre barely passable in a comedy, and make “ Shore give the Duke of Gloster the petition which she “ (Alicia) had drawn up, and which the Duke ought to o have been sure was an imposition upon the petitioner, " and of course not worthy of his serious attention; yet he does

pay

attention to it, and his remark upon

66 it is

6. Should she presume to prate of such high matters, “ The meddling harlot, dear should she abide it.”

This incident appears to me to be by no means forced or ridiculous. Alicia is jealous of J. Shore, and she thinks, that, if she can remove her, she shall again possess Hastings to herself. She, therefore, writes a paper informing Gloster that J. Shore influences Hastings against his plans, and goes to court to get it conveyed secretly to him. Jane Shore also had written a petition to have her property restored to her, and goes to court to present it. Is it improbable that persons in similar circumstances and situations of life should write upon similar

paper

and fold them in a similar manner? J. Shore shews her petition to Alicia, and A., seeing that

their fashions are the same,

» when Gloster comes in and J. Sh. asks for her paper again in a hurry, urged by the malignity and littleness of jealousy, A. gives her the accusation, and J. Sh., not suspecting her friend of treachery, delivers it. Gloster sees that there is some deception; but, as he thinks it must have been practised. from friendly motives towards him, he is glad of the

intelligence and does not inquire into the means by which it came into his hands. How frequently, even in these days, do people thus act upon anonymous letters. Shakspeare in his Henry the VIIIth. has made Cardinal Wolsey send the king by mistake, instead of papers of state, an inventory of all his wealth, which led, amongst other circumstances, to his undoing. This, though not an historical truth as far as relates to Wolsey, really happened to Thomas Ruthall, bishop of Durham. (See Holinshead's Chronicle, Vol. 11. p. 796 and 797. quoted by Mr. Steevens in Malone's Shakspeare, Vol. vii. p. 80. on Hen. VIII. A. 3. S. 11.) I believe that even more extraordinary impositions have been practised on persons, and that, after a person has perused a paper which he was about to sign, a different one has been substituted in its place, and he has signed it.

A more extraordinary circumstance in the play seems to be that of Shore not being discovered by his wife through his disguise. But, when it is considered that she thought him to be in a foreign country, and could not suspect him of taking a step which evinced so much regard for her, how long it was since she had seen him, (see p. 92, Note.) and how much he was altered in that time, it may very well be admitted.*

Mr. C. says (p. xi.)“ the force which Lord Hastings

attempts to put upon her in the common receiving-room " of Alicia's house, open to the whole family, and to “ her in particular, is glaringly inartificial.” How Mr. C. could fall into the mistake of supposing that the scene between J. Shore and Hastings, in the second act, passes in Alicia's house, I am at a loss to account for. The second scene of the first act, in all the copies I have seen, and certainly in that to which Mr. C.'s Critique is prefixed, is stated to be An Apartment in Jane Shore's house; and the second act, where this violence takes place, states.

* In SAERLOCK'S Trial of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, there is a curious anecdote of an English lady and her bro. ther conversing together at a house in Paris for great part of a day: before she discovered who he was. See p. 90. of the edition published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, io 1800.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »