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King Edward IV.
Sons to Edward IV.
afterwards King Richard III.
VI. afterwards married to the Duke of Gloster. Dutchess of York, Mother to Edward IV. Clarence,
and Richard III. Sheriff, Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Ghosts, Soldiers,
and other Attendants.
Glo. Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this fun of York”;
Life and Death of King Richard III.] This tragedy, though it is called the Life and Death of this prince, comprizes, at most, but the last eight years of his time; for it opens with George duke of Clarence being clapped up in the Tower, which happened in the beginning of the year 1477; and closes with the death of Richard at Bosworthfield, which battle was fought on the 22d of August, in the year 1485. THEOBALD. It
appears that several dramas on the present subject had been written before Shakespeare attempted it. See the notes at the conclusion of this play, which was first enter'd at Stationers' Hall by Andrew Wise, Oct. 20, 1597, under the title of The Tragedie of King Richard the Third, with the Death of the Duke of Clarence. Before this, viz. Aug. 15th, 1586, was entered, A Tragical report of King Richard the Third, a Ballad. It may be necessary to remark that the words, fong, ballad, book, enterlude and play, were often fynonymoufly used. STEEVENS.
this fun of York ;] Alluding to the cognizance of Ed. ward IV. which was a fun, in memory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross.
And all the clouds, that lowr'd upon our house,
So, in Drayton's Miseries of Queen Margaret :
" Three suns were seen that instant to appear,
" Which this brave duke took to himself alone &c." Again, in the 22d Song of the Polyolbion : " And thankful to high heaven which of his caufe had
care, " Three suns for his device still in his ensign bare.” Again, in the Wrighte's Play in the Chester Collection, M. S. Harl. 1013, the fame prodigy is introduced as attending on a more so. lemn event :
That day was seene veramente
merry meetings,] So, in The tragical Life and Deans of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of Magiftrates. The first edition of it appeared in 1587, but the lines quoted on the prefent as well as future occalions throughout this play, are not found in any copy before that of 1610, so that the author was more probably indebted to Shakespeare than Shakespeare to him :
the battles fought in fields before
The war-god's thundring cannons dreadful rore,
God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke bis lulle,
Infiead of crimjon fields, war's fatal fruit,
And set his thoughts upon her wanton lookes. Steevens, 4barbed feeds, s 1. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, fays,- The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, aneunted upon a white courser, barbed with blew and green velret, &c.