RICHARD PLANTAGENET a [...]ndary Tale Now first Published.

(By Mr. HULL.)

Ho [...]


THE following Legend having been read to a small Circle of select Friends, one Lady, with great Eager­ness of Manner, asked the Editor, to whom he intended to dedicate it? He replied, with Truth, that he had not yet determined. "To whom," added she, ‘can you so properly address it, as to Him, whose Image cleaves to us during the Recital; Him, to whom we owe a livelier Idea of RICHARD the Third, than either Historian or Painter ever gave; Him, whose Judge ment and Powers of Execution keep Pace with the fine Imagination of that Poet, whom He delighteth to Honour? These were nearly her exact Words, and the Editor pleads them in Excuse for the Liberty he now takes of dedicating this Poem, With great Respect and Esteem, TO DAVID GARRICK, Esq.


THE following Poem fell into the Editor's Hands by a peculiar Means, which he is not at present permitted to reveal. He hopes the Singularity of the Story, and the moral Ten­dency, which so obviously and strongly in­culcates THE DUTY OF A PATIENT SUBMIS­SION TO THE DESTINATIONS OF PROVIDENCE, IN ALL VICISSITUDES AND AFFLICTIONS OF LIFE, will justify his giving it to the World. He judged it too curious to be ut­terly lost; and his Desire to preserve it, [Page iv] induced him to collect, and scatter in Notes throughout the Work, such curious Particulars as (in his Judgment) prove the actual Existence of such a Person as RICHARD PLANTAGENET, and the chief Event of his Life to have been incontestibly certain.


"THE Work is done, the Structure is complete—
"Long may this Produce of my humble Toil
"Un-injur'd stand, and Echo long repeat,
"Round the dear Walls, Benevolence and MOYLE!" *
So RICHARD spake, as he survey'd
The Dwelling he had rais'd;
And, in the Fullness of his Heart,
His gen'rous Patron prais'd.
Him MOYLE o'erheard, whose wand'ring Step
Chance guided had that Way;
The Workman's Mien he ey'd intent,
Then earnest thus did say:
"My Mind, I see, misgave me not,
"My Doubtings now are clear,
"Thou oughtest not, in poor Attire,
"Have dwelt a Menial here.
"To Drudgery, and servile Toil,
"Thou couldst not be decreed
"By Birth and Blood, but thereto wrought
"By hard o'er-ruling Need.
"Is it not so? That crimson Glow,
"That flushes o'er thy Cheek,
"And down-cast Eye, true Answer give,
"And thy Tongue need not speak.
"Oft have I mark'd thee, when unseen
"Thou thought'st thyself by all,
"What Time the Workman from his Task
"The Ev'ning Bell did call;
"Hast thou not shunn'd thy untaught Mates,
"And to some secret Nook,
"With drooping Gait, and musing Eye,
"Thy lonely Step betook?
"There hath not thy Attention dwelt
"Upon the letter'd Page,
"Lost, as it seem'd to all beside,
"Like some sequester'd Sage?
"And wouldst thou not, with eager Haste,
"The precious Volume hide,
"If sudden some Intruder's Eye
"Thy Musings hath descried?
"Oft have I deem'd thou couldst explore
"The Greek and Roman Page,
"And oft have yearn'd to view the Theme,
"That did thy Hours engage.
"But Sorrow, greedy, grudging, coy,
"Esteems of mighty Price
"It's treasur'd Cares, and to the World
"The scantiest Share denies;
"All as the Miser's heaped Hoards,
"To him alone confin'd,
"They serve, at once, to soothe and pain
"The wretched Owner's Mind.
"Me had capricious Fortune doom'd
"Thine equal in Degree,
"Long, long e're now, I had desir'd
"To know thine History;
"But who their worldly Honors wear
"With Meekness chaste and due,
"Decline to ask, lest the Request
"Should bear Commandment's Hue.
"Yet now thy Tongue hath spoke aloud
"Thy grateful Piety,
"No longer be thy Story kept
"In painful Secrecy.
"Give me to know thy Dawn of Life;
"Unfold, with simple Truth,
"Not to thy Master, but thy Friend,
"The Promise of thy Youth.
"Now, late in Life, 'tis Time, I ween,
"To give thy Labours o'er;
"Thy well-worn Implements lay by,
"And drudge and toil no more.
"Here shalt thou find a quiet Rest,
"For all thy Days to come,
"And every Comfort, that may serve
"T'endear thy humble Home.
"Hast thou a Wish, a Hope to frame,
"Beyond this neat Abode?
"Is there a Good, a higher Bliss,
"By me may be bestow'd?
"Is there within thine aged Breast
" "The smallest aching Void?
Give me to know thy Longings all,
"And see them all supply'd.
"All I entreat, in Lieu, is this,
"Unfold, with simple Truth,
"Not to thy Master, but thy Friend,
"The Promise of thy Youth."
So gen'rous MOYLE intent bespake
The long-enduring Man,
Who rais'd, at length, his drooping Head,
And, sighing, thus began.


HARD Task to any, but thyself, to tell
The Story of my Birth and treach'rous Fate,
Or paint the Tumults in my Breast that swell,
At Recollection of my infant State!
Oft have I labour'd to forget my Birth,
And check'd Remembrance, when, in cruel Wise,
From Time's Abyss she would the Tale draw forth,
And place my former self before my Eyes.
Yet I complain not, tho' I feel anew,
All as I speak, fell Fortune's bitter Spite,
Who once set Affluence, Grandeur, in my View,
Then churlish snatch'd them from my cheated Sight,
And yet it may be—is—nay, must be best,
Whate'er Heav'n's righteous Laws for Man ordain;
Weak Man! who lets one Sigh invade his Breast,
For earthly Grandeur, fugitive as vain!
Perchance Contentment had not been my Mate,
If in exalted Life my Feet had trod,
Or my Hands borne, in transitory State,
The Victor's Truncheon, or the Ruler's Rod.
My Course, perchance, had been one dazzling Glare
Of splendid Pride, and I in vain had sought
The quiet Comforts of this humble Sphere,
Rest undisturb'd, and Reason's tranquil Thought.
But whither roam I? O! forgive, my kind,
My honour'd Lord, this undesign'd Delay,
Forgive, while in my new-awaken'd Mind
A Thousand vague Ideas fondly play.
Enough!—they're flown—and now my Tongue prepares,
Thou Source of every Good by me possest,
To pour a Tale into thy wond'ring Ears,
Full * three-score Years close-lock'd within my Breast.
Of those Care-woven, long-protracted Years,
Some sixteen Summers pass'd obscurely on,
A Stranger to the World, its Hopes, and Fears,
My Name, Birth, Fortunes, to myself unknown.
Plac'd in a rural, soft, serene Retreat,
With a deep-learn'd Divine I held Abode,
Who sought, by pious Laws and Conduct meet,
The Way to Immortality and God.
By him instructed, I attain'd the sweet,
The precious Blessings that from Learning flow,
He fann'd in my young Breast the genial Heat,
That bids th' expanding Mind with Ardor glow.
He taught me with delighted Eye to trace
The comely Beauties of the Mantuan Page,
Enraptur'd mix with Tully's polish'd Grace,
Or catch the Flame of Homer's martial Rage.
Nor stopt he there, Preceptor excellent,
Nor deem'd that Wisdom lay in Books alone,
But would explain what moral Virtue meant,
And bid us make our Neighbour's Woes our own.
Heaven's genuine Pity glist'ning in his Eyes,
The Sweets of Charity he would instill,
And teach what Blessedness of Comfort lies
In universal Mercy and Good-will.
So taught this pious Man, so thought, so did,
Squaring his Actions to his Tenets true;
His Counsel or Relief to none deny'd,
A general Good, like Heav'n's all-chearing Dew!
Thus guided, thus inform'd, thus Practice-drawn,
In guileless Peace my Spring of Life was spent,
My Leisure-hours I sported o'er the Lawn,
Nor knew what restless Care or Sorrow meant.
A courteous Stranger, ever and anon,
My kind Instructor's due Reward supply'd;
But still my Name, my Birth, alike unknown,
Wrapt in the Gloom of Secrecy lay hid.
One Autumn-Morn (the Time I well recall)
That Stranger drew me from my soft Retreat,
And led my Footsteps to a lofty Hall,
Where State and Splendor seem'd to hold their Seat.
Thro' a long Range of spacious gilded Rooms
Dubious I pass'd, admiring as I went,
On the rich-woven Labours of the Looms,
The sculptur'd Arch, or painted Roof intent.
My Guide, at length, withdrew; wrapt in Suspense
And Fear I stood, yet knew not what I fear'd;
When straight to my appall'd, astounded Sense
A Man of noble Port and Mien appear'd.
His Form commanded, and his Visage aw'd,
My Spirit sunk as he advanced nigh,
With stately Step along the Floor he trod,
Fix'd on my Face his penetrating Eye.
The dancing Plumage o'er his Front wav'd high,
Thick-studded Ribs of Gold adorn'd his Vest,
In splendid Folds his purple Robe did ply,
And royal Emblems glitter'd on his Breast.
I sought to bend me, but my Limbs refus'd
Their wonted Office, motionless and chill;
Yet somewhat, as the Figure I perus'd,
A dubious Joy did in my Mind instill.
While thus I cow'r'd beneath his piercing Eye,
He saw, and strove to mitigate my Fear,
Soft'ning the Frown of harsh Austerity
In his bold Brow, which Nature grafted there.
With Speeches kind he cheer'd my sinking Heart,
Question'd me much, and stroak'd my drooping Head;
Yet his whole Mind he seem'd not to impart,
His Looks implied more than his Speeches said.
A broider'd Purse, which weighty seem'd with Gold,
He gave me then, and kindly press'd my Hand;
And thus awhile did stay me in his Hold,
And on my Face did meditating stand.
His Soul work'd hugely, and his Bosom swell'd,
As though some mighty Thing he yearn'd to say,
But (with indignant Pride the Thought repell'd)
He started, frown'd, and snatch'd himself away.
My Guide return'd, and re-conducted me
Tow'rd the Abode of my Preceptor kind;
A Man he seem'd of Carriage mild and free,
To whom I thought I might unload my Mind.
Without Reserve I told him all that pass'd,
Striving, by mine, his Confidence to gain;
Then my Enquiries frank before him cast,
Hoping some Knowledge of myself t'attain.
I ask'd what wond'rous Cause, yet undiscry'd,
Urg'd him his Time and Zeal for me t'employ;
And why that Man of Dignity and Pride
Had deign'd his Notice to a Stranger-Boy.
Confus'd, yet undispleas'd, my Guide appear'd,
Nought he divulg'd (tho' much he seem'd to know)
Save this, which he with earnest Look aver'd,
"No Obligation, Youth, to me you owe;
"I do but what my Place and Duty bid,
"With me no Kindred-Drops of Blood you share,
"Yet (hard to tell!) your Birth must still be hid;
"Enquire no farther—Honour bids, forbear."
Thus he reprov'd, yet did it with a Look,
As tho' he pitied my Sensations keen;
Patient I bow'd me to his mild Rebuke,
And pledg'd Obedience, with submissive Mien.
He left me at my Tutor's soft Abode,
And parting bless'd me by the holy Cross;
My Heart wax'd sad, as he re-trac'd the Road,
And seem'd to have sustain'd some mighty Loss.
But soon tumultuous Thoughts began give Way,
Lull'd by the Voice of my Preceptor sage;
Unquiet Bosoms he could well allay,
His Looks could soften, and his Words assuage.
Unruly Care from him was far remov'd,
Grief's wildest Murmurs at his Breath would cease;
O! in his blameless Life how well he prov'd
The House of Goodness is the House of Peace!
Here I again enjoy'd my sweet Repose,
And taught my Heart, with pious Wisdom fill'd,
No more with anxious Throb to seek disclose
What stubborn Fate had doom'd to lie conceal'd.
But long these fond Delusions did not last,
Some sterner Pow'r my rising Life controul'd,
My visionary Hopes too swiftly past,
And left my Prospects dreary, dark, and cold.
When rugged March o'er-rules the growing Year,
Have we not seen the Morn, with treach'rous Ray
Shine out awhile, then instant disappear,
And leave to Damp and Gloom the future Day?
So dawn'd my Fate, and so deceiv'd my Heart,
Nor wean'd me from my Hopes, but cruel tore;
In one unlook'd-for Moment, bade me part
From all my Comforts, to return no more.
My Guide once more arriv'd, tho', as of late,
Of soft Deportment he appear'd not now,
But wild Impatience flutter'd in his Gait,
And Care and Thought seem'd busy on his Brow.
"Rise, Youth," he said, "and mount this rapid Steed"—
I argued not; his Bidding strait was done;
Proud-crested was the Beast, of warlike Breed,
Arm'd, at all Points, with rich Caparison.
We commun'd not—such Heat was in our Speed,
Scantly would it allow me Pow'r of Thought,
Till Eve, deep-painted with a burning Red,
To * Bosworth Field our panting Coursers brought.
Who hath not heard of Bosworth's fatal Plain,
Where base Advent'rers did in Compact join
'Gainst Chiefs of Prowess high, and noble Strain,
And low'r'd the Crest of YORK's imperial Line?
Now verging on that memorable Ground,
Our Course we stay'd—yet we alighted not;
Fill'd with Astonishment I gaz'd around,
While in my glowing Breast my Heart grew hot.
Thick-station'd Tents, extended wide and far,
To th' utmost Stretch of Sight could I behold,
And Banners flutt'ring in the whistling Air,
And Archers trimly dight, and Prancers bold.
The sinking Sun, with richly-burnish'd Glow,
Now to his western Chamber made Retire,
While pointed Spears, quick-shifting to and fro,
Seem'd all as spiral Flames of hottest Fire.
Promiscuous Voices fill'd the floating Gale,
The Welkin echoed with the Steed's proud Neigh:
The Bands oft turn'd, and ey'd the Western Vale,
Watching the Closure of departing Day.
Light vanish'd now apace, and Twilight grey
With Speed unusual mantled all the Ground,
The Chieftains to their Tents had ta'en their Way,
And Centinels thick-posted watch'd around.
As sable Night advanced more and more,
The mingled Voices lessen'd by Degrees,
Sounding at length, as, round some craggy Shore,
Decreasing Murmurs of the ebbing Seas.
Now tow'rd the Tents awhile we journey'd on
With wary Pace, then lighted on the Ground,
Be-friended by the Stars, that shimm'ring shone,
And Fires, that cast a trembling Gleam around.
With hasty Foot we press'd the dewy Sod,
Fit Answer making to each station'd Guard;
When full before us, as we onward trod,
A martial Form our further Progress barr'd.
He seem'd as tho' he there did list'ning stand,
His Face deep-muffled in his folded Cloak;
Now threw it wide, snatch'd quick my dubious Hand,
And to a neighb'ring Tent his Speed betook.
With glowing Crimson the Pavilion shone,
Reflected by the lofty Taper's Ray,
The polish'd Armour, bright and deft to don,
Beside the royal Couch in order lay.
The Crown imperial glitter'd in mine Eye,
With various Gems magnificently grac'd,
Nigh which, as meant to guard its dignity,
A weighty Curtelax unsheath'd was plac'd.
The Chief unbonnetted, and drew me nigh,
Wrapt in a deepen'd Gloom his Face appear'd,
Like the dark Low'rings of the clouded Sky,
Ere the big-bursting Tempest's Voice is heard.
Revenge, Impatience, all that mads the Soul,
All that Despair and Frenzy's Flame inspires,
Shewn by the Tapers, in his Eyes did roll,
Hot Meteors they amid the lesser Fires.
Tho' each dark Line I could not truly scan,
Yet thro' the Veil of his distemper'd Mien
Broke forth a Likeness of that lofty Man,
Whom, whilom, at the Palace I had seen.
To quell his Feelings huge he sternly try'd,
Strong Combat holding with his fighting Soul,
Cresting himself with more than earthly Pride,
As tho' from Pow'r supreme he scorn'd Controul.
At length (in Part subdu'd his troubled Breast)
On my impatient Ear these Accents broke,
(I pale and trembling as th' attentive Priest,
Who waits th' Inspirings of his mystic Oak!)
Wonder no more why thou art hither brought,
The Secret of thy Birth shall now be shewn;
With glorious Ardour be thy Bosom fraught,
For know, thou art imperial RICHARD's Son.
Thy Father I, who fold thee in my Arms,
Thou royal Issue of PLANTAGENET! *
[Page 24] Soon as my Pow'r hath quell'd these loud Alarms,
Thou shalt be known, be honour'd, and be great.
Rise from the Ground, and dry thy flowing Tears,
To Nature's Dues be other Hours assign'd!
Beset with Foes, Solicitude, and Cares,
Far other Thoughts must now possess the Mind.
To-morrow, * Boy, I combat for my Crown,
To shield from Soil my Dignity and Fame:
Presumptuous RICHMOND seeks to win Renown,
And on my Ruin raise his upstart Name:
He leads yon shallow renegado Band,
Strangers to War and hazardous Emprize,
And 'gainst the mighty Chieftains of the Land,
Vain and unskill'd, a desp'rate Conflict tries.
Yet since Assurance is not giv'n to Man,
Nor can ev'n Kings command th' Event of War,
Since peevish Chance can foil the subtlest Plan
Of human Skill, and hurl our Schemes in Air,
To-morrow's Sun beholds me Conqueror,
Or sees me low among the Slaughter'd lie;
RICHARD shall never grace a Victor's Car,
But glorious win the Field, or glorious die.
But thou, my Son, heed and obey my Word;
Seek not to mingle in the wild Affray:
Far from the winged Shaft and gleaming Sword,
Patient await the Issue of the Day.
North * of our Camp there stands a rising Mound,
(Thy Guide awaits to lead thee on the Way,)
Thence shalt thou rule the Prospect wide around,
And view each Chance, each Movement of the Fray.
If righteous Fate to me the Conquest yield,
Then shall thy noble Birth to all be known;
Then boldly seek the Centre of the Field,
And 'midst my laurell'd Bands my Son I'll own:
But if blind Chance, that seld' determines right,
Rob me at once of Empire and Renown,
Be sure thy Father's Eyes are clos'd in Night,
Life were Disgrace when Chance had reft my Crown.
No Means are left thee then, but instant Flight,
In dark Concealment must thou veil thy Head;
On RICHARD's Friends their fellest Rage and Spite
His Foes will wreak, and fear ev'n RICHARD dead.
Begone, my Son! This one Embrace! Away!
Some short Reflections claims this awful Night:
Ere from the East peep forth the glimm'ring Day,
My Knights attend to arm me for the Fight.
Once more I knelt, he clasp'd my lifted Hands,
Bless'd me, and seem'd to check a struggling Tear;
Then led me forth to follow his Commands,
O'erwhelm'd with tend'rest Grief, Suspense, and Fear.
What Need of more? Who knows not the Event
Of that dread Day, that * desp'rate-foughten Field,
[Page 28] Where, with his wond'rous Deeds and Prowess spent,
By Numbers over-pow'r'd, my Sire was kill'd?
A Son no more, what Course was left to tread,
To whom apply, or whither should I wend?
Back to my Tutor's Roof, by Instinct led,
My Orphan-Footsteps did I pensive bend.
O'er-ruling Fate against my Wishes wrought;
That pious Man, snatch'd from this frail Abode,
Had found the Blessing he so long had sought,
The Way to Immortality and God.
With flowing Eyes I left the sacred Door,
And with relying Heart to Heav'n did bend;
To God my Supplication did I pour,
To God, the Mourner's best and surest Friend,
That He would guide me to some safe Retreat,
Where daily Toil my daily Bread might earn,
Where pious Peace might soothe Ambition's Heat,
And my taught Heart sublimer Ardor learn.
He heard me—All I ask'd in thee was lent,
Thou lib'ral Proxy of my gracious God!
Thou paid'st my Industry with rich Content,
And giv'st my weary Age this soft Abode. *
The Work is done, the Structure is compleat—
Long may the Produce of my humble Toil
Un-injur'd stand! and Echo long repeat,
Round the dear Walls, Benevolence and MOYLE!

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