Title Background

Mum and the Sothsegger Richard II, Richard II, and Henry V

Mum and the Sothsegger Richard II, Richard II, and Henry V

The two extended emblematic passages concerning proper governance of a state in the Richard II-Henry V tetralogy, i.e., the garden-allegory in Richard II (III.iv) and the beehive emblem in Henry V (I.ii.187-206), may derive from Shakespeare’s knowledge of Mum and the Sothsegger, which contains a passage about an allegorical garden, followed immediately by a description of a beehive as figure for a perfect state (lines 976-81, 999-1009). Richard the Redeless and Mum were both apparently in the possession of the noted antiquary Nicholas Brigham, whose library Shakespeare may have used. Bale considered the two fragments one poem, as did the fifteenth-century cataloguer who wrote “The lyff off kyng Rychard the ij” on Mum, even though that fragment, unlike Richard the Redeless, makes no allusion to that monarch.

Volume

RES 46 (1995): 219-24.

Author

Wilcockson, Colin