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F. J. FURNIVALL, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt.
ASSISTED BY JOHN MUNRO
KING HENRY THE EIGHTH.—I formerly accepted the opinion of Spedding and other critics that the nonFletcherian portion of Henry VIII. was written by Shakspere, but I now incline to the opinion of Boyle, who ascribed it to some other playwright, probably Massinger, whom the metrical evidence may suit as well. The parts ascribed to Shakspere correspond with his latest style.
The frequent occurrence of the weakending, which alone appears in any numbers in the late plays, the many run-on and extra-syllable lines, the
easy conversational flow of parts of the dialogue, the difference between the rhetorical speeches here and in early historical plays, like John, all point, if any part of the play is Shaks pere's, to his late period. While in
1 Professor Ingram, of Trinity College, Dublin, has a paper on the weak- and light-endings in Shakspere in the New Shaks. Soc. Trans.,
The 17 weak-endings are “and, as, at, but (=L. sed, and= except), by, for (prep. and conj.), from, if (except in “as if"), in, of, on, nor, or, than, that (rel. and conj.), to, with." “The 54 light-endings are
ain, are, art, be, been, but (=only), can, could, did, do, does, i doth, ere, had, has, hath, have, he, how,' I, into, is, it, like, may, might, shall, shalt, she, should, since, so (as), such (as), theg, thou, though, through, till, upon, was, we, were, what, when, where,? which, while, whilst, who, whom, 'why, will, would, yet (=tamen), you." [Only when auxiliaries. 9 When not directly interrogative. 3 And so=if only.) Here is an extract from Professor
characters, Queen Katharine and her unjust husband are the match of Hermione and her spouse of The Winter's Tale. To wrench Katharine from Shakspere's last time to his early second, as Mr. Swinburne would do, is like putting autumn fruit on a tree in spring.
The only excuse for the folly of making Henry VIII. a Second-Period play, when the play is accepted as part Shakspere's, is the weakness of many parts of it; but it is abundantly clear that these weak passages, and the disappointing effect of the whole, are due to Fletcher, 1 and not to Shakspere, cr the other playwright. The great authority on this question is my late friend, James Spedding, the able editor of Bacon. The suggestion of the view supported by him with so much Ingram's table of these endings in the late plays, whose order alone they help to settle :
i Mr. Swinburne's assertion that the Fletcher part of the play containd none of that anthor's characteristic final treble endings was so odd a blunder-lika saying that there was no z in the alphabet-that I supposed it was an oversight, and pointed it out, with the evidence for its correction, in The Academy of January 8, 1876. But as Mr. Swinburne, instead of acknowledging his blunder, defended it, and