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as to render it very improbable that they were obtained by so uncertain and imperfect an expedient. We think it most likely that the first part of “ Henry VI.” was founded upon a previous play, although none such has been brought to light: and that the materials for the second and third parts of “ Henry VI.” were mainly derived from the older dramas of the first part of “The Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster,” and “The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York."
Although no such drama has come down to us, we know, on the authority of Henslowe's Diary, that there was a play called “Harey the VI." acted on 3d March, 1591-2, and so popular as to have been repeated twelve times. This was, perhaps, the piece which Shakespeare subsequently altered and improved, and to which Nash alludes in his *** Pierce Penniless,'' 1592 (sign. H. 2.), where he speaks of “brave Talbot” having been made “ to triumph again on the stage,' after having been two hundred years in his tomb. Malone (Shakespeare, by Boswell, vol. iii. p. 298.) concludes decisively in the affirmative on both these points, forgetting, however, that the “Harey the VI." acted by Henslowe's company, might possibly be a play got up and represented in consequence of the success of the drama in the authorship of which Shakespeare was concerned.
If our great dramatist founded his first part of " Henry VI." upon the play produced by Henslowe's company, of course, it could not have been written until after March, 1592; but with regard to the precise date of its composition we must remain in uncertainty. Malone's later notion was, as we have already observed, that Shakespeare's hand was not to be traced in any part of it; but Steevens called attention to several remarkable coincidences of expression, and passages might be pointed out so much in the spirit and character of Shakespeare, that we cannot conceive them to have come from any other pen. Coleridge has instanced the opening of the play as unlike Shakespeare's metre (Lit. Remains, vol. ii. p. 184.): he was unquestionably right; but he did not advert to the fact, of which there is the strongest presumptive evidence, that more than one author was engaged on the work. The very discordance of style forms part of the proof; and in his lectures in 1815, Coleridge adduced many lines which he believed must have been written by Shakespeare.
King HENRY THE Sixth.
WILLIAM GLANSDALE. SIR THOMAS GARGRAVE.
and his Son.
herd, Father to Joan la Pucelle.
MARGARET, Daughter to Reignier.
Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of
the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and several Attendants both on the English and French.
SCENE, partly in England, and partly in France.
KING HENRY VI.
SCENE I.-Westminster Abbey.
is discovered, lying in state ; attended on by the
Glo. England ne'er had a king until his time.
Exe. We mourn in black: why mourn we not in blood ? Henry is dead, and never shall revive. Upon a wooden coffin we attend; And death's dishonourable victory We with our stately presence glorify, Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What! shall we curse the planets of mishap,
Win. He was a king, bless’d of the King of kings.
Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector,
Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh;
Enter a Messenger.
1 Pope reads : marish, marsh. ? This word is not in f. e.
Bed. What say’st thou, man, before dead Henry's
corse ? Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns Will make him burst his lead, and rise from death.
Glo. Is Paris lost ? is Rouen yielded up? If Henry were recall’d to life again, These news would cause him once more yield the
ghost. Exe. How were they lost? what treachery was used ?
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and money. Among the soldiers this is muttered, That here you maintain several factions ; And whilst a field should be despatch'd and fought, You are disputing of your generals. One would have lingering wars with little cost; Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings; A third man thinks, without expense at all, By guileful fair words peace may be obtain'd. Awake, awake, English nobility! Let not sloth dim your honours new-begot: Cropp'd are the flower-de-luces in your arms; Of England's coat one half is cut away.
Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral, These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.
Bed. Me they concern ; regent I am of France.Give me my steeled coat! I'll fight for France. Away with these disgraceful wailing robes ! Wounds will I lend the French instead of eyes, To weep their intermissive miseries.
Enter another Messenger. 2 Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mis
chance. France is revolted from the English quite, Except some petty towns of no import : The Dauphin, Charles, is crowned king in Rheims; The bastard of Orleans with him is join'd; Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part; The duke of Alençon flieth to his side.
Exe. The Dauphin crowned king! all fly to him! 0! whither shall we fly from this reproach?
Glo. We will not fly, but to our enemies' throats. Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.
Bed. Gloster, why doubt'st thou of my forwardness ? An army have I muster'd in my thoughts,