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great dramatist :-"Yes, trust them not; for there is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger's heart, wrapp'd in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shakescene in a country.' (Dyce's Edit. of Greene's Works, I. lxxxi.) In this extract, although Greene talks of “ an upstart crow beautified with our feathers,” he seems to have referred principally to his own works, and to the manner in which Shakespeare had availed himself of them. This opinion is somewhat confirmed by two lines in a tract called “Greene's Funerals,” by R. B., 1594, where the writer is adverting to the obligations of other authors to Greene :
“Nay more, the men that so eclips'd his fame
Purloin'd'his plumes-can they deny the same ?" Here R. B. nearly adopts Greene's words, “ beautified with our feathers," and applies to him individually what Greene, perhaps to avoid the charge of egotism and vanity, had stated more generally. It inay be mentioned, also, as a confirmatory circumstance, that the words “ tiger's heart, wrapp'd in a player's hide,” in our extract from the “Groatsworth of Wit,” are a repetition, with the omission of an interjection and the change of a word, of a line in “ The True Tragedy," 1595,
“O! tiger's heart, wrapp'd in a woman's hide." Thus Greene, when charging Shakespeare with having appropriated his plays, parodies a line of his own, as if to show the particular productions to which he alludeda.
Another fact tends to the same conclusion: it is a striking coir.cidence between a passage in “The True Tragedy" and some lines in one of Greene's acknowledged dramas, “ Alphonsus, King of Arragon,” printed, in 1599, by Thomas Creed, the same printer who, in 1594, had produced from his press an edition of “The First Part of the Contention." In
Alphonsus" the hero kills Flaminius, his enemy, and thus addresses the dying man :
“Go, pack thee hence unto the Stygian lake,
And make report unto thy traitorous sire,
Alphonsus say, who now must wear thy crown."
2 There is a trifling fact connected with “Henry VI.” part i, a notice of which ought not to be omitted, when considering the question of the authorship of some yet undiscovered original, upon which that play might be founded. In Act v. sc. 3, these two lines occur :
“She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore to be won." The last of these lines is inserted in Greene's "Planetomachia," printed as early as 1585. In “The First Part of the Contention" a pirate is mentioned, who is introduced into another of Greene's productions.
“If any spark of life remain in thee,
Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither.” Shakespeare, when altering “The True Tragedy” for his own theatre, (for, as originally composed, it had been played by the Earl of Pembroke's servants, for whom Greene was in the habit of writing) adopted the line,
"O tiger's heart, wrapp'd in a woman's hide,” without the change of a letter, and the couplet last quoted with only a very slight variation;
"If any spark of life be yet remaining,
Down, down to hell; and say I sent thee thither." As in “ Henry VI.” part ii., Shakespeare availed himself of “ The First Part of the Contention," 1594, so in “ Henry VI.” part iii., he applied to his own purposes much of “The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York," 1595. He made, however, considerable omissions, as well as large additions, and in the last two Acts he sometimes varied materially from the conduct of the story as he found it in the older play. One improvement may be noticed, as it shows the extreme simplicity of our stage just before what we may consider Shakespeare's time; and it is to be ascertained by comparing two scenes of his . Henry VI.” part iii., (Act iv. sc. 2 and 3) with a portion of " The True Tragedy.' ? In the older play, Warwick, Oxford, and Clarence, aided by a party of soldiers, standing on one part of the stage, concert à plan for surprising Edward IV. in his tent on another part of the stage. Having resolved upon the enterprise, they merely cross the boards of Edward's encampment, the audience being required to suppose that the assailing party had travelled from their own quarters in order to arrive at Edward's tent. Shakespeare showed his superior judgment by changing the place, and by interposing a dialogue between the Watchmen, who guard the King's tent. Robert Greene, in his “Pinner of Wakefield,”. (See “Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," vol. iii. p. 368.) relied on the imagination of his auditors, exactly in the same way as the author of "The True Tragedy."
It is to be observed of “Henry VI.” part iii., as was remarked in the Introduction to the second part of the same play, that a line, necessary to the sense, was omitted in the folio, 1623, and has been introduced into our text from “The True Tragedy,”' 1595. It occurs in Act ii. sc. 6, and it was, probably, accidentally omitted by the copyist of the manaScript from which Shakespeare's “ history,” as it appears in the folio, was printed.
KING HENRY THE Sixth.
on King Henry's EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND,
of the Duke of
LIAM STANLEY. Sir John MONTGOMERY. SIR
Two Keepers. A Huntsman. A Son that has killed his Father. A Father that has killed his Son.
Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry
and King Edward, Messengers, Watchmen, &c.
SCENE, during part of the Third Act, in France;
during the rest of the Play in England.
KING HENRY VI.
SCENE I.-London. The Parliament-House.
enter the Duke of York, EDWARD, RICHARD, NOR-
York. While we pursued the horsemen of the north,
Edw. Lord Stafford's father, duke of Buckingham,
[Showing his bloody Sword. Mont. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltshire's blood.
[To YORK, showing his. Whom I encounter'd as the battles joined. Rich. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.
[Throwing down the Duke of SOMERSET'S Head. York. Richard hath best deserv'd of all my sons.But, is your grace dead, my lord of Somerset ?
Norf. Such hope have all the line of John of Gaunt !
i Dangerous: in f. e.
Rich. Thus do I hope to shake king Henry's head.
War. And so do I.–Victorious prince of York,
York. Assist me, then, sweet Warwick, and I will; For hither we have broken in by force.
Norf. We'll all assist you : he, that flies, shall die. York. Thanks, gentle Norfolk.--Stay by me, my
lords :And, soldiers, stay, and lodge by me this night. War. And, when the king comes, offer him no
violence, Unless he seek to thrust you out by force. [They retire. York. The queen this day here holds her parlia
War. The bloody parliament shall this be call’d,
York. Then leave me not, my lords; be resolute,
War. Neither the king, nor he that loves him best, The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shake his bells.? I'll plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.Resolve thee, Richard; claim the English crown. [WARWICK leads YORK to the Throne, who seats himself. [Flourish. Enter King Henry, CLIFFORD, NORTHUM
BERLAND, WESTMORELAND, EXETER, and others, with red Roses in their Hats.
K. Hen. My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits, Even in the chair of state ! belike, he means, Back'd by the power of Warwick, that false peer, To aspire unto the crown, and reign as king.-Earl of Northumberland, he slew thy father ;And thine, lord Clifford : you have vow'd revenge
1 An allusion to the falcon.