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Second Part of King HENRY VI.] This and The Third Part of King Henry VI. contain that troublesome period of this prince's reign which took in the whole contention betwixt the houses of York and Lancaster: and under that title were these two plays first acted and published. The present scene opens with King Henry's marriage, which was in the twenty-third year of his reign [A. D. 1445:) and closes with the first battle fought at St. Albans, and won by the York faction, in the thirty-third year of his reign [A. D. 1455]: so that it comprizes the history and transactions of ten years. TheoBALD. This play was altered by Crowne, and acted in the year 1681.
Steevens. The Contention of the Two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster in two parts, was published in quarto, in 1600; and the first part was entered on the Stationers' books, (as Mr. Steevens has observed,) March 12, 1593-4. On these two plays, which I believe to have been written by some preceding author, before the year 1590, Shakspeare formed, as I conceive, this and the following drama; altering, retrenching, or amplifying, as he thought proper. The reasons on which this hypothesis is founded, I shall subjoin at large at the end of The Third Part of King Henry VI. At present it is only necessary to apprize the reader of the method observed in the printing of these plays. All the lines printed in the usual manner, are found in the original quarto plays (or at least with such minute variations as are not worth noticing): and those, I conceive, Shakspeare adopted as he found them. The lines to which inverted commas are prefixed, were, if my hypothesis be well founded, retouched, and greatly improved by him; and those with asterisks were his own original production; the embroidery with which he ornamented the coarse stuff that had been aukwardly made up for the stage by some of his contemporaries. The speeches which he new-modelled, he improved, sometimes by amplification, and sometimes by retrenchment.
These two pieces, I imagine, were produced in their present form in 1591. Dr. Johnson observes very justly, that these two parts were not written without a dependance on the first. Undoubtedly not; the old play of King Henry VI. (or, as it is now called, The First Part,) certainly had been exhibited before these were written in any form. But it does not follow from this concession, either that The Contention of the Two Houses, &c. in two parts, was written by the author of the former play, or that Shakspeare was the author of these two pieces as they originally appeared. MALONE.
King Henry the Sixth :
Uncle to the King.
Stanley. A Sea-captain, Master, and Master's Mate, and
Walter Whitmore. Two Gentlemen, Prisoners with Suffolk. A Herald. Vaux. Hume and Southwell, Two Priests. Bolingbroke, a Conjurer. A Spirit raised by him. Thomas Horner, an Armourer. Peter, his Man. Clerk of Chatham. Mayor of Saint Albans. Simpcox, an Impostor. Two Murderers. Jack Cade, a Rebel : George, John, Dick, Smith, the Weaver, Michael,
&c. his followers. Alexander Iden, a Kentish Gentleman. Margaret, Queen to King Henry. Eleanor, Duchess of Gloster. Margery Jourdain, a Witch. Wife to Simpcox. Lords, Ladies, & Attendants; Petitioners, Aldermen,
a Beadle, Sheriff, & Officers; Citizens, Prentices, Falconers, Guards, Soldiers, Messengers, &c. SCENE, dispersedly in various parts of England.
SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY VI.
SCENE I. London. A Room of State in the
Flourish of Trumpets: then Hautboys. Enter, on one
side, King Henry, Duke of GLOSTER, SalisBURY, WARWICK, and Cardinal BEAUFORT;' on the other, Queen MARGARET, led in by Suffolk; YORK, SOMERSET, BUCKINGHAM, and Others fol
Suff. As by your high' imperial majesty I had in charge at my depart for France, As procurator to your excellence, To marry princess Margaret for your grace; So, in the famous ancient city, Tours, In presence of the kings of France and Sicil, The dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretaigne, and
Alençon, Seven earls, twelve barons, twenty reverend bi
As by your high, &c.] It is apparent that this play begins where the former ends, and continues the series of transactions of which it presupposes the first part already known. This is a sufficient proof that the second and third parts were not written without dependance on the first, though they were printed as containing a complete period of history. Johnson.
I have perform’d my task, and was espous’d:
garet: I can express no kinder sign of love, Than this kind kiss.-0 Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness! For thou hast given me, in this beauteous face, • A world of earthly blessings to my soul, * If sympathy of love unite our thoughts. • Q. Mar. Great king of England, and my gra.
cious lord; • The mutual conference that my mind hath had
By day, by night; waking, and in my dreams; • In courtly company, or at my beads, – With you mine alder-liefest sovereign, Makes me the bolder to salute my king • With ruder terms; such as my wit affords, * And over-joy of heart doth minister. • K. Hen. Her sight did ravish: but her grace in
speech, Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty, • Makes me, from wondering fall to weeping joys; • Such is the fulness of my heart's content.“Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.
2 The mutual conference -] I am the bolder to address you having already familiarized you.to my imagination. Johnson.
mine alder-liefest sovereign, Alder-liefest is a corruption of the German word alder-liebste, Loved above all things, dearest of all,
All. Long live queen Margaret, England's hap
Glo. [Reads.] Imprimis, It is agreed between the
K. Hen. Uncle, how now?
Pardon me, gracious lord; Some sudden qualın hath struck me at the heart, And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.
K. Hen. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.
Win. Item,- It is further agreed between them,that the dutchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father; and she sent over of the king of England's own proper cost and charges, without having dowry. K. Hen. They please us well.—Lord marquess,
kneel down; We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, And girt thee with the sword. Cousin of York, we here discharge your grace From being regent in the parts of France, Till term of eighteen months be full expir’d.Thanks, uncle Winchester, Gloster, York, and Buck
ingham, Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick;