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When William Pavier republished The Contention of the Two Houses, &c. in 1619,* he omitted the words in the original titlepage,-"as it was acted by the earl of Pembrooke his servantes ;''just as, on the republication of King John in two parts, in 1611, the words, "as it was acted in the honourable city of London,”were omitted; because the omitted words in both cases marked the respective pieces not to be the production of Shakspeare. And as in King John the letters W. Sh. were added in 1611 to deceive the purchaser, so in the republication of The Whole Contention, &c. Pavier, having dismissed the words above mentioned, inserted these: “ Newl, corrected and ENLARGED by William Shakspeare ;" knowing that these pieces has been made the ground work of two other plays; that they had in fact been corrected and enlarged, (though not in that copy which Pavier printed, which is a mere republication from the edition of 1600,) and exhibited un. der the titles of The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI; and hoping that this new edition of the original plays would pass for those altered and augmented by Shakspeare, which were then unpublisbed.
If Shakspeare had originally written these three plays of King Henry VI, would they not probably have been found by the book. seiler in the same Ms.? Would not the three parts have been pro. cured, whether surreptitiously or otherwise, all together? Would they not in that Ms. hare borne the titles of the First and Second and Third Part of King Henry V1? And would not the bookseller have entered them on the Stationers' books, and published such of them as he did publish, under those titles, and with the name of Shakspeare? On the other hand, if that which is now distin. guished by the name of The First Part of King Henry VI, but which I suppose in those times was only called The Historical Play of King Henry VI,” if this was the production of some old dramatist, if it had appeared on the stage some years before 1591, (as from Nashe's mention of it seems to be implied) perhaps in 1587 or 1588, if its popularity was in 1594 in its wane, and the attention of the publick was entirely taken up by Shakspeare's alteration of two other plays which had likewise appeared before 1591, would not the superior popularity of these two pieces, altered by such a poet, attract the notice of the booksellers? and finding themselves unable to procure them from the theatre, would they not gladly seize on the originals on which this new and admired writer had worked, and publish them as soon as they could, neglecting entirely the preceding old play, or First Part of King Henry VI, (as it is now calleci) which Shakspeare had not embellished with his pen?-Such, we have seen, was actually the
* Pavier's edition has no date, but it is ascertained to have been printed in 1619, by the signatures; the last of which is Q. The plav of Pericles was printed in 1619, for the same bookseller, and its first signature is R. The undated copy, therefore, of The whole Contention, &c. and Pericles, must have been printed at the same time.
process; for Thomas Millington, neglecting entirely The First Part of King Henry VI, entered the ORIGINAL of The Second Part of King Henry VI at Stationers' Hall in 1593-4, and published the ORIGINALS of both that and The Third Part in 1600. When Heminge and Condell printed these three pieces in folio, they were necessarily obliged to name the old play of King Henry Vi, the first part, to distinguish it from the two following historical dramas, founded on a later period of the same king's reign.
Having examined such external evidence as time has left us concerning these two plays, now denominated The Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI, let us see whether we cannot by internal marks ascertain how far Shakspeare was concerned in their composition.
It bas long been a received opinion that the two quarto plays, one of which was published under the title of The First Part of the Contention of the two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. and the other under the title of The true Tragedie of Richarde duke of Yorke, &c. were spurious and imperfect copies of Sbakspeare's Second and Third Part of King Henry VI; and many passages have been quoted in the notes to the late editions of Shakspeare, as containing merely the various readings of the quartos and the folio; the passages being supposed to be in substance the same, only variously exhibited in different copies. The variations have been accounted for, by supposing that the imperfect and spurious quarto copies (as they were called) were taken down either by an unskilful short-band writer, or by some auditor who picked up "during the representation what the time would permit, then filled up some of his omissions at a second or third hearing, and when he had by this method formed something like a play, sent it to the printer.” To this opinion, I with others for a long time subscribed: two of Heywood's pieces furnishing indubitable proofs that plays in the time of our author were sometimes im. perfectly copied during the representation, by the ear, or by short-hand writers.* But a minute examination of the two pieces in question, and a careful comparison of them with Shakspeare's Second and Third Part of King Henry VI, have convinced me that this could not have been the case with respect to them. No fraudulent copyist or short-hand writer would invent circumstances totally different from those which appear in Shakspeare's new.modelled draughts as exhibited in the first folio; or insert whole speeches, of which scarcely a trace is found in that edition. In the course of the foregoing notes many of these have been particularly pointed out. I shall now bring into one point of view all those internal circumstances which prove in my apprehension decisive. ly, that the quarto plays were not spurious and imperfect copies of Shakspeare's pieces, but elder dramas on which le formed his Second and Thiril Part of King Henry VI.
1. In some places a speech in one of these quartos consists of ten or twelve lines. In Shakspeare's folio tlie same speech con
sists of perhaps only half the number.* A copyist by the ear, or an unskilful short-band writer, might mutilate and exhibit a poet's thoughts or expressions imperfectly ; but would he dilate and amplify them, or introduce totally new matter? Assuredly he would not.
2. Some circumstances are mentioned in the old quarto plays, of which there is not the least trace in the folio; and many mi. nute variations are found between them and the folio, that prove the pieces in quarto to have been original and distinct compositions.
In the last Act of The First Part of the Contention, &c. the Duke of Buckingham after the battle of Saint Albans, is brought in wounded, and carried to his tent; but in Shakspeare's play he is not introduced on the stage after that battle.
In one of the original scenes between Jack Cade and his followers, which Shakspeare has made the seventh scene of the fourth Act of his Second Part of King Henry VI, Dick Butcher drags a serjeant, that is, a catch-pole, on the stage, and a dia. logue consisting of seventeen lines passes between Cade, &c. at the conclusion of which it is determined that the serjeant shall be “ brain'd with his own mace.” Of this not one word appears in our author's play. f In the same piece Jack Cade, hearing that a knight, called Sir Humphrey Stafford, was coming at the head of an army against bim, to put himself on a par with him makes himself a knight; and finding that Stafford's brother was also a knight, he dubs Dick Butcher also. But in Shakspeare's play the latter circumstance is omitted.
In the old play Somerset goes out immediately after he is appointed regent of France In Shakspeare's Second Part of King Henry VI, he continues on the stage with Henry to the end of the scene, (Act I, sc. iii,) and the King addresses him as they go out.
In the old plav, the Duchess of Gloster enters with Hume, Bolingbroke, and Margery Jourdain, and after some conversation with them, tells them that while they perform their rites, she will go to the top of an adjoining tower, and there write down such answers as the spirits, that they are to raise, shall give to her. questions. But in Shakspeare's play, Hume, Southwell, (who is not introduced in the elder drama) and Bolingbroke, &c. enter without the Duchess; and after some conversation the Duchess appears above, (that is, on the tower,) and encourages them to proceed. I
In Shakspeare's play, when the Duke of York enters, and finds the Duchess of Gloster', &c. and her co-adjutors performing their magick rites, (p. 153) the Duke seizes the paper in
* See p. 139, n. 6; p. 163, n. 3; p. 263, n. 9;-also p. 388, n. 3; p. 405, n. 3.
† See p. 249, n. 3; and The First Part of the Contention, &c. 1600, sign. G 3.
See p. 149, n. 7.
which the answers of the spirit to certain questions are written down, and reads them aloud. In the old play the answers are not bere recited by York; but in a subsequent scene Buckingham reads them to the King; (see p 153, n. 6; and p. 162, n 9,) and this is one of the many transpositions that Shakspeare made in new-modelling these pieces, of which I shall speak more fully hereafter.
In the old play, when the King pronounces sentence on the Duchess of Gloster, he particularly mentiops the mode of her penance; and the sentence is pronounced in prose: “Stand forth dame Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloster, and hear the sen. tence pronounced against thee for these treasons that thou hast committed against us, our state and peers. First, for thy haynous crimes thou shalt two daies in London do penance barefoot in the streets, with a white sheete about thy bodie, and a wax taper burning in thy hand : that done, thou shalt be banished for ever into the Isle of Man, there to end thy wretched daies; and this is our sentence irrevocable — Away with her.” But in Shakspeare's play: (p. 243) the King pronounces sentence in verse against the Duchess anié her cofederates at the same time; and only says in general, that“ after three days open penance, she shall be banished to the Isle of Man.”
In Sbakspeare's play, (p. 274) when the Duke of York undertakes to subdue the Irish rebels, if he be furnished with a suffi. cient army, Suffolk savs, that he “ will see that charge performed ” But in the old play the Queen enjoins the Duke of Buckingham to attend to this business, and he accepts the office.
In our author's play Jack Cade is described as a clothier, in the old play he is “the dver of Ashford.” In the same piece, when the King and Somerset appear at Kenelworth, a dialogue passes between them and the Queen, of which not one word is preserveri in the corresponding scene in The Second Part of King Henry VI, (p 252). In the old play, Buckingham states to the King the grounds on which York had taken up arms; but in Shakspeare's piece, (p_263) York himself assigns his reasons for his conduct.
In the old play near the conclusion, young Clifford when he is preparing to carry off the dead body of his father, is assaulted by Richard, and after putting him to fight, he makes a speech consisting of four lines. But in Shakspeare's, play, (p. 274) there is no combat between them, nor is Richard introduced in that scene. The four lines therefore above mentioned are necessarily omitted.
In the old plav the Queen drops ber glove, and finding the Duchess of Gloster makes no attempt to take it up, she gives her a box on the ear:
Give me my glove; why, minion, can you not see ?" But in Shakspeare's play, (p. 145) the Queen drops not a glowe, but a fan:
" Give me mv fan : What, minion, can you not ?" In Shakspeare's Second Part of King Henry VI, (p. 218) Suf. folk discorers bimself to the Captain wbo had seized him, by showing his George. In the old play he announces his quality by a ring, a seal-ring we may suppose, exhibiting his arms. In the same scene of Shakspeare's play, he observes that the captain threatens more
“ Than Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate.” But in the elder drama Sutiolk says, he
“ Threatens more plagues than mighty Abradas,
“ The great Macedonian pirate." In the same scene of the original play the captain threatens to sink Suffolk's ship; but no such menace is found in Shakspeare's play.
In The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, &c. Richard (af. terwards duke of Gloster) informs War ick that his father the earl of Salisbury was killed in an action which he describes, and which in fact took place at Ferry bridge in Yorkshire. But Shakspeare in his Third Part of King Henry VI, (p. 332) formed upon the piece above-mentioned, has riglitly deviated from it, and for father substituted brother, it being the natural brother of Warwick, (the bastard son of Salisbury) that fell at Ferrybridge. The earl of Salisbury, Warwick's father, was beheaded at Pomfret.
In the same old play a son is introduced who has killed bis fat and afterwards a father who has killed his son. King Henry, who is on the staye, says not a word till they have both appeared, and spoken; he then pronounces a speech of seven lines. But in Shakspeare's play (p. 340) this speech is enlarged, and two speeches formed on it; the first of which the King speaks after the son has appeared, and the other after the entry of the father
In our author's play, (p. 376) after Edward's marriage with Lady Grey, his brothers enter, and converse on that event. The King, Queen, &c. then join them, and Edward asks Clarence how he approves his choice. In the elder play there is no previous dialogue between Gloster and Clarence; but the scene opens with the entry of the King, &c. who desires the opinion of his brothers on his recent marriage. In our anthor's play (p. 364) the following line is found:
" And set the murrous Machiavel to school.” This line in The true Tragedie of Richardle Duke of Yorke, &c. stood thus:
“ And set the aspiring Catiline to school.” Catiline was the person that would naturally occur to Peele or Greene, as the most splendid classical example of inordinate am. bition ; but Shakspeare, who was more conversant with English books, substituted Machiavel, whose name was in such frequent use in his time that it became a specifick term for a consummate politician ;* and accordingly he makes his host in The Merry Wives of Windsor, when he means to boast of his own shrewd. ness, exclaim, “ Am I subtle ? am I a Machiavel?”
Many other variations beside those already mentioned might be pointed out; but that I may not weary the reader, I will only refer in a note to the most striking diversities that are found be.
* See p. 115, n. 4.