Page images

tween Shakspeare's Second and Third Part of King Henry VI, and the elder dramas, printed in quarto.*

The supposition of imperfect or spurious copies cannot account for such numerous variations in the circumstances of these pieces ; (not to insist at present on the language in which they are clothed) so that we are compelled (as I have already observed) to mainiain, either that Shakspeare wrote two plays on the story which jurnis his Second Part of King Henry vi, a hasty sketch, and an entirely distinct and more bmished performance; or else we must :cknowledge that he formed that piece on a foundation laid by another writer that is, upon the quarto copy of The First Part of the Contention of ihe Two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c.and the same argument precisely applies to The Third Part of King Henry VI, which is founded on The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. printed in quarto, 1600.

Let us now advert to the Resemblances that are found in these pieces as exlibited in the folio, to passages in our author's undisputed plays; and also to the Inconsistencies that may be traced between them; and, if I do not deceive myself, both the one and the other will add considerable support to the foregoing ob. servations

In our author's genuine plays, he frequently borrows from himself, the sune thoughts being found in nearly the same expressions in different pieces In The Sccond and Third Part of King Henry VI, us in other dramas, these coincidencies with his other works may be found it and this was one of the circum. stances that once weighed much in my mind, and convinced me of their authenticity. But a collation of these plays with the old pieces on which they are founded, has shewn me the fallacy by which I was deceived: for the passages of these two parts of King Henry VI, which correspond with others in our author's un. disputed plays, exist only in the filio copy, and not in the quarto; in other words, in those parts of these new-modelled pieces, which were of Shakspeare's writing, and not in the originals by another hand, on which he worked. This, I believe, will be found invaria. bly the case, except in three instances.

The first is, “ You have no children, butchers;" which is, it must be acknowledged, in The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of

* See p. 139, n. 6; p. 148, n. 6; p. 150, n. 9; p. 152, n. 5; p. 168, n. 2; p. 184, n. 9; p. 189, n. 4; p. 193, n. 4; p. 216, n. 7; p. 218, n. 1; p. 223, 11. 1; p. 249, n. 3; p. 253, n. 1; p. 263, n. 9; p. 264, n. 1; p. 277, 11. 7; p 288, n. 9; p. 290, n. 5; p. 292, n. 8; p. 296, n. 2; p. 298, n 5; p. 299, n. 7; p. 326, n. 3; p. 333, n. 4; p. 335, n. 2; p. 340, n. 5; p. 365, n. 6; p. 377, n. 9; p. 383, n. 7 and 3; p. 384, n. 9; p. 385, n. 6; p. 388, n. 3; p. 398, n. 3;

B; p. 411,

n. 3.

† See p. 129, n. 6; p. 143, n. 2; p. 209, n. 4; p. 214, n. 1; p. 225, n. 4; p. 249, n. 3; p. 278, n. 1; p. 337, n. 7; p. 352, n. 7; p. 414, n. 9; p. 417, n. 9.

Torke, &c. 1600; (as well as in The Third Part of King Henry VI) and is also introduced with a slight variation in Macbeth.*

Another instance is found in King John. That king, when charged with the death of his nephew, asks

“ Think you, I bear the shears of destiny?

“ Have I commandment on the pulse of life?" which bears a striking resemblance to the words of Cardinal Beaufort in The First Part of the Contention of the Two Houses, &c. which Shakspeare has introduced in his Second Purt of King Henry VI:

· Died he not in his bed ? “ Can I make men live whe'r they will or no ?” The third instance is found in The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, &c. In that piece are the following lines, which Shakspeare adopted with a very slight variation, and inserted in his Third Part of King Henry VI:

doves will peck in rescue of their brood.-« Unreasonable creatures feed their young; “ And though man's face be fearful to their eyes, “ Yet, in protection of their tender ones, “ Who hath not seen them even with those same wings “ Which they have sometimes used in fearful flight, “ Make war with him that clim'd unto their nest,

Oitering their own lives in their young's defence ?"
So, in our author's Macbeth:

- the poor wren-
“ The most diminutive of birds, will fight,

“ Her young ones in the nest, against the owl.”. But whoever recollects the various thoughts that Shakspeare has borrowed from preceding writers, will not be surprized that in a similar situation, in Macbeth, and King John, he should have used the expressions of an old dramatist, with whose writings be had been particularly conversant; expressions too, which he had before embodied in former plays: por can, I think, these three instances much diminish the force of the foregoing observation. That it may have its full weight, I have in the present edition distinguished by asterisks all the lines in The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI, of which there is no trace in the old quarto plays, and which therefore I suppose to have been written by Shakspeare. Though this has not been effected without much trouble, yet, if it shall tend to settle this long-agitated question, I shall not consider my labour as wholly thrown away.

Perhaps a similar coincidency in The First Part of King Henry VI may be urged in opposition to my hypothesis relative to that play. “Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire,” are in that piece called the attendants on the brave Lord Talbot; as, in Shakspeare's King Henry V, “ famine, sword, and fire, are leash'd in like hounds, crouching under the martial Henry for employment.” It this image had proceeded from our author's imagination, this coincidency might perhaps countenance the supposition that he hasi

See p. 420 of this yolume, and Vol. VII, p. 206, n. 2.

some hand at least in that scene of The First Part of King Henry VI, where these attendants on war are personified. But that is not the case; for the fact is, that Shakspeare was furnished with this imagery by a passage in Holinshed, as the author of the old play of King Henry VI was by Hall's Chronicle: “ The Goddesse of warre, called Bellonas-hath these three hand-maides ever of necessitie attendyng on her: bloud, fyre, and famine.*"

In our present inquiry, it is undoubtedly a very striking circumstance that almost all the passages in The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI, which resemble others in Shakspeare's undis. puted plays, are not found in the original pieces in quarto, but in his Rifacimento published in folio. As these Resemblances to his other plays, and a peculiar Shakspearian phraseology, ascertain a considerable portion of these disputed dramas to be the production of Shakspeare, so on the other hand certain passages which are discordant (in matters of fact) from his other plays, are proved by this discordancy, not to have been composed by him; and these discordant passages, being found in the original quarto plays, prove that those pieces were composed by another writer.

Thus, in The Third Part of King Henry VI, (p. 356) Sir John Grey is said to have lost “ his life in quarrel of the house of York;8 and King Edward stating the claim of his widow, whom he after. wards married, mentions, that his lands, after the battle of Saint Albans, (Feb. 17, 1460-1,) “were seized on by the conqueror." Whereas in fact they were seized on by Edward himself after the battle of Towton, (in which he was conqueror) March 29, 1461. The conqueror at the second battle at Saint Albáns, the battle here meant, was Queen Margaret. This statement was taken from the old quarto play; and, from carelessness was adopted by Shakspeare without any material alteration. But at a subsequent period, when he wrote his King Richard III, he was under a necessity of carefully examining the English chronicles; and in that play, Act I, sc. ii, he has represented this matter truly as it was:

" In all which time, you, and your husband Grey,
“Were factions for the house of Lancaster ;-

(And, Rivers, so were you ;)—Was not your husband

“ In Margaret's battle at Saint Albans slain?” It is called " Margaret's battle,” because she was there victorious.

An equally decisive circumstance is furnished by the same play. In The Third Part of King Henry VI, (p. 375). Warwick proposes to marry his eldest daughter (Isabella) to Edward Prince of Wales, and the proposal js accepted by Edward; and in a subsequent scene Clarence says, he will marry the younger daughter (Anne). In these particulars Shakspeare has implicitly followed the elder drama. But the fact is, that the Prince of Wales married Anne the younger daughter of the earl of Warwick, and the Duke of Clarence married the elder, Isabella. Though the author of The true Tragedie of the Duke of Yorke, &c. was here inaccurate, and though Shakspeare too negligently followed his steps,—when he

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

* Hall's Chron. Henry VI, fol. xxix,

wrote his King Richard III, he had gained better information; for there Lady Anne is rightly represented as the widow of the Prince of Wales, and the youngest daughter of the Earl of Warwick;

“ Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
- And leave the world to me to bustie in.
“ For then I 'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter;

“ What though I kill'd her husband, and her father,” &c. i. e. Edward Prince of Wales, and King Henry VI.

King Richard III, Act I, sc. i. I have said that certain passages in The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI are ascertained to be Shakspeare's by a peculiar phraseology. This peculiar phraseology, without a single exception, distinguishes such parts of these plays as are found in the folio, and not in the elder quarto dramas, of which the phraseology, as well as the versification, is of a different colour. This observation applies not only to the new original matter produced by Shakspeare, but to his alteration of the old. Our author in his undoubted compositions has fallen into an inaccuracy, of which I do not recollect a similar instance in the works of any other dramatist. When he has occasion to quote the same paper twice, (not from memory, but verbatim,) from negligence he does not always attend to the words of the paper which he has occasion to quote, but makes one of the persons of the drama recite them with variations, though he holds the very paper quoted before his eyes. Thus, in All's Well that Ends Well, Act V, sc. iii, Helena says:

here's your letter; This it says:
When from my finger you can get this ring,

And are by me with childd,' Yet, as I have observed in Vol. V, p. 237, n. 3, Helena in Act III, sc. ii, reads this very letter aloud, and there the words are different, and in plain prose: “When thou canst get the ring from my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begutten of thy body,” &c. In like manner, in the first scene of The Second Part of King Henry VI, Suffolk presents to the Duke of Gloster, protector of the realm, the articles of peace concluded between France and England. The protector begins to read the articles, but when he has proceeded no further than these words, _"Item, that the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released and delivered to the king her father,”_heis suddenly taken ill, and rendered incapable of proceeding: on which the Bishop of Winchester is called upon to read the remainder of the paper. He accordingly reads the whole of the article, of which the Duke of Gloster had only read a part: “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,' &c. Now though Maine in our old chronicles is sometimes called a county, and sometimes a duchy, yet worls cannot thus change their form under the eyes of two readers : nor do they in the original play, entitled, The First Part of the Contention of the Two Houses, &c. for there the article as recited by the protector corresponds with that recited by the Bishop, without the most mi


nute variation. “Item, It is further agreed between them, that the dutchies of Anjou and of Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father, and she sent,” &c. Thus in the old play says the Duke, and so says the Cardinal after him. This one circumstance, in my apprehension, is of such weight, that though it stood alone, it might decide the present question. Our author has fallen into a similar inaccuracy in the fourth scene of the same Act, where the Duke of York recites from a paper the questions that had been put to the Spirit, relative to the Duke of Suffolk, Somerset, &c.*

Many minute marks of Shakspeare's hand may be traced in such parts of the old plays as he has new-modelled. I at present recollect one tbat must strike every reader who is conversant with · his writings. He very frequently uses adjectives adverbially ;

and this kind of phraseology, if not peculiar to him, is found more frequently in his writings than those of any of his contemporaries. Thus—“I am myself indifferent honest;"" as dishonourable ragged as an old faced ancient;"_" equal ravenous;”. “leaves them invisible;" &c. † In The true Tragedie of the Duke of Yorke, &c. the King, having determined to marry Lady Grey, injoins his brothers to use her honourably. But in Shakspeare's play the words are,—“use her honourable." So, in Julius Caesar :

Young man, thou could'st not die more honourable.In like manner, in The Third Part of King Henry VI, we find this line :

“ Is either slain, or wounded dangerous." but in the old play the words are—“wounded dangerously.

In the sanie play the word handkerchief is used; but in the corresponding scene in The Third Part of King Henry VI, (p 317) Shakspeare has substituted the northern term napkin, which occurs so often in his works, in its room. I

The next circumstance to which I wish to call the attention of those who do not think the present investigation wholly incurious, is, the Transpositions that are found in these plays. In the preceding notes I have frequently observed that not only several lines, but sometimes whole scenes, were transposed by Shakspeare.

In p. 317, 318, a Messenger, giving an account of the death of the Duke of York, says:

“ Environed he was with many foes;
“ And stood against them, as the hope of Troy
“ Against the Greeks, that would have enter'd Troy.

“ But Hercules himself must yield to odds;"When this passage was printed, not finding any trace of the last

* See p. 153, n. 7.

† See Vol. VIII, p. 302, n. 6; Vol. VII, p. 415, n. 4; Vol. V, p. 265, n. 8.

$ In Othello both the words--napkin, and hardkerchief, may be found. Steevens.

§ See p. 389, 11. 5; p. 395, n. 5; p. 399, 11. 4.

« PreviousContinue »