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THIRD PART OF
KING HENRY THE SIXTH.*
THE action of this play opens just after the first battle of St. Albans [May 23, 1455], wherein the York faction carried the day; and closes with the murder of king Henry VI. and the birth of prince Edward, afterwards king Edward V. [November 4, 1471]. So that this history takes in the space of full sixteen years.
The title of the old play, which Shakspeare altered and improved, is, "The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the Death of good King Kenry the Sixth: with the whole Contention between the Two Houses of Lancaster and Yorke: as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembroke his Servants. Printed at London by P. S. for Thomas Millington, and are to be solde at his Shoppe under St. Peter's Church in Cornewal, 1595." There was another edition in 1600, by the same publisher; and it was reproduced with the name of Shakspeare on the title page, printed by T. P. no date, but ascertained to have been printed in 1619.
The present historical drama was altered by Crown, and brought on the stage in 1680, under the title of The Miseries of Civil War. Surely the works of Shakspeare could have been little read at that period; for Crown, in his prologue, declares the play to be entirely his own composition:
"For by his feeble skill 'tis built alone,
The divine Shakspeare did not lay one stone."
Whereas the very first scene is that of Jack Cade, copied almost verbatim from the Second Part of King Henry VI., and several others from this Third Part, with as little variation.
* This play is only divided from the former for the convenience of exhibition; for the series of action is continued without interruption, nor are any two scenes of any play more closely connected than the first scene of this play with the last of the former.-Johnson.
LORD RIVERS, Brother to Lady Grey. SIR WILLIAM STANLEY. SIR JOHN MONTGOMERY. SIR JOHN SOMERVILE. Tutor to Rutland. Mayor of York. Lieutenant of the Tower. Nobleman. Two Keepers. A Huntsman. A Son that has killed his Father. A Father that has killed his Son.
LADY GREY, afterwards Queen to Edward IV.
BONA, Sister to the French Queen.
Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry and King Edward, Messengers, Watchmen, &c.
SCENE, during part of the third act, in France; during all the rest of the play, in England.
THIRD PART OF
KING HENRY THE SIXTH.
SCENE I. London. The Parliament House.
Drums. Some Soldiers of York's party break in. Then, enter the DUKE of YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and others, with white roses in their hats.
War. I WONDER how the king escaped our hands. York. While we pursued the horsemen of the north, He slyly stole away, and left his men;
Whereat the great lord of Northumberland,
Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat, 'Cheered up the drooping army; and himself,
'Lord Clifford, and lord Stafford, all abreast,
Charged our main battle's front; and, breaking in,
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.1
Edw. Lord Stafford's father, duke of Buckingham, Is either slain, or wounded dangerous.
I cleft his beaver with a downright blow;
That this is true, father, behold his blood.
[Showing his bloody sword.
Mont. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltshire's
[To YORK, showing his.
Whom I encountered as the battles joined.
1 See the former play. Shakspeare has fallen into this inconsistency
by following the old plays in the construction of these dramas.