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* KING HENRY VI. Part I.] The historical transaâions contained in this play, take in the compass of above thirty years. I mult observe, however, that our author, in the three parts of Henry VI. has not been very precise to the date and disposition of his faas; but shuffled them, backwards and forwards, out of time. For inftance; the lord Talbot is kill'd at the end of the fourth ađ of this play, who in reality did not fall till the 13th of July, 1453: and The Second Part of Henry VI. opeos with the mairiage of the king, which was folemnized eight years before Talboi's death, in the year 1445. Again, in the second part, dame Eleanor Cobham is introduced to insult Queen Margaret; though her penance and banishment for sorcery happened three years before that princess came over to England. I could point out many other transgressions against history, as far as the order of time is concerned. Indeed, though there are several master-Atrokes in these three plays, which incontefibly betray the workmanship of Sbakspeare ; yet I am almoft doubisul, whether they were entirely of his writing. And unless they were wrote by him very early, I should rather imagine them to have been brought to bim as a dirc&or of the Atage, and so have received some finishing beauties at his hand. An accurate observer will casily see, the diâion of them is more obsolete, and the numbers more mean and prosaical, tban in the generality of his genuine compositions.

THEOBALD. Having given my opinion very fully relative to these plays at the cod of the third part of King Henry VI. it is here only necessary to apprize the reader what my hypothesis is, that he may be the better enabled, as he proceeds, to judge concerning its probability. Like many others, I was long struck with the many evident ShakSpearianisms in these plays, which appeared to me to carry such deciớive weight, that I could scarcely bring myself to examine with attention any of the arguments that have been urged against his beiog the author of them. I am now surprised, and my readers perhaps may say the same thing of themselves,) that I should never have adverted to a very striking circumstance which diftinguishes this first part from the other parts of King Henry VI. This circumitance is, that none of these Shaksperian passages are to be found here, though several are scattered through the two other parts. I am therefore decisively of opiuion that this play was not written by Shakspeare. The realons on which that opiniou is founded, are stated at large in the Differtation above referred to. But I would bere request the reader to attend particularly to the vergfication of this piece, ( of which almost every line has a pause at the end,) which is so different from that of Shakspeare's un. doubled plays, and of the greater part of the two succeeding pieces as altered by him, and so exa&ly corresponds with that of

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the tragedies written by others before and about the time of his first commencing author, that this aloue might decide the queftion, without taking into the account the numerous claflical allusions which are found in this first part. The reader will be enabled to judge how far this argument deserves attention, from the several extraås from those ancicat pieces which he will find in the Essay on this subjeå.

With resped to the second and third parts of King Henry VI. or, as they were originally called, The Contention of the two famous Honfes of Yorke and Lancajler, they ftand, in my apprehension, on a very different ground from that of this first part, or, as I believe it was anciently called, The Play of King Henry VI.- The Contention, &c. printed in two parts, in quario, 1600, was, I conceive, the produ&ion of soine playwright who preceded, or was contemporary with, Shakspeare; and out of that piece be formed the two plays which are now denominated the second and Third Paris of King Henry VI.; as, out of the old plays of King John and The Taming of a Shrew, he formed two other plays with the same titles. For the reasons on which this opinion is formed, I must again refer to my Essay on this fubje&.

This old play of King Henry VI, now before us, or as our author's editors have called it, the first part of King Henry VI. I suppose, lo have been written in 1589, or before. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. The dispofitioą of fa&s in these three plays, not always corresponding with the dates, which Mr. Theobald mentions, and the wanit of uniformity and confiftency in the series of events exhibited, may perbaps be in some measure accounted for by the hypothesis now fated. As to our author's having accepted these pieces as a Director of the stage, he had, I fear, no pretenlion to such a situation at so early a period.

MALONE. The chief argument on which the first paragraph of the foregoing note depends, is not, in my opinion, conclusive. This biftorical play might have been one of our autbot's earliest dramatic efforts; and almost every young poet begins his career by imitation. Shakspeare, therefore, till he felt his own strength, perhaps servilely conformed to the style and manner of his predea cessors. Thus, the captive eaglet described by Rowe,

a wbile endures his cage and chains.
ii And like a prisoner with the clown remains:
". But when his plumes shoot forth, his pinions swell,
" He quits the rustic and his homely cell,
“ Breaks, from bis bonds, and in the face of day

• Full in the sun's bright beam's hé foars away. What further remarks I may offer on this subjeå, will appear the form of notes to Mr. Malone's Essay, from which I do not waua tonly differ,--though hardily, I confess, as far as my leotimcais may seem to militate agaief those of Dr. Farmer. STEEVENS,

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id

King Henry the Sixth.
Duke of Gloster, uncle to the king, and Protector.
Duke of Bedford, uncle to the king, and Regent of France.
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter,great uncle to theking.
Henry Beaufort, great uncle to the king, Bishop of

Winchester, and afterwards Cardinal.
John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset; aflerwards Duke.
Richard Plantagenet, eldest fon of Richard late Earl

of Cambridge; afterwards Duke of York. Earl of Warwick. Earl of Salisbury. Earl of Suffolk. Lord Talbot, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury: John Talbot, his son. Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. Mortimer's Keeper, and a Lawyer. Sir John Fastolle. Sir William Lucy. Sir William Glansdale. Sir Thomas Gargrave. Mayor of London. Woodville, Lieutenant of the Tower, Vernon, of the White Rose, or York faction. Basset of the Red Rose, or Lancaster faction. Charles, Dauphin, and afterwards king of France. Reignier, Duke of Anjou, and titular king of Naples. Duke of Burgundy. Duke of Alençon. Governor of Paris. Bastard of Orleans. Master-Gunner of Orleans, and his son. General of the French forces in Bourdeaux. A French Sergeant. A Porter. An old Shepherd, father to Joan la Pucelle. Margaret, daughter lo Reignier; afterwards married

to King Henry. Countess of Auvergne. Joan la Pacelle, commonly called, Joan of Arc. Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of

the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and several Attendants both on the English and I'rench. SCENE, partly in England, and fartly in France,

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FIRST PART OF

KI N G HENRY VI.

A C T I. S CE NE Į.

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2

Westminster Abbey. Dead march. Corpse of King Henry the Fifth dis

covered, lying in state ; attended on by the Dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER; the earl of Warwick; "the Bishop of Winchester, Heralds, &c. Bed. Hung be the heavens with black, 3 yield

day to night! Comets, importing change of times and states, Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky;

earl of Warwick; ] The Earl of Warwick who makes his appearance in the firft scene of this play is Richard Beauchamp, who is a chara&er in King Henry V. The Earl who appears in the fubsequent part of it, is Richard Nevil, son to the Earl of Salisbury, who became possessed of the title in right of his wife, Anne, filter of Henry Beauchamp Duke of Warwick, on the death of Anne his only child in 1449. Richard, the father of this Herty, was appointed governor to the king, on the demise of Tomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, and died in 1439. There is no reason to think that the author meant to confound the two chara&ers. RITSON,

3 Hung be the heavens with black, ] Alluding 10 our ancient Atage-pradice when a tragedy was to be expe&ed. So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book II: " There arose, even with the sunne, a vaile of darke cloudes before his face, which shortly had blacked over all the face of heaven, preparing (as it were ) a mournfull fage for -a tragedie to be played on." See allo Mr. Malone's Historical Account of the English Slage. SleeveNS.

* Brandith your cryftal troffes-] Cryllal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. So, in a Sonnet by Lord Sterline, 1604 : " When as those chry Ral comets whilds appear."

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And with them scourge the bad revolting Nars,
That have consented' unto Henry's death!

6 That ha

Spenser, in his Faery Queen, Book I. c. x. applies it to a lady's face

" Like sunny beams threw from her chrystal face." Again, in an ancient song entitled The falling out of Lovers is the qenewing of Love :

" You chryslal planets shine all clear

" And light a lover's way." " There is also a white comet with filver haires," says Pliny, as translated by P. Holland, 1601. STEEVENS.

consented--} If this expression means no more than that the stars gave a bare confent, or agreed to let King Henry die, it does no great honour to its author. I believe to confent; in this instance, means to ađ in concert. Concentus, Lat. Thus Erato the muse applauding the song of Apollo.' in Lyly's Midas, 1592, cries out: “ O sweet consent!" i. e. fweet union of sounds. Again, io Spenser's Faery Queen, B. IV. c. ii:

". Such musick bis wise words with time consented." Again, in his tranllation of Virgil's Culex:

" Chanted their sundry notes with sweet concent." and in many other places. Consented, or as it should be spelt, concented, means, have thrown themselves into a malignant configura: tion, to promote the death of Henry. Spenser, in more than one instance, spells this word as it appears in the text of Shakspeare ; as docs Ben Jonson, in his Epithalamion on Mr. Wefon. The following lines.

shall we curse the planets of milhap, " That plotted thus," &c. seem to countenance my explanation ;' and Falstaff fays of Shal. low's servants, that " they flock together in confent, like lo many wild geelę." See allo Tully de Natura Deorum, Lib. II. ch. xlvi : Ņolo in Bellarum ratione multus vobis videri, maximéque carum quæ errare dicuntur. Quarum tantus eft concentus ex diffimilibus motibus, &c.

Milton uses the word, and with the same meaning, in bis Penferofo:

" Whose power hath a true consent

" With planet; or with element." STEEVENS. Steevens is right in his explanation of the word consented. So, in The Knight of Tke 'Burning Peftle, the Merchant says to Merryo thought :

-- too late, I well perceive,
“ Thou art conjenting to my daughter's loss."

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