« ZurückWeiter »
DRAMATIC WORKS AND POEMS
ORIGINAL AND SELECTED, AND INTRODUCTORY REMARKS TO EACH PLAY,
SAMUEL WELLER SINGER, F.S A.
A LIPS OF THE POET,
CHARLES SYMMONS, D.D.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
329 & 331 PEARL STREET,
FRANKLIN SQUARE. .
compass of above thirty years. In the three parts But I was made a king at nine months old. of King Henry VI. there is no very precise attention to
King Henry VI. Part II. Activ. S * the date and disposition of facts; they are shuffled back. When I was crown'd I was but nine inonths old.' wards and forwards out of time. For instance, the
King Henry VI. Part III. Act i. Sc. I I.ord Talbot is killed at the end of the fourth act of this The first of these passages is among the additionis play, who in reality did not fall till the 13th of July, made by Shakspeare to the old play, according to Mr. 1453: and the Second part of King Henry VI. opens Malune's hypothesis. The other passage does occur in with the marriage of the king, which was solemnized the True Tragedie of Richard Duke of York; and eight years before Talbot's death, in the year 1443. therefore it is natural to conclude that neither Shak Again, in the second part, dame Eleanor Cobham is in speare nor the author of that piece could have written troduced to insult Queen Margaret : though her penance the First Part of King Henry VI. and banishment for sorcery happened three years be- 2. In Act ii. Sc. 5. of this play, it is said that the earl fore that princess came over to England. There are of Cambridge raised an army against his sovereign. other transgressions against history, as far as the order But Shakspeare, in his play of King Henry V. has reof time is concerned.
presented the matter truly as it was : the earl being in Mr. Malone has written a dissertation to prove that that piece, Act ii., condemned at Southampton for conthe First Part of King Henry VI. was not written by spiring to assassinate Henry. Shakspeare: and that the Second and Third Parts were 3. The author of this play knew the true pronunci. only altered by him froin the old play, entitled “The ation of the word Hecate, as it is used by the Roman Contention of the Two firmous Houses of Yorke and writers : Lancaster,' printed in two parts, in quarto, in 1594 and "I speak not to that railing Hecate.'
The substance of his argument, as far as regards But Shakspeare, in Macbeth, always uses Hecate as a this play, is as follows:
dissyllable. 1. The diction, versification, and allusions in it, are The second speech in this play ascertains the author all different from the diction, versification, and allusions to have been very familiar with Hall's Chronicle:of Shakspeare, and corresponding with those of Greene, 'What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech.' Peele, Lodge, Marlowe, and others who preceded him: This phrase is introduced upon almost every occasion there are more allusions to mythology, to classical au. by Hall when he means to be eloquent. Holinshed, not thors, and to ancient and modern history, than are Hall, was Shakspeare's historian. Here then is an found in any one piece of Shakspeare's written on an additional minute proof that this play was not ShakEnglish story: they are such as do not naturally rise speare's. out of the subject, but seem to be inserted merely to This is the sum of Malone's argument, which Stec. show the writer's learning. These allusions, and many vens has but feebly combated in notes appended to it; particular expressions, seem more likely to have been and I am disposed to think more out of a spirit of oppoused by the authors already named than by Shak. sicion than from any other cause Malone conjectured speare.- He points out many of the allusions, and in that this piece which we now call the First Part of stances the words proditor and immanity, which are King Henry VI. was, when first performed, called The not to be found in any of the poet's undisputed works. Play of King Henry VI.; and he afterwards found his
The versification he thinks clearly of a different co- conjecture confirmed by an entry in the accounts of lour from that of Shakspeare's genuine dramas; while Henslowe, the proprietor of the Rose Theatre on the at the same time it resembles that of many of the plays Bank Side. It must have been very popular, having produced before his time. The sense concludes or been played no less than thirteen times in one season: pauses almost uniformly at the end of every line; and the first entry of its performance by the Lord Strange's the verse has scarcely ever a redundant syllable. He company, at the Rose, is dated March 3, 1591. It is produces numerous instances from the works of Lodge, worthy of remark that Shakspeare does not appear ar Peele, Greene, and others, of similar versification. any time to have had the smallest connexion with that
A passage in a pamphlet written by Thomas Nashe, theatre, or the companies playing there; which affords an intimate friend of Greene, Peele, Marlowe, &c. additional argument in favour of Malone's position, shows that the First Part of King Henry VI. had been that the play could not be his. By whom it was writ on the stage before 1592 ; and his favourable mention of ten (says Malone,) it is now, I fear, difficult to ascer the piece may induce a belief that it was written by a tain. It was not entered on the Stationers' books, nor friend of his. How would it have joyed brave Talbot, printed till the year 1623; when it was reiterated with the terror of the French, to thinke that, after he had Shakspeare's undisputed plays by the editors of the lyen two hundred yeare in his tombe, he should triumph first folio, and improperly entitled the Third* Part of again on the stage; and have his bones new embalmed King Henry VI. 'In one sense it might be called so; with the teares of ten thousand spectators at least (at for two plays on the subject of that reign had been several times,), who in the tragedian that represents his printed before. But considering the history of that king, person behold him fresh bleeding.'--Pierce Penniless, and the period of time which the piece comprehends it his Supplication to the Deril, 1592.
ought to have been called, what in fact it is, The First That this passage related to the old play of King Part of King Henry VI. At this distance of time it is Henry VI. or, as it is now called, the First Part of impossible to ascertain on what principle it was that King Henry VI. can hardly be doubted. Talbot appears Heminge and Condell admitted it into their volume ; bu: in the First Part, and not in the Second or Third Part, I suspect that they gave it a place as a necessary intro. and is expressly spoken of in the play, as well as in duction to the two other parts; and because Shakspeare Hall's Chronicle, as 'the terror of the French. Holin. had made some slight" alterations, and written a few shed, who was Shakspeare's guide, omits the passage | lines in it.f in Hall, in which Talbot is thus described ; and this is Mr. Malone's arguments have made many converte an additional proof that this play was not the production to his opinion; and perhaps Mr. Morgann, in his ele. of our great poet.
gant Essay on the Dramatic Character of Falstaff, f lea There are other internal proofs of this:-
the way, when he pronounced it "That-drum-and. 1. The author does not seem to have known precisely trumpet thing,_written doubtless, or rather exhibited now old Henry VI. was at the time of his father's long before Shakspeare was born, though afterwards death. He supposed him to have passed the state of repaired and furbished up by him with here and there infancy before he lost his father, and even to have re- a little sentiment and diction. membered some of his sayings. In the Fourth Act, Sc. 1, speaking of the famous Talbot, he says: When I was young (as yet I am not old,)
* This applies only to the title in the Register of the I do remember how my father said,
Stationers' Company: in the first folio it was called the A stouter champion never handled sword.'
First Part of King Henry VI. But Shakspeare knew that Henry VI.could not possi. † Malone's Life of Shakspeare, p 310, el 1821. bly remember any thing of his father :
First published in 1777