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OBSERVATIONS.

THE hiftorical transactions contained in this play, take in the compafs of above thirty years. I muft obferve, however, that our author, in the three parts of Henry VI. has not been very precise to the date and difpofition of his facts; but fhuffled them, backwards and forwards, out of time. For inftance; the lord Talbot is killed at the end of the fourth act of this play, who in reality did not fall till the 13th of July, 1453 and The Second Part of Henry VI. opens with the marriage of the king, which was folemnized eight years before Talbot's death, in the year 1445. Again, in the second part, dame Eleanor Cobham is introduced to infult Queen Margaret; though her penance and banishment for forcery happened three years before that princefs came over to England. I could point out many other tranfgreffions against hiftory, as far as the order of time is concerned. Indeed, though there are feveral mafter-ftrokes in these three plays, which inconteftibly betray the workmanship of Shakspeare; yet I am almost doubtful, whether they were entirely of his writing. And unless they were wrote by him very early, I thould rather imagine them to have been brought to him as a director of the stage; and fo have received fome finishing beauties at his hand. An accurate obferver will easily fee, the diction of them is more obfolete, and the numbers more mean and profaical, than in the generality of his genuine compofitions. THEOBALD.

Like many others, I was long ftruck with the many evident Shakfpearianifms in thefe plays, which appeared to me to carry fuch decifive weight, that I could scarcely bring myself to examine with attention any of the arguments that have been urged against his being the author of them. I am now furprised, (and my readers, perhaps, may fay the fame thing of themselves,) that I fhould never have adverted to a very striking circumftance which diftinguishes this first part from the other parts of King Henry VI. This circumftance is, that none of thefe Shaksperian paffages are to be found here, though several are fcattered through the two other parts. I am therefore decifively of

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opinion

pinion that this play was not written by Shakspeare. But I would here requeft the reader to attend particularly to the verfification of this piece (of which almost every line has a pause at the end), which is fo different from that of Shakspeare's undoubted plays, and of the greater part of the two fucceeding pieces as altered by him, and fo exactly correfponds with that of the tragedies written by others before and about the time of his first commencing author, that this alone might decide the question, without taking into the account the numerous claffical allufions which are found in this first part.

With respect to the fecond and third parts of King Henry VI. or, as they were originally called, The Contention of the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, they ftand, in my apprehenfion, on a very differ ent 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 quarto, 1600, was, I conceive, the production of fome playwright who preceded, or was contemporary with, Shakspeare; and out of that piece he formed the two plays which are now denominated the Second and Third Parts 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 fame titles.

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 fuppofe, to have been written in 1589, or before. The difpofition of facts in these three plays, not always correfponding with the dates, which Mr. Theobald mentions, and-the want of uniformity and confiftency in the series of events exhibited, may perhaps be in fome measure accounted for by the hypothefis now stated. As to our author's having accepted thefe pieces as a Director of the stage, he had, I fear, no pretenfion 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, conclufive. This hiftorical play might have been one of our author's earliest dramatic efforts; and almost every young poet begins his career by imitation. Shakspeare, therefore, till he felt his own ftrength, perhaps servilely conformed to the ftyle and manner of his predeceffors. Thus, the captive eaglet deTcribed by Rowe,

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a while endures his cage and chains,
"And like a prifoner with the clown remains:
"But when his plumes fhoot forth, his pinions fwell,
"He quits the ruftic and his homely cell,
"Breaks from his bonds, and in the face of day
"Fall in the fun's bright beams he foars away."

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STEEVENS

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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 the king.

HENRY BEAUFORT, great uncle to the king, Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards Cardinal.

JOHN BEAUFORT, Earl of Somerfet; afterwards, 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 fon.

EDMUND MORTIMER, Earl of March.

Mortimer's Keeper, and a Lawyer.

Sir JOHN FASTOLFE. Sir WILLIAM LUCY.

Sir WILLIAM GLANSDALE. Sir THOMAS GARGRAVE.
Mayor of London, WOODVILLE, Lieutenant of the Tower.
VERNON, of the White Rofe, or York faction.
BASSET, of the Red Rofe, 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. Baftard of Orleans.
Mafter-Gunner of Orleans, and his fon.
General of the French forces in Bourdeaux.
A French Sergeant. A Porter.

An old Shepherd, father to Joan la Pucelle.

MARGARET, daughter to Reignier; afterwards married to King Henry.

Countess of AUVERGNE.

JOAN LA PUCELLE, commonly called, Joan of Arc.
Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of the Tower,
Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Meffengers, and feveral Attend-
ants both on the English and French.

SCENE, partly in England, and partly in France.

KING HENRY VI.

FIRST PART.

ACT I. SCENE I.

Dead march.

Westminster Abbey.

Corpfe of King Henry the Fifth discovered, lying in state; attended on by the Dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER; the earl of WARWICK; the Bishop of WINCHESTER, Heralds, &c.

Bedford.

H

UNG be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,

Brandish your crystal treffes in the sky;

And with them scourge the bad revolting stars,
That have confented unto Henry's death!
Henry the fifth, too famous to live long!
England ne'er loft a king of fo much worth.

Glo. England ne'er had a king, until his time.
Virtue he had, deferving to command:

His brandish'd fword did blind men with his beams;
His arms fpread wider than a dragon's wings;
His sparkling eyes replete with wrathful fire,

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More dazzled and drove back his enemies,

Than mid-day fun, fierce bent against their faces.
What should I fay? his deeds exceed all speech:
He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquered.

Exe. We mourn in black; why mourn
blood?

Henry is dead, and never shall revive:
Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
And death's dishonourable victory
We with our stately prefence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What? fhall we curfe the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory's overthrow ?
Or, fhall we think the fubtle-witted French
Conjurers and forcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magick verfes have contriv'd his end?

we not in

Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
Unto the French the dreadful judgement day
So dreadful will not be, as was his fight.
The battles of the Lord of hofts he fought:

The church's prayers made him so profperous.

Glo. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen

pray'd,

His thread of life had not fo foon decay'd:

None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a schoolboy, you may over-awe.

Win. Glofter, whate'er we like, thou art protector;
And lookeft to command the prince, and realm.
Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe,
More than God, or religious churchmen, may.

Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh ;
And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st,
Except it be to pray against thy foes.

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Bed.

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