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THE FIRST PART OF KING HENRY VI.
FIRST printed in the folio of 1623.-In this play little or nothing of Shakespeare is to be traced : but the fact of its being admitted into the folio may be regarded as a proof that he had touched it here and there.—The “ Henery the vj,” which Henslowe mentions as first acted on March 3, 1591-2, and as frequently repeated afterwards (Diary, p. 22, sqq., Shakespeare Soc. ed.), was perhaps The First Part of King Henry the Sixth in its original state, and the play to which Nash alludes when he says, 'How would it haue ioyed braue Talbot (the terror of the French) to thinke that, after he had line two hundred yeares in his tombe, he should triumph againe on the stage, and haue his bones new embalmed with the teares of ten thousand spectators at least (at seuerall times), who in the tragedian that represents his person imagine they behold him fresh bleeding." Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Diuell, sig. F 3, ed. 1595.
1864. “The Three Parts of King Henry the Sixth appear to me to have been written by Shakespeare in conjunction with others. Marlowe was probably one of his coadjutors. The Temple-Garden scene and those scenes which relate to the death of the Talbots were perhaps all that he contributed to the First Part. Possibly he may have also written the interview between Talbot and the Countess of Auvergne.
“He seems to have written more of The Second and Third Parts.
“I believe that the first folio has given us all these three plays substantially as they were first written, but not without occasional errors, and even sophistications. As to The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, I have little doubt that they are merely piratical depravations of The Second and Third Parts of King Henry the Sixth. These two pirated plays, however, with all their imperfections, and in the midst of every variety of corruption, seem here and there to have preserved the genuine text in passages which are incorrectly given in the folio, and consequently ought to be studied by modern editors.
“I have merely stated my opinions: to bring forward the reasons on which they are founded would carry me far beyond the limits of a note.” W. N. LETTSOM.
I must observe here, that I am far from agreeing with my friend Mr. Lettsom about The Three Parts of King Henry VI. I still believe that The First Part of King Henry VI. was not written by Shakespeare in conjunction with any other author or authors, but that it is a comparatively old drama, which he slightly altered and improved. Nor am I inclined to relinquish my opinion that he had no share in the composition of The First Part of the Contention, &c., and of The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York,—both of which I strongly suspect to have been wholly from the pen of Marlowe. See my Memoir of Shakespeare, vol. i. p. 68 and pp. 74-5; also the Introductions to The Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI., in the present volume.
KING HENRY the Sixth.
and afterwards cardinal. JOHN BEAUFORT, earl of Somerset, afterwards duke. RICHARD PLANTAGENET, son of Richard late earl of Cambridge,
afterwards duke of York.
CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards king, of France.
MARGARET, daughter to Reignier, afterwards married to King Henry. COUNTESS OF AUVERGNE.
JOAN LA PUCELLE, commonly called Joan of Arc. Lords, Warders of the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers,
and several Attendants both on the English and French.
Fiends appearing to La Pucelle.
* That there are properly two Earls of Warwick in this play,-the Warwick of the opening scene (who is a mute) being Beauchamp, the Warwick of the later scenes Neville,-has been remarked by Ritson in his note on sc. 1, and by Courtenay in his Comment on the Hist. Plays of Shakspeare, vol i. p. 213.
THE FIRST PART OF
KING HENRY VI.
SCENE I. Westminster Abbey.
Dead march. The corpse of King HENRY the Fifth, in state, is
brought in, attended on by the Dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER, the Earl of WARWICK, the Bishop of WINCHESTER,
Glo. England ne'er had a king until his time.
(1) Henry the Fifth,] So Pope. The folio has “King Henry the Fift." -Compare a line in the next speech of the same speaker; " Henry the Fifth ! thy ghost I invocate.”—Walker (Crit. Exam., &c., vol. iii. p. 141) says, “Possibly 'King Henry Fifth.” (Here Mr. Collier, in the second edition of his Shakespeare, writes as follows; “In the corr. fo. 1632 * King' is erased, probably for the sake of the measure ; but as 'King' may have been considered necessary in order to denote more emphatically who was intended, we leave it in the text.”)
More dazzled and drove back his enemies
Exe. We mourn in black : why mourn we not in blood ?
Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
Glo. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen pray'd,
Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector,
Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh;
Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace! Let's to the altar :-heralds, wait on us :Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms; Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead. Posterity, await for wretched years, When at their mothers' moist (2) eyes babes shall suck;
© moist] The folio has “moistned.”—Corrected in the second folio.
Our isle be made a marish of salt tears, (3
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My honourable lords, health to you all!
Bed. What say'st thou, man! before dead Henry's corse
Glo. Is Paris lost? is Rouen yielded up?
Exe. How were they lost? what treachery was us'd ?
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and money.
(3) Our isle be made a marish of salt tears,] So Pope, and (as Warburton remarks) very judiciously.—The folio bas“ — a Nourish of salt Teares," !-a flagrant error (in support of which, however, an example of the substantive “nourish," i.e. nourice, nurse, has been adduced from Lydgate !).—Here Ritson appositely quotes Kyd's Spanish Tragedy ;
“ Made mountains marsh with spring-tides of my tears.” Compare too Smith's Hector of Germanie, 1615;
"Ere long Ile set them free, or make the soyle,
Sig. C 4. (9) Berenice.] Here the folio has a blank, which, as Malone observes, “ undoubtedly arose from the transcriber's or compositor's not being able to make out the name.”—“Berenice” is Johnson's proposed addition ; of which Walker (Crit. Exam., &c., vol. iii. p. 147) unhesitatingly approves.—Mr. Collier's Ms. Corrector supplies “Cassiopé.”
() Guienne, Champagne, Rheims, Rouen, Orleans,] So Capell, with an eye to Gloster's next speech.-Here the folio omits * Rouen.”