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King Henry the Sixth.
chester, and afterwards Cardinal. John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset; afterwards, Duke. Richard Plantagenet, eldeft jon 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 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, Mafier-Gunner of Orleans, and his son. General of the French forces in Bourdeaux. A French Serjeant. 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, Messengers, and feveral Attendants both on the English and French. SCENE, parily in England, and partly in France.
ACT 1. SC EN E I.
Westminster-Abbey. Dead march. The corpse of King Henry the Fifth dif
covered, lying in fate; attended on by the dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and Exeter; the earl of WARWICK ; the Bishop of Winchefter, heralds, &c. Bed. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day tonight! Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish i The historical transactions contained in this play, take in the come pass of above thirty years. I must observe, however, that our author, in the three parts of K. Henry VI. has not been very precise to the date and difpofition of his fa&ts ; but fufted them, backwards and for. wards, out of time. For instance; 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 I be 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 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 againt history, as far as the order of time is concerned. Indeed, though there are several master-strokes in these three plays, which inconteste ably 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 dould rather imagine them to have been brought to him as a director of the stage; and to have received some finishing beauties at his hand. An accurate observer will easily fee, the diction of them is more obsolete, and the numbers more mean and prosaical, than in the generality of his genuine compositions. THEOBALD.
Having given my opinion very fully relative to these plays at the end of the third part of King Henry VI., it is bere 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 ftruck with the many evident Sbakspearianisms in these days, which appeared to me to carry such decisive 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 surprised, (and my readers perhaps may say the same shing of themselves,)
Brandish your crystal treffes ? in the sky;
With respect to the second and third parts of K. Henry VI. or, as they were originally called, The Contention of be two famous bouses of Yorke and Loncafter, they stand, in my apprehenfion, on a very different ground from that of this first part, or, as I believe it was anciently called, Tbe Play of K.Henry VI.-The Contention, &c. printed in two parts, in quarto, 1600, was, I conceive, the production of some 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 Jobn and obe Taming of a Sbrew, he formed two other plays with the same titles. For the reasons on which this opinion is formed, I must again sefer to my Essay on this subject.
This old play of King Henry VI. now before us, or as our author's editors have called it, the forst part of King Henry VI. I suppose, to have been written in 1589, or before. See An Attemps to ascertain i be order of Sbokspeare's plays, Vol. I. The dispofition of facts in these three plays, not always corresponding with the dates, which Mr. Theobald mentions, and the want of uniformity and consistency in the series of events exhibited, may perhaps be in some measure accounted for by the hypothesis now stated. As to our author's having accepted these pieces as a Director of the itage, he had, I fear, no pretension to such a situation at so early a period. MALONE.
2 Brandish your crystal trelles-] Cbryfal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. So, in a Sonnet by Lord Sterline, 1604;
« When as those cbryftal comets whiles appear." “ There is also a wbite comet with filver haires," says Pliny, as translated by P. Holland, 1601. STILYENS.