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That those Plays were not written ORIGINALLY by
S HA K S P E A RE. Several DEVERAL passages in The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI. appearing evidently to be of the hand of Shakspeare, I was long of opinion that the three hifto. rical dramas which are the subject of the present disquisition, were properly ascribed to him ; not then doubting that the whole of these plays was the production of the same person. But a more minute investigation of the subject, into which I have been led by the present revision of all our author's works, has convinced me, that, though the premises were true, my conclusion was too haftily drawn; for though the hand of Shakspeare is unquestionably found in the two latter of these plays, it does not therefore necessarily follow, that they were originally and entirely composed by him. My thoughts upon this point have already been intimated in the foregoing notes; but it is now necessary for me to state my opinion more particularly, and to lay before the reader the grounds on which, after a very careful inquiry, it has been formed.
What at present I have chiefly in view is, to account for the vigble inequality in these pieces; many traits of Shakspeare being clearly discernible in them, while the Vol. VI.
inferior parts are not merely unequal to the rest, (from which no certain conclufion can be drawn,) but of quite a different complexion from the inferior parts of our author's undoubted performances.
My hypothesis then is, that The First Part of K.Henry VI. as it now appears, (of which no quarto copy is extant,) was the entire or nearly the entire production of fome ancient dramatist; that The Whole Contention of the two Houses of York and Lancaster, &c. written probably before the year 1590, and printed in quarto, in 1600, was also the composition of some writer who preceded Shakípeare; and that from this piece, which is in two parts, (the former of which is entitled, The first Pert of the Contention of the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death of the good duke Humphrey, &c. and the latter, The true Tragedie of Richard duke of Yorke, and the deatb of good King Henrie ihe Sixt,) our poet formed the two plays, entitled The Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI. as they appear in the first folio edition of his works.
Mr. Upton has asked, “ How does the painter diftin. guilh copies from originals but by manner and style? And have not authors their peculiar style and manner, from which a true critick can form as unerring a judgment as a painter ?" Dr. Johnson, though he has thewn, with his usual acuteness, that “this illustration of the critick's science will not prove what is defired,” acknowledges in a preceding note, that “ disfimilitude of style and heterogeneousness of sentiment may sufficiently shew that a work does not really belong to the reputed author. But in these plays (he adds) no iuch marks of spuriousness are found. The diction, the vertification, and the figures, are Shakspeare's."-By these criterions then let us examine The Firit Part of K. Henry VI. (for I choose to consider that piece separately ;) and if the diction, the figures, or rather the allufions, and the versification of that play, (for these are our surest guides) Mall appear to be different from the other two parts, as they are exhibited in the folio, and from our author's other plays, we may fairly conclude that he was not the writer of it.
I. With in
I. With respect to the diction and the allusions, which I shall consider under the same head, it is very
obseryable that in The First Part of King Henry VI. there are more allusions to mythology, to classical authors, and to ancient and modern history, than, I believe, can be found
any one piece of our author's written on an English story; and that these allusions are introduced very much in the same manner as they are introduced in the plays of Greene, Peele, Lodge, and other dramatists who preceded Shakspeare; that is, they do not naturally arise out of the subject, but seem to be inserted merely to thew the writer's learning. Of these the following are the most remarkable. 1. Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens,
So in the earth, to this day is not known. 2. A far more glorious star thy soul will make
Than Julius Cæsar, or brightThis blank, Dr. Johnson with the highest probability conjectures, should be filled up with - Berenice;" a word that the transcriber or compositor probably could not make out. In the same manner he left a blank in a subsequent passage for the name of “ Nero," as is in dubitably proved by the following line, which ascertains the omitted word. See No. 6.
3. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove ?
Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters, were like thee. 5. Froilard, a countryman of ours, records, &c. 6.
and, like thee, [Nero,] Play on the lute, beholding the towns burning. [In the original copy there is a blank where the word Nero is now placed. ] 7. The spirit of deep prophecy she hath,
Exceeding the nine Sybils of old Rome. 8. A witch, by fear, not force, like Hannibal,
Drives back our troops:
1. A state.
11. A statelier pyramis to her I'll rear,
Than Rhodope's, or Memphis', ever was. 12.
an urn more precious Than the rich-jewel'd coffer of Darius. 13. I fall as famous be by this exploit,
As Scythian Thomyris, by Cyrus' death. 14. I thought I fhould have seen some Hercules,
A second Hector, for his grim afpéct. 15. Neftor-like aged, in an age of care. 16. Then follow thou thy desperate fire of Crete,
Thou Icarus. 17. Where is the great Alcides of the field? 18. Now am I like that proud insulting ship,
That Cæsar and his fortune bare at once. 19. Is Talbot flain; the Frenchman's only scourge,
Your kingdom's terror, and black Nemefis ? 10. Thou may't not wander in that labyrinth;
There Minotaurs, and ugly treasons lurk. 21. See, how the ugly witch doth bend her brows,
As if, with Circe, the would change my shape. 22.
thus he goes,
With hope to find the like event in love. Of particular expressions there are many in this play, that seem to me more likely to have been used by the authors already named, than by Shakspeare ; but l confess, with Dr. Johnson, that single words can conclude little. However, I will juit mention that the words proditor and immanity, which occur in this piece, are not, I believe, found in any of Shakspeare's undisputed performances: not to insist on a direct Latinism, pile-esteem. ed, which I am confident was the word intended by the author, though, being a word of his own formation, the compositor has printed-pild-esteem'd, inftead of it!
The versification of this play appears to me clearly of a different colour from that of all our author's genuine dramas, while at the same time it resembles that of many of the plays produced before the time of Shakspeare. See K. Henry VI. P. I, p. 24, Q. 7.
In all the tragedies written before his time, or just when he commenced author, a certain stately march of versification is very observable. The sense concludes or pauses almost uniformly at the end of every line; and the verse has scarcely ever a redundant syllable. As the reader may not have any of these pieces at hand, (by the possession of which, however, his library would not be much enrich. ed,) I shall add a few instances,-the first that occur : “ Most loyal lords, and faithful followers, " That have with me, unworthy general, “ Passed the greedy gulph of Ocean, « Leaving the confines of fair Italy, “ Behold, your Brutus draweth nigh his end, « And I must leave you, though against my will. “ My finews shrink, my numbed fenses fail, “ A chilling cold poffefseth all my bones; « Black ugly death, with visage pale and wan, “ Presents himself before my dazzled eyes, "And with his dart prepared is to strike.” “ My lord of Gloucester, and lord Mortimer, " To do you honour in your sovereign's eyes, « That, as we hear, is newly come aland, « From Palestine, with all his men of war, “ (The poor remainder of the royal Aleet, “ Preserv'd by miracle in Sicil road,) “ Go mount your coursers, meet him on the way:
Pray him to spur his steed, minutes and hours, “ Untill his mother see her princely son, Shining in glory of his fafe return.'
Edward I. by George Peele, 1593 "Then go thy ways, and clime up to the clouds, “ And tell Apollo that Orlando fits “ Making of verses for Agelica. “ And if he do deny to send me down « The shirt which Deianira sent to Hercules, * To make me brave upon my wedding day, “Tell him l'll pass the Alps, and up to Meroe,