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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 rj," 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. 48 and pp. 54-5; also the Introductions to The Second and Third Parts of King Henry V1., in the present volume.
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.
JOHN BEAUFORT, earl of Somerset, afterwards duke.
RICHARD PLANTAGENET, son 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 son.
EDMUND MORTIMER, earl of March.
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.
A Lawyer.-Mortimer's Keepers.
CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards king, of France.
REIGNIER, duke of Anjou, and titular king of Naples.
DUKE OF BURGUNDY.
DUKE OF ALENÇON.
BASTARD OF ORLEANS.
Governor of Paris.
Master-Gunner of Orleans, and his Son.
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.
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.
SCENE-Partly in England, and partly in France.
* 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.
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, Heralds, &c.
Bed. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night! Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
Glo. England ne'er had a king until his time.
His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams;
Than mid-day sun fierce bent against their faces.
What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech:
He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquerèd.
Exe. We mourn in black: why mourn we not in blood? Henry is dead, and never shall revive :
Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
So dreadful will not be as was his sight.
The battles of the Lord of hosts he fought:
The church's prayers made him so prosperous.
Glo. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen pray'd, His thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector,
Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh;
And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st,
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;
Our isle be made a marish of salt tears, (3)
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My honourable lords, health to you all!
Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture:
Guienne, Champagne, Rheims, Rouen, Orleans,(5) -
Bed. What say'st thou, man! before dead Henry's corse
If Henry were recall'd to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
That here you maintain several factions;
And, whilst a field should be dispatch'd and fought,
One would have lingering wars, with little cost;
Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
Enter a second Messenger.
Sec. Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance. France is revolted from the English quite,
Except some petty towns of no impórt:
The Dauphin Charles is crownèd king in Rheims;
The Bastard of Orleans with him is join'd;
Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part;(8)
The Duke of Alençon flieth to his side.
Exe. The Dauphin crowned king! all fly to him!
O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?