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THE SECOND PART OF
KING HENRY THE SIXTH.
“THE Second Part of Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Good Duke Hvmfrey," was first printed in its complete form, in the folio of 1623. In the brief notice prefixed to the foregoing drama, we have ventured an opinion that the two plays, or one play divided into two parts, called “The First Part of the Contention," &c.* and “ The True Tragedie," &c., t afterwards published by Pavier, under the title of “ The Whole Contention," &c., I were not, as Malone has laboured to prove, the production of a preceding writer, but were Shakespeare's first sketches (surreptitiously and inaccurately printed) of what he subsequently re-wrote, and entitled “The Second and Third Parts of Henry VI.”
In expressing this opinion, we must not be understood to go the extreme length of ascribing the whole of these two pieces to Shakespeare. Much in them unquestionably belongs to another and a very different hand; but the greater portion, especially in " The First Part of the Contention," appears to our judgment far beyond the reach of any other writer of the age. Such, too, we are pleased to find, is the view entertained by Mr. Halliwell. In his Introduction to the excellent reprint of these two dramas for the Shakespeare Society, in 1843, after a careful revision of the evidence in opposition to the claims of Shakespeare to their authorship, this judicious authority well observes :—“ There are so many passages in the two plays now reprinted, that scem almost beyond the power of any of Shakespeare's predecessors or contemporaries, perhaps eren not excepting Marlowe, that, as one method of explaining away the difficulties which attend a belief in Malone's theory, my conjecture that when these plays were printed in 1594 and 1595, they included the first additions which Shakespeare made to the originals, does not seem improbable, borne out, as it is, by an examination of the early editions. If I am so far correct, we have yet to discover the originals of the two parts of the Contention, as well as that of 1 Henry VI.”
* "The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death of the good Duke Humphrey: And the banishment and death of the Duke of Suffolke, and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable Rebellion of lacke Cade: And the Duke of Yorke's first claime unto the Crowne. London, Printed by Thomas Creed, for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his shop onder Saint Peters Church in Cornwall. 1594."
"The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the death of good King Henrie the Sixt, with the whole contention
betweene the two Houses Lancaster and Yorke, as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his seruants. Printed at London by P.S., for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Peter's Church in Cornual. 1595."
I “ The Whole Contention betweene the two Famous Houses, Lancaster and Yorke. With the Tragicall ends of the good Duke Humfrey, Richard Duke of Yorke, and King Henrie the sixt. Diuided into two Parts : And newly corrected and enlarged. Written by William Shakespeare, Gent. Printed at London, for T. P."
King Henry THE Sixth.
of the Yorkist party.
MARGARET, Queen to King Henry,
Lords, Ladies, and Attendants ; Petitioners, Aldermen, a Herald, a Beadle, Sheriffs,
and Officers ; Citizens, Prentices, Falconers, Guards, Soldiers, Messengers, &c.
SCENE, - Dispersedly in various parts of England.
Flourish of Trumpets : then Hautboys. Enter, on As procurator to your excellence,
one side, KING HENRY, DUKE of GLOUCESTER, To marry princess Margaret for your grace; SALISBURY,WARWICK, and CARDINAL BEAU- So, in the famous ancient city Tours,— FORT ; on the other, QUEEN MARGARET, led In presence of the kings of France and Sicil, in by SUFFOLK; YORK, SOMERSET, BUCKING- The dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretaigne, and HAM, and others following.
Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend Suf. As by your high imperial majesty I have perform’d my task, and was espous'd; I had in charge at my depart for France, And humbly now upon my bended knee,