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THE First Part of Henry the Sixth' was originally printed, under that title, in the folio collection of 1623. Upon the authority, then, of the editors of that edition of Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, published according to the true original Copies,' this drama properly finds a place in every modern edition of our poet's works. After the time of Malone the English critics agreed that this play was spurious; and Drake, without hesitation, refers to what Shakspere's friends and editors denominated the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI. as the First and Second Parts; and recommends all future editors, if they print this first play at all, to give it only in an Appendix. "The spuriousness of this Part, indeed," says Dr. Drake, "has been so satisfactorily proved by Mr. Malone, that no doubt can be supposed any longer to rest upon the subject." If we were in the habit, then, of taking upon trust what the earlier editors of Shakspere had authoritatively held, we should either reject this play altogether, or if we printed it we should inform our readers that "the hand of Shakspere is nowhere visible throughout." We cannot consent to follow either of these courses.

Malone's 'Dissertation on the Three Parts of King Henry VI., tending to show that those plays were not written originally by Shakspeare,' is the most careful and elaborate of his productions, and that upon which his reputation as a critic was mainly built. His theory is thus stated by himself:

"Several passages in The Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI. appearing evidently to be of the hand of Shakspeare, I was long of opinion that the three historical 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 revision of all our author's works, has convinced me that, though the premises were true, my conclusion was too hastily 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 hypothesis then is, that The First Part of King Henry VI., as it now appears (of which no quarto copy is extant), was the entire or nearly the entire production of some 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 Shakspeare; and that from this piece, which is in two Parts, (the former of which is entitled 'The First Part 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 death of good King Henrie the 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."

We propose to investigate this question, as a whole, upon broader grounds than Malone has taken. It appears to us that he has left many important points untouched, and has dwelt somewhat too much upon minute distinctions. The question is not one merely of verbal criticism. It is connected with some of the most interesting inquiries as to the history of the English drama and the early life of Shakspere. It is a subject, therefore, that we cannot take up and dismiss in a hasty or fragmentary manner, or in a spirit of tame acquiescence in prevailing opinions on the one hand, or of inconsiderate controversy on the other. We purpose, then, to treat it fully as may be necessary, in the form of a Supplement to this Volume. At present it is only necessary to say that, as it involves an examination of the dramatic character of the three Parts of Henry VI. and of Richard III., it will render any separate Introductory or Supplementary Notices to these play unnecessary.


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THE number of historical personages introduced in the plays of Henry VI., Richard III., and Henry VIII., of whom we have the "lively effigies" handed down to us, will render unnecessary a long verbal description of the costumes of their respective periods, as portraits of the principal individuals in their habits as they lived will appeal immediately to the eye of the reader, and require scarcely any explanation. Henry VI. himself, in this play, is almost the only personage for whose dress we have no contemporary authority. He appears for the first time in the third act of this Part as a young man, in his parliament robes, and in the full exercise of his kingly office, in Westminster Hall; but, in point of fact, he was at that time a child of eight years of age at the utmost. In the fourth act he is crowned at Paris (he was then only in his tenth year), and in the fifth act he is in his ordinary apparel in his palace in London. The only representations we remember of Henry in his childhood are those drawn by John Rouse, the Warwickshire antiquary, in the reign of Richard III., and which are consequently no authorities for this period. As the poet, however, has thought fit to make him a young man, we shall be justified in showing him on his throne as king, presenting a sword to John Talbot, the great Earl of Shrewsbury, and surrounded by several of his nobility in their parliamentary robes. (See Historical Illustration of Act IV.) In a MS. life

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of St. Edmund, by Lydgate (Harleian Col., No. 2278), there is a representation of the king presiding in parliament, which is very nearly of this period; and another MS. in the same collection (No. 1766), also a work of Lydgate's, was written and illuminated, by command of Humphrey Duke of Gloster, about the beginning of the reign of Henry VI., and will furnish the general costume of the people. This will be given in Part II.

Of Duke Humphrey we know no contemporary portrait or effigy; but of his brother, the Duke of Bedford, there is a most authentic representation in the well-known and splendid MS. called the Bedford Missal. He is attired in a richly-embroidered robe, with the extravagantly long sleeves of the period; his hair is cut short all round his head, in accordance with the fashion of the preceding reign. The tapestry behind him is covered with his badge, the root of a tree, and his "word," or motto, 'a vous entier." We give his portrait from this authority. Of Henry Beaufort,



[Duke of Bedford.]

Cardinal-Bishop of Winchester, there remains a fine effigy on his tomb in Winchester cathedral. (This will be given in Part II.) He is in his cardinal's robes. The sleeves of the under tunic are black, edged with white; at each side of his face, which is placid and beardless, appears a little lock of black hair. On his hands are gloves fringed with gold, and having an oval-shaped jewel (an ancient mark of dignity) on the back. On the middle and third fingers of each hand are rings, worn over the gloves. Of John Beaufort, Duke and Earl of Somerset, there is a splendid effigy in Wimborne Minster, Dorsetshire, representing him in a richly-ornamented suit of armour of this period. He is without a jupon or surcoat, in complete plate, the borders elaborately engraved and gilt. The bascinet is surrounded by a coronet. To the tassets, or plates below the cuirass, are appended by straps and buckles those additional defences for the thighs called tuilles, which first appear in this reign; and just above them, over the hips, he wears the military belt, or girdle, to which are affixed on one side his sword, and on the other his dagger.

Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, is represented in his civil attire in a window of St. Mary's Hall, at Coventry, engraved in Dugdale's Warwickshire.' He wears a richly-ornamented hood; a loose robe of some figured stuff, with large sleeves, lined with ermine, over a tight under-dress of cloth or velvet. His effigy in the Warwick Chapel exhibits another fine specimen of the armour of this reign.

Of John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, there is also a fine effigy in armour, and wearing the mantle of the Garter, beautifully engraved in Mr. Stothard's valuable work of Sepulchral Monuments

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