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self from the spectator's recollection of their past success. For the sake of three historical dramas of mine which have already afforded you entertainment, let me (says he) entreat your indulgence to a fourth. Surely this was a stronger plea in his be. half than any arising from the kind reception which another might have already met with in the same way of writing. Shakspere's claim to favour is founded on his having previous. ly given pleasure in the course of three of those histories ; be. cause he is a bending, supplicatory author, and not a literary bully like Ben Jonson ; and because he has ventured to ex. hibit a series of annals in a suite of plays, an attempt which 'till then had not received the sanction of the stage.
I hope Dr. Farmer did not wish to exclude the three dramas before us, together with the Taming of a Shrew, from the number of those produced by our author, on account of the Latin quotations to be found in them. His proofs of Shak. spere's want of learning are too strong to stand in need of such a support: and yet Venus and Adonis, « the first heire of his invention," is usher'd into the world with a Latin motto :
Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministrat aqua. STEEVENS. Though the objections, which have been raised to the genuineness of the three plays of Henry the sixth, have been fully considered and answered by Dr. Johnson, it may not be amiss to add here, from a contemporary writer, a passage, which not only points at Shakspere as the author of them, but also shews, that, however meanly we may now think of them in comparison with his later productions, they had, at the time of their appearance, a sufficient degree of excellence to alarm the jealousy of the older playwrights. The passage, to which I refer, is in a pamphlet, entitled, Green's Groatse
worth of Witte, supposed to have been written by that volu. minous author, Robert Greene, M. A. and said, in the titlepage, to be published at bis dying request ; probably, about 1592. The conclusion of this piece is an address to his bro. ther-poets, to dissuade them from writing any more for the stage, on account of the ill treatment which they were used to receive from the players. It begins thus : Ta those gentlemen, bis quondam acquaintance, that spend their wils in making playes, R. G. wisheth a better exercise, &c. After having ad. drest himself particularly to Christopber Marlowe and Thomas Lodge (as I guess from circumstances, for their names are not mentioned), he goes on to a third (perhaps George Peele); and having warned' him against depending on so meane a stay as the players, he adds : Yes, trust them not : for there is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that with his tygres head wrapt in a player's hyde, supposes bee is as well able to bombaste out a blanke verse as the best of you ; and being an absolute Johannes fac totum is in his own conceit, the onely Shake scene in a countrey. There can be no doubt, I think, that Shakè-scene alludes to Sbakspere ; or that bis tygres bead. wrapt in a player's hyde is a parodie upon the following line of York's speech to Margaret, The Third Part of Henry the Sixth, act I. sc. iv ; “Oh tygres heart, wrapt in a woman's hide."
King HENRY the Sixth.
Lords on King Henry's Side,
} Uncles to the Duke of York.
Queen MARGARET. BONA, Sister to the French King.
during all the rest of the Play, in England.
THIRD PART OF
Η Ε Ν R Y
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. The Parliament-House. Alarum. Enter Duke
of YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and others, with white Roses inte their Hats.
York. While we pursu'd the horsemen of the north,
Edw. Lord Stafford's father, duke of Buckingham, Is either slain, or wounded dangerously : I cleft his beaver with a downright blow; That this is true, father, behold his blood.
[Shewing his bloody Sword. Mont. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltshire's
blood, [TO WARWICK, shewing his. Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd. Rich. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I
did. [Throwing down the Duke of Somerset's Head. York. Richard hath best deserv'd of all my sons. Is your grace dead, my lord of Somerset ? Norf. Such hope have all the line of John of
Gaunt! Rich. Thus do I hope to shake king Henry's head:
War. And so do I--Victorious prince of York, 21 Before I see thee seated in that throne Which now the house of Lancaster usurps, I vow by heaven, these eyes shall never close. This is the palace of the fearful king, And this the regal seat : possess it, York ; For this is thine, and not king Henry's heirs.
York. Assist me then, sweet Warwick, and I will; For hither are we broken in by force.
Norf. We'll all assist you; he, that flies, shall die. York. Thanks, gentle Norfolk.-Stay by me, my lords ;
31 And, soldiers, stay, and lodge by me this night.