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[It is greatly to be regretted that owing to the lamented death of the Editor, the three Parts of Henry VI. had not the advantage of being printed under his own supervision. But his work has been preserved with all the fidelity permitted by its comparatively rough though otherwise complete condition. In preparing the plays for the press, I have confined my corrections to matters of fact, and where I differed from the Editor in matters of opinion, I did not feel justified in altering his words. While I have emended or ascertained the accuracy of nearly every quotation and reference, a very few remain which must be taken on his authority. In the third part I have had the great advantage of advice and help from the General Editor, Professor R. H. Case.
C. K. POOLER]
The text of 3 Henry VI. is from the Folio 1623. As was the case with Part II., it receives a few slight emendations from the Quarto (Q 1, of which it is an expanded form) known as The True Tragedy (and forming the second part of The Whole Contention) which was first printed in 1595 with this title : 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 Honoura- | ble the Earle of Pem- | brooke his seruants. |(T. M.'s Device) Printed at London by P. S. for Thomas Milling- | ton, and are to be sold at his shoppe under | Saint Peters Church in Cornwal
1 1595. This “Quarto " is in fact a small octavo.
The second edition (Q 2) was printed with the same title in 1600 with the alteration : “Printed at London by W. W. for Thomas ... 1600."
The third edition (Q 3) is the second part of The Whole Contention, without separate title-page. It has a head-page
title: The Second Part | Containing the Tragedie of | Richard Duke of Yorke, and the good King Henrie the | Sixt. | The date of this edition is not in the original, but was proved by Capell (see Preface, Cambridge Shakespeare, vol. v. pp. ix.-x.) to be 1619. The variations in this edition from Q i are few and unimportant. They relate almost entirely to spelling, or to single words, and are carefully and beautifully listed in Mr. Furnival's preface, together with the correspondent terms in the first Folio. 1
As to the date of this play, it is opportune to quote here from Miss Lee, “On the order of Shakespeare's historical plays,” in a postscript to her main paper (New Shaks. Soc. Trans. 1875-1876, pp. 310, 311). She finds that “ Henry VI. Parts II. and III. and Richard III. form a distinct and separate group. She finds in all of them a singular resemblance to the writings of Marlowe, in their inhumanity and blood-thirstiness as much as in their versification and style—not necessarily his actual writing, but in Richard III. especially) echoes of his voice. And she believed that Parts II. and III. were written as early as 1590-1591, and Richard III. not later than 1592-1593. She gives, I think, no decision as to date of i Henry VI. I find the echoes of Marlowe in Richard III. far away and dim, "like a cannon in a vault.” With reference to the comparative merits of the two old plays, Grant White says: "In construction, in characterisation, in rhythm, in poetic imagery and dramatic diction, The True Tragedy is very much superior to The Contention. . . . It contains much less rubbish and many more jewels. So, as we have seen, when Shakespeare came to write Parts II. and III., he adopted or altered for the former 1,479 of its 3,057 lines (less than one-half) from The Contention, while for the latter he adopted or altered 1,931 of its 2,877 lines (more than two-thirds) from The True Tragedy.” Malone put these figures in another form: “The total number of lines in Parts II. and III. is 6,043 : of these, as I conceive,
[On the connection of this undated quarto with other quartos (of plays by or attributed to Shakespeare) of various dates (1600, 1608, 1619), and the suspicion that all were really printed in 1619, see A. W. Pollard, Shakespeare Folios and Quartos, etc. Methuen, 1909. R. H. C.]
1,771 lines were written by some author who preceded Shakespeare ; 2,373 were formed by him on the foundation laid by his predecessors; and 1,899 lines were entirely his own composition" (p. 430, op. cit.). I leave these for the present with the remark that as to how many were entirely his own composition “no man can lay down the law.” But we ought to be secure over our totals for any given edition. How much constitutes a new line is also a matter of opinion. For example, in the present play, there is a Quarto line (at III. ii. 84): “Her looks are all repleat with maiestie"; at IV. vi. 71 there is another line: “Thy lookes are all repleat with maiestie.” In the first case the line is rewritten: “Her looks do replete with modesty”; in the second it appears as: "His looks are full of peaceful majesty.” One has to ponder a while when making totals. There are many such cases.
I shall now leave the opinions of others and summarise my examination of the text, or texts, before us; and proceed at once to look for evidence of those other coadjutors, Peele, Marlowe and Greene, merely premising that there is much less of any writer (other than Shakespeare) in Part III., as well as in its foundation play, than was the case in Part II. and its early form. In The True Tragedy I see a little of Marlowe, less of Greene, more of Peele and much more of Shakespeare. And in the final play there is yet more of Shakespeare and yet less of the others. Whatever may have been the original plan, the committee seems to have dissolved and left him in possession, with Peele to advise.
A RUNNING COMMENTARY ON THE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN THE TWO PLAYS.
Act 1. Scene i. Recalls Peele in several places, but is wholly by Shakespeare. Forty lines are added to Q, the most important additions being to the Queen's part. There are continuous slight and unimportant alterations. The Peele resemblances at “main battle” (1. i. 8), at “unpeople this my realm” (1. i. 126), and at “ground gape, and swallow” (1. i. 161) are common to both plays. The changes are mostly in order to obtain metrical verse. Note "get thee gone” (258), said to King Henry, which is placed for “therefore be still ”
(Q). The latter occurs, to King Henry, at II. ii. 122 (in both), hence the alteration, due to careful work.
Act 1. Scene ii. About fifteen lines are added to Q. Richard's character begins to develop in the most important addition (1. ii. 26-34). Two lines in this speech are captured from Q below (at 11. i. 81), lines which have already done duty in 2 Henry VI. II. ii. 64-66. The next noteworthy addition, about Kentishmen (I. ii. 42-43), is also traceable to 2 Henry VI. IV. vii. 60-61. In both those passages the germ is in First Contention at the place. There is no suggestion of another hand. The little hall-mark of antiquity, "come let's go," I. ii. 54 Q, occurs again at v. iii. 19 Q. It suggests Marlowe perhaps.
Act I, Scene iii. Practically identical in the two copies. The last line in Q corrects the last in Folio.
Act I. Scene iv. About fifteen lines are added to 2, mainly in York's first speech, where the Spenserian "thricehappy” (Peele's) is omitted from the final play. The two great speeches of Margaret and York are very slightly altered, both undoubtedly Shakespeare's. Margaret recalls again The First Contention (III. i. 116-118) in the passage about "shook hands with death in 1. iv. 101-102. York's reply to Margaret is a portion of Margaret's character, Shakespeare's especial work. It contains the thrice-famous line, “Oh tiger's heart wrapt in a woman's hide” (1. iv. 137). A Kyd word ("captivates") occurs in both texts (115); and a Marlowe word (“obdurate ") also appears (142) (as it did before in 2 Henry VI.) but not in old texts. There is an interesting connection between Richard III. I. ii. 155-165 and this scene (157-162) coupled with Rutland's death in the last scene. The passage in Richard III. is not in the Quartos of that play. Note in this scene Margaret's blood-thirstiness to poor York. It recalls the fact that Margaret was the first to demand Gloucester's murder in 2 Henry VI. III. i.
Act I. is all Shakespeare's in both plays. See notes for continuous parallels from his undoubted work.
Act II. Scene i. Note the opening line, almost identical with that of Act I, an oversight when the first speech was rewritten and expanded from two lines to seven. This scene is lengthened by some thirty lines from the early form. A line,