William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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Receive each other ! God speak this Amen !

All. Amen!

K. Hen. Prepare we for our marriage : on which day,
My lord of Burgundy, we ll take your oath,
And all the peers , for surety of our leagues.
Then shall I swear to Kate, and you to me ;
And may our oaths well kept and prosperous be !


1 Proiclnrixsimus for Pr&carissimus. Shakspoare followed Holinshed,
in whose Chronicle it stands thus. Indeed, all the old historians have the
same blunder. In the original treaty of Troyes, printed in Rymer, it is



Thus far, with rough, and all unable pen,

Our bending 1 author hath pursued the story;
In little room confining mighty men,

Mangling by starts the full course of their glory. 2
Small time, but, in that small, most greatly lived

This star of England : fortune made his sword ;
By which the world s best garden 3 he achieved,

And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crowned king

Of France and England, did this king succeed ;
Whose state so many had the managing,

That they lost France, and made his England bleed ;
Which oft our stage hath shown ; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take. [Exit.

1 "Our bending author;" that is, unequal to the weight of his subject,
and bending beneath it.

~ " Mangling by starts the full course of their glory ;" that is, by touch
ing only on their select parts.

y i. e. France. A similar distinction is bestowed on Lombardy in the
Taming of The Shrew :

" The pleasant garden of great Italy."

THIS play has many scenes of high dignity, and many of easy merri
ment. The character of the king is well supported, except in his court
ship, where he has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of Henry.
The humor of Pistol is very happily continued ; his character has, perhaps,
been the model of all the bullies that have yet appeared on the English

The lines given to the Chorus have many admirers ; but the truth is,
that in them a little may be praised, and much must be forgiven; nor can
it be easily discovered why the intelligence given by the Chorus is more
necessary in this play than in many others where it is omitted. The great
defect of this play is" the emptiness and narrowness of the last act, which
a very little diligence might have easily avoided.






THE historical transactions in this play take in the compass of above
thirty years. In the three parts of King Henry VI. there is no very pre
cise attention to the date and disposition of facts. For instance, the lord
Talbot is killed at the end of the fourth act of this play, who in reality did
not fall till the 13th of July, 1453 ; and the Second Part of King Henry
VI. opens Avith the marriage of the king, which was solemnized eight years
before Talbot s death, in the year 1445. Again, in the second part, dame
Eleanor Cobham is introduced to insult queen Margaret; though her
penance and banishment for sorcery happened three years before that
princess came over to England. There are other transgressions against
history, as far as the order of time is concerned.

Mr. Malone has written a dissertation to prove that the First Part of
King Henry VI. was not written by Shakspeare ; and that the Second
and Third Parts were only altered by him from the old play, entitled " The
Contention of the Two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster," printed
in two parts, in quarto, in 1594 and 1595. The substance of his argument,
as far as regards this play, is as follows :

1. The diction, versification, and allusions in it, are all different
from the diction, versification, and allusions, of Shakspeare, and corre
sponding with those of Greene, Peele, Lodge, Marlowe, and others who pre
ceded him. There are more allusions to mythology, to classical authors, and
to ancient and modern history, than are found in any one piece of Shak-
speare s Avritten on an English story : they are such as do not naturally
rise out of the subject, but seem to be inserted merely to show the writer s
learning. These allusions, and many particular expressions, seem more
likely to have been used by the authors already named than by Shakspeure.
He points out many of the allusions, and instances the words proditor and
immanity, which are not to be found in any of the Poet s undisputed works.
The versification he thinks clearly of a different color from that of Shak-
speare s genuine dramas ; while at the same time it resembles that of many
of the plays produced before his time. The sense concludes or pauses
almost uniformly at the end of every line ; and the verse has scarcely ever
a redundant syllable. He produces numerous instances from the works
of Lodge, Peele, Greene, and others, of similar versification.

2. A passage in a pamphlet written by Thomas Nashe, an intimate friend
of Greene, Peele, Marlowe, &c., shows that the First Part of King Henry
VI. had been on the stage before ]592; and his favorable mention of the
piece may induce a belief that it was written by a friend of his : " How
would it have joyed brave Talbot, the terror of the French, to thinke that,
after he had lyen two hundred yeare in his tombe, he should triumph again

VOL. iv. 29


on the stage ; and have his bones new embalmed with the teares of ten
thousand spectators at least, (at several times,) who in the tragedian that
represents his person behold him fresh bleeding." Pierce Penniless, his
Supplication to the Devil, 1592.

That this passage related to the old play of King Henry VI., or, as it
is now called, the First Part of King Henry VI., can hardly be doubted.
Talbot appears in the First Part, and not in the Second or Third Part, and
is expressly spoken of in the play, as well as in Hall s Chronicle, as "the
terror of the French." Holinshed, who was Shakspeare s guide, omits the
passage in Hall, in which Talbot is thus described ; and this is an addi
tional proof that this play was not the production of our great Poet.

There are other internal proofs of this :

1. The author does not seem to have known precisely how old Henry
VI. was at the time of his father s death. He supposed him to have passed
the state of infancy before he lost his father, and even to have remembered
some of his sayings. In the Fourth Act, Sc. 4, speaking of the famous
Talbot, he says,

" When I was young, (as yet I am not old,)
I do remember how my father said,
A stouter champion never handled sword."

But Shakspeare knew that Henry VI. could not possibly remember
a.ny thing of his father :

" No sooner Avas 1 crept out of my cradle,
But I was made a king at nine months oW."

King Henry VL, Part II. Act iv. Sc. 9.

"When 1 was crowned I was but nine months old."

King Henry VI, Part TIL Act i. Sc. 1.

The first of these passages is among the additions made by Shakspeare
to the old play, according to Mr. Malone s hypothesis. The other passage
does occur in the True Tragedie of Richard Duke of York ; and therefore
it is natural to conclude that neither Shakspeare nor the author of that
piece could have written the First Part of King Henry VI.

2. In Act ii. Sc. 5, of this play, it is said that the earl of Cambridge
raised an army against his sovereign. But Shakspeare, in his play of
King Henry V., has represented the matter truly as it was ; the earl being,
in that piece, Act ii., condemned at Southampton for conspiring to qssas-
sinaie Henry.

& The author of this play knew the true pronunciation of the word
Hecate, as it is used by the Roman writers:

" I speak not to that railing Hecate."

But Shakspeare, in Macbeth, always uses Hecate as a dissyllable.

The second speech in this play ascertains the author to have been very
familiar with Hall s Chronicle:

" Wiat should I say ? his deeds exceed all speech."

This phrase is introduced upon almost every occasion by Bull when he
means to be eloquent. Holinshed, not Hall, was Shakspeare s historian.
Here, then, is an additional minute proof that this play was not Shak
speare s.


This is the sum of Malone s argument, Avhich Steevens has combated
in notes appended to it. Malone conjectured that this piece, which we now
call the First Part of King Henry VL, was, when first performed, called
The Play of Kino; Henry VI. ; and he afterwards found his conjecture
confirmed by an entry in the accounts of Henslowe, the proprietor of the
Rose Theatre on the Bank Side. It must have been very popular,
having been played no less than thirteen times in one season. The first
entry of its performance by the lord Strange s company, at the Rose, is
dated March 3, 3591. It is worthy of remark, that Shakspeare does not
appear at any time to have had the smallest connection with that theatre,
or the companies playing there ; which affords additional argument in
favor of Malone s position, that the play could not be his. " By whom it
was written, (says Malone,) it is now, I fear, difficult to ascertain. It was
not entered on the Stationers books, nor printed till the year 1623 ; when
it was registered with Shakspeare s undisputed plays by the editors of the
first folio, and improperly entitled the Third* Part of King Henry VI. In
one sense it might be called so ; for two plays on the subject of that reign
had been printed before. But, considering the history of that king, and the
period of time which the piece comprehends, it ought to have been called,
what in fact it is, the First Part of King Henry VI. At this distance of
time, it is impossible to ascertain on what principle it was that Heminge
and Condell admitted it into their volume ; but I suspect that they gave it
a place as a necessary introduction to the two other parts ; and because
Shakspeare had made some slight alterations, and written a few lines
in itf

Mr. Malone s arguments have made many converts to his opinion ; and
perhaps Mr. Morgann, in his elegant Essay on the Dramatic Character
of Falstaff,J led the way, when he pronounced it " that-drum-and-trumpet
thing, Avritten, doubtless, or rather exhibited, long before Shakspeare was
born, though afterwards repaired and furbished up by him with here and
there a little sentiment and diction."

* This applies only to the title in the Register of the Stationers Company : in the first
folio, it \v.is called the First Part of King Henry VI.
t Malone s Life of Shakspeare, p. 310, ed. 1821.
j First published in 1777.




Duke o/*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.

HENRY BEAUFORT, great Uncle to the King, Bishop of Winchester,
and afterwards Cardinal.

JOHN BEAUFORT, Earl o/" Somerset; afterwards Duke.

RICHARD PLANTAGENET, eldest Son of Richard, late Earl of Cam
bridge ; afterwards Duke of York.

Earl of Warwick. Earl of Salisbury. Earl of Suffolk.

LORD TALBOT, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury.



Mortimer s Keeper, and a Lawyer.



Mayor of London. WOODVILLE, Lieutenant of the Tower.

VERNON, of the White Rose, or York Faction.

BASSET, of the Red Rose, or Lancaster Faction.

CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards King of France.

REIGNIER, Duke o/ Anjou, and titular King of Naples.

Duke of Burgundy. Duke o/ Alencon.

Governor o/*Paris. Bastard q/* Orleans.

Master-Gunner of Orleans, and his Son.

General of the French Forces in Bordeaux.

A French Sergeant. A Porter.

An old Shepherd, Father to Joan la Pucelle.

MARGARET, Daughter to Reignier ; afterwards married to King


Countess q/*Auvergne.
JOAN LA PUCELLE, commonly called Joan of Arc.

Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of the Tower,
Heralds, Olncers, Soldiers, Messengers, and several Attend
ants both on the English and French.

SCENE, partly in England, and partly in France.





SCENE I. Westminster Abbey. Dead March.
Corpse of King Henry the Fifth discovered, lying in
state; attended on by the DUKES of BEDFORD, GLOS-
TER, and EXETER; the EARL of WARWICK, 1 the
BISHOP of WINCHESTER, Heralds, &c.

Bedford. HUNG be the heavens with black, yield day

to night !

Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal 2 tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad, revolting stars,
That have consented 3 unto Henry s death!
Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long !
England ne er lost a king of so much worth.

Glo. England ne er had a king, until his time.
Virtue he had, deserving to command;
His brandished sword did blind men with his beams ;
His arms spread wider than a dragon s wings ;

1 Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who is a character in King 1
Henry V. The earl of Warwick, who appears in a subsequent part of
this drama, is Richard Nevill, son to the earl of Salisbury, who came to
the title in right of his wife, Anne, sister of Henry Beauchamp, duke of
Warwick. Richard, the father of this Henry, was appointed governor to the
king on the demise of Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter, and died in 143!).
There is no reason to think the author meant to confound the two char

2 Crystal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient

3 Our ancestors had but one word to express consent, and concent, which
meant accord and agreement, whether of persons or things.


His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
More dazzled and drove back his enemies,
Than midday sun fierce bent against their faces.
What should I say ? His deeds exceed all speech :
He ne er lift up his hand, but conquered.

Exe. We mourn in black ; why mourn we not in

blood ?

Henry is dead, and never shall revive.
Upon a wooden coffin we attend ;
And death s dishonorable victory
We with our stately presence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What? shall we curse the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory s overthrow ?
Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magic verses 1 have contrived his end ?

Win. He was a king blessed of the King of kings.
Unto the French the dreadful judgment day
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 church
men prayed,

His thread of life had not so soon decayed.
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a schoolboy, you may overawe.

Win. Gloster, whate er we like, thou art protector ;
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
Thy wife is proud ; she holdeth thee in awe,
More than God, or religious churchmen, may.

Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov st the flesh ;
And ne er throughout the year to church thou go st,
Except it be to pray against thy foes.

Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds

in peace !
Let s to the altar ; heralds, wait on us :

1 There was a notion long prevalent that life might be taken away by
metrical charms.


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 eyes babes shall suck ;

Oar isle be made a nourish l of salt tears,

And none but women left to wail the dead.

Henry the Fifth ! thy ghost I invocate ;

Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils !

Combat with adverse planets in the heavens !

A far more glorious star thy soul will make,

Than Julius Caesar, or bright a

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My honorable lords, health to you all !
Sad tidings bring I to you out of France.
Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture.
Guiennc, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,
Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost. 3

Bed. What say st thou, man, before dead Henry s

corse ?

Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns
Will make him burst his lead, and rise from death.

Glo. Is Paris lost ? is Rouen yielded up ?
If Henry were recalled to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the

Exe. How were they lost ? what treachery was
used ?

Mess. No treachery ; but want of men and money.
Among the soldiers this is muttered,
That here you maintain several factions ;
And, whilst a field should be despatched and fought,

1 Nurse Avas anciently spelled nouryce and noryshe ; and, by Lydgate.
even nourish.

2 Pope conjectured that this blank had been supplied by the name of
Francis Drake, which, though a glaring anachronism, might have been a
pc pular, though not judicious, mode of attracting plaudits in the theatre.
Part of the arms of Drake was two blazing stars.

3 Capel proposed to complete this defective verse by the insertion of
Rouen among the places lost, as Gloster infers that it had been mentioned
with the rest.


You are disputing of your generals.

One would have lingering wars, with little cost ;

Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings ;

A third man thinks, without expense at all,

By guileful, fair words peace may be obtained.

Awake, awake, English nobility !

Let not sloth dim your honors, new begot.

Cropped are the flow T er-de-luces in your arms ;

Of England s coat one half is cut away.

Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
These tidings would call forth her flowing tides. 1

Bed. Me they concern ; regent I am of France.
Give me my steeled coat ; I ll fight for France.
Away with these disgraceful, wailing robes!
Wounds I w 7 ill lend the French, instead of eyes,
To weep their intermissive miseries. 2

Enter another Messenger.

2 Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mis

France is revolted from the English quite;
Except some petty towns of no import ;
The dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims ;
The bastard of Orleans with him is joined ;
Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part ;
The duke of Alen^on flieth to his side.

Exe. The dauphin crowned king ! all fly to him !
O, whither shall we fly from this reproach ?

Glo. We will not fly, but to our enemies throats ;
Bedford, if thou be slack, I ll fight it out.

Bed. Gloster, why doubt st thou of my forward
ness ?

An army have I mustered in my thoughts,
Wherewith already France is overrun.

1 i. e. England s flowing tides.

2 L e. their miseries which have only a short intermission.


Enter a third Messenger.

3 Mess. My gracious lords, to add to jour laments,
Wherewith you now bedew king Henry s hearse,
I must inform you of a dismal fight,
Betwixt the stout lord Talbot and the French.

Win. What ! w r herein Talbot overcame ? is t so ?

3 Mess. O, no ; wherein lord Talbot was o er-

thrown ;

The circumstance I ll tell you more at large.
The tenth of August last, this dreadful lord,
Retiring from the siege of Orleans,
Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
By three-and-twenty thousand of the French
Was round encompassed and set upon.
No leisure had he to enrank his men ;
He wanted pikes to set before his archers ;
Instead whereof, sharp stakes, plucked out of hedges,
They pitched in the ground confusedly,
To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
More than three hours the fight continued ;
Where valiant Talbot, above human thought,
Enacted winders with his sword and lance.
Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him ;
Here, there, and every where, enraged, he slew.
The French exclaimed, the devil was in arms ;
All the whole army stood agazed on him :
His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit,
A Talbot ! a Talbot ! cried out amain,
And rushed into the bowels of the^ battle.
Here had the conquest fully been sealed up,
If sir John Fastolfe 1 had not played the coward ;
He, being in the vaward, (placed behind,
With purpose to relieve and follow them,)
Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Hence grew the general wreck and massacre ;
Inclosed were they with their enemies.

1 For an account of this sir John Fastolfe, vide Biographia Britannica,
by Kippis, vol. v. ; in which is his life, written by Mr. Gough.
VOL. iv. 30


A base Walloon, to win the dauphin s grace,
Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back ;
Whom all France, with their chief assembled strength,
Durst not presume to look once in the face.

Bed. Is Talbot slain ? then I will slay myself,
For living idly here, in pomp and ease,
Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
Unto his clastard foeman is betrayed.

3 Mess. O, no ; he lives ; but is took prisoner,
And lord Scales with him, and lord Hurigerford ;
Most of the rest slaughtered, or took, likewise.

Bed. His ransom there is none but I shall pay.
I ll hale the dauphin headlong from his throne ;
His crown shall be the ransom of my friend ;
Four of their lords I ll change for one of ours.
Farewell, my masters ; to my task will I ;
Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make,
To keep our great saint George s feast withal.
Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take,
Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

3 Mess. So you had need ; for Orleans is besieged ;
The English army is grown weak and faint ;
The earl of Salisbury cravcth supply,
And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.

Exe. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn ,
Either to quell the dauphin utterly,
Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

Bed. I do remember it ; and here take leave,
To go about my preparation. [Exit.

Glo. I ll to the tower, with all the haste I can,
To view the artillery and munition ;
And then I will proclaim young Henry king. [Exit.

Exe. To Eltham will I, where the young king is,
Being ordained his special governor ;
And for his safety there I ll best devise. [Exit.

Win. Each hath his place and function to attend.
I am left out ; for me nothing remains.
But. long I will not be Jack-out-of-office ;


The king from Eltham I intend to steal, 1
And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.

[Exit. Scene closes.

SCENE II. France. Before Orleans.

Enter CHARLES, with his Forces ; ALEN^JON, REIGNIER,
and others.

Char. Mars his true moving, 2 even as in the heavens,
So in the earth, to this day is not known.
Late did he shine upon the English side ;
Now we are victors, upon us he smiles.
What towns of any moment, but we have ?
At pleasure here we lie, near Orleans ;
Otherwhiles, the famished English, like pale ghosts,
Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.

Alen. They want their porridge, and their fat bull-

Either they must be dieted like mules,
And have their provender tied to their mouths,
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice.

Reig. Let s raise the siege ; why live we idly here ?
Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear.
Remaineth none but mad-brained Salisbury ;
And he may well in fretting spend his gall ;
Nor men, nor money, hath he to make war.

Char. Sound, sound alarum ; we will rush on them.
Now for the honor of the forlorn French.
Him I forgive my death, that killeth me,
When he sees me go back one foot, or fly. [Exeunt.

1 The old copy reads send ; the present reading was proposed by Mason,
who observes that the king was not at this time in the power of the car
dinal, but under the care of the duke of Exeter. The second article of
accusation brought against the bishop by the duke of Gloucester is, "that
he purposed and disposed him to set hand on the king s person, and to have
removed him from Eltham to IVindsor, to the intent to put him in governance
as him list." Holinshed, vol. iii. p. 591.

2 You are as ignorant in the true movings of my muse as the astron
omers are in the true movings of Mars, which to this day they could never
attain to." Gabriel Harvey s Hunt is up, by Nash, 1596, Preface.


Alarums ; Excursions ; afterwards a Retreat.

Re-enter CHARLES, ALE^ON, REIGNIER, and others.

Char. Who ever saw the like ? what men have I ?
Dogs ! cowards ! dastards ! I w^ould ne er have lied,
But that they left me midst my enemies.

Reig. Salisbury is a desperate homicide ;
He fighteth as one weary of his life.
The other lords, like lions wanting food,
Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.

Alen. Froissard, a countryman of ours, records,
England all Olivers and Rowlands * bred,
During the time Edward the Third did reign.

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 17 of 38)