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* Third Part of King HenRY VI.] The action of this play (which was at firft printed under this title, The True Tra gedy of Richard Duke of York, and the good King Henry the Sixth; or, The Second Part of the Contention of York and Lancafter,) opens juft after the firft battle at Saint Albans, [May 23, 1455,] wherein the York faction carried the day; and closes with the murder of King Henry VI. and the birth of Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward V. [November 4, 1471.] So that this history takes in the space of full fixteen years. THEOBALD.
I have never seen the quarto copy of the Second part of THE WHOLE CONTENTION, &c. printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Millington, 1600; but the copy printed by W. W. for Thomas Millington, 1600, is now before me; and it is not precifely the fame with that described by Mr. Pope and Mr. Theobald, nor does the undated edition (printed in fact, in 1619,) correfpond with their defcription. The title of the piece printed in 1600, by W. W. is as follows: The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, and the Death of good King Henrie the Sixt : With the whole Contention between the Two Houfes Lancafter and Yorke as it was fundry Times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his Servants. Printed at London by W. W. for Thomas Millington, and are to be fold at his Shoppe under St. Peter's Church in Cornewall, 1600. On this piece Shakspeare, as I conceive, in 1591 formed the drama before us. See Vol. XIII. p. 2, and the Essay at the end of this play.
The present hiftorical drama was altered by Crowne, and brought on the ftage in the year 1680, under the title of The Miferies of Civil War. Surely the works of Shakspeare could have been little read at that period; for Crowne, in his Prologue, declares the play to be entirely his own compofition :
"For by his feeble skill 'tis built alone,
whereas the very first scene is that of Jack Cade copied almoft verbatim from The Second Part of King Henry VI. and several others from this third part, with as little variation. STEEVENS.
King Henry the Sixth:
Edward, Prince of Wales, his Son.
Lords on K.
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York:
Edmund, Earl of Rutland,
of the Duke of York's party.
Uncles to the Duke of
Sir John Mortimer,
Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry and King Edward, Messengers, Watchmen, &c.
SCENE, during part of the third Act, in France; during all the rest of the Play, in England.
THIRD PART OF
KING HENRY VI.
ACT 1. SCENE I.
London. The Parliament-House.
Drums. Some Soldiers of York's party break in. Then, Enter the Duke of YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Others, with white Rofes in their Hats.
WAR. I wonder, how the king escap'd our hands. YORK. While we purfu'd the horsemen of the north,
He flily ftole away, and left his men :
Charg'd our main battle's front, and, breaking in,
Third Part of King Henry VI.] This play is only divided from the former for the convenience of exhibition; for the series of action is continued without interruption, nor are any two fcenes of any play more closely connected than the first scene of this play with the last of the former. JOHNSON.
"Were by the fwords of common foldiers flain.* EDW. Lord Stafford's father, duke of Buckingham,
Is either flain, or wounded dangerous : I cleft his beaver with a downright blow; 'That this is true, father, behold his blood. [Showing his bloody Sword. MONT. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltfhire's blood, [To YORK, Showing his. Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd. RICH. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.3
[Throwing down the Duke of Somerset's
2 Were by the fwords of common foldiers flain.] See the Second Part of this Play, p.386, n. 1. REED.
This is an inadvertency in our author. The elder Clifford was flain by York, and his fon lives to revenge his death.
Dr. Percy in a note on the preceding play, has pointed out the inconfiftency between this account, and the representation there, Clifford being killed on the stage by the Duke of York, the present speaker. Shakspeare was led into this inconfiftency by the author of the original plays: if indeed there was but one author, for this circumftance might lead us to fufpect that the first and second part of The Contention &c. were not written by the fame hand. However, this is not decifive; for the author, whoever he was, might have been inadvertent, as we find Shakspeare undoubtedly was. MALONE.
3 Rich. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.] Here, as Mr. Elderton of Salisbury has obferved to me, is a grofs anachronism. At the time of the first battle of Saint Albans, at which Richard is represented in the last scene of the preceding play to have fought, he was, according to that gentleman's calculation, not one year old, having (as he conceives,) been born at Fotheringay Castle, October 21, 1454. At the time to which the third scene of the first Act of this play is referred, he was, according to the fame gentleman's computation, but fix years old; and in the fifth Act, in which Henry is represented as having