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this alone might decide the queftion, without taking into the ac count the numerous claffical allufions which are found in this first part. The reader will be enabled to judge how far this argument deferves attention, from the several extracts from those ancient pieces which he will find in the Effay on this fubject.

With refpect to the fecond and third parts of King Henry VI. or, as they were originally called, The Contention of the Two famous Houfes of Yorke and Lancaster, they ftand, in my apprehenfion, on a very different ground from that of this firft part, or, as I believe it was anciently called, The Play of King Henry VI-The Contention, &c. printed in two parts, in quarto, 1600, was, I conceive, the production of fome playwright who preceded, or was contemporary with Shakspeare; and out of that piece he formed the two plays which are now denominated the Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI.; as, out of the old plays of King John and The Taming of the Shrew, he formed two other plays with the fame titles. For the reasons on which this opinion is formed, I muft again refer to my Effay on this fubject.

This old play of King Henry VI. now before us, or as our author's editors have called it, the first part of King Henry VI. I suppose, to have been written in 1589, or before. See An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. The difpofition of facts in thefe three plays, not always correfponding with the dates, which Mr. Theobald mentions, and the want of uniformity and confiftency in the series of events exhibited, may perhaps be in fome measure accounted for by the hypothefis now ftated. As to our author's having accepted these pieces as a Director of the stage, he had, I fear, no pretenfion to fuch a fituation at fo early a period. MALONE.

The chief argument on which the firft paragraph of the foregoing note depends, is not, in my opinion, conclufive. This hiftorical play might have been one of our author's earlieft dramatick efforts and almost every young poet begins his career by imitation. Shakspeare, therefore, till he felt his own strength, perhaps fervilely conformed to the ftyle and manner of his predeceffors. Thus, the captive eaglet defcribed by Rowe :

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a while endures his cage and chains, "And like a prifoner with the clown remains : "But when his plumes fhoot forth, his pinions fwell, "He quits the ruftick and his homely cell,

"Breaks from his bonds, and in the face of day

"Full in the fun's bright beams he foars away.'

What further remarks I may offer on this fubject, will appear in the form of notes to Mr. Malone's Effay, from which I do not wantonly differ, though hardily, I confefs, as far as my fentiments may seem to militate against thofe of Dr. Farmer.


King Henry the Sixth.

Duke of Glofter, 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

Henry Beaufort, great Uncle to the King, Bishop of
Winchester, and afterwards Cardinal.
John Beaufort, Earl of Somerfet; afterwards, Duke.
Richard Plantagenet, eldeft Son of Richard late Earl
of Cambridge; afterwards Duke of York.
Earl of Warwick. Earl of Salisbury. Earl of Suffolk.
Lord Talbot, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury:
John Talbot, his Son.

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March,
Mortimer's Keeper, and a Lawyer.

Sir John Faftolfe. Sir William Lucy.

Sir William Glanfdale. Sir Thomas Gargrave.
Mayor of London. Woodville, Lieutenant of the Tower.
Vernon, of the White Rofe, or York Faction.
Baffet, of the Red Rofe, or Lancaster Faction.
Charles, Dauphin, and afterwards King of France.
Reignier, Duke of Anjou, and titular King of Naples.
Duke of Burgundy. Duke of Alençon.
Governor of Paris. Baftard of Orleans.
Mafter-Gunner of Orleans, and his Son.
General of the French Forces in Bourdeaux.
A French Sergeant. A Porter.

An old Shepherd, Father to Joan la Pucelle.
Margaret, Daughter to Reignier; afterwards married
to King Henry.

Countess of Auvergne.

Joan la Pucelle, commonly called Joan of Arc.

Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Meffengers, and feveral Attendants both on the English and French. SCENE, partly in England, and partly in France.




Weftminster Abbey.

Dead march. Corpfe of King Henry the Fifth dif covered, lying in ftate; attended on by the Dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER, the Earl of WARWICK, the Bishop of Winchester, Heralds, &c.

BED. Hung be the heavens with black,2 yield day to night!

Comets, importing change of times and ftates,


earl of Warwick;] The Earl of Warwick who makes his appearance in the firft fcene of this play is Richard Beauchamp, who is a character in King Henry V. The Earl who appears in the fubfequent part of it, is Richard Nevil, fon to the Earl of Salisbury, who became poffeffed of the title in right of his wife, Anne, fifter of Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick, on the death of Anne his only child in 1449. Richard, the father of this Henry, was appointed governor to the king, on the demife of Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, and died in 1439. There is no reason to think that the author meant to confound the two characters, RITSON.

2 Hung be the heavens with black,] Alluding to our ancient ftage-practice when a tragedy was to be expected. So, in Sid

Brandifh your crystal treffes 3 in the sky;

And with them fcourge the bad revolting stars,
That have confented unto Henry's death!

ney's Arcadia, Book II: "There arose, even with the funne, a vaile of darke cloudes before his face, which fhortly had blacked over all the face of heaven, preparing (as it were) a mournfull ftage for a tragedie to be played on.' See alfo Mr. Malone's Hiftorical Account of the English Stage. STEEVENS.

3 Brandifh your crystal tresses-] Crystal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. So, in a Sonnet, by Lord Sterline, 1604:

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"When as those chrystal comets whiles appear.' Spenfer, in his Fairy Queen, Book I. c. x. applies it to a lady's face:

"Like funny beams threw from her chrystal face." Again, in an ancient fong entitled The falling out of Lovers is the renewing of Love:

"You chryftal planets fhine all clear

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And light a lover's way."

"There is also a white comet with filver haires," fays Pliny, as tranflated by P. Holland, 1601. STEEVENS.

4 That have confented-] If this expreffion means no more than that the ftars gave a bare confent, or agreed to let King Henry die, it does no great honour to its author. I believe to confent, in this inftance, means to act in concert. Concentus, Lat. Thus Erato the mufe, applauding the fong of Apollo, in Lyly's Midas, 1592, cries out: "O fweet confent!" i, e. sweet union of founds. Again, in Spenfer's Fairy Queen, B. IV. c. ii: "Such mufick his wife words with time confented."

Again, in his tranflation of Virgil's Culex:

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"Chaunted their fundry notes with fweet concent.' Again, in Chapman's verfion of the 24th Book of Homer's Ody fey:

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all the facred nine

"Of deathlefs muses, paid thee dues divine:

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By varied turns their heavenly voices venting; "All in deep paffion for thy death confenting."

Confented, or as it fhould be fpelt, concented, means, have thrown themselves into a malignant configuration, to promote the death of Henry. Spenfer, in more than one instance, spells this word as it appears in the text of Shakspeare, as does Ben Jonfon, in his Epithalamion on Mr. Wefton. The following lines,

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Henry the fifth,5 too famous to live long !6
England ne'er loft a king of fo much worth.

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fhall we curfe the planets of mishap, "That plotted thus," &c.

seem to countenance my explanation; and Falstaff says of Shallow's fervants, that " they flock together in confent, like fo many wild geese." See alfo Tully de Natura Deorum, Lib. II. ch. xlvi: "Nolo in ftellarum ratione multus vobis videri, maximéque earum quæ errare dicuntur. Quarum tantus eft concentus ex diffimilibus motibus," &c.

Milton ufes the word, and. with the fame meaning, in his Penferofo :

"Whofe power hath a true confent

"With planet, or with element." STEEVENS.

Steevens is right in his explanation of the word confented. So, in The Knight of the burning Peftle, the Merchant fays to Merrythought:

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too late, I well perceive,

"Thou art confenting to my daughter's lofs."

and in The Chances, Antonio, fpeaking of the wench who robbed him, fays:

And alfo the fiddler who was confenting with her." meaning the fiddler that was her accomplice.

The word appears to be used in the fame fenfe in the fifth scene of this Act, where Talbot fays to his troops:

You all confented unto Salisbury's death,

"For none would strike a stroke in his revenge."



Confent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards, is the ufual spelling of the word concent. Vol. X. p. 96, n. 3; and K. Henry IV. P. II. A& V. fc. i. In other places I have adopted the modern and more proper spelling; but, in the prefent inftance, I apprehend, the word was used in its ordinary fenfe. In the fecond A&t, Talbot, reproaching the foldiery, ufes the fame expreffion, certainly without any idea of a malignant configuration:

"You all confented unto Salisbury's death." MALONE. 5 Henry the fifth,] Old copy, redundantly,-King Henry &c. STEEVENS.


too famous to live long !] So, in King Richard III : "So wife fo young, they fay, do ne'er live long."


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