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three lines in the corresponding part of the old play, I marked them inadvertently as Shakspeare's original composition; but I afterwards found that he had borrowed them from a subsequent scene on a quite different subject, in which Henry, taking leave of Warwick, says to him
"Farewel my Hector, and my Troy's true hope!"
and the last line, "But Hercules," &c. is spoken by Warwick near the conclusion of the piece, after he is mortally wounded in the battle of Barnet.
So, in The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, &c. after the Duke has slain Clifford, he says
"Now, Lancaster, sit sure:-thy sinews shrink.”
Shakspeare has not made use of that line in that place, but availed himself of it afterwards, where Edward brings forth Warwick wounded; King Henry VI, P. III, Act V, sc ii:
"Now, Montague, sit fast: I seek for thee," &c.
Many other transpositions may be traced in these plays, to which I shall only refer in a note.*
Such transpositions as I have noticed, could never have arisen from any carelessness or inaccuracy of transcribers or copyists; and therefore are to be added to the many other circumstances which prove that The Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI, as exhibited in the folio, were formed from the materials of a preceding writer.
It is also observable, that many lines are repeated in Shakspeare's Second and Third Part of King Henry VI,† but no such repetitions are found in the old quarto plays. The repetition undoubtedly arose from Shakspeare's not always following his original strictly, but introducing expressions which had struck him in other parts of the old plays; and afterwards, forgetting that he had before used such expressions, he suffered them to remain in their original places also.
Another proof that Shakspeare was not the author of The Contention of the Two Houses, &c. is furnished by the inconsistencies into which he has fallen, by sometimes adhering to, and sometimes deviating from, his original: an inaccuracy which may be sometimes observed in his undisputed plays.
One of the most remarkable instances of this kind of inconsistency is found in The Second Part of King Henry VI, p. 236, where he makes Henry say:
"I'll send some holy bishop to entreat," &c.
a circumstance which he took from Holinshed's Chronicle; whereas in the old play no mention is made of a bishop on this occasion. The king there says, he will himself come and parley with the rebels, and in the mean time he orders Clifford and Buckingham to gather an army. In a subsequent scene, however, Shakspeare
* See p. 209, n. 3; p. 231, n. 6; p. 267, n. 9; p. 385, n. 6; p. 409, n. 8; p. 410, n. 9; p. 415, n. 1.
† See p. 336, n. 5; p. 354, n. 3; p. 367, n. 9; p. 371, n. 3.
forgot the new matter which he had introduced in the former; and Clifford and Buckingham only parley with Cade, &c. conformably to the old play."
In Romeo and Juliet he has fallen into a similar inaccuracy. In the poem on which that tragedy is founded, Romeo, in his interview with the Friar, after sentence of banishment has been pronounced against him, is described as passionately lamenting his fate in the following terms:
"First nature did he blame, the author of his life,
"In which his joys had been so scant, and sorrows aye so rife;
"The time and place of birth he fiercely did reprove;
"He cryed out with open mouth against the stars above.◄◄◄ "On fortune eke he rail'd." &c.
The Friar afterwards reproves him for want of patience. In forming the corresponding scene shakspeare has omitted Romeo's invective against his fate, but inadvertently copied the Friar's remonstrance as it lay before him:
"Why rail'st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth?" If the following should be considered as a trifling circumstance, let it be remembered, that circumstances which, separately considered, may appear unimportant, sometimes acquire strength, when united to other proofs of more efficacy: in my opinion, however, what I shall now mention is a circumstance of considerable weight. It is observable that the priest concerned with Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Glocester, in certain pretended operations of magick, for which she was tried, is called by Hall, John Hum. So is he named in The First Part of the Contention of the Two Houses of Yorke, &c. the original, as I suppose, of The Second Part of King Henry VI. Our author probably thinking the name harsh or ridiculous, softened it to Hume; and by that name this priest is called in his play printed in folio. But in Holinshed he is named Hun; and so undoubtedly, or perhaps for softness, Hune; he would have been called in the original quarto play just mentioned, if Shakspeare had been the author of it; for Holinshed and not Hall was his guide, as I have shown incontestably in a note on King Henry V, Vol. IX, p. 213 But Hall was undoubtedly the historian who had been consulted by the original writer of The Contention of the Two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster; as appears from his having taken a line from thence, "That Alexander Iden, an esquire of Kent," and from the scene in which Cardinal Beaufort is exhibited on his death-bed. One part of the particular description of the Cardinal's death and dying words, in the old quarto play, is founded on a passage in Hall, which Holinshed, though in general a servile copyist of the former chronicler, has omitted. The passage is this: "Dr. John Baker, his
* See also p. 152, n. 3; p. 371, n. 3.
† See Hall, Henry V, fol. lxxix. Holinshed says, a gentleman of Kent, named Alexander Iden, awaited so his time," &c.
pryvie counsailer and hys chapellayn, wrote, that lying on his death-bed he Cardinal Beaufort] said these words: Why should I dye, havyng so much ryches? If the whole realme would save my lyfe, I am able either by pollicie to get it, or by ryches to bye it. Fye! will not death be hyered, nor will money do nothynge?" From this the writer of the old play formed these lines:
"O death, if thou wilt let me live
"But one whole year, I'll give thee as much gold
which Shakspeare new-modelled thus:
"If thou be'st death, L'll give thee England's treasure, Enough to purchase such another island,
"So thou wilt let me live, and feel no pain."
If Shakspeare had been the author of The First Part of the Contention, &c. finding in his Holinshed the name Hun, he would either have preserved it, or softened it to Hune. Working on the old play, where he found the name of Hum, which sounded ridiculous to his ear, he changed it to Hume. But whoever the original writer of the old play was, having used the name of Hum, he must have formed his play on Hall's Chronicle, where alone that name is found. Shakspeare therefore having made Holinshed, and not Hall, his guide, could not have been the writer of it.
It may be remarked, that by the alteration of this priest's name, he has destroyed a rhyme intended by the author of the original play, where Sir John begins a soliloquy with this jingling line: "Nov, Sir John Hum, no word but mum: "Seal up your lips, for you must silent be."
which Shakspeare has altered thus:
But how now, Sir John Hume?
"Seal up your lips, and give no words but mum.”
Lines rhyming in the middle and end, similar to that above quoted, are often found in our old English plays, (previous to the time of Shakspeare) and are generally put into the mouths of priests and friars.
It has already been observed, that in the original play on which The Second Part of King Henry VI is founded, "Abradas,” the Macedonian pirate," is mentioned. This hero does not appear in Shakspeare's new-modelled play, "Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate," being introduced in his room. Abradas is spoken of (Mr. Steevens has remarked) by Robert Greene, the very person whom I suppose to have been one of the joint authors of the original plays, in a pamphlet, entitled Penelope's Web, 1589:--“ Abradas, the great Macedonian pirate, though every one had a letter of mart that bare sayles in the ocean." Of this pirate or his achievements, however celebrated he may have been, I have not found the slightest trace in any book whatsoever, except that above quoted; a singular circumstance, which appears to me strongly to confirm iny hypothesis on the present subject; and to support my interpretation of Greene's words in his Groatsworth of Witte, in a former part of the present disquisition.
However this may be, there are certainly very good grounds for believing that The First Part of the Contention of the Two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. and The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke
of Yorke, were written by the author or authors of the old King John, printed in 1591.
In The true Tragedie, &c. we find the following lines: "Let England be true within itself,
"We need not France, nor any alliance with her." The first of these lines is found, with a very minute variation, in the old King John, where it runs thus:
"Let England live but true within itself, -"
Nor is this the only coincidence. In the deservedly admired scene in which Cardinal Beaufort's death is represented, in the original play, (as well as in Shakspeare's Second Part of King Henry VI) he is called upon to hold up his hand, as a proof of his confidence in God:
"If thou diest assured of heavenly blisse,
"Hold up thy hand, and make some sign to us.
[The Cardinal dies.
"O see, he dies, and makes no sign at all:
"O God, forgive his soule!"
I quote from the original play.-It is remarkable that a similar proof is demanded in the old play of King John also, when that king is expiring:
"Then, good my lord, if you forgive them all,
66 in token of thy faith,
"And signe thou diest the servant of the Lord,
This circumstance appears to me to add considerable support to my conjecture.
One point only remains. It may be asked, if The First Part of King Henry VI was not written by Shakspeare, why did Heminge and Condell print it with the rest of his works? The only way that I can account for their having done so, is by supposing, either that their memory at the end of thirty years was not accurate concerning our author's pieces, as appears indeed evidently from their omitting Troilus and Cressida, which was not recollected by them, till the whole of the first folio, and even the table of contents, (which is always the last work of the press) had been printed; or, that they imagined the insertion of this historical drama was necessary to understanding the two pieces that follow it; or lastly, that Shakspeare, for the advantage of his own theatre, having written a few lines in The First Part of King Henry VI, after his own Second and Third Part had been played, they conceived this a sufficient warrant for attributing it, along with the others, to him, in the general collection of his works. If Shakspeare was the author of any part of this play, perhaps the second and the following scenes of the fourth Act were his; which are for the most part written in rhyme, and appear to me somewhat of a different complexion from the rest of the play. Nor is this the only instance of their proceeding on this ground;
for is it possible to conceive that they could have any other reason for giving Titus Andronicus a place in their edition of Shakspeare's works, than his having written twenty or thirty lines in that piece, or having retouched a few verses of it; if indeed he did do so much?
Shakspeare's referring in the Epilogue to King Henry V, which was produced in 1599, to these three parts of King Henry VI, of which the first, by whom soever it was written, appears from the testimony of a contemporary to have been exhibited with great applause;* and the two latter, having been, as I conceive, eight years before new-modelled and almost re-written by our author, we may be confident were performed with the most brilliant success; his supplicating the favour of the audience to his new play of King Henry V, "for the sake" of these old and popular dramas, which were so closely connected with it, and in the composition of which, as they had for many years been exhibited, he had so considerable a share; the connection between the last scene of King Henry VI, and the first scene of King Richard III, the Shakspearian diction, versification, and figures, by which The Second and Third Part of King Henry VI are distinguished; "the easiness of expression and the fluency of numbers," which, it is acknowledged, are found here, and were possessed by no other author of that age; all these circumstances are accounted for by the theory now stated, and all objections† that have been founded upon them, in my apprehension, vanish away.
On the other hand, the entry on the Stationers' books of the old play, entitled The First Part of the Contention of the Two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, &c. without the name of the author; that piece, and The true Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, &c. being printed in 1600, anonymously; their being founded on the Chronicle of Hall, who was not Shakspeare's historian, and represented by the servants of Lord Pembroke, by whom none of his uncontested dramas were represented; the colour, diction, and versification of these old plays; the various circumstances, lines and speeches, that are found in them, and not in our author's newmodification of them, as published in folio by his original editors; the resemblances that have been noticed between his other works and such parts of these dramas as are only exhibited in their folio edition; the discordances (in matters of fact) between certain parts of the old plays printed in quarto, and Shakspeare's' undoubted performances; the transpositions that he has made in these pieces; the repetitions, and the peculiar Shakspearian inaccuracies, and phraseology, which may be traced in the folio, and not in the old quarto plays; these and other circumstances, which have been stated in the foregoing pages, form, when united, such a body of argument and proofs, in support of my hypothesis, as appears to me, (though I will not venture to assert
* See p. 448 of this Dissertation.
† See these several objections stated by Dr. Johnson in the notes at the end of The Third Part of King Henry VI.