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to a great winner of kingdoms. The dramatist could have further differentiated the rivals by making Percy greedy; he should not only have quarrelled with his associates over the division of the land, but insisted on obtaining the larger share, and even then have grumbled as if aggrieved; the soldier aristocrat has always regarded broad acres as his especial reward. On the other hand, Prince Henry should have been open-handed and carelessly-generous, as the patron of Falstaff was likely to be. Further, Hotspur might have been de picted as inordinately proud of his name and birth; the provincial aristocrat usually is, whereas Henry, the Prince, would surely have been too certain of his own qualities to need adventitious aids to pride. Percy might have been shown to us raging over imaginary slights; Worcester says he was “governed by a spleen ”; while the Prince could have been given that high sense of honour and insatiate love of fame which were the poles of chivalry. Finally, the dramatist might have painted Hotspur, the soldier, as disdainful of women and the arts of music and poetry, while gracing Prince Henry with a wider culture and sympathy. If I draw attention to such obvious points it is only to show how incredibly careless Shakespeare was in making the conqueror a poor copy of the conquered. He was drawn to Hotspur a little by his quickness and impatience; but he was utterly out of sympathy with the fighter, and never took the trouble even to think of the qualities which a leader of men must possess.
SHAKESPEARE'S MEN OF ACTION (concluded):
KING HENRY VI. AND RICHARD III.
THINK it hardly necessary to extend this re
view of Shakespeare's historical plays by subjecting the Three Parts of “ King Henry VI.” and “ Richard III.” to a detailed and minute criticism. Yet if I passed them over without mention it would probably be assumed that they made against my theory, or at least that I had some more pertinent reason for not considering them than their relative unimportance. In fact, however, they help to buttress my argument, and so at the risk of being tedious I shall deal with them, though as briefly as possible. Coleridge doubted whether Shakespeare had had anything to do with the “ First Part of Henry VI.," but his fellow-actors, Heminge and Condell, placed the Three Parts of “King Henry VI." in the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, and our latest criticism finds good reasons to justify this contemporary judgement. Mr. Swinburne writes : The last battle of Talbot seems to me as undeniably the master's work as the scene in the Temple Gardens, or the courtship of Margaret by Suffolk”; and it would be easy to prove that much of what the dying Mortimer says is just as certainly Shakespeare's work as any of the passages referred to by Mr. Swinburne. Like most of those who are destined to reach the heights, Shakespeare seems to have grown slowly, and even
at twenty-eight or thirty years of age his grasp of character was so uncertain, his style so little formed, so apt to waver from blank verse to rhyme, that it is difficult to determine exactly what he did write. We may take it, I think, as certain that he wrote more than we who have his mature work in mind are inclined to ascribe to him.
The “ Second Part of King Henry VI.” is a poetic revision of the old play entitled “ The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster," and so forth. is now generally agreed that Shakespeare's hand can be traced in the old drama, and with especial certainty in the comic scenes wherein Cade and his followers play the chief parts. Notwithstanding this, the revision was most thorough. Half the lines in the “ Second Part of Henry VI.” are new, and by far the greater number of these are now ascribed to Shakespeare on good grounds. But some of the changes are for the worse, and as my argument does not stand in need of corroboration, I prefer to assume nothing, and shall therefore confine myself to pointing out that whoever revised “ The Contention " did it, in the main, as we should have expected our youthful Shakespeare to do it. For example, when Humphrey of Gloster is accused of devising “ strange torments for offenders,” he answers in the old play:
“Why, 'tis well known that whilst I was Protector,
Pitie was all the fault that was in me,"
and the gentle reviser adds to this:
“For I should melt at an offender's tears,
Besides, the reviser adds a great deal to the part of the weak King with the evident object of making his helplessness pathetic. He gives Henry, too, his sweetest phrases, and when he makes him talk of bewailing Gloster's case “with sad unhelpful
we catch the very cadence of Shakespeare's voice. But he does not confine his emendations to the speeches of one personage: the sorrows of the lovers interest him as their affection interested him in the “First Part of Henry VI.," and the farewell words of Queen Margaret to Suffolk are especially characteristic of our gentle poet:
“Oh, go not yet; even thus two friends condemned
This reminds me almost irresistibly of Juliet's words when parting with Romeo, and of Imogen's words when Posthumus leaves her. Throughout the play Henry is the poet's favourite, and in the gentle King's lament for Gloster's death we find a peculiarity of Shakespeare's art. It was a part of the cunning of his exquisite sensibility to invent a new word whenever he was deeply moved, the intensity of feeling clothing itself aptly in a novel epithet or image. A hundred examples of this might be given, such as “ The multitudinous seas incarnadine"; and so we find here“ paly lips.” The pas
“Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
my love unto his dumb deaf trunk
It must be noticed, too, that in this “ Second Part” the reviser begins to show himself as something more than the sweet lyric poet. He transposes scenes in order to intensify the interest, and where enemies meet, like Clifford and York, instead of making them rant in mere blind hatred, he allows them to show a generous admiration of each other's qualities; in sum, we find here the germs of that dramatic talent which was so soon to bear such marvellous fruit. No better example of Shakespeare's growth in dramatic power and humour could be found than the way he revises the scenes with Cade. It is very probable, as I have said, that
, the first sketch was his; when one of Cade's followers declares that Cade’s “breath stinks,” we are reminded that Coriolanus spoke in the same terms of the Roman rabble. But though it is his own work, Shakespeare evidently takes it up again with the keenest interest, for he adds inimitable touches. For instance, in the first scene, where the two rebels, George Bevis and John Holland, talk of Cade's rising and his intention to set a new nap upon the commonwealth," George's remark:
“Oh, miserable age! virtue is not regarded in handi
is an addition, and may be compared with Falstaff's:
there is no virtue extant."
John answers :
" The nobility think scorn to go in leather aprons,"
which is in the first sketch. But George's reply