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PREFACE TO THE THREE PARTS
By ISRAEL GOLLANCZ, M.A.
(I.) The First Part of Henry the Sixth was in all probability printed for the first time in the First Folio. On November 8, 1623, Blount & Jaggard entered, among other copies of Shakespeare's works "not formerly entered to other men,” “the Thirde Parte of Henry the Sixt," by which term they evidently referred to the play which, chronologically considered, precedes the Second and Third Parts.
The opening lines of the play are sufficient to render it well-nigh certain that 1 Henry VI is not wholly Shakespeare's; 1 and there can be little doubt that the hand of the Great Master is only occasionally perceptible therein. Probably we have here an inferior production by some unknown dramatist, writing about 1589, to which Shakespeare made important "additions” in the year 1591; to him may safely be assigned the greater part of Act IV. ii.-vii., especially the Talbot episodes (scene vii., in spite of its rhyme, has the Shakespearian note, and is noteworthy from the point of view of literary history); the wooing of Margaret by Suffolk (V. i.) has, too, something of Shakespeare's touch; finally, there is the Temple Garden scene (II. iv.), which is certainly Shakespeare's, though, judged by metrical peculiarities it may well have been added some years after 1591. We may be sure that at no time in his career could he have been guilty of the crude and vulgar presentment of Joan of Arc in the latter part of the play.
1 Cp. Coleridge, “If you do not feel the impossibility of these lines] having been written by Shakespeare, all I dare suggest is, that you may have ears,—for so has another animal,—but an ear you cannot have, me judice."
2 Dr. Furnivall sees at least four hands in the play; Mr. Fleay assigns it to Peele, Marlowe, Lodge or Nash, and Shakespeare. The attempt to determine the authorship is futile, owing to the absence of all evidence on the point.
(II.) The Second and Third Parts of Henry the Sixth, forming together a two-sectioned play, have come down to us in two versions :-(a) The Folio version, authorized by Shakespeare's editors; (b) a carelessly printed early Quarto version, differing in many important respects from (a); about 3,240 lines in the Quarto edition appear either in the same or an altered form in the Folio edition, while about 2,740 lines in the latter are entirely new. The titlepages of the first Quartos, corresponding to Parts I. and II. respectively, are as follows (i.) “The First
: part of the Con | tention betwixt the two famous houses of Yorke | and Lancaster, with the death of the good | Duke Humphrey: | And the banishment and death of the Duke of Suffolk, and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable Rebellion of lacke Cade: | And the Duke of Yorke's first slaime unto the Crowne. LONDON. Printed by Thomas
| Creed, for Thomas Millington, / and are to be sold at his shop vnder Saint Peter's Church in Cornwall. 1594.” 2 [Q.1.] (ii) “The true Tragedie of Richard | Duke of Yorke, and the death of 1 good King Henrie the Sixt, / with the whole contention betweene | the two Houses Lancaster and Yorke, as it was sundrie times | acted by the Right Honoura | ble the Earle of Pem-brooke his Seruants. | Printed at London by P. S. for Thomas Milling- | ton, and are to be sold at his shoppe under | Saint Peter's Church in Cornwall, 1595.” [Q. 1.] Second editions of both (i.) and (ii.) appeared in 1600, and in 1619 a third edition of the two plays together :-“The | Whole Contention betweene the two Famous | Houses, LANCASTER and | YORKE. | With the Tragicall ends of the good Duke Humfrey, Richard Duke of Yorke, and King Henrie the Sixt. Divided into two parts: and newly corrected and enlarged. Written by William Shakespeare, Gent. | Printed at LONDON, for T. P.” [Q. 3.]
1“Out of 3075 lines in Part II., there are 1715 new lines and some 840 altered lines (many but very slightly altered), and some 520 old lines. In Part III., out of 2902 lines, there are about 1021 new lunes, about 871 altered lines, and above 1010 old lines."
2 Entered in the Stationers' Register, March 12, 1693.
(Both the First and Third Quartos have been reproduced by photolithography in the series of Quarto Facsimiles issued under the superintendence of Dr. Furnivall; Nos. 23, 24, 37, 38.) In the comparison of Quartos 1 and 3 one finds that the corrections are principally in Part I.; in Part II. the alterations are almost all of single words; taken altogether, however, the changes are slight, and are such “as may have been made by a Revizer who heard the Folio Play (2 Henry VI) with a copy of Q. 1 or Q. 2 in his hand, or who had a chance of taking a note or two from the Burbage-playhouse copy, and then made further corrections at home.” · At all events, Q. 3 is a more correct copy of the older form of 2, 3 Henry VI than we have in Q. 1, though its superiority does not bring it much nearer to the Folio version. 1
THE RELATION OF THE QUARTOS TO 2 AND 3 HENRY VI
The most cursory glance at the Quartos is enough to convince one that scant justice has been done to the author of the plays, and that the printers of the Quartos must have had very careless copy before them. Probably many errors may be referred to the indifferent reporters employed by the pirate publisher.
"Some by stenography drew The plot, put in print, scarce one word true”; 1 A condensed version of the three parts of Henry VI., in one play, was prepared by Charles Kemble, and has recently been printed for the first time in the Irving Shakespeare from the unique copy in Mr. Irving's possession.
so complained Thomas Heywood of the treatment to which one of his productions had been subjected; he complained, too, that "plays were copied only by the ear," "publisht in savage and ragged ornaments.” But this probable cause of much corruption in The Contention and The True Tragedy will not account for (a) the inherent weakness of a great part of both plays; (b) the un-Shakespearean character of many important passages and whole scenes. On the other hand, many of these latter passages are to be found (it is true, often in an improved form) in the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI, as printed in the Folio. Hence arises the most complex of Shakespearean problems, and scholars are divided on the question; their views may be grouped under four heads, according as it is maintained (1) that Shakespeare was the author of the four plays; ? (2) that Shakespeare was merely the reviser,
1 retaining portions of his predecessor's work, altering portions, and adding passages of his own; 2 (3) that the portions common to the old plays, and 2, 3 Henry VI, were Shakespeare's contribution to the original dramas (by Marlowe, Greene, Shakespeare, and, perhaps, Peele ; 8 (4) that Marlowe, Greene, and, perhaps, Peele, were the authors of the old plays, while Shakespeare and Marlowe were the revisers, working as collaborators. The fourth view has been strenuously maintained in an elaborate study of the subject, contributed to the Transactions of the new Shakespeare Society, where the Marlowan passages in the Quartos are definitely attributed to Marlowe, the Greenish to Greene, and others to Peele, while the Marlowan lines which occur for the first time in 2, 3 Henry VI are accounted for by assuming that Marlowe and Shakespeare jointly revised the older plays; so that in some cases we
1 Cp. Knight's Essay on the subject in The Pictorial Shakespeare. 2 Malone, Variorum Shakespeare, 1821, Vol. XVIII.
3 R. Grant White, Shakespeare Vol. VII. Cp. Halliwell, First Sketches of 2 and 3 Henry VI; Sh. Soc. Reprints, 1843; Swinburne, Study of Shakespeare; &c. 4 Miss Jane Lee, Now Shak. Soc., 1876.