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As his alliance will confirm our peace,
Glo. And so the earl of Armagnac may do,
Exe. Beside, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower, Where Reignier sooner will receive, than give.
Suf. A dower, my lords ! disgrace not so your king, That he should be so abject, base, and poor, To choose for wealth, and not for perfect love. Henry is able to enrich his queen, And not to seek a queen to make him rich. So worthless peasants bargain for their wives, As market-men for oxen, sheep, or horse. Marriage is a matter of more worth, Than to be dealt in by attorneyship: Not whom we will, but whom his grace affects, Must be companion of his nuptial bed; And therefore, lords, since he affects her most, Most of all these reasons bindeth us, In our opinions she should be preferr’d. For what is wedlock forced but a hell, An age of discord and continual strife? Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss', And is a pattern of celestial peace. Whom should we match with Henry, being a king, But Margaret that is daughter to a king? Her peerless feature, joined with her birth, Approves her fit for none but for a king: Her valiant courage, and undaunted spirit, (More than in women commonly is seen) Will answer our hope in issue of a king ; For Henry, son unto a conqueror, Is likely to beget more conquerors,
1 Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss,] The second folio reads, “ bringeth forth bliss,” but the line reads as well without the word as with it; not, however, supposing, with Malone, that the word “contrary” was meant by Shakespeare to be pronounced conterary. Forth is clearly surplusage, as regards the poet's meaning
FIRST PART OF KING HENRY VI.
If with a lady of so high resolve,
K. Hen. Whether it be through force of your report,
gone, I say; for till you do return, I rest perplexed with a thousand cares.And
you, good uncle, banish all offence:
do censure me by what you were,
[Exit. Glo. Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.
[Excunt GLOSTER and EXETER. Suf. Thus Suffolk hath prevail'd; and thus he goes, As did the youthful Paris once to Greece, With hope to find the like event in love, But prosper better than the Trojan did. Margaret shall now be queen, and rule the king; But I will rule both her, the king, and realm. [Erit.
“ The second Part of Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Good Duke Hvmfrey,” was first printed in the folio of 1623, where it occupies twenty-seven pages ; viz. from p. 120 to p. 146 inclusive, in the division of “ Histories.” It fills the same place in the subsequent folio impressions.
This “history” is an alteration of a play printed in 1594, under the following title: “The First part of the Contention 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 Suffolke, and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable Rebellion of Iacke Cade: And the Duke of Yorkes first claime unto the Crowne. London Printed by Thomas Creed, for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his shop under Saint Peter's Church in Cornwall. 1594.” By whom it was written we have no information ; but it was entered on the Stationers' Registers on the 12th March, 1593. Millington published a second edition of it in 1600: on the 19th April, 1602, it was assigned by Millington to Tho. Pavier, and we hear of it again, in the Stationers' Register, merely as “Yorke and Lancaster," on the 8th November, 1630.
The name of Shakespeare was not connected with “the first part of the Contention" until about the year 1619, when T. P. (Thomas Pavier) printed a new edition of the first, and what he called “ the second, part” of the same play, with the name of “William Shakespeare, Gent." upon the general title-page. The object of Pavier was no doubt fraudulent: he wished to have it believed, that the old play was the production of our great dramatist.
Shakespeare's property, according to our present notions, was only in the additions and improvements he introduced, which are included in the folio of 1623. In Act iv. sc. 1, is a line necessarily taken from “ the first part of the Contention, sense, without it, is incomplete; but the old play has many passages which Shakespeare rejected, and the murder of Duke Humphrey is somewhat differently managed. In general, however, Shakespeare adopted the whole conduct of the story, and did not think it necessary to correct the obvious historical errors of the original.
It is impossible to assign a date to this play excepting by conjecture. Its success, perhaps, led to the entry at Stationers' Hall of the older play in March, 1593, and to its appearance from the press in 1594.