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Anonymous; Henry IV. containing the deposition of Richard II. and the accession of Henry to the crown, anonymous; Henry V. and Richard III. both by anonymous authors.
Mr. Boswell, speaking of the originals of the second and third of these plays, says, "That Marlowe may have had some share in these compositions, I am not disposed to deny; but I cannot persuade myself that they entirely proceeded from his pen. Some passages are possessed of so much merit, that they can scarcely be ascribed to any one except the most distinguished of Shakespeare's predecessors; but the tameness of the general style is very different from the peculiar characteristics of that poet's mighty line, which are great energy both of thought and language, degenerating too frequently into tumour and extravagance. The versification appears to me to be of a different colour.-That Marlowe, Peele, and Greene, may all of them have had a share in these dramas, is consonant to the frequent practice of the age; of which ample proofs may be found in the extracts from Henslowe's MS. printed by Mr. Malone."
From the passage alluding to these plays in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, it seems that Shakespeare had worked upon them previous to 1592, but that it was at a later period he made the larger additions and brought them to the form in which they appear in the folio of 1623.
To Johnson's high panegyric of that impressive scene in this play, the death of Cardinal Beaufort, we may add that Schlegel says, "It is sublime beyond all praise. Can any other poet be named who has drawn aside the curtain of eternity at the close of this life in such an overpowering and awful manner? And yet it is not mere horror with which we are filled, but solemn emotion; we have an exemplification of a blessing and a curse in close proximity; the pious king is an image of the heavenly mercy, which even in his last moments labours to enter into the soul of the sinner."
KING HENRY THE SIXTH:
HUMPHREV. Duke of Gloster, his Uncle.
CARDINAL BEAUFORT, Bishop of Winchester, great Uncle te
RICHARD PLANTAGENET, Duke of York:
EDWARD and RICHARD, his Sons.
DUKE of SOMERSET,
DUKE of SUFFolk,
of the York Faction.
EARL of WARWICK,
LORD SCALES, Governour of the Tower. LORD SAY.
SIR JOHN STANLEY.
A Sea Captain, Master, and Master's Mate, and WALTER WHITMORE.
Two Gentlemen, Prisoners with Suffolk.
of the King's Party.
HUME and SOUTHWELL, two Priests.
BOLINGBROKE, a Conjuror. A Spirit raised by him.
THOMAS HORNER, an Armourer. PETER, his Man.
Clerk of Chatham. Mayor of St. Albans.
SIMPCOX, an Impostor. Two Murderers.
GEORGE, JOHN, DICK, SMITH the Weaver, MICHAEL, &c. his
ALEXANDER IDEN, a Kentish Gentleman.
MARGARET, Queen to King Henry.
ELEANOR, Duchess of Gloster.
MARGERY JOURDAIN, a Witch. Wife to Simpcox.
Lords, Ladies, and Attendants; Petitioners, Aldermen, a Beadle, Sheriff, and Officers; Citizens, Prentices, Falconers, Guards, Soldiers, Messengers, &c.
SCENE, dispersedly in various parts of England.
SCENE I. London. A Room of State in the Palace. Flourish of Trumpets; then Hautboys. Enter, on one side, KING HENRY, DUKE OF GLOSTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and CARDINAL BEAUFORT; on the other, QUEEN MARGARET, led in by SUFFOLK; YORK, SOMERSET, BUCKINGHAM, and Others, following.
S by your high imperial majesty
I had in charge at my depart for France,
To marry Princess Margaret for your grace;
1 "The Marquesse of Suffolk, as procurator to King Henry, espoused the said ladie in the church of St. Martins. At the which marriage were present the father and mother of the bride; the French king himself, that was uncle to the husband; and the French queen also, that was aunt to the wife. There were also the Dukes of Orleance, of Calabre, of Alanson, and of Britaine; seven earles, twelve barons, twenty bishops."-Hall and Holinshed.
Seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend
I have perform'd my task, and was espous'd;
To your most gracious hands, that are the substance
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
K.Hen. Suffolk, arise.-Welcome, Queen Margaret; I can express no kinder sign of love,
Than this kind kiss.-O Lord, that lends me life,
Q. Mar. Great king of England, and my gracious
The mutual conference that my mind hath had3,
2 i. e. to the gracious hands of you, my sovereign, who are, &c. In the old play the line stands :
"Unto your gracious excellence, that are."
3 The mutual conference that my mind hath had, i. e. I am the bolder to address you, having already familiarized you to my imagination.
i.e. most beloved of all: from alder, of all; formerly used in composition with adjectives of the superlative degree: and liefest, dearest, or most loved. Thus Chaucer, in Troilus and Cressida, iii. 240:
"Mine alder-lievest lord, and brother dear." And Gascoigne :
"And to mine alder-lievest lord I must indite."
It was nearly obsolete in Shakespeare's time, and hence we have elder worse misprinted for alder-worse, in Cymbeline, Act v. Sc. 1. Marston puts it into the mouth of his Dutch Courtezan. A similar word is still in use in Germany and Holland. Our ancestors had also alder-best, alder-first, alder-last, &c.
Makes me the bolder to salute my king
K. Hen. Her sight did ravish, but her grace in speech,
Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty,
Q. Mar. We thank you all.
Suf. My lord protector, so it please your grace, Here are the articles of contracted peace, Between our sovereign and the French king Charles, For eighteen months concluded by consent.
Glo. [Reads.] Imprimis, It is agreed between the French king, Charles, and William de la Poole, marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry king of England, -that the said Henry shall espouse the lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier king of Naples, Sicilia, and Jerusalem; and crown her queen of England, ere the thirtieth of May next ensuing.- -Item,―That the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine, shall be released and delivered to the king her father
K. Hen. Uncle, how now? Glo. Pardon me, gracious lord; Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heart, And dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further. K. Hen. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on. Win. Item,-It is further agreed between them,— that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father; and she sent over
5 This weeping joy, of which there is no trace in the original play, Shakespeare frequently uses. It is introduced in Much Ado about Nothing, King Richard II. Macbeth, and King Lear.