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Shakespeare nor the author of that piece could have written the First Part of King Henry VI.
2. In Act ii. Sc. 5. of this play, it is said that the Earl of Cambridge raised an army against his sovereign. But Shakespeare, in his play of King Henry V. has represented the matter truly as it was: the Earl being in that piece, Act ii. condemned at Southampton for conspiring to assassinate Henry.
3. The author of this play knew the true pronunciation of the word Hecate, as it is used by the Roman writers :— I speak not to that railing Hecaté." But Shakespeare, in Macbeth, always uses Hecate as a dissyllable. The second speech in this play indicates the author that was very familiar with Hall's Chronicle:
"What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech." This phrase is introduced upon almost every occasion by Hall when he means to be eloquent. Holinshed, not Hall, was Shakespeare's historian. Here, then, is an additional minute proof that this play was not Shakespeare's.
This is the sum of Malone's argument. He conjectured that this piece which we now call the First Part of King Henry VI. was, when first performed, called The Play of King Henry VI.; and he thought his conjecture confirmed by an entry in the accounts of Henslowe, the proprietor of the Rose Theatre on the Bank Side. It must have been very popular, having been played no less than twelve times in one season: the first entry of its performance by the Lord Strange's company, at the Rose, is dated March 3, 1591. It is worthy of remark that Shakespeare does not appear at any time to have had the smallest connexion with that theatre, or the companies playing there; which, he thinks, affords additional argument that the play could not be his. He adds " By whom it was written it is now, I fear, difficult to ascertain. It was not entered on the Stationers' books, nor printed till the year 1623; when it was registered with Shakespeare's undisputed plays by the editors of the first folio, and there improperly entitled the Third Part of King Henry VI. In one sense it might be called so; for two plays on the subject of that reign had been printed before. But considering the history of that king, and the period of time which the piece comprehends, it ought to have been called, what in fact it is called in the first folio, The First Part of King Henry VI. At this distance of time it is impossible to ascertain on what principle it was that Heminge and Condell admitted it into their volume; but I suspect that they gave it a place as a necessary introduction to the tw other parts; and because Shakespeare had made alterations, and written some lines in it."
Malone's essay made many converts to his opinion; and perhaps Mr. Morgann, in his elegant Essay on the Dramatic Character of Falstaff, first published in 1777, led the way, when he
pronounced it "That drum-and-trumpet thing,-written doubtless, or rather exhibited long before Shakespeare was born, though afterwards repaired and furbished up by him with here and there a little sentiment and diction." Theobald first suggested the doubt. Malone's arguments have been replied to at great length by Mr. Knight, who has endeavoured to establish the converse proposition, that not only the improved plays, but the old and more imperfect pieces, The Contention betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster, and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, are entirely from the hand of Shakespeare. By others it has been thought that the two early pieces were written by Marlowe, but, it must be confessed, on very slender grounds. It seems to me at least certain that they contain much that must have come from the hand of Shakespeare, engrafted upon the work of another writer; and that the plays as they stand in the folio, are the result of a second revisal by him. The present play, which forms the first part of the trilogy, appears also to be a revisal by Shakespeare of another old play of the same set that furnished the others, but the original form of which has not come down to us.
KING HENRY THE SIXTH.
DUKE of BEDFORD, Uncle to the King, and Regent of France.
chester, and afterwards Cardinal.
JOHN BEAUFORT, Earl of Somerset; afterwards Duke. RICHARD PLANTAGENET, eldest son of Richard, late Earl of Cambridge; afterwards Duke of York.
EARL of WARWICK. EARL of SALISBURY. EARL of SUFFOLK.
Edmund MORTIMER, Earl of March.
SIR JOHN FASTOLFE. SIR WILLIAM LUCY.
CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards King of France.
REIGNIER, Duke of Anjou, and titular King of Naples.
Governour of Paris. Bastard of Orleans.
An old Shepherd, Father to Joan la Pucelle.
MARGARET, Daughter to Reignier: afterwards married to King Henry.
COUNTESS of AUVERGNE.
JOAN LA PUCELLE, commonly called Joan of Arc.
Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and seteral Attendants, both on the English and French.
SCENE-partly in England, and partly in France.
SCENE I. Westminster Abbey.
Dead March. Corpse of King Henry the Fifth discovered, lying in state; attended on by the DUKES OF BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER; the EARL OF WARWICK1, the BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, Heralds, &c.
UNG be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who is a character in King Henry V. The Earl of Warwick, who appears in a subsequent part of this drama, is Richard Nevill, son to the Earl of Salisbury, who came to the title in right of his wife, Anne, sister of Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick. Richard, the father of this Henry, was appointed governor to the king on the demise of Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, and died in 1439. There is no reason to think the author meant to confound the two characters.
2 Hung be the heavens with black. Steevens supposed that this alluded to the ancient practice of hanging the stage with black when a tragedy was to be acted (See Malone's Account of the English Stage); but there is nothing to indicate that Bedford is thinking of the stage. All his metaphors are astronomical; nature, not the stage was in his mind.