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vent their sending aid to Talbot at this juncture, and he is slain in a stubborn conflict.

But the French have also suffered a severe loss in the capture of Joan of Arc (Act V), who is burned at the stake for witchcraft. The war fluctuates until peace proposals are made, wherein the Dauphin consents to reign as viceroy to England. Henry VI meanwhile asks for the hand of Margaret of Anjou.


The three parts of Henry VI,' being component parts of one play, will here be considered together in regard to sources and authorship. The First Part found its earliest known printing in the First Folio edition. The Second Part was printed anonymously in a Quarto, entitled The First Part of the Contention betwixt the two famous houses of Yorke and Lancaster,' before it became the Second Part of · Henry VI' in the First Folio, from which it differed widely. The Third Part appeared anonymously in a Quarto, entitled " The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke,' before it became the Third Part of · Henry VI,' also with variations.

Whatever author or authors wrote these plays, their original sources were Holinshed's • Chronicles' and Hall's • Chronicle,' which early histories furnished the groundwork of fact for the dramatists to build upon. In the First Part this historical fact is followed more closely than in the other two.

But the question of authorship is the perplexing one. Many pages and even volumes have been written in the discussion, and critical opinion is still greatly divided. It generally agrees, however, upon one contention that Shakespeare, if a writer of these plays, was not

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their sole author. The First Part had no earlier appearance than the First Folio, where it was published as a work of Shakespeare's. But the opening act and various scenes point to other and inferior hands. It has been assigned to Marlowe, Nash, and Peele, with the collaboration or subsequent editing of Shakespeare ; but the latter's hand appears so dimly and fitfully as to cause some editors to plead for its rejection from the canon. Nevertheless, its inclusion in the authoritative Folio, together with other evidences, minor and internal, preserves the First Part safely though doubtfully Shakespeare's.

The problem becomes more complicated in considering the Second and Third Parts, which, as we have seen, were previously published in different form and under different names. Part II consists of 3075 lines, of which 1715 are new, 840 altered, and 520

retained from the Quarto play of The Contention.' Part III consists of 2902 lines, 1021 being new, 871 altered, and 1010 retained from the Quarto, “True Tragedie.' These two Quartos were published together about 1619, after Shakespeare's death, with his name on the title-page. The same publisher, however, had taken advantage of his popularity to ascribe to him other plays which were not his; and this fact, therefore, proves nothing.

It seems evident, on the other hand, that Robert Greene was concerned in the writing of • The Contention’ and The True Tragedie.' On his death-bed, in 1592, he gave out a manuscript entitled A Groatsworth of Witte,' in which he accused Shakespeare of plagiarizing from him, in the following language: “Yes, trust them not: for there is an upstart Crow beautifui with our feathers, that with his « Tygres heart wrapt in

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a players hyde,"supposes hee is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the beste of you; and beeing an absolute Johannes Factotum, is, in his owne conceyt, the onely Shake-scene in a Countrey.' The line which Greene quotes is found, slightly changed, in both The True Tragedie' and the Third Part of Henry VI.' His complaint is corroborated in Gent's Greene's Funeralls' (1594) by a sonnet ending:

• Nay more, the men that so Eclipst his fame
Purloyned his Plumes, can they deny the same?'

While Chettle, another contemporary writer, apologizes for Greene's attack, without retracting the charge. The Groatsworth’ as a whole seems to imply that Marlowe, Greene, and perhaps Peele, wrote these two plays; that Shakespeare also assisted, for the line used as a reproach was evidently the latter's; and that Shakespeare afterward appropriated the joint material as his

In the Epilogue to · Henry V'(written later) Henry VI’is referred to by name, and presumably as a work of separate parts : •Which oft our stage hath shown ; and, for their sake, In your fair minds let this acceptance take.'


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Henry V' being confessedly Shakespeare's, he seems thus to claim · Henry VI’also.

But we must not overlook the fact that the two Quartos do not bear Shakespeare's name, and that the Folio, which does, presents a far better text. It is but fair to assume, then, that Shakespeare thoroughly revised the Quartos, taking from them the lines which he had originally written, and making free use of the rest, altering some and retaining others. The finished product, however, has so strong a Marlowan flavor as to lead many editors to suppose that Marlowe and Shakespeare worked conjointly in the revision of the older plays. These Quarto versions were printed in garbled form, and were probably pirated editions made from shorthand notes of stage performances.


The historic period occupied by the First Part of • Henry VI’ is from August 31, 1422, the death of Henry V, to the close of 1444, the betrothal of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. The time represented on the stage is eight days, with intervals.


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In 1592 Thomas Nash, in his · Pierce Penniless,' alluded to a play on this subject, telling of the popularity of • Talbot, the terror of the French,' when triumphing' again on the stage.' Henslowe's Diary' makes a still earlier allusion to a performance of the play

Henery the vi,' March 3, 1591. Since neither of the other two parts bore a similar title, and traces of no earlier work exist, the above two entries may safely be credited as references to Shakespeare's First Part of · Henry VI.'

Another bit of date evidence is given by Greene's death-bed attack of 1592, which, while it referred directly to the Third Part, must certainly place the First Part earlier than this time, for by its nature it was written before the Second and Third Parts.

The Epilogue to Henry V' (1599) alludes to • Henry VI' as a previous production. Meres, in


1598, does not mention it, probably on account of its disputed authorship.

Internal evidence is not reliable, but places the text among the earliest works of Shakespeare, when he was under the influence of other writers, if not assisted by them.

The First Part of Henry VI' probably belongs to the year 1589 or 1590.


The earliest printing of the First Part, as has been stated, was in the First Folio of 1623.

It there occupies twenty-four pages, from page 96 to page 119, inclusive, under histories. It is divided into acts and scenes, but lacks the Dramatis Personæ, which Rowe afterward supplied.

The text is fairly good in typography, but contains many irregularities of rhythm and expression.

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