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* THIRD Part of King HenRY VI.] The action of this play (which was at first printed under this title, The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, and the good King Henry the Sixth; or, The Second Part of the Contention of York and Lancaster,) opens just after the first battle at Saint Albans, [May 23, 1455, wherein the York faction carried the day; and closes with the murder of King Henry VI. and the birth of prince Edward, afterwards King Edward V. [November 4, 1471.] So that this history takes in the space of full sixteen years. THEOBALD.
I have never seen the quarto copy of the Second part of THE WHOLE CONTENTION, &c. printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Millington, 1600; but the copy printed by W. W. for Thomas Millington, 1600, is now before me; and it is not precisely the same with that described by Mr. Pope and Mr. Theobald, nor does the undated edition (printed in fact, in 1619,) correspond with their description. The title of the piece printed in 1600, by W. W. is as follows: The True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of Yorke, and the Death of good King Henrie the Sixt: With the whole Contention between the Two Houses Lancaster and Yorke as it was sundry Times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his Servants. Printed at London by W. W. for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his Shoppe under St. Peter's Church in Cornewall, 1600. On this piece Shakspeare, as I conceive, in 1591 formed the drama before us. See Vol. XIII. p. 2, and the Essay at the end of this play.
The present historical drama was altered by Crowne, and brought on the stage in the year 1680, under the title of The Miseries of Civil War. Surely the works of Shakspeare could have been little read at that period; for Crowne, in his Prologue, declares the play to be entirely his own composition:
"For by his feeble skill 'tis built alone,
"The divine Shakspeare did not lay one stone." whereas the very first scene is that of Jack Cade copied almost verbatim from The Second Part of King Henry VI. and several others from this third part, with as little variation. STEEVENS.
King Henry the Sixth:
Edward, Prince of Wales, his Son.
Duke of Somerset. Duke of Exeter.
Earlof Oxford. Earl of Northum- Lords on K. berland. Earl of Westmoreland. [Henry's side. Lord Clifford.
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York :
Edward, Earl of March, afterwards King
Edmund, Earl of Rutland,
George, afterwards Duke of Clarence,
Marquis of Montague,
of the Duke of York's
Earl of Warwick,
Earl of Pembroke,
Sir John Mortimer,
Sir Hugh Mortimer,
Uncles to the Duke of
Henry, Earl of Richmond, a Youth.
Lord Rivers, Brother to Lady Grey. Sir William Stanley. Sir John Montgomery. Sir John Somerville. Tutor to Rutland. Mayor of York. Lieutenant of the Tower. A Nobleman. Two Keepers. A Huntsman. A Son that has killed his Father. A Father that has killed his Son.
Lady Grey, afterwards Queen to Edward IV,
Soldiers, and other Attendants on King Henry and
during all the rest of the Play, in England.
THIRD PART OF
KING HENRY VI.'
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. The Parliament-House.
Drums. Some Soldiers of York's party break in. Then, Enter the Duke of YORK, EDWARD, RICHARD, NORFOLK, MONTAGUE, WARWICK, and Others, with white Roses in their Hats.
WAR. I wonder, how the king escap'd our hands. YORK. While we pursu'd the horsemen of the north,
He slily stole away, and left his men :
Third Part of King Henry VI.] This play is only divided from the former for the convenience of exhibition; for the series of action is continued without interruption, nor are any two scenes of any play more closely connected than the first scene of this play with the last of the former. JOHNSON.
'Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.'
Is either slain, or wounded dangerous:
[Showing his bloody Sword. MONT. And, brother, here's the earl of Wiltshire's blood, [To YORK, showing his. Whom I encounter'd as the battles join'd.
RICH. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I
[Throwing down the Duke of SOMERSET'S
Were by the swords of common soldiers slain.] See the Second Part of this Play, Vol. XIII. p. 386, n. 1. REED.
This is an inadvertency in our author. The elder Clifford was slain by York, and his son lives to revenge his death.
Dr. Percy in a note on the preceding play, has pointed out the inconsistency between this account, and the representation there, Clifford being killed on the stage by the Duke of York, the present speaker. Shakspeare was led into this inconsistency by the author of the original plays: if indeed there was but one author, for this circumstance might lead us to suspect that the first and second part of The Contention &c. were not written by the same hand. However, this is not decisive; for the author, whoever he was, might have been inadvertent, as we find Shakspeare undoubtedly was. MALONE.
3 Rich. Speak thou for me, and tell them what I did.] Here, as Mr. Elderton of Salisbury has observed to me, is a gross anachronism. At the time of the first battle of Saint Albans, at which Richard is represented in the last scene of the preceding play to have fought, he was, according to that gentleman's calculation, not one year old, having (as he conceives,) been born at Fotheringay Castle, October 21, 1454. At the time to which the third scene of the first Act of this play is referred, he was, according to the same gentleman's computation, but six years old; and in the fifth Act, in which Henry is represented as hav