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but one, describing the signs of Gloster's having been murdered; and that of Suffolk in the same scene, telling how he would curse his enemies; also, the longer speech of Lord Say, in Act iv. sc. 7, pleading for his life; and that of young Clifford in Act v. sc. 2, where he finds his father dead:-all these may be mentioned as superior to any thing of the kind in the First Part, and such, indeed, as would hardly discredit the Poet's best dramas. And of whole scenes, the second in Act iii., and the seventh in Act iv., may be cited as instances of high and varied excellence. Far above all others, however, is the death-scene of Cardinal Beaufort, which is awfully impressive, running into the very heights of moral sublimity, and apt to remind us of the sleep-walking scene in Macbeth. Schlegel justly remarks concerning it,-"Can any other poet be named, who has drawn aside the curtain of eternity at the close of this life with such overpowering and awful effect? And yet it is not mere horror with which the mind is filled, but solemn emotion. A blessing and a curse stand side by side: the pious king is an image of the heavenly mercy which, even in the sinner's last moments, labors to enter his soul."




The relations of the King to Margaret throughout the play are delicately and profoundly conceived. He clings to her as to something stronger than himself; he dreads her as a boy might dread some formidable master:

Exeter. Here comes the Queen, whose looks betray her anger:
I'll steal away.

Henry. And so will I.

Yet through his own freedom from passion, he derives a sense of superiority to his wife; and after she has dashed him all over with the spray of her violent anger and her scorn, Henry may be seen mildly wiping away the drops, insufferably placable, offering excuses for the vituperation and the insults which he has received.

Poor Queen, how love to me and to her son
Hath made her break out into terms of rage.

-DOWDEN, Shakspere-His Mind and Art.


Margaret's chief opponent in the Second Part, the Duke of York, also has assigned to him a somewhat more commanding role than in the Chronicle. Till near the close he plays a waiting game; but he plays it with more far-reaching and more unscrupulous policy than his historic prototype. Holinshed's York watches the two great obstacles in his path, Gloucester and Suffolk, successively

ruined without his stir; the dramatic York is not prevented by Gloucester's warm advocacy of his claims to the French regency (i. 1.) from actively "levelling at his life” (iii. 1. 158). Holinshed attributes Cade's revolt to incitements of "those that favoured the Duke of York." In the play it is York himself who conceives the plan of stirring up in England this "black storm." At the very moment when he finally threw off disguise and claimed the crown, the York of Holinshed and history was all but checkmated by a resolute move of the party in power. Rashly disbanding his troops on the king's compliance with his demand for Somerset's arrest, he was himself arrested and sent to the Tower; and his fate hung in the balance when the news of Edward's armed advance caused his sudden release. The York of the drama suffers a briefer anxiety. His arrest is no sooner proposed than Richard and Edward rush in to bail him, and his "two brave bears," Warwick and Salisbury, compel the appeal to arms which issues in the victory of St. Albans.-HERFORD, The Eversley Shakespeare.


What is so remarkable and instructive in these brilliant [Cade] scenes is that Shakespeare here, quite against his custom, departs from his authority. In Holinshed, Jack Cade and his followers do not appear at all as the crazy Calibans whom Shakespeare depicts. The chief of their grievances, in fact, was that the King alienated the crown revenues and lived on the taxes; and, moreover, they complained of abuses of all sorts in the execution of the laws and the raising of revenue. The third article of their memorial stands in striking contrast to their action in the play; for it points out that nobles of royal blood (probably meaning York) are excluded from the King's "dailie presence," while he gives advancement to "other meane persons of lower nature," who close the King's ears to the complaints of the country, and distribute favors, not ac

cording to law, but for gifts and bribes. Moreover, they complain of interferences with freedom of election, and, in short, express themselves quite temperately and constitutionally. Finally, in more than one passage of the complaint, they give utterance to a thoroughly English and patriotic resentment of the loss of Normandy, Gascony, Aquitaine, Anjou, and Maine.

But it did not at all suit Shakespeare to show a Jack Cade at the head of a popular movement of this sort. He took no interest in anything constitutional or parliamentary. In order to find the colors he wanted for the rebellion, he hunts up in Stow's Summarie of the Chronicles of England the picture of Wat Tyler's and Jack Straw's risings under Richard II, two outbursts of wild communistic enthusiasm, reinforced by religious fanaticism. From this source he borrows, almost word for word, some of the rebels' speeches. In these risings, as a matter of fact, all "men of law, justices, and jurors" who fell into the hands of the leaders were beheaded, and all records and muniments burnt, so that owners of property might not in future have the means of establishing their rights.

This contempt for the judgment of the masses, this antidemocratic conviction, having early taken possession of Shakespeare's mind, he keeps on instinctively seeking out new evidences in its favor, new testimonies to its truth; and therefore he transforms facts, where they do not suit his view, on the model of other facts which do.-BRANDES, William Shakespeare.


The old chronicler Hall informs us, that Queen Margaret "excelled all other as well in beauty and favour, as in wit and policy, and was in stomach and courage more like to a man than to a woman." He adds, that after the espousals of Henry and Margaret, "the king's friends fell from him; the lords of the realm fell in division among

themselves; the Commons rebelled against their natural prince; fields were foughten; many thousands slain; and, finally, the king was deposed, and his son slain, and his queen sent home again with as much misery and sorrow, as she was received with pomp and triumph."

This passage seems to have furnished the groundwork of the character as it is developed in these plays with no great depth or skill. Margaret is portrayed with all the exterior graces of her sex; as bold and artful, with spirit to dare, resolution to act, and fortitude to endure; but treacherous, haughty, dissembling, vindictive, and fierce. The bloody struggle for power, in which she was engaged, and the companionship of the ruthless iron men around her, seem to have left her nothing of womanhood but the heart of a mother-that last stronghold of our feminine nature! So far the character is consistently drawn: it has something of the power, but none of the flowing ease of Shakespeare's manner. There are fine materials not well applied; there is poetry in some of the scenes and speeches; the situations are often exceedingly poetical; but in the character of Margaret herself, there is not an atom of poetry. In her artificial dignity, her plausible wit, and her endless volubility, she would remind us of some of the most admired heroines of French tragedy, but for that unlucky box on the ear which she gives the Duchess of Gloster,—a violation of tragic decorum, which of course destroys all parallel.-MRS. JAMESON, Shakespeare's Heroines.

It is certainly true that in Margaret's character we still have the echo of those gloomy sounds of the horrible which in "Titus Andronicus" we had in the fullest reverberations, and this again proves with tolerable certainty that the two last parts of "Henry VI," likewise belong to Shakspeare's earlier works. It is also true that adultery did not require to be added to the other crimes of the Queen. And yet without it we should not have received such a perfect insight into her character, which is so im

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