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that Shakespeare had some share in it, but it proves nothing more, and so much every one admits.
English criticism, on the other hand, has, since Coleridge, peremptorily dismissed the claims of by far the greater part of 1 Henry VI. to have been written at any time of his life by Shakespeare. But two scenes, or groups of scenes, have been generally admitted to show his hand: the dispute in the temple garden (ii. 4), and the last battle and death of Talbot (iv. 4-7). The former has the grace and point of his early dialogue, at moments tending to the too nicely balanced repartee of Love's Labour's Lost; elsewhere, as in Warwick's 'mannerly forbearance' (v. II f.), turning to delightful dramatic account a blank verse which emulates all the lyric symmetries of Venus and Adonis. The latter scene rather anticipates the magnificent battle-poetry of Henry V.; but the exuberance of its ringing rhymes proclaims even more loudly the lyric poet. Marlowe alone, among Shakespeare's contemporaries, could have written the death-scene of Talbot; that Marlowe did write it is refuted not merely by the use of rhyme, but by the numerous touches in Talbot of a finer humanity and chivalry than belong to the great soldiers of Marlowe.
As regards the remainder of the play, English criticism has inclined to conclude too readily from fluctuations of style to diversity of authorship. Dr. Furnivall declares that 'there must be at least four hands in the play.' 1 Mr. Fleay, in an elaborate analysis,2 divides the play up between Marlowe, Greene or Kyd, Peele, Lodge, and Shakespeare. Such attempts are at least premature. In a time of feverish experiment, like the early nineties of the sixteenth century, when a throng of young 'Leopold Shakspere, p. xxxviii. 2 Life of Shakespeare, p. 255 f.
dramatists were emulously struggling towards adequate dramatic style, of which none was yet completely master, a change of manner does not necessarily argue a change of hand. Différences of manner can be detected; but they are rather of the kind we should expect in a clever but not very original dramatist whose writing at times took a Marlowesque colour, yet without approaching the greatness of Marlowe, and who was capable at other times of so far forgetting the 'mighty line' as to write (e.g. in a scene ascribed by Mr. Fleay to Marlowe, ii. 5):—
Thy grave admonishments prevail with me:
2. The Second and Third Parts.-The problem of Shakespeare's participation is here complicated by the existence of the early Quartos already referred to. Their full titles are as follows:
(1) The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death of the good| Duke Humphrey :| And the banishment and death of the Duke of Suffolke and the Tragicall end of the proud Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable rebellion of Jacke Cade: And the Duke of Yorke's first claim unto the|
(2) The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the death of good King Henrie the Sixt, | with the whole contention betweene | the two Houses Lancaster and Yorke, as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pem brooke his servants. | 1595.
Second editions of both the 'Contention' and the 'True Tragedy' appeared in 1600; and in 1619 the two were issued together, with a new title, as
'The Whole Contention Divided into two Parts; and newly corrected and enlarged.' The 'enlargements' and the 'corrections' are both slight.
The controversies which circle around these four texts embrace two distinct issues, often confused: (1) the relation in which the Contention and the True Tragedy respectively stand to the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI.; (2) their authorship. It is clear (1) that the old Quartos (henceforth called CT) are, in great part, mangled and garbled versions of a text which in substance agreed with that of 2 and 3 Henry VI. (henceforth called H). A theory prevalent in Germany, and held in particular by Delius, supposes that the text thus mangled was the actual text of Henry VI. as we have it, and seeks to explain all the variations in CT as the defects natural to a pirated publication put together, by some rude editorial process, from notes taken at the theatre, or accommodated to the exigencies of a rival company of players.
This certainly explains their more palpable imperfections. Many speeches, e.g., are mere centos of detached lines picked out of the corresponding speeches of H. We can often say with complete assurance that a passage wanting in CT was omitted there and not added in H. Thus at the beginning of the scene in Iden's garden (2 H. iv. 10.) it is clearly necessary that Cade should appear and describe his position before Iden enters; but in the Contention it opens with Iden's reflections. So, in v. I. 194, Warwick's 'You were best to go to bed and dream again' implies Clifford's allusion to dreams in the previous line which the Contention omits. The Latin scraps freely sprinkled over the text of H-'invitis nubibus,' 'gelidus timor occupat artus,' or the elegiac verse which escapes from young
Rutland's dying lips (3 Henry VI. i. 3. 48)-were assuredly not inserted by a reviser; they may have been omitted by a note-taker who did not understand them, or excised in the acting version from which he took his notes. Some differences of scene arrangement may be due to the different construction of the stage used by Lord Pembroke's men, the players of the Contention. Thus, in 2 H iii. 2. 148, the bed on which lies the murdered body of Gloucester is 'put forth,' i.e. pushed forward on to the stage; in the corresponding passage of C the direction runs that 'Warwick draws the curtains and shows Duke Humphrey on his bed.'1 Even the more significant change by which in C Gloucester's death is actually represented on the stage, with 'two men lying on his brest and smothering him on his bed,' instead of being merely described, may be put down to the realistic proclivities of a stage manager.
But it is less easy to explain thus passages not even verbally similar, such as York's outburst (v. 1. 87 f.) on discovering that Somerset is at large; or young Clifford's, on finding his dead father (v. 2. 40); or the combat, known only to C, between young Clifford and Richard, which issues in Richard's 'flying away.' In H they do not meet at all, and nothing stems Richard's victorious career. The C arrangement is clearly inferior, yet it must have belonged to the version of the play upon which C was founded, for no note-taker could stumble upon
1 There is nothing to show, as Professor Brandl argues (Shakspeare, Bd. ii. pp. 240-1), that the changes were made to adapt the play to a smaller and less convenient stage than that for which it was written. The above in
stance would rather justify the opposite view, that the Contention was acted in a theatre which possessed a back stage and curtain, Henry VI. in one which lacked these.
such a 'blunder,' and no botcher would thus wilfully complicate the action and deliberately retard the catastrophe. Something more, again, than imperfect understanding or botching is needed to account for the difference between York's address to Richard after the battle in the two versions. In C it runs :How now boyes, fortunate this fight hath bene, I hope to us and ours, for England's good, And our great honour that so long we lost, Whilst faintheart Henry did usurpe our rights : But did you see old Salisbury, since we With bloodie mindes did buckle with the foe, I would not for the loss of this right hand That ought but well betide that good old man.
Compare the passage in H :
Of Salisbury, who can report of him ;
If Salisbury be lost.
This latter passage is more like the Shakespeare of 1588-9 than of 1592. So are some other vividly Shakespearean bits, such as young Clifford's
O, let the vile world end,
And the premised flames of the last day
Now let the general trumpet blow his blast,
To cease!-(2 H. VI. v. 2. 40.)
Did Shakespeare add some touches to his old work when he had rounded the compass of his great subject to the opening point?
At the same time it must be allowed that the passages in which clear difference in the original texts can be made out, are neither very numerous