« IndietroContinua »
haps by The Spanish Tragedy (III. iii. 16-45) adds twenty-two lines, and a neat bit of stage work. Warwick's speech is resumed at "This is his tent" (25), where the insertion was made, and he is allotted a few more lines, but his former ones remain unchanged. This scene shows Edward Clarence's disloyalty, and he notes upon it (41) as important. It is slurred over in Q. A speech of Clarence's in Q is wholly omitted, containing an intended dispatch to France, which is in accordance with a passage in III. iii. 235-236 (not in Q) and see IV. vi. 60, 61. For connection of Spanish Tragedy with Henry VI., see introduction to Part II. Peele may have suggested this insertion.
Act IV. Scene iv. This scene follows the Huntsman's, with Edward's escape (scene v. here) in Q, and is doubled in length. It is very thin stuff indeed in Q, but the dialogue is on the same lines, and the development by Shakespeare is closely on its foundation. There are several well-marked Shakespearianisms in the result. The original might be Peele's, but it is featureless.
Act IV. Scene v.
Precedes the last in Q. They are almost identical, but Gloucester's speech is rewritten. The last two lines, implying that the Bishop is present, are additional. Shakespeare has here again (in both versions) displayed much adroitness in weaving Edward's two flights into one effective whole. See note at line 71, and at IV. vi. 78-79.
Act IV. Scene vi. Follows scene vii. in Q, where it is allowed only twenty-two lines. In Q it opens with "Thus from," and the preceding short scene there (our vii.) opens "Thus far from," favourite starting words with Greene and Marlowe, but found also in Richard III. and in this play (v. iii. I). Peele's favourite "princely" (also Marlowe's) is twice deleted, as is also "replete with" (2, 71, 72). The prophecy about Henry of Richmond is hardly changed, and Henry's piety is seriously enforced in Q in a manner of which Greene was incapable. No sign of Marlowe appears. A slighter earlier sketch by Shakespeare is what it points to. Henry's request for his wife and child, and the news of Edward's escape and flight (to Warwick) are additional, as is all the poetry contained. The developed scene is entirely Shakespeare's. Peele might have sketched the first state, which is little more than an
argument. Note lines 78-79, "Edward is escaped . . . And fled... to Burgundy," welding into one his two flights.
Act IV. Scene vii. Precedes vi. in Q. Edward's speeches are all increased, extending the scene by nearly thirty lines. No new matter occurs, so that the old scene is an epitome of the new. It contains a favourite expression of Shakespeare's, "But soft!" (at 10). Another proverb for Richard (Gloucester) is carried through (25-26). "Stand upon terms" and "stand upon points" are both in Q; the last only is preserved. Both are used by Greene, but are not peculiar to him, and little in it can be his. The stereotyped expressions, "well I wot (82), "salve for any sore" (88), are additional to Q, and both old and frequent. The "follow me"-ended line (39) appears again, see IV. i. 123. Shakespeare's "good old man" (31) is not in Q. Gloucester is given an additional proverbial touch (II-12). The "good old man" recalls Sidney's King Basilius in Arcadia.
Act IV. Scene viii. Follows vi. in Q. With the reappearance of Warwick and King Henry some touches of poetry also appear in the finished play. This scene of sixty-four lines represents twenty-eight in Q, which is all a speech of Warwick's, saving ten lines. Warwick's speech practically remains untouched, but a pretty couplet (20, 21) is added to him. King Henry does all the additional work. He is allotted twenty-two lines but has no voice in the correspondent position in Q. "Hector. "Hector . . . Troy's true hope" (25) appears for the second time in this play. Only once in Q. "Dian" for Diana (21) is often later in Shakespeare. It is in Hawes' Pastime of Pleasure, 1509. Henry's speeches are thoroughly characteristic. The term "shame-faced" (modest) applied to him (52) is from Grafton (or Hall). The proverb “make hay while the sun shines” (60-61) appears here in transmogrified form, and is transposed from Q at the end of v. iii.
The writing in this Act in Q is at a very low level of dulness. But it is coherent narrative, it follows the chronicles in its modified scheme fairly well, the lines are usually evenly turned, and there is no offensive bombast or iteration. Characterisation is hardly attempted.
Act v. Scene i. Follows Q very closely. Most of the striking expressions are common to both, and it is evident
Shakespeare had a free hand at the first scene of the Act. The additional forty lines, or thereabout, are chiefly Edward's and Clarence's, in his defiant announcement of oath-breaking. One interesting line (at 80), "Et tu Brute, wilt thou stab Cæsar too?" omitted here, is impanelled into Julius Cæsar, III. i. 77. Gloucester is allowed an extra speech or two, including proverbs (49). A curious misprint, "spotful" (98), occurs in Q, amongst others. But the printing of the play has improved. "Atlas" (36), applied to Edward, is not again in Shakespeare. Peele used it similarly. But there is no trace of Peele or anyone except Shakespeare in this scene in either play. There are parallels from Lucrece as usual: "weakling" (37), “ruinate" (83); and a few echoes of Golding's Ovid. The most interesting thing about this scene is its return to the Quarto-because the latter was more carefully done here.
Edward is again
Act v. Scene ii. The death of Warwick. brought into prominence to open the scene. He does not appear in Q. Warwick's speech is lengthened by a few lines on his eyes, but suggested by Henry the Fifth's eyes in I Henry VI. (I. i. 12-14), from Spenser's old dragon. The tag at the end in the style of Seneca is transposed from lower down (at 45), in Q. The "bug that feared us all" (2) is also Spenserian and not in Q. The fine metaphor of the cedar and the eagle is paralleled in Marlowe's latest play, Edward II. Warwick's second speech stood in need of change, since four lines have all been used already elsewhere. See II. i. 53 (not duplicated in Q), and II. iii. 3-5 (duplicated in Q). I read cannon in a vault" (44) as this text is that of the Folio; moreover, I like it better than "clamor," probably suggested by "clangor" (II. iii. 17-18). scene needed little alteration. "latest gasp" here, having been But the latter occurred at York's death (II. i. 108). "Congealed blood" (37), not in Q here, was in both texts earlier (I. iii. 52); four lines here in Q, after (33), "Why, then I would not fly," appear to have been trespassing. They have been expelled, and one is used above at II. i. 53; for the others see above at
II. iii. 3-5.
This finely wrought living Pangs of death" is varied to used in the clangor passage.
Act v. Scene iii. A brief scene, altered in wording slightly,
and given a speech from Clarence of four lines. The substance and the thoughts expressed are identical. Some reminders of Peele, "I mean" (7) and "easeful" (6), are left unchanged. "Bigboned," an interesting word (found in Selimus and Soliman and Perseda), is turned out. Compare "burly boned" in 2 Henry VI. IV. x. 60. It is probably earliest here, and Shakespeare's or Peele's, and more likely still a common vocable.
Act v. Scene iv. Greatly developed and improved from Q, but on exactly the same lines of structure. Margaret's opening speech of eleven by no means bad lines, becomes a splendid utterance of thirty-eight lines, the metaphor of the "ship with its tackling and masts" destroyed, the "pilot" and the "dangerous gulfs or quicksands," remaining as the motive. The Prince's reply (in Q) is poor stuff, judiciously rewritten, line for line. The remainder is almost identical with two rather sickly utterances of thanks from Queen and Prince. The Prince's speech is the most un-Shakespearian one in Q, but it is of the stock order of heroics. It has, however, "for to," "thickest throngs," and a bragging tone recalling Greene or Peele infected by Marlowe. "Thickest throngs" has been omitted twice already, at 2 Henry VI. (end of Contention) and at II. iii. 16. Margaret's character here required modelling, according to Shakespeare's view, for she is not the Margaret of history who was completely disheartened by Barnet field. Her only hope was to save her son after that. In both these plays she is of undaunted spirit. Another "well I wot" is here (71) added. Note the "owl" parallel from Golding's Ovid, but probably elsewhere (56-57). The close of the scene is but little changed, but Margaret's speech (69-71) is all out of order in Q, as though it were a memorandum of something to be attended to—a précis mislaid.
Act v. Scene v. Opens in Q with an elaborate stageinstruction, as was commonly the case in Contention, after Peele's manner. But not so in The True Tragedy, our Q. The scene is reduced from 122 lines to 90 but about 15 are new, of which Margaret gets ten, including two startling ones (7-8) about "sweet Jerusalem," and another (53), "They that stabbed Cæsar". Several of the continued phrases (see Table) occur in this scene, as "twit one with" (40), "fill the world
with" (44), "Marry, and shall” (42). Gloucester is placed on his footing as a proverb-monger in the term "currish Aesop" (26). He gives the "woman wear the breeches" one (23-24) which was in 2 Henry VI. I. iii. 144. "Charm one's tongue" (31) was there likewise. Shakespeare's work in both plays.
Act v. Scene vi. Very little altered from Q. Henry is attended to, the Roscius speech (7-10) is new, but his main utterance, his death-speech, is unchanged. The Icarus illustration (18-20) was used before of Talbot and his son in Part I., at his death. A line, "spark of life" (66), is almost verbatim in The Spanish Tragedy. Several hints seem to have been taken from Golding's Ovid. Another passage (61-62), “Aspiring blood of Lancaster
mounted" has been advanced in
favour of Marlowe's hand, from passages in Edward II. If they prove anything, I believe it cuts the other way, and that Marlowe was struck by them in the earlier play, The True Tragedy (Q). Dyce advanced this. In the same speech of Gloucester's, another line, "Down, down. say I sent thee" (67), has been brought forward in support of Greene's authorship from its resemblance to a passage in his Alphonsus. But the likeness is vague, and the sentiment is frequent, and to be found where Shakespeare knew it, in The Faerie Queene. No such hints, even were they well founded, could undermine Shakespeare's claim from the writing itself.
Act v. Scene vii. Hardly varies in a word from Q. "Fruit" (32) replaces "child," while "tree" replaces "fruit” in previous line; and the old "renowmed" (5) is altered to "renowned". One or two lines are thrown into metre. Compare the last lines with those of Part II. "Waft" (41) is characteristic of Parts II. and III.
I have endeavoured in the above running comments to bring the noteworthy differences and agreements in the two texts into some vividness. It seemed to be feasible here, although the previous play would not easily admit of it. The differences are of three sorts, correction, characterisation and poetisation (if such a barbarous word may be used).
No kind word has been said yet in favour of the Q text. But it is of value in its own readings a few times.