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Have in our armours watch'd the winter's night;
Glo. I'll blast his harvest, if your head were laid; For yet I am not look'd on in the world. This shoulder was ordain'd so thick, to heave; And heave it shall some weight, or break my back:Work thou the way,-and thou shalt execute. [Aside. K. Edw. Clarence, and Gloster, love my lovely queen; And kiss your princely nephew, brothers both.
Clar. The duty that I owe unto your majesty, I seal upon the lips of this sweet babe.
[thanks. K. Edw. Thanks, noble Clarence; worthy brother, Glo. And, that I love the tree from whence thou Witness the loving kiss I give the fruit:- [sprang'st, To say the truth, so Judas kiss'd his master; And cried all hail!-when as he meant-all
K. Edw. Now am I seated as my soul delights, Having my country's peace, and brothers' loves. Clar. What will your grace have done with Margaret? Reignier, her father, to the king of France
Hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem,
And hither have they sent it for her ransom. [France.
The three parts of King Henry VI. are suspected, by Mr. Theobald, of being supposititious, and are declared, by Dr. Warburton, to be certainly not Shakspeare's. Mr. Theobald's suspicion arises from some obsolete words; but the phraseology is like the rest of our author's style, and single words, of which however I do not observe more than two, can conclude little.
Dr. Warburton gives no reason, but I suppose him to judge upon deeper principles and more comprehensive views, and to draw his opinion from the general effect and spirit of the composition, which he thinks inferior to the other historical plays.
From mere inferiority nothing can be inferred; in the productions of wit there will be inequality. Sometimes judgment will err, and sometimes the matter itself will defeat the artist. Of every author's works one will be the best, and one will be the worst. The colours are not equally pleasing, nor the attitudes equally graceful, in all the pictures of Titian or Reynolds.
Dissimilitude of style and heterogeneousness of sentiment, may sufficiently show that a work does not really belong to the reputed author. But in these plays no such marks of spuriousness are found. The diction, the versification, and the figures, are Shakspeare's. These plays, considered without regard to characters and incidents, merely as narratives in verse, are more happily conceived, and more accurately finished, than those of King John, Richard II. or the tragic scenes of King Henry IV. and V. If we take these plays from Shakspeare, to whom shall they be given? What author of that age had the same easiness of expression and fluency of numbers?
Of these three plays I think the second the best. The truth is, that they have not sufficient variety of action, for the incidents are too often of the same kind; yet many of the characters are well discriminated. King Henry, and his queen, king Edward, the duke of Gloster, and the earl of Warwick, are very strongly and distinctly painted.
C. Whittingham, Printer, Chiswick.
King Edward the Fourth.
Edward, Prince of Wales, after
wards King Edward V.
Richard, Duke of York,
George, Duke of Clarence,
Sons to the King:
Richard, Duke of Gloster, after-Brothers to the King. wards King Richard III.
A young Son of Clarence.
Henry, Earl of Richmond, afterwards King Henry VII. Cardinal Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas Rotheram, Archbishop of York.
John Morton, Bishop of Ely.
Duke of Buckingham.
Duke of Norfolk: Earl of Surry, his Son.
Earl Rivers, Brother to King Edward's Queen.
Earl of Oxford. Lord Hastings. Lord Stanley. Lord
Sir Thomas Vaughan. Sir Richard Ratcliff.
Sir Robert Brakenbury, Lieutenant of the Tower.
Elizabeth, Queen of King Edward IV.
Duchess of York, Mother to King Edward IV., Clarence, and Gloster.
Lady Anne, Widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, Son to King Henry VI.; afterwards married to the Duke of Gloster.
A young Daughter of Clarence.
Lords and other Attendants; two Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.
SCENE I. LONDON. A Street.
Glo. Now is the winter of our discontent
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
But I,-that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,