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HISTORICAL NOTICE

OF

KING HENRY VI.- PART I.

This piece is supposed by Malone to have made its appearance on the stage about the year 1588, and to have been formerly known by the appellation of “The Historical Play of King Henry VI.' The learned commentator has endeavored to prove that it was written neither by Shakspeare nor by the author of the other two plays detailing the events of a subsequent period of the same reign; and these conjectures are confirmed by the manuscript accounts of Henslowe, proprietor of the Rose Tavern, Bankside, which have been since discovered at Dulwich College. The entry is dated the 3d of March, 1591 ; and the play being the property of Lord Strange's company, and performed at the Rose theatre, with neither of which Shakspeare had at any time the smallest connexion, the testimony of Malone's position as to the antiquity, priority, and insulated origin of this drama, is much corroborated.

At this distance of time it is impossible to ascertain on what principle our author's friends, Heminge and Condell, admitted The First Part of King Henry VI. into their volume. Malone remarks, that they may have given it a place as a necessary introduction to the two other parts, and because Shakspeare had

made some slight alterations, and written a few lines in it.

The events contained in this dramatic history commence with the funeral of Henry V. in 1422, and conclude with the earl of Suffolk being sent to France for Margaret of Anjou, at the close of 1443. The author however has not been very precise to the date and disposition of his facts, since Lord Talbot is killed at the end of the fourth act of this play, who did not really fall till July 13th, 1453.

ARGUMENT.

The sceptre is no sooner transferred from the hands of the

conqueror of France to the feeble grasp of his son, then an infant, than the favorable opportunity is seised by the French, who are enabled, by the courage and energy of a young woman named Joan of Arc, to recover their former possessions, and to swear allegiance to their native monarch. In the mean time, the violent feuds of the dukes of York and Somerset, whose parties are distinguished by white and red roses, lay the foundation of that civil war which was ere long to deluge the whole kingdom with blood. The brave Talbot and his son, together with a small band of faithful followers, are overpowered at Bourdeaux by the united forces of the enemy, and sacrificed to the private jealousy of these hostile nobles, who neglect to send him the necessary reinforcements. The intrepid Joan is at length taken prisoner by the duke of York, and cruelly condemned to the stake; while King Henry is induced, by the artful suggestions of the earl of Suffolk, to solicit the hand of Margaret, daughter of the duke of Anjou : a treaty of alliance is speedily concluded with the father, and the earl despatched to accompany the princess to England.

6

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

KING HENRY The Sixth.
DUKE OF GLOSTER, uncle to the king, and protector.
DUKE OF BEDFORD, uncle to the king, and regent of France.
Thomas BEAUFORT, duke of Exeter, great uncle to the king.
HENRY BEAUFORT, great uncle to the king, bishop of Win-

chester, and afterwards cardinal. John BEAUFORT, earl of Somerset ; afterwards duke. RICHARD PLANTAGENET, eldest son of Richard late earl of

Cambridge ; afterwards duke of York. EARL OF WARWICK. EARL OF SALISBURY. EARL OF SUFFOLK, Lord Talbot, afterwards earl of Shrewsbury. John TALBOT, his son. EDMUND MORTIMER, earl of March. MORTIMER'S KEEPER, and a LAWYER. Sir Joux Fastolfe. Sir William Lucy. Sir William GlaNSDALE. Sır THOMAS GARGRAVE. MAYOR OF LONDON. Woodville, lieutenant of the Tower. VERNON, of the white rose, or York faction. BASSET, of the red rose, or Lancaster faction. CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards king of France. Reignien, duke of Anjou, and titular king of Naples. DUKE OF BURGUNDY. DUKE OF ALENÇON. GOVERNOR OF PARIS. BASTARD OP ORLEANS. MASTER GUNNER OF ORLEANS, and his Son. GENERAL of the French forces in Bourdeaux, A FRENCH SERGEANT. A Porter. An old SHEPHERD, father to Joan la Pucelle. MARGARET, daughter to Reignier; afterwards married to

King Henry. COUNTESS OF AUVERONE. JOAN LA PUCELLE, commonly called Joan of Arc. Fiends appearing to La Pucelle, Lords, Warders of the Tower,

Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and several At. tendants both on the English and French.

Scene, partly in England, and partly in France.

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