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KING HENRY VI.
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. A Room of State in the Palace.
Flourish of Trumpets : then Hautboys. Enter, on one side,
King HENRY, Duke of GLOSTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and Cardinal BEAUFORT; on the other, Queen MARGARET, led in by SUFFOLK; YORK, SOMERSET, BUCKINGHAM, and others, following
Suf. As by your high imperial majesty
TWENTY reverend bishops,] So Holinshed, and Hall whom he copied. The 4to, 1594, of “ The first Part of the Contention," reads erroneously, probably from misbearing, “and then the reverend bishops;" but the edition 1619 of the same play corrects it to “twenty," as in the chronicles and folios.
The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,
K. Hen. Suffolk, arise. - Welcome, queen Margaret :
Q. Mar. Great king of England, and my gracious lord,
K. Hen. Her sight did ravish, but her grace in speech,
All. Long live queen Margaret, England's happiness !
Glo. [Reads.] “Imprimis : it is agreed between the French king Charles, and William de la Poole, marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry king of England,—that the said Henry shall espouse the lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier king of Naples, Sicilia, and Jerusalem; and crown her queen of England ere the thirtieth of May next ensuing.– Item, That the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine, shall be released and delivered to the king her father"
2 The fairest queen that ever king RECEIV'D.] “ That ever king possess'd” is the word in the old “ Contention," 1594. The reason for the change was, of course, that “receiv'd” is a better antithesis to "gave,” than the older word possess'd.
3 With you mine ALDERLIEVEST sovereign,] “ Alderlievest " is a compound word, which does not occur in “The First Part of the Contention," where the whole speech is different. It is derived from alder or aller, as Tyrwhitt states, the genitive case plural, and the superlative of lieve : it means dearest of all, or all-dearest. In the German translation of Professor Mommsen it is aller. liebster Herr. In English, “alderlievest” is met with in Chaucer, Gascoigne, and in Marston; but the latter gives it to his Dutch Courtesan. It is not of frequent occurrence; but we find it, in the comparative degree, in " The Cobbler of Canterbury,” 4to, 1590 :
“An alder liefer swaine, I weene,
In the barge there was not seene."
[He lets the treaty fall. K. Hen. Uncle, how now? Glo.
Pardon me, gracious lord ;
K. Hen. Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.
Win. Item,—“It is farther agreed between them,—that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father; and she sent over of the king of England's own proper cost and charges, without having any dowry.” K. Hen. They please us well.-Lord
well.—Lord marquess, kneel down': We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, And girt thee with the sword.—Cousin of York, We here discharge your grace from being regent I'the parts of France, till term of eighteen months Be full expir'd.-
Thanks, uncle Winchester,
[Exeunt King, Queen, and SUFFOLK.
and delivered to the king her father”] In the 4to. “Contention," 1594, Gloster breaks off at the first syllable of the word “father," and a stage-direction is added, “ Duke Humphrey lets it fall.” No such intimation is given in the folio, 1623, and we are to suppose that Winchester picks up the treaty, and that the King, in consequence, requires him to continue the perusal of it. The corr. fo. 1632 adds Pausing as a stage-direction after the word “father." There is a verbal variation between what Gloster has read, as part of the document, and the words Winchester reads: possibly it was not meant that Gloster should give the exact words, on account of the state of his mind; but still he is more particular on some points than Winchester.
* They please us well. --Lord marQUESS, kneel down :] Unless we read "marquess” as three syllables the line is incomplete, and the corr. fo. 1632 in. serts thee after “ kneel,” in order to make out the measure ; but nothing of the sort is found in the old “Contention” where the passage is exactly as in the folio, 1623, and we make no change.
Glo. Brave peers of England, pillars of the state,
you duke Humphrey must unload his grief,
Car. Nephew, what means this passionate discourse ?
6 And hath his highness in his infancy
“ And hath his highness, in his infancy
Crowned in Paris in despite of foes ?” which accords with the form of expression used above, “ Or hath mine uncle," &c. The fact, according to the corr. fo. 1632, and probability, seems to be that “Been" was accidentally omitted at the beginning of the second line : Steevens was therefore right in supplying “ Been" instead of altering “hath to was in the preceding line, as recommended by some other commentators.
? Undoing all, as all had never been.] This speech consists of only fifteen lines in the old “ Contention,” 1594, and it ends as follows:
" Reversing monuments of conquer'd France,
Undoing all, as none had ne'er been done." The whole is an irregular and confused jumble, and at least two out of the fifteen lines are borrowed from Gloster's next speech.
This peroration with such circumstance?
Glo. Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can;
Sal. Now, by the death of him that died for all,
War. For grief, that they are past recovery ;
York. For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate,
Glo. A proper jest, and never heard before,
Car. My lord of Gloster, now you grow too hot,
Glo. My lord of Winchester, I know your mind : 'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike, But 'tis my presence that doth trouble ye.
& And are the cities that I got with WOUNDS,
Deliier'd up again with peaceful words ?] It seems possible that for "wounds " we ought to read swords, and that the speech ended with a rhyming couplet: it is prose in the copies of the old “Contention," but there Warwick asks, “must that, then, which we won with our swords, be given away with words." Of course, our text is from the folio, 1623.