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drama that she denies her father and receives the old shepherd's curse (v. 4. 1-33); while a lovescene with the Dauphin (i. 3.) suggests that her selfaccusations were not, as in Holinshed, merely desperate subterfuges to save her life.
She is credited, moreover, with triumphs in diplomacy as well as in war: in particular, the deadly blow, inflicted on the English cause by the reversion of Burgundy (four years after her death) to his natural alliance with France is accounted for by her 'witchery,' exercised in a very matter-of-fact appeal to his patriotism (iii. 3.).
Equally determined is the treatment of Fastolfe. This brave officer fell, according to Holinshed and to history, under suspicion of cowardice after the battle of Patay, in consequence of which his Garter was taken from him. Holinshed adds (iii. 601, Stone, p. 229) that 'afterward, by meanes of freends, and apparent (i.e. manifest) causes of good excuse, the same [was] to him againe delivered against the minde of the lord Talbot.' Of this subsequent acquittal of Fastolfe Talbot's zealous advocate on the stage chooses to know nothing. His dismissal (iv. 1.) is final, and he even displays his cowardice, with brazen effrontery, a second time (iii. 2.). Fastolfe's cowardice was, in fact, necessary to account for Talbot's capture, and as the cowardly knight he went down to posterity,—a wrong not ill compensated when Shakespeare's greatest comic creation six or seven years later received his name.
A far finer art suggested the parallel episode in the fourth act (iv. 3.) where Somerset's treacherous delays are made the ground of Talbot's death. The ruin of Talbot is thus brought into organic connection with the civil rupture at home, and the epic of heroic exploits acquires dramatic meaning and
pathos. It is possible that this stroke was added in order to involve the Talbot play more clearly in the larger movement of the story of Henry VI. ; it may Shakespeare's, and is in any case worthy of him. Other scenes seem to have been introduced with the same aim. The wooing of Margaret, so oddly diapered in the last act with the end of Joan, has no meaning but as a prelude to the great destiny which awaits her in the three following plays; but it has very little title to be considered Shakespeare's work. On the other hand, the most Shakespearean scene of all (the Temple garden scene, ii. 4.), which, in fact, links the first part most signally with the sequel, cannot be conclusively held to have been designed as such a link; for the situation is repeated (with far inferior power) in 2 Henry VI. ii. 2, where Warwick once more listens to the case for York. It is more plausible to suppose that ii. 4. was originally designed to give cohesion to the Talbot play, by explaining the animosity of Somerset to which Talbot owes his fall.
The authors of the Second and Third Parts handled the Chronicles on very different principles. They do not hew and slash at facts in the interest of a popular hero; they do not freely invent heroic exploits, or frankly convert failure into triumph. They merely rearrange with some boldness the traditional chronology, and bring historical events into unhistorical combinations, the characteristic detail of which is necessarily also unhistorical. And these rearrangements generally either conduce to legitimate simplification of plot, or else they serve to accentuate its broad lines of niovement. Thus the complicated circumstances of the Kingmaker's defection from the Yorkists are compressed into a single moment. It was in 1464 that the historical Warwick was despatched on his futile embassy to win the hand of Bona for Edward, the first ground of his hostility to the king; in 1469 he joined the revolt of the North and captured Edward. On Edward's escape after a brief detention he made peace with him, but revolted again, in March 1470, and then fled to France, allied himself with Margaret, and returned in the following September to open the fatal campaign which ended at Barnet and Tewkesbury. In the play his alliance with Margaret is the immediate expression of his anger at Edward's duplicity (iii. 3.). A rather bolder rearrangement is that which in the Second Part brings the two ambitious women, Margaret and Eleanor, face to face in deadly rivalry, and makes the terrible Angevine score her first triumph from the sheeted and barefoot shame which closes Eleanor's career. In reality she had disappeared from the arena of English politics (in 1441) four years before Margaret entered it. The relations of the two women are, however, admirably imagined; the fan - dropping incident, though invented, is in the happiest keeping with the character of both.
The great personality of Margaret dominates the Second and Third Parts and is the chief source of such imaginative writing as they possess. But her most striking traits were already visible in Halle and Holinshed's prose. She is drawn in the play with something of Marlowe's rigid touch ; and the dramatist shows more concern to accentuate her heroic than her womanly qualities. A striking instance of this occurs on the eve of Tewkesbury. Halle relates how, being delayed by storms in the Channel, she and her French force arrived the day after the fair'—just in time to hear of the ruin of Warwick at Barnet. Thereupon “she like a woman
all dismayed for fear fell to the ground, her heart was pierced with sorrow, her speech was in manner passed, all her spirits were tormented with Melancholy.' She had excuse enough ; but the dramatist repudiates this tradition in order to make his Margaret hearten her downcast men in a splendid outburst of Elizabethan valour and defiance, worthy of Elizabeth herself at Tilbury. Her courage needs a deadlier blow to shatter it-the blow which is dealt by the daggers of Edward and Richard in the king's tent after Tewkesbury. Nevertheless there was more implicit tragedy in Margaret than the dramatist used. In leading the overthrow of Gloucester, the chief obstacle in the path of York, she blindly incurs her own ruin; but this tragic Quáprnua is passed over without note. On the other hand, the writers show a keen sensitiveness to the lower tragedy of portents, of which the plays are a repertory.
The death of Suffolk is heightened by a portent unknown to history. Water' or "Walter Whitmore,' at whose name the doomed man starts because he had been warned that he would die by water, is apparently invented for this purpose. Was it suggested by the equivocating fiends of Macbeth, already doubtless familiar to the student of Holinshed ?
Margaret's chief opponent in the Second Part, the Duke of York, also has assigned to him a somewhat more commanding role than in the Chronicle. Till near the close he plays a waiting game; but he
1 Tradition did, however, portent was fulfilled when his connect Suffolk's death with vessel was met and captured by a portent of a different kind. an English warship (not as in The Paston Letters relate that the play a pirate) called the an 'astronomer' had warned Nicholas of the Tower. Holinhim of the Tower ; for which shed names the ship but appears reason he had contrived to be ignorant of the portent (Stone, imprisoned elsewhere. But the ed. Hol. p. 270).
plays it with more far-reaching and more unscrupulous policy than his historic prototype. Holinshed's York watches the two great obstacles in his path, Gloucester and Suffolk, successively ruined without his stir; the dramatic York is not prevented by Gloucester's warm advocacy of his claims to the French regency (i. 1.) from actively 'levelling at his life' (iii. I. 158). Holinshed attributes Cade's revolt to incitements of those that favoured the Duke of York.' In the play it is York himself who conceives the plan of stirring up in England this 'black storm.'1 At the very moment when he finally threw off disguise and claimed the crown, the York of Holinshed and history was all but checkmated by a resolute move of the party in power. Rashly disbanding his troops on the king's compliance with his demand for Somerset's arrest, he was himself arrested and sent to the Tower; and his fate hung in the balance when the news of Edward's armed advance caused his sudden release. The York of the drama suffers a briefer anxiety. His arrest is no sooner proposed than Richard and Edward rush in to bail him, and his 'two brave bears,' Warwick and Salisbury, compel the appeal to arms which issues in the victory of St. Albans.
Far more radical is the change wrought in Richard. The historical Richard was a child under three years at the moment when in the drama he suddenly emerges. He was but nineteen when, as tradition said, he murdered Henry after Tewkesbury. The
1 The grim tragi-comedy of the revolt itself is heightened by strokes borrowed from the agrarian revo on of 1381, as told in an earlier page of Holinshed. It was Wat Tyler, not Cade, who burned the Savoy
and the Inns of Court, in the hope of destroying all the records of landlordism; and desired that the laws of England should henceforth issue from his mouth (Holinshed, iii. 430, ed. Stone, 271).