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Page:Henry VI Part 3 (1923) Yale.djvu/148

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The Third Part of
 

in 1623, but the earlier play, out of which 3 Henry VI was produced, was published in 1595 with the title: 'The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the death of good King Henrie the Sixt, with the whole contention betweene the two Houses Lancaster and Yorke, as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his seruants.' This was reprinted in 1600 and again, with some minor corrections, in 1619. On the last occasion the True Tragedy was published in combination with the early version of 2 Henry VI (The First Part of the Contention) under the blanket title of 'The Whole Contention betweene the two Famous Houses, Lancaster and Yorke. With the Tragicall ends of the good Duke Humfrey, Richard Duke of Yorke, and King Henrie the sixt.' A facsimile of the title-page of the 1619 edition, which for the first time introduces the name of Shakespeare as author, is given as frontispiece of the present volume.

There is little evidence concerning the history of the play in the time of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The title-page of the first edition of the True Tragedy, quoted above, shows that it was acted by the Earl of Pembroke's Company of actors, who disbanded in 1593. The Epilogue to Shakespeare's Henry V (1599) implies that the Henry VI plays in general had often been shown in Shakespeare's theatre and had been well received. Ben Jonson's Prologue to the revised version of Every Man in his Humour (1616) refers to the plays dealing with 'York and Lancaster's long jars' as one of the popular but faulty types of drama of the day.

After the Restoration John Crowne rewrote 3 Henry VI under the title of The Miseries of Civil-War. Crowne's version was published in 1680, 'As it is Acted at the Duke's Theatre By His Royal Highnesses Servants.' The opening scenes, dealing with