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style are doubtful evidence at best. The only satisfactory evidence upon which it can be determind whether a given scene was or was not by Shakspere, is to be found in the general effect produced on the mind, the ear, and the feelings by a free and broad perusal; and if any of your readers care to follow me in this inquiry, I would ask him to do as I didthat is, to read the whole play straight through, with an eye open to notice the larger differences of effect, but without staying to examine small points. The effect of my own experiment was as follows :
The opening of the play—the conversation between Buckingham, Norfolk, and Abergavenny-seemed to have the full stamp of Shakspere, in his latest manner : the same close-packt expression; the same life, and reality, and freshness; the same rapid and abrupt turnings of thought, so quick that language can hardly follow fast enough; the same impatient activity of intellect and fancy, which having once disclosed an idea cannot wait to work it orderly out; the same daring confidence in the resources of language, which plunges headlong into a sentence without knowing how it is to come forth; the same careless metre which disdains to produce its harmonious effects by the ordinary devices, yet is evidently subject to a master of harmony; the same entire freedom from booklanguage and commonplace; all the qualities, in short, which distinguish the magical hand which has never yet been successfully imitated.
“ In the scene in the council-chamber which follows (Aot I., sc. ü.), where the characters of Katharine and Wolsey are brought out, I found the same character. istics equally strong.
But the instant I enterd upon the third scene, in which the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sands, and Sir Thomas Lovell converse, I was conscious of a total change. I felt as if I had passed suddenly out of the language of nature into the language of the stage, or of some conventional mode of conversation. The structure of the verse was quite different and full of mannerism. The expression became suddenly diffuse and languid. The wit wanted mirth and character. And all this was equally true of the supper scene which closes the first Act.
“The second Act brought me back to the tragic vein, but it was not the tragic vein of Shakspere. When I compared the eager, impetuous, and fiery language of Buckingham in the first Act with the languid and measured cadences of his farewell speech, I felt that the difference was too great to be accounted for by the mere change of situation, without supposing also a change of writers. The presence of death produces great changes in men, but no such change as we have here.
“When in like manner I compared the Henry and Wolsey of the scene which follows (Act II., sc. ii.) with the Henry and Wolsey of the council-chamber (Act I.; sc. ii.), I perceived a difference scarcely less striking. The dialogue, through the whole scene, sounded still slow and artificial.
The next scene brought another sudden change. And, as in passing from the second to the third scene of the first Act, I had seemed to be passing all at once out of the language of nature into that of convention, so in passing from the second to the third scene of the second Act (in which Anne Bullen appears, I may say for the first time, for in the supper scene she was merely a conventional court lady without any character at all), I seemed to pass not less suddenly from convention back again into nature. And when I considered that this short and otherwise insignificant passage contains all that we ever see of Anne (for it is necessary to forget her former appearance) and yet how clearly the character comes out, how very a woman she is, and yet how distinguishable from any other individual woman, I had no difficulty in acknowledging that the sketch came from the same hand which drew Perdita.
“Next follows the famous trial-scene. And here I could as little doubt that I recognised the same hand to which we owe the trial of Hermione. When I com. pared the language of Henry and of Wolsey throughout this scene to the end of the Act, with their language in the council-chamber (Act I., sc. ii.), I found that it corresponded in all essential features ; when I compared it with their language in the second scene of the second Act, I perceived that it was altogether different. Katharine also, as she appears in this scene, was exactly the same person as she was in the council-chamber; but when I went on to the first scene of the third Act, which represents her interview with Wolsey and Campeius, I found her as much changed as Buckingham was after his sentence, though without any alteration of circumstances to account for an alteration of
temper. Indeed the whole of this scene seemed to have all the peculiarities of Fletcher, both in conception, language, and versification, without a single feature that reminded me of Shakspere ; and, since in both passages the true narrative of Cavendish is followd minutely and carefully, and both are therefore copies from the same original and in the same style of art, it was the more easy to compare them with each other.
In the next scene (Act III., sc. ii.) I seemed again to get out of Fletcher into Shakspere ; though probably not into Shakspere pure;
a scene by another hand perhaps which Shakspere had only remodelled, or a scene by Shakspere which another hand had workd upon to make it fit the place. The speeches interchanged between Henry and Wolsey seemed to be entirely ' Shakspere's; but in the altercation between Wolsey and the lords which follows, I could recognise little or nothing of his peculiar manner, while many passages were strongly marked with the favourite Fletcherian cadence ;1 and as for the famous 'Farewell, a long farewell,' etc., though associated by means of Enfield's Speaker with my earliest notions of Shakspere, it appeared (now that my mind was open to entertain the doubt) to belong entirely and unquestionably to Fletcher,
“Of the fourth Act I did not so well know what to think. For the most part it seemed to bear evidence As, for instance :
Now I feel
-en | vy :
You've Christian warrant for them,' &c.
of a more vigorous hand than Fletcher's, with less mannerism, especially in the description of the coronation, and the character of Wolsey; and yet it had not, to my mind, the freshness and originality of Shakspere. It was pathetic and graceful, but one could see how it was done. Katharine's last speeches, however, smacked strongly again of Fletcher. And altogether it seemed to me that if this Act had occurred in one of the plays written by Beaumont and Fletcher in conjunction, it would probably have been thought that both of them had had a hand in it.
The first scene of the fifth Act, and the opening of the second, I should again have confidently ascribed to Shakspere, were it not that the whole passage seemed so strangely out of place. I could only suppose (what may indeed be supposed well enough if my conjecture with regard to the authorship of the several parts be correct) that the task of putting the whole together had been left to an inferior hand; in which case I should consider this to be a genuine piece of Shakspere's work, spoiled by being introduced where it has no business. In the execution of the christening scene, on the other hand (in spite again of the earliest and strongest associations), I could see no evidence of Shakspere’s hand at all; while in point of design it seemed inconceivable that a judgment like his could have been content with a conclusion so little in har. mony with the prevailing spirit and purpose of the piece.”
Mr. Spedding then dealt with the evidence of the metre of the play, and applied the extra-syllable test,