“The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Good Duke Hvmfrey,” was first printed in its complete form, in the folio of 1623. In the brief notice prefixed to the foregoing drama, we have ventured an opinion that the two plays, or one play divided into two parts, called “The First Part of the Contention,” &c. and “The True Tragedie,” &c., afterwards published by Pavier, under the title of “The Whole Contention,” &c., were not, as Malone has laboured to prove, the production of a preceding writer, but were Shakespeare's first sketches (surreptitiously and inaccurately printed) of what he subsequently re-wrote, and entitled “The Second and Third Parts of Henry VI.”
In expressing this opinion, we must not be understood to go the extreme length of ascribing the whole of these two pieces to Shakespeare. Much in them unquestionably belongs to another and a very different hand; but the greater portion, especially in “The First Part of the Contention,” appears to our judgment far beyond the reach of any other writer of the age. Such, too, we are pleased to find, is the view entertained by Mr. Halliwell.