The First Separate Appearance of Any Version of "Henry VI, Part I"; Composer Jerome Kern's Copy
SHAKESPEARE, William. Henry the Sixth, The First Part. With the Murder of Humphrey Duke of Glocester. As it was Acted at the Dukes Theatre. Written by Mr. Crown. [Together with:] Henry the Sixth, The Second Part. Or the Misery of Civil War, As it was Acted at the Dukes Theatre. Written by Mr. Crown. London: Printed for R. Bentley, and M. Magnes... , 1681.
First edition, first issue of Part I; first edition, second issue of Part II. Two small, slim quarto volumes. (8 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches; 210 x 165 mm). [viii], 59 [i.e., 69], [1]; [iv], 71, [1] pp. Bound without final blank to Part I [K4} as is common.

Uniformly bound in early 20th-century three-quarter navy morocco over blue cloth. Spine lettered in gilt. Top edges gilt, others speckled red. Outer joint of volume II cracked but holding. A three-inch marginal open tear to leaf A2 of Part I, not affecting text. Some scattered foxing and browning throughout. Two small stains to leaves E and E2 of volume II. Three previous owner's bookplates on front pastedown of each volume. One being the morocco bookplate of composer Jerome Kern. Each volume housed separately in two custom half morocco clamshell boxes. Overall very good.

Both of these plays were first published in the First Folio of 1623. These volumes contain the first separate edition of any version of Part I and the first edition of this version of Part II. Titled The Misery of Civil War, the first issue of Crown's version of Part II was published in 1680, preceding Part I. When his version of Part I appeared in 1681, the remaining sheets of Part II were re-issued with a canceled title-page and sold together with some copies of the first issue of Part I.

While Crown's versions are undoubtedly adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, they are more faithful than many of the infamously "bad quartos" of the seventeenth century (most notably Nahum Tate's adaptation of King Lear, which ended happily). Crown's largest fault is his re-ordering of Shakespeare's scenes: his Part I contains portions of Shakespeare's Part II, and his Part II, portions of Shakespeare's Part III. However, while his dedication to Part I declares that Shakespeare "has no Title to the 40th part of it," Pforzheimer states that "[l]ess prejudiced judges have considered this an unfair estimate for it follows with considerable fidelity II Henry VI, the long speeches mainly being abbreviated." Importantly, Jaggard notes that no "untampered separate edition [of Part I] is chronicled before the 1735 issue of Tonson's."

Part I: Wing C-7388. Pforzheimer 912. Jaggard, p. 342. Bartlett 173. Part II: Wing C-7389. Pforzheimer 913. See Jaggard, p. 343. See Bartlett 172.

HBS # 68282 $12,500