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King HENRY the Fifth.
brothers to the king. Duke of Exeter, uncle to the king. Duke of YORK, cousin to the king. Earls of SalisbuRY, WESTMORELAND, and WARWICK. Archbishop of CANTERBURY. Bishop of Eưy. Earl of CAMBRIDGE, Lord SCROOP, conspirators against the king. Sir Thomas Grey, Sir Thomas ERPINGHAM, GOWER, FLUELLEN, MACMORRIS,
Jamy, officers in king Henry's army.
Bates, Court, WILLIAMS, soldiers in the same.
NYM, BARDOLPH, Pistol, formerly servants to Falstaf,
now soldiers in the same.
Boy, servant to them. A herald. Chorus.
CHARLES the Sixth, king of France.
Lewis, the Dauphin.
Dukes of BURGUNDY, Orleans, and BOURBON.
The Constable of France.
RAMBURES, and GRANDPREE, French lords.
Governor of Harfleur. Montjoy, a French herald.
Ambassadors to the king of England.
ISABEL, queen of France.
KATHARINE, daughter of Charles and Isabel.
Alice, a lady attending on the princess Katharine.
QUICKLY, Pistol's wife, an hostess.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, French and English Soldiers, Mes-
sengers, and Attendants. The SCENE-at the beginning of the play, lies in England;
but afterwards, wholly in France.
O, FOR a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!'
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene !
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and, at his heels,
Leash'd in, like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire,
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraised spirit, that hath dar'd,
On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth
So great an object: Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France ? or may we cram
Within this wooden 0,' the very casques,
That did affright the air at Agincourt ?
O, pardon ! since a crooked figure may
Attest, in little place, a million ;
And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work :'
Suppose, within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin’d two mighty monarchies,
Whose high-upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous, narrow ocean parts asunder.
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts ;
Into a thousands parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance :
 This goes upon the notion of the Peripatetic system, which imagined several beavens one above another; the last and highest of which was one of fire.
WARBURTON. It alludes likewise to the aspiring nature of fire, which, by its levity, at the separation of the chaos, took the highest seat of all the elements. JOHNSON.
(2) This image of the warlike Henry very much resembles Montfaucon's doscription of the Mars discovered at Bresse, who leads a lion and a lioness in couples, and crouching for employment. TOLLET.
(3) Nothing shows more evidently the power of custom over language, than that the frequent use of calling a circle an O'could so much hide the meanness of the metaphor from Shakespeare, that he has used it many times where he makes his most eager attempts at dignity of style. JOHNSON.
 The belmets. JOHNSON.
(5) leaginary for imaginative, your powers of fancy. JOHNSON.
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' th' receiving earth :
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there ; jumping o'er times;
Turning th' accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass ; For the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history ;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
SCENE I. - London. An Ante-chamber in the King's Pa
lace. Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and Bishop of ELY.
My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urgʻd,
Which, in th’ eleventh year o'th' last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us pass’d,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of further question.
Ely. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
Cant. It must be thought on. If it
pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession :
For all the temporal lands, which men devout
By testament have given to the church,
Would they strip from us ; being valued thus,
As much as would maintain, to the king's honour,
Full fifteen earls, and fifteen hundred knights ;
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires ;
And, to relief of lazars, and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied ;
And to the coffers of the king beside,
A thousand pounds by th’ year: Thus runs the bill.
Ely. This would drink deep.
Cant. 'Twould drink the cup and all.
Ely. But what prevention ?
Cant. The king is full of grace, and fair regard.
Ely. And a true lover of the holy church.
Cant. The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Seem'd to die too : yea, at that very moment;
Consideration like an angel came,
And whipp'd th’ offending Adam out of him;
Leaving his body as a paradise,
To envelop and contain celestial spirits."
Never was such a sudden scholar made :
Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady current, scouring faults ;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king
Ely. We are blessed in the change.
Cant. Hear him but reason in divinity,
And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire, the king were made a prelate :
Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
You would say,—it hath been all-in-all his study :
List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
A fearful battle render'd you in music :
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a charter'd libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears,
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences ;
So that the art and practic part of life,
Must be the mistress to this theoric :
Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain :
His companies' unletter'd, rude, and shallow;
His hours fill'd up with riots, banquets, sports ;
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
From open haunts and popularity.'
Ely. The strawberry grows underneath the nettle ;
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best,
Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality :
And so the prince obscur’d his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness ; which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
[5) As paradise, when sin and Adam were driven out by the angel, became the babitation of celestial spirits, so the king's heart, since consideration has driven out his follies, is now the receptacle of wisdom and of virtue. JOHNSON.
(6) Alluding to the method by which Hercules cleansed the famous stables, when be turned a river through tbem. Hercules is still in our author's head when bo Dentions tbe Hydra. JOHNSON
This line is exquisitely beautiful. JOHNSON.
Theoric is what terminates in speculation. STEEVENS.
Companies for companions. MALONE.
That is plebeian intercourse. STEEVENS.