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Eyther our Chronicles shal with full mouth speak
Not worshipt with a paper epitaph.”
It not unfrequently happened that the person who took down the lines as the actors delivered them, for the purpose of publishing the quarto, 1600, misheard what was said, and used wrong words which in sound nearly resembled the right : thus, earlier in the same scene, the Archbishop of Canterbury says, according to the folio, 1623,
“ They of those Marches, gracious sovereign,
Shall be a wall sufficient to defend
Our inland from the pilfering borderers.” In the quarto, 1600, the materials for which were probably surreptitiously obtained at the theatre, the passage is thus given :
“ The Marches, gracious soveraigne, shalbe sufficient
To guard your England from the pilfering borderers.” We might multiply instances of the same kind, but we do not think there can be any reasonable doubt upon the point.
The quartos, as we have stated, contain no hint of the Chorusses, but a passage in that which precedes Act v. certainly relates to the expedition of the Earl of Essex to Ireland, between the 15th April and the 28th Sept. 1599, and must have been written during his absence :
As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
To welcome him."
Henry V.” is brought to a narrow point; and confirmed as it is by the omission of all mention of the play by Meres, in his Palladis Tamia, 1598, we need feel little doubt that his first sketch came from the pen of Shakespeare, for performance at the Globe theatre, early in the summer of 1599. The enlarged drama, as it stands in the folio of 1623, we are disposed to believe was not put into the complete shape in which it has there come down to us, until shortly before the date when it was played at Court.
KING HENRY THE FIFTH.
Brothers to the King.
WICK. ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. BISHOP OF ELY. EARL OF CAMBRIDGE, LORD SCROOP,
MORRIS, JAMY, Officers in King Henry's Army.
ISABEL, Queen of France.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, French and English Soldiers, Messengers,
The SCENE in England, and in France.
1 Rowe first gave a list of the characters.
0, 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 Oo 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, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work. Suppose, within the girdle of these walls
1 Enter Chorus.] The old stage-direction is “Enter Prologue,” but it was the same “Chorus” as in a subsequent part of the play: near the end of the address the speaker calls himself “ Chorus," and only professes to deliver the lines “ Prologue-like,” not absolutely as the Prologue.
2 Within this wooden 0] The Globe Theatre, on the Bankside, was circular within, and probably this historical drama was first acted there ; but the company to which Shakespeare belonged also played in the winter at the Blackfriars Theatre, regarding the shape of which we have no information. See Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, vol. iii. p. 296. The Globe differed from the Fortune in Cripplegate, which was a square building. Ibid. vol. iii. p. 302.
Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies,
3 And make imaginary puissance :] A chorus of a similar kind precedes the anonymous play of “ The Famous History of Thomas Stukely," printed in 1605, but acted some years before. The speaker of the chorus there says, in accord. ance with Shakespeare,
“ Your gentle favour we must needs entreat
KING HENRY V.
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. An Ante-chamber in the King's Palace.
Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and Bishop of
Cant. My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urg’d,
Ely. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
Cant. It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
4 But that the SCAMBLING and unquiet time) “Scambling” is a word which occurs again in this play, and has before been employed in “Much Ado About Nothing,” Vol. II. p. 259. It was in frequent use among our old authors, and is what we have changed to scrambling, though they also had it in that form.