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KING HENRY THE FIFTH.

PRELIMINARY NOTICE.

THE earliest edition of this play was published in 1600, under the title of—“The Chronicle History of Henry the fift, With his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. London,-Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington and Iohn Busby.” This was followed by another edition in 1602, and a third, in 1608.

The question whether the copy from which these quartos were printed was a maimed and surreptitious version of the perfect play, made up

from what could be collected by short-hand, or remembered from the stage representation, as Mr. Collier believes, or whether it was an authent transcript of the poet's first draft of the piece, but corrupted by the ordinary printing-house blunders, involves so much that is important in connexion with Shakespeare's method of production, that it has been fully considered in the Preface, Vol. I., pp. V.-xvi.

Upon the evidence of a passage in the Chorus to the Fifth Act,

Were now the general of our gracious empress

(As, in good time, he may), from Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him!”-

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which bears an unmistakeable reference to the Irish expedition of the Earl of Essex, begun and terminated in 1599, this play is supposed to have been written in that year. Long before this date, however, Henry's exploits in France had been commemorated upon the stage. Nash, in his “Pierce Pennilesse,” 1592, says,—“What a glorious thing it is to. have Henry the Fifth represented on the stage, leading the French King prisoner, and forcing both him and the Dolphin sweare fealtie;', and “The famous Victories of Henry the Fift,” already spoken of in “Henry IV.”, was no doubt both acted and printed prior to Shakespeare's Henry V.

Malone assumes the old historical drama alluded to by Nash, and The famous Victories, &c.” to be the same piece, which he says was

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VOL. III.

B

exhibited before the year 1588, as Tarlton, who performed in it both the Chief Justice and the Clown, died in that year. Steevens speaks of them as distinct plays.

The events comprehended in “Henry V.” begin in the first year of the king's reign, and terminate with his marriage of Katharine, the French princess, about eight years afterwards.

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Persons Represented.

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KING HENRY THE FIFTH.
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, Brothers to the
DUKE OF BEDFORD,

CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France.
LEWIS, the Dauphin.
DUKES OF BURGUNDY, ORLEANS, and

King.
Duke OF EXETER, Uncle to the King.
DUKE OF YORK.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.
EARLS OF SALISBURY, WESTMORELAND

and WARWICK.
BISHOP OF ELY.
EARL OF CAMBRIDGE, ) Conspirators
LORD SCROOP,

against the SIR THOMAS GREY,

King.
SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, GOWER,

FLUELLEN, MACMORRIS, and JAMY,

Officers in King Henry's Army.
BATES, COURT, WILLIAMS, Soldiers in the

BOURBON.
The CoNsTABLE of France.
RAMBURES and GRANDPRK, French Lords.
MONTJOY, a French Herald.
Ambassadors to the King of England.
Governor of Harfleur.

ISABEL, Queen of France.
KATHARINE, Daughter of Charles and

Isabel.
ALICE, a Lady attending on the Princess

Katharine.
QUICKLY, PISTOL's Wife, an Hostes.

same.

PISTOL, Nym, and BARDOLPI.

A Herald.
Boy.
Chorus.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, English and French

Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants.

The Action at the beginning takes place in ENGLAND, but afterwards, wholly in FRANCE.

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Enter CHORUS.* 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 spirits, that have dard, On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth So great an object. Can this cock-pit hold The vasty fields of France ? or may we cram, Within this wooden 0, the very casques, a That did affright the air at Agincourt? 0, 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 thousand parts divide one man, And make imaginary puissance: Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth: For 't is your thoughts that now must deck our kings; Carry them here and there ; jumping o'er times; Turning the 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.

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(*) First folio, Enter Prologue.

(t) First folio, hath. The very casques,–] The mere helmets.

ACT I.

SCENE I.—London. An Antechamber in the King's Palace.
Enter the ARCHBISHOP of CANTERBURY, and the BISHOP of Ely.

CANT. My lord, I'll tell you—that self bill is urg'd
Which in the eleventh year o' the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us passid,
But that the scamblinga and unquiet time
Did push it out of farther 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 the year. Thus runs the bill.

Ely. This would drink deep.
CANT.

’T would 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 the 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 currance, scouring faults ;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king.

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* Scambling-) See note (6), p. 445, Vol. I. • And all at once,–] This was a trite phrase in Shakespeare's day, though not one

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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 honey'd 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,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.

CANT. It must be so: for miracles are ceas'd ;
And therefore we must needs admit the means,
How things are perfected.
ELY.

But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urgʻd by the commons? Doth his majesty
Incline to it, or no?
CANT.

He seems indifferent;
Or, rather, swaying more upon our part,

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of his editors has noticed it. In “As you Like It,” Act III. Sc. 5, where it again
occurs,

Who might be your mother?
That you insult, exult, and all at once

Over the wretched ?".
some of them have even suspected a misprint, and proposed to read, -

and rail at once."
It is frequently met with in the old writers. Thus, in “ The Fisherman's Tale," 1594,
by F. Sabie: -

“She wept, she cride, she sob’d, and all at once.And in Middleton's "Changeling,” Act IV. Sc. 3:

“Does love turn fool, run mad, and all at once ?" Companies-] That is, companions.

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