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THIS play was writ (as appears from a passage in the chorus to the fifth Act) at the time of the earl of Essex's commanding the forces in Ireland in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and not till after Henry the Sixth had been played, as may be seen by the conclusion of this play. POPE.

The transactions comprized in this historical play commence about the latter end of the first and terminate in the eighth year of this king's reign when he married Katharine princess of France, and closed up the differences betwixt England and that crown. THEOBALD.

This play, in the quarto edition, 1608, is styled The Chronicle History of Henry, &c. which seems to have been the title anciently appropriated to all Shakspeare's historical dramas. So, in The Antipodes, a comedy, by R. Brome, 1638 :

"These lads can act the emperor's lives all over, And Shakspeare's Chronicled Histories to boot." The players likewise, in the folio edition, 1623, rank these pieces under the title of Histories.

It is evident that a play on this subject had been performed before the year 1592. Nash, in Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, dated 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 to sweare fealtie."

Perhaps this is the same play as was thus entered in the books of the Stationers' Company: "Tho. Strode] May 2, 1594. A booke intituled The famous Victories of Henry the Fift, containing the honorable Battle of Agin


There are two more entries of a play of Henry V. viz. between 1596 and 1615, and one August 14th, 1600. I have two copies of it in my possession; one without date (which seems much the elder of the two), and another (apparently printed from it), dated 1617, though printed by Bernard Alsop (who was printer of the other edition), and sold by the same person, and at the same place. Alsop appears to have been a printer before the year 1600, and was afterwards one of the twenty appointed by decree of the Star-chamber to print for this kingdom. I believe, however, this piece to have been prior to that of Shakspeare for several reasons. First, because it is highly probable that it is the very "displeasing play" alluded to in the epilogue to The Second Part of King Henry V.-for Oldcastle died a martyr. Oldcastle is the Falstaff of the piece, which is despicable, and full of ribaldry and impiety from the first scene to the last.-Secondly, because Shakspeare seems to have taken not a few hints from it; for it comprehends, in some measure, the story of the two Parts of Henry IV. as well as, of Henry V.: and no ignorance, ] think, could debase the gold of Shakspeare into such dross; though no chemistry but that of Shakspeare could exalt such base metal into gold. When the Prince of Wales, in Henry IV. calls Falstaff my old lad of the Castle, it is probably but a sneering allusion to the deserved fate which this performance met with; for there is no proof that our poet was ever obliged to change the name of Oldcastle into that of Falstaff, though there is an absolute certainty that this piece must have been condemned by any audience before whom it was ever repre

sented. Lastly, because it appears (as Dr. Farmer has observed) from the Jests of the famous comedian, Tarlton, 4to. 1611, that he had been particularly celebrated in the part of the Clown,* in Henry V, and though his character does not exist in our play, we find it in the other, which, for the reasons already enumerated, I suppose to have been prior to this.

This anonymous play of Henry V. is neither divided into Acts or Scenes, is uncommonly short, and has all the appearance of having been imperfectly taken down during the representation. As much of it appears to have been omitted, we may suppose that the author did not think it convenient for his reputation to publish a more ample copy.

There is, indeed, a play, called Sir John Oldcastle, published in 1600, with the name of William Shakspeare prefixed to it. The pro

Mr. Oldys, in a manuscript note in his copy of Langbaine, says, that Tarleton appeared in the character of the Judge who receives the box on the ear. This judge is likewise a character in the old play. I may add, on the authority of the books at Stationer's Hall, that Tarleton published what he called his Farewell, a ballad, in Sept. 1588. In Oct. 1589, was entered "Tarleton's Repentance, and his Farewell to his Friends in his Sickness a little before his Death;" in 1590, "Tarleton's Newes out of Purgatorie," and in the same year, "A pleasaunt Dilly Dialogue-ise between Tarleton's Ghost and Robyn Good-fellowe." STEEVENS.

logue being very short, I shall quote it, as it serves to prove that a former piece, in which the character of Oldcastle was introduced, had given great offence:

"The doubtfull title (gentlemen) prefixt Upon the argument we have in hand, May breed suspense, and wrongfully disturbe "The peaceful quiet of your settled thoughts. To stop which scruple, let this breefe suffice: "It is no pamper'd glutton we present, "Nor aged councellour to youthful sinne; But one, whose vertue shone above the rest, "A valiant martyr, and a vertuous peere; "In whose true faith and loyalty exprest Unto his soveraigne, and his countries weale, "We strive to pay that tribute of our love "Your favours merit: let fair truth be grac'd. "Since forg'd invention former time defac'd."


The piece to which Nash alludes is the old anonymous play of King Henry V., which had been exhibited before the year 1589. Tarlton, the comedian, who performed in it both the parts of the chief justice and the clown, having died in that year. It was entered on the Stationers' books in 1594, and, I believe, printed in that year, though I have not met with a copy of that date. An edition of it, printed in 1598, was in the valuable collection of Dr. Wright.

The play before us appears to have been writ ten in the middle of the year 1599.

The old King Henry V. may be found among Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. printed by S. Leacrost, 1778 MALONE.

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This play has many scenes of high dignity, and many of easy merriment. The character of the king is well supported, except in his courtship, where he has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of Henry. The humour of Pistol is very happily continued: his character has perhaps been the model of all the bullies that have yet appeared On the English stage.

The lines given to the chorus have many admirers; but the truth is, in them a little may be praised, and much must be forgiven; nor can it be easily discovered, why the intelligence given by the chorus is more necessary in this play, than in many others where it is omitted. The great defect of this play is, the emptiness and narrowness of the last act, which a very little diligence might have easily avoided.





Brothers to the King.

DUKE OF EXETER, Uncle to the King.

DUKE OF YORK. Cousin to the King.



EARL OF CAMBRIDGE, Conspirators against the





BATES, COURT, WILLIAMS, Soldiers in the same. NYM, BARDOLPH. PISTOL, formerly Servants to Falstaff, now Soldiers in the same.

Boy, Servant to them. A Herald.


CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France. LEWIS, the Dauphin.


The Constable of France.

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, Officer, French and English Soldiers,
Messengers, and Attendants.

The SCENE, at the beginning of the Play, lies in England; but afterwards wholly in France.

Enter Chorus.

O, for amuse 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, [fire,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and
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 O, 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
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 'tis 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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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 the year: Thus runs the bill. Ely. This would drink deep.


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 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 current, scouring faults;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king.
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,
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.
But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urg'd by the commons? Doth his majesty
Incline to it, or no?


He seems indifferent;

Or, rather, swaying more upon our part,
Than cherishing the exhibiters against us:
For I have made an offer to his majesty,-
Upon our spiritual convocation;

And in regard of causes now in hand,
Which I have open'd to his grace at large,
As touching France,-to give a greater sum
Than ever at one time the clergy yet
Did to his predecessors part withal.

Ely. How did this offer seem receiv'd, my lord?
Cant. With good acceptance of his majesty;
Save, that there was not time enough to hear
(As, I perceiv'd, his grace would fain have done,)
The severals, and unhidden passages,

Of his true titles to some certain dukedoms;
And, generally, to the crown and seat of France,
Deriv'd from Edward, his great grandfather.
Ely. What was the impediment that broke this off?
Cant. The French ambassador, upon that instant,
Crav'd audience: and the hour, I think, is come,
To give him hearing: Is it four o'clock ?


It is. Cant. Then go we in, to know his embassy; Which I could, with a ready guess, declare, Before the Frenchman speak a word of it. Ely. I'll wait upon you; and I long to hear it.

SCENE 11.-The same.


A Room of State in the


K. Hen. Where is my gracious Lord of Canter-
Exe. Not here in presence.

K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege?
K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin; we would be re-

Before we hear him, of some things of weight,
That task our thoughts, concerning us and France.
Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY and Bishop
of ELY.

Cant. God, and his angels, guard your sacred And make you long become it! [throne,

K. Hen. Sure, we thank you. My learned lord, we pray you to proceed; And justly and religiously unfold, Why the law Salique, that they have in France, Or should, or should not, bar us in our claim. And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord, That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading, Or nicely charge your understanding soul With opening titles miscreate, whose right Suits not in native colour with the truth:

For God doth know, how many, now in health
Shall drop their blood in approbation
Of what your reverence shall incite us to;
Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
How you awake the sleeping sword of war;
We charge you in the name of God, take heed
For never two such kingdoms did contend,
Without much fall of blood; whose guiltless drops
Are every one a woe, a sore complaint,
'Gainst him, whose wrongs give edge unto the

That make such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord:
And we will hear, note, and believe in heart,
That what you speak is in your conscience wash'd
As pure as sin with baptism.
[you peers,
Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,-and
That owe your lives, your faith, and services,
To this imperial throne;-There is no bar
To make against your highness' claim to France,
But this, which they produce from Pharamond,-
In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant,
No woman shall succeed in Salique land:
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze,
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
Yet their own authors faithfully affirm,
That the land Salique lies in Germany,
Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe:

Where Charles the great, having subdued the

There left behind and settled certain French,
Who, holding in disdain the German women,
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Establish'd there this law,-to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salique land;
Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany call'd-Meisen.
Thus doth it well appear, the Salique law
Was not devised for the realm of France:
Nor did the French possess the Salique land
Until four hundred one and twenty years
After defunction of king Pharamond,
Idly suppos'd the founder of this law;
Who died within the year of our redemption
Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great
Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French
Beyond the river Sala, in the year
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,
King Pepin, which deposed Childerick,
Did, as heir general, being descended

Of Blithild, which was daughter to king Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also,-that usurp'd the crown
Of Charles the Duke of Lorain, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the great,-
To fine his title with some show of truth,
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,)
Convey'd himself as heir to the lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis the emperor, and Lewis the son
Of Charles the great. Also king Lewis the tenth
Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied
Was lineal of the lady Ermengare,
That fair queen Isabel, his grandmother,

Daughter to Charles the foresaid duke of Lorain
By the which marriage, the line of Charles the great
Was re-united to the crown of France.
So that, as clear as is the summer's sun
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim,
King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female:
So do the kings of France unto this day;
Howbeit they would hold up this Salique law,
To bar your highness claiming from the female,
And rather choose to hide them in a net,
Than amply to imbare their crooked titles,
Usurp'd from you and your progenitors.

K. Hen. May I, with right and conscience, make | To spoil and havock more than she can eat.

this claim?

Cant. The sin upon my head, dread sovereign!

For in the book of Numbers is it writ,

When the son dies, let the inheritance

Descend unto the daughter. Gracious lord,
Stand for your own; unwind your bloody flag;
Look back unto your mighty ancestors:

Go, my dread lord, to your great grandsire's tomb,
From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit,
And your great uncle's, Edward the black prince;
Who on the French ground play'd a tragedy,
Making defeat on the full power of France;
Whiles his most nighty father on a hill
Stood smiling, to behold his lion's whelp
Forage in blood of French nobility.

O noble English, that could entertain
With half their forces the full pride of France;
And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work, and cold for action!

Ely. Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,
And with your puissant arm renew their feats:
You are their heir, you sit upon their throne;
The blood and courage, that renowned them,
Runs in your veins; and my thrice-puissant liege
Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.

Exe. Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth Do all expect that you should rouse yourself, As did the former lions of your blood.

West. They know, your grace hath cause, and means, and might;

So hath your highness; never king of England
Had nobles richer, and more loyal subjects;
Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England,
And lie pavilion'd in the fields of France.

Cant. O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With blood, and sword, and fire, to win your right:
In aid whereof, we of the spiritualty
Will raise your highness such a mighty sum,
As never did the clergy at one time
Bring in to any of your ancestors.


K. Hen. We must not only arm to invade the But lay down our proportions to defend Against the Scot, who will make road upon us With all advantages.

Cant. They of those marches, gracious sovereign, Shall be a wall sufficient to defend Our inland from the pilfering borderers.


K. Hen. We do not mean the coursing snatchers But fear the main intendment of the Scot, Who hath been still a giddy neighbour to us: For you shall read, that my great grandfather Never went with his forces into France, But that the Scot on his unfurnish'd kingdom Came pouring, like the tide into a breach, With ample and brim fulness of his force; Gailing the gleaned land with hot essays; Girding, with grievous siege, castles and towns; That England, being empty of defence,

Hath shook, and trembled at the ill-neighbourhood. Cant. She hath been then more fear'd than harm'd, my liege:

For bear her but exampled by herself,-
When all her chivalry hath been in France,
And she a mourning widow of her nobles,
She hath herself not only well defended,
But taken, an impounded as a stray,

The king of Scots; whom she did send to France,
To fill king Elward's fame with prisoner kings;
And make yo ir chronicle as rich with praise,
As is the ooze and bottom of the sea
With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries.
West. But there's a saying, very old and true,-
If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin:
For once the eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs;
Playing the mouse, in absence of the cat,

Exe. It follows then, the cat must stay at home: Yet that is but a curs'd necessity;

Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries,

And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,
The advised head defends itself at home:
For government, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into part, doth keep in one concent;
Congruing in a full and natural close,
Like music.


True: therefore doth heaven divide
The state of man in divers functions,
Setting endeavour in continual motion;
To which is fixed, as an aim or butt,
Obedience: for so work the honey bees
Creatures, that, by rule in nature, teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king, and officers of sorts:
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home;
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad;
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor:
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold;
The civil citizens kneading up the honey;
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate;
The sad-ey'd justice, with his surly hum,
Delivering o'er to executors pale

The lazy yawning drone. I this infer,-
That many things, having full reference
To one concent, may work contrariously:
As many arrows, loosed several ways,
Fly to one mark;

As many several ways meet in one town;
As many fresh streams run in one self sea;
As many lines close in the dial's centre;
So may a thousand actions, once afoot,
End in one purpose, and be all well borne
Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege.
Divide your happy England into four;
Whereof take you one quarter into France,
And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.
If we, with thrice that power left at home,
Cannot defend our own door from the dog,
Let us be worried; and our nation lose
The name of hardiness, and policy.

[Dauphin. K. Hen. Call in the messengers sent from the [Exit an Attendant. The King ascends his


Now are we well resolv'd: and,-by God's help;
And yours, the noble sinews of our power,-
France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces: Or there we'll sit,
Ruling, in large and ample empery,
O'er France, and all her almost kingly dukedoms;
Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
Tombless, with no remembrance over them:
Either our history shall, with full mouth,
Speak freely of our acts; or else our grave,
Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
Not worship'd with a waxen epitaph.-

Enter Ambassadors of France.
Now are we well prepar'd to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for, we hear,
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.
Amb. May it please your majesty, to give us leave
Freely to render what we have in charge;
Or shall we sparingly show you far off
The Dauphin's meaning, and our embassy?

K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king: Unto whose grace our passion is as subject, As are our wretches fetter'd in our prisons: Therefore, with frank and with uncurbed plainess, Tell us the Dauphin's mind.


Thus then, in few.

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