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KING HENRY the Fifth.
brothers to the King.
JAMY, officers in King Henry's army. BATES, COURT, WILLIAMS, soldiers in the same. PISTOL, NYM, BARDOLPH. Boy. A Herald. CHARLES the Sixth, King of France. Lewis, the Dauphin. DUKES OF BURGUNDY, ORLEANS, and BOURBON. The Constable of France. RAMBURES and GRANDPRÉ, French Lords. Governor of Harfieur. MONTJOY, a French Herald. Ambassadors to the King of England. ISABEL, Queen of France. KATHARINE, daughter to Charles and Isabel. Alice, a lady attending on her. Hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap, formerly Mistress Quickly, and
now married to Pistol.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers,
SCENE : England; afterwards France.
DURATION OF TIME
Day 1. I. 1., 2. Interval.
2. II. 1. Interval.
Interval. IV. 1.-8. Interval.
6. III. 5.
8. III. 7.
Historic Time. From 1414, the year after Henry's accession, to May 20, 1420, the date of his betrothal.
Of this, five years (1415-20) pass between days 8 and 10.
i Daniel assigns this scene (the princess's English lesson) to the time between the French king's offer of her hand to Henry and his rejection of it,both referred to in the Chorus
to Act III.
2 This appears to be on the morrow of St. David's Day, i.e. March 2; hence after the battle, and before the betrothal (v. 2.).
The earliest edition of Henry V. was printed in Quarto in 1600, with the following title :
The | Cronicle | History of Henry the fift, I 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. Milling-| ton, and John Busby. ... 1600.'
Other editions of this Quarto (printed for Thomas Pavier instead of for Millington) appeared in 1602 and 1608.
All these texts, however, differed widely from that published by Shakespeare's executors in the Folio of 1623, and their relation to it was for long a burning question, as in the analogous cases of Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives, Henry VI., and Hamlet. But the problem is here a relatively simple one, and scholars are now almost unanimous in holding the Folio text to represent substantially Shakespeare's MS., and the Quarto to be a surreptitious version of the acting edition, 'hastily made up from notes taken at the theatre during the performance and subsequently patched together.' The variations in the Quarto are all, with the trifling exceptions noticed below, easily explicable from one of these two sources of corruption
(1) The five Choruses and Epilogue, with three unessential scenes (i. 1., iii. I., iv. 2.), are omitted. This would be an obvious expedient for curtailing a lengthy play. It is certain from the allusion in Prol. v. to Essex, that these are as old as March to September 1599, the probable date of the entire play. It is pretty safe to assume then that they formed part of the original draft and were omitted in performance.
(2) Several characters are omitted, their speeches being sometimes omitted also, sometimes transferred. Thus in i. 2. Canterbury and Ely coalesce in a single ' Bishop,' though a tell-tale stage direction at the head of the scene describes the entry of 2 bishops.' Similarly in iv. 3. Westmoreland's part is made over to Warwick, while Erpingham, save for a mutilated semblance of his name in a stage direction ('Epingham') disappears altogether. These changes were an obvious stage-manager's shift to reduce the number of actors required. It is less easy to explain why in the same scene a new character, Clarence, should be introduced (for Bedford), and in iii. 7. another new one, 'Gebon,' for Rambure, and why in the latter scene and in iv. 5. Bourbon should take the place of the Dauphin. These serve no obvious stage interest, nor are they the kind of changes which occur to a botching editor or a speculative printer. It is difficult to resist the inference that Shakespeare did perform some slight redistribution among these in the main faintly distinguished parts. But even this was not thorough-going,—witness the inconsistency still remaining in v. 2. 84, where the Duke of Clarence is addressed as present.
1 Besides the characters men- and iv. 2.), and the French tioned, Britany, Grandpré, Mac- queen have no speeches in the morris, Jamy, Messenger (ii. 4. Qq.
(3) The whole text of the Quarto is barely half the length of the Folio;1 and its brevity is not that of a first sketch, but of imperfect note-taking. It is not an unexpanded germ, but a cento of scraps. Scarcely a single passage of more than a few lines is reported continuously ; catching phrases reappear, complexities of thought or phrase vanish, fidelity for a line or two is purchased by the total loss of the following lines.
The date of Henry V. falls within narrow limits. The reference to Essex's expected return from Ireland (Prol. to Act V.) shows that it was acted, and in part at least written, between March 27, 1599, when he left London, and September 28, the date of his summary and fatal return. In the Epilogue to 2 Henry IV. Shakespeare had promised to continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make you merry with fair Katharine of France'; and the promise is so imperfectly kept that it is clear the entire plan of Henry V. had still to be formed when the Epilogue was written.
But, as we have seen, the Second Part of Henry IV. belongs to the latter half of 1598; while this part of the Epilogue, written after the change from Oldcastle to Falstaff had been made, may be
Hence the general conclusion can scarcely be assailed, that Henry V. was written in the early part of 1599, and acted with prologues and epilogue that summer. It is probable, however, that a fragment of one of the least striking scenes in the play as we have it was added at a time when the accession of James had given an occasion for complaisance to the Scotch such as we know that Shakespeare did not always disdain to display. The
1623 lines to nearly 3479 or not contradicted, by other (Daniel).
items of evidence :--the allusions 2 The conclusion is confirmed, in Prol. to Act I. to the Globe