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keep the spectators constantly in mind that the peculiar grandeur of the actions there described cannot be developed on a narrow stage; and that they must supply the deficiencies of the representation from their own imaginations. As the subject was not properly dramatic, in the form, also, Shakspeare chose rather to wander beyond the bounds of the species, and to sing as a poetic herald, what he could not represent to the eye, than to cripple the progress of the action by putting long speeches in the mouths of the persons of the drama.

"However much Shakspeare celebrates the French conquest of king Henry, still he has not omitted to hint to us, after his way, the secret springs of this undertaking. Henry was in want of foreign wars to secure himself on the throne; the clergy also wished to keep him employed abroad, and made an offer of rich contributions to prevent the passing of a law which would have deprived them of the half of their revenues. His learned bishops are consequently as ready to prove to him his undisputed right to the crown of France, as he is to allow his conscience to be tranquillized by them. They prove that the Salic law is not, and never was, applicable to France; and the matter is treated in a more succinct and convincing manner than such subjects usually are in manifestoes. After his renowned battles, Henry wished to secure his conquests by marriage with a French princess; all that has reference to this is intended for irony in the play. The fruit of this union, from which two nations promised to themselves such happiness in future, was that very feeble Henry the Sixth, under whom every thing was so miserably lost. It must not, therefore, be imagined that it was without the knowledge and will of the Poet that an heroic drama turns out a comedy in his hands; and ends, in the manner of comedy, with a marriage of convenience." *

* Schlegel.



Duke of Bedford, 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 Ely.

Earl of Cambridge,


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Conspirators against the King.


Boy, Servant to them.

A Herald.


Officers in King Henry's

Soldiers in the same.

formerly Servants to Falstaff, now Soldiers

in the same.

CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France.

LEWIS, the Dauphin.

Dukes of Burgundy, Orleans, and Bourbon.
The Constable of France.

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, Messengers, 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,
Leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire,
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat, unraised spirit, that hath dared,
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 confined 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

1 O, for circle, alluding to the circular form of the theatre.

2 "Imaginary forces." Imaginary for imaginative, or your powers of


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.


SCENE I. London.1 An Antechamber in the
King's Palace.

Enter the Archbishop

Canterbury, and Bishop

of Ely.2

Canterbury. My lord, I'll tell you,-that self bill is

Which in the eleventh year o' the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us passed,
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,—

1 This first scene was added in the folio, together with the choruses and other amplifications. It appears from Hall and Holinshed, that the events passed at Leicester, where king Henry V. held a parliament in the second year of his reign. But the chorus at the beginning of the second act shows that the Poet intended to make London the place of his first scene.

2 "Canterbury and Ely." Henry Chicheley, a Carthusian monk, recently promoted to the see of Canterbury. John Fordham, bishop of Ely, consecrated 1388, died 1426.

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As much as would maintain, to the king's honor,
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. '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 promised it not. The breath no sooner left his father's body, But that his wildness, mortified in him, Seemed to die too; yea, at that very moment, Consideration like an angel came,


And whipped 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 rendered you in music:
Turn him to any cause of policy,

1 The same thought occurs in the preceding play, where king Henry V. says:

"My father is gone wild into his grave,
For in his tomb lie my affections."

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