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V. ii. 138. measure. Shakespeare frequently plays on the various meanings of this word. Here he first uses the word in the sense of 'metre'; secondly, of dancing'; and thirdly, of 'amount.'

V. ii. 155. let thine eye be thy cook. Let thine eye dress me in attractions to suit thy taste.

V. ii. 160. uncoined constancy. Henry means that his love has not been stamped out into the form of glib phrases such as pass current among more accomplished but less sincere lovers.

V. ii. 262. broken music. 'Part music,' arranged for different kinds of instruments.

V. ii. 318. circle. The making of a circle was part of the elaborate preparations of conjurers for the exercise of their magic. Within the circle the conjurer was supposed to be immune from the baleful influences of the evil spirits that he raised.

V. ii. 347. perspectively. As through a ‘perspective,' i.e., an instrument producing fantastic optical illusions.

V. ii. 369. Præclarissimus. Once more Shakespeare has copied one of Holinshed's errors. The word should be 'præcarissimus,' the Latin equivalent for the French 'très cher.'




Virtually all the historical material for Henry V was drawn from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Second Edition, 1587). A few minor incidents—the embassy of the tennis balls, Pistol's encounter with the French soldier, and the wooing scene of Act V-seem to have been suggested by the crude old chronicle play, The Famous Victories of Henry V, licensed for the press in 1594. The characters of the sub-plot- Pistol, Fluellen, and the rest-are entirely original.

Shakespeare follows Holinshed almost word for word in certain passages of the play; particularly in the account of the bill against the clergy, in the Archbishop's argument in favor of Henry's claim to the French throne, and in the list of the casualties at the battle of Agincourt. More typical of his usual treatment of his sources are the passages in which he has caught up a suggestion or two from the prosy chronicle and transformed them into glowing poetry. The following quotation from Holinshed, for example, contains the only hints which Shakespeare found in his source for King Henry's stirring appeal to his officers on the morning of Saint Crispin's day:

'It is said, that as he heard one of the host vtter his wish to another thus: I would to God there were with vs now so manie good soldiers as are at this houre within England! the king answered: I would not wish a man more here than I haue; we are indeed in comparison to the enimies but a few, but if God of his clemencie doo fauour vs, and our iust cause, (as I trust he will,) we shall speed well inough. But let no man ascribe victorie to our owne strength and might, but onelie to God's assistance; to whome I haue no doubt we shall worthilie haue cause to giue thanks therefore. And if so be that for our offenses sakes we shall be deliuered into the hands of our enimies, the lesse number we be, the lesse damage shall the realme of England susteine; but if we should fight in trust of multitude of men, and so get the victorie, (our minds being prone to pride,) we should therevpon' peraduenture ascribe the victorie not so much to the gift of God, as to our owne puissance, and thereby prouoke his high indignation and displeasure against vs: and if the enimie get the vpper hand, then should our realme and countrie suffer more damage and stand in further danger. But be you of good comfort, and shew your selues valiant! God and our iust quarrell shall defend vs, and deliuer these our proud aduersaries with all the multitude of them which you see (or at the least the most of them) into our hands.'



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The production of Henry V has been assigned, on very substantial evidence, to the year 1599. Francis Meres, giving a list of Shakespeare's plays in a book published in 1598, makes no mention of Henry V, although his list includes Henry IV. The play was entered on the Stationers' Register in August, 1600, and the first edition was published in that year. The reference to the 'wooden O’in line 13 of the Prologue is usually supposed to be an allusion to the Globe Theatre, which was completed in 1599. Most significant of all, the lines in the Prologue to Act V referring to the Earl of Essex must have been written

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and spoken during the earl's absence in Ireland, which extended from March 27 until September 28, 1599.

Three very imperfect editions of the play appeared prior to the publication of the First Folio in 1623. The First Quarto (1600) omits all the prologues, the epilogue, and several entire scenes. These and other omissions, notably in the long speeches, which are much curtailed, shorten the play by some seventeen hundred lines. The errors and absurdities of the edition are many; particularly in the scenes written in French (which is very 'fausse French' indeed as it appears in this volume), and in the prose scenes, where an heroic attempt has been made to transform the prose into poetry. It is now generally believed that the First Quarto is an imperfect edition of a shortened acting version of the play, and it may have been made up for the press largely from notes taken in the theatre during a performance. The Second Quarto (1602) and the Third Quarto, dated 1608, but really printed in 1619, are reprints of the edition of 1600, very slightly amended and without independent value. Modern editors accept the text of the First Folio (1623) as the most reliable, and have adopted the reading of the Quartos in only a few instances.

A funeral elegy on Richard Burbage, Shakespeare's most famous fellow actor, gives us the information that the part of King Henry was one in which Burbage won distinction. The unknown writer laments:

Poor Romeo never more shall tears beget
For Juliet's love and cruel Capulet;
Harry shall not be seen as king or prince,
They died with thee, dear Dick (and not long since.)

This is the only bit of information we have as to the early stage history of Henry V. The records of Sir Henry Herbert show that a play entitled 'Henry the 5th' was licensed for the stage in 1663, but it is not certain that this record refers to Shakespeare's play. We have positive record of a performance given at Covent Garden Theatre, February 23, 1738. Seven years later, at the time of the last Jacobite rising, the play was once more presented at the same theatre, perhaps by way of stirring the patriotism of the Londoners at a time when the Scots were marching on the city and France was supposed to be preparing to invade England. In this latter performance, the part of Pistol was played by the younger Cibber. Garrick presented the play at Drury Lane on December 16, 1747, but left the part of King Henry to Barry, appearing himself as the Chorus, in the costume of the day-'a full-dress court suit with powdered bag-wig, ruffles, and sword.'

Under the lavish management of Rich, Covent Garden gave a very elaborate production in 1761, including an interpolated scene, borrowed from Henry IV, Part 2, representing the coronation procession. The popular actress, George Anne Bellamy, walked in the procession as Queen. Another spectacular touch was added in the revival of 1769 at the same theatre by the introduction of the Champion (of the coronation ceremony) in full armor and on horseback. Drury Lane revived the play for the first time in twenty years in 1789, with John Philip Kemble as Henry; and the same actor performed the part from time to time during his career. He secured a telling stage effect at the close of Act IV by suddenly interrupting his prayer, at the sound of the trumpet, and rushing off the stage sword in hand. On March 8, 1830, Edmund Kean appeared at Drury Lane in the rôle of King Henry. His memory failed him during the performance and he was obliged to apologize to the audience from the stage. During the nineteenth century the play was performed also by William Macready, Samuel Phelps and Charles Kean. The production given by the latter at the Princess's

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