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t, as it serves to prove that a former piece, in which the character of Oldcastle was introduced, had given great offence:

"The doubtful title (gentlemen) prefixt

66 Upon the argument we have in hand,

66 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;
66 But one, whose vertue shone above the rest,
66 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 faire truth be grac'd,
66 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. Tarleton, 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 written in the middle of the year 1599. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakespeare's Plays, Vol. II.

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


King HENRY the Fifth.

Duke of GLOSTER, brothers to the king.

Duke of BEDFORD, S

Duke of EXETER, uncle to the king.

Duke of YORK, cousin to the king.


Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop of ELY.



Sir THOMAS Grey,

conspirators against the king.

Sir THOMAS ERPINGHAM, GOWER, FLUEllen, MacMORRIS, JAMY, officers in King Henry's army. 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.


Dukes of BURgundy, Orleans, and BOURBON.

The Constable of France.

RAMBURES, and GRANDPREE, French lords.

Governor of Harfleur. MONTJOY, a French heraid.

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,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
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' th' receiving earth:

For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times;
Turning th' 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. An ante-chamber in the King's palace.

Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and Bishop of ELY
Cant. My lord, I'll tell you,-that self bill is urg'd,
Which, in th' eleventh year o' th' last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us pass'd,
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,—
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 th' year: Thus runs the bill

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