Imatges de pÓgina
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THE first edition of Henry IV., Part I.,' appeared in 1598. Five other editions were printed before the folio of 1623. The first edition of Henry IV., Part II.,' appeared in 1600.

Another edition was issued the same year. No subsequent edition appeared till the folio of 1623. The text of the folio, from which we print, does not materially differ from the original quartos, in the First Part. In the Second Part there are large additions, and those some very important passages, in the folio.

Shakspere found the stage in possession of a rude drama, 'The Famous Victories of Henry V.,' upon the foundation of which he constructed not only his two Parts of 'Henry IV.,' but his 'Henry V. That old play was acted prior to 1588; Tarleton, a celebrated comic actor, who played the clown in it, having died in that year. It is, in many respects, satisfactory that this very extraordinary performance has been preserved. None of the old dramas exhibit in a more striking light the marvellous reformation which Shakspere, more than all his contemporaries, produced in the dramatic amusements of the age of Elizabeth. Of The Famous Victories of Henry V.,' the comic parts are low buffoonery, without the slightest wit, and the tragic monotonous stupidity, without a particle of poetry. And yet Shakspere built upon this thing, and for a very satisfactory reason the people were familiar with it.

In The Famous Victories' we are introduced to the "Young Prince" in the opening scene. His companions are "Ned," "Tom," and "Sir John Oldcastle," who bears the familiar name of "Jockey." They have been committing a robbery upon the king's receivers; and Jockey informs the prince that his (the prince's) man hath robbed a poor carrier. The plunder of the receivers amounts to a thousand pounds;

and the prince worthily says, "As I am a true gentleman, I will have the half of this spent to-night." He shows his gentility by calling the receivers villains and rascals. The prince is sent to the "counter" by the Lord Mayor. "Gadshill," the prince's man, who robbed the carrier, is taken before the Lord Chief Justice; and the young prince, who seems to have got out of the counter as suddenly as he got in, rescues the thief. The scene ends with the Chief Justice committing Henry to the Fleet. He is, of course, released. "But whither are ye going now?" quoth Ned. "To the court," answers the true gentleman of a prince, "for I hear say my father lies very sick.

. . The breath shall be no sooner out of his mouth but I will clap the crown on my head." To the court he goes, and there the bully becomes a hypocrite. The great scene in 'The Second Part of Henry IV.,'

"I never thought to hear you speak again," is founded, probably, upon a passage in Holinshed; but there is a similar scene in The Famous Victories.' It is, perhaps, the highest attempt in the whole play.

And now that we have seen what the popular notion of the conqueror of Agincourt was at a period when Shakspere began to write, and, perhaps, indeed, up to the time when he gave us his own idea of Henry of Monmouth,-and when we know that nearly all the historians up to the time of Shakspere took pretty much the same view of Henry's character,-we may, perhaps, be astonished to be told that Shakspere's fascinating representation of Henry of Monmouth, "as an historical portrait, is not only unlike the original, but misleading and unjust in essential points of character." Shakspere was, in truth, the only Henry of Monmouth,' by J. Endell Tyler, B.D., vol. i., page 356.

man of his age who rejected the imperfect evidence of all the historians as to the character of Henry of Monmouth, and nobly vindicated him even from his own biographers, and, what was of more importance, from the coarser traditions embodied in a popular drama of Shakspere's own day.

In the play of The Famous Victories of Henry V. we have, as already mentioned, the character of "Sir John Oldcastle." This personage, like all the other companions of the prince in that play, is a low, worthless fellow, without a single spark of wit or humour to relieve his grovelling profligacy. But he is also a very insignificant character, with less stage business than even "Ned" and "Tom." Dericke, the clown, is, indeed, the leading character throughout this play. Altogether, Oldcastle has only thirty lines put in his mouth in the whole piece. We have no allusion to his being fat; we hear nothing of his gluttony. Malone, however, calls this Sir John Oldcastle "a pampered glutton." It is a question whether this Oldcastle, or Jockey, suggested to Shakspere his Falstaff. We cannot discover the very slightest similarity; although Malone decidedly says, "Shakspere appears evidently to have caught the idea of the character of Falstaff from a wretched play entitled 'The

Famous Victories of King Henry V." But Malone is arguing for the support of a favourite theory. Rowe has noticed a tradition that Falstaff was written originally under the name of Oldcastle. This opinion would receive some confirmation from the fact that Shakspere has transferred other names from the old play, Ned, Gadshill,and why not, then, Oldcastle? The prince in one place calls Falstaff "my old lad of the castle;" but this may be otherwise explained. The Sir John Oldcastle of history, Lord Cobham, was, as is well known, one of the most strenuous supporters of the Reformation of Wickliffe; and hence it has been argued that the original name of Shakspere's fat knight was offensive to zealous Protestants in the time of Elizabeth, and was accordingly changed to that of Falstaff. Whether or not Shakspere's Falstaff was originally called Oldcastle, he was, after the character was fairly established as Falstaff, anxious to vindicate himself from the charge that he had attempted to represent the Oldcastle of history. In the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV.' we find this passage:-"For anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already he be killed with your hard opinions; for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man."

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Appears, Act V. sc. 1; sc. 4; sc. 5.


Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 4; sc. 5.
SIR WALTER BLUNT, friend to the King.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 3.
Act V. sc. 1; sc. 3.

THOMAS PERCY, Earl of Worcester. Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 5.

HENRY PERCY, Earl of Northumberland. Appears, Act I, sc. 3.

HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, son to the Earl of Northumberland.

Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4. EDMUND MORTIMER, Earl of March. Appears, Act III. sc. 1.

SCROOP, Archbishop of York.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 4.

SIR MICHAEL, a friend of the Archbishop. Appears, Act IV. sc. 4.

ARCHIBALD, Earl of Douglas.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4. OWEN GLENDOWER.

Appears, Act III. sc. 1.


Appears, Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 5. SIR JOHN FALSTAFF.

Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 3; sc. 4.


Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3.


Appears, Act II. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4.


Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4.


Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3.
Act IV. sc. 2.

LADY PERCY, wife to Hotspur, and sister to

Appears, Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1. LADY MORTIMER, daughter to Glendower, and wife to Mortimer.

Appears, Act III. sc. 1.

MRS. QUICKLY, hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap.

Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3.

Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, Two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.


There is no List of Characters in the old copies.

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K. HEN. So shaken as we are, so wan with care,

Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenc'd in stronds a afar remote.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,


Entrance. In the variorum editions of Shakspere, except Malone's of 1821, we have the following correction of the text:

"No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil."

This reading was suggested by Monck Mason, and adopted by Steevens. Erinnys, according to Monck Mason, is the Fury of Discord. The first conjecture of Steevens was that the word was entrants; the suggestion of Douce was entrails. The original text is somewhat obscure; but the obscurity is perfectly in the manner of Shakspere, and in great part arises from the boldness of the metaphor. Entrance is put for mouth; and if we were to read, "No more the thirsty mouth of this earth shall daub her lips with the blood of her own children," we should find little more difficulty than with the passage in Genesis, which was probably in Shakspere's mind when he wrote the line:-" And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy

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