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concealed satire in this line of Henry's speech. Tennis balls were covered with white leather, but gun-stones became black from being discoloured by the powder and smoke of the cannon. And such a change Henry hints that he would certainly effect. In illustration of this passage Steevens quotes “ The Brut of England," in which it is said that, when Henry the Fifth, before Hare-flewe, received a taunting message from the Dauphin of France, and a ton of tennis-balls by way of contempt, “he anone lette make tennis-balls for The Dolfyn (Henry's ship) in alle the haste that they might; and they were great grunne-stones for the Dolfyn to playo withall. But this game at tennis was too rough for the besieged, when Henry played at the tennis with his bard gunne-stones.” The provision of this kind of ammunition, made by the king, is mentioned by Grose in his “ History of the


(1) SCENE I.-Pish for thee, Iceland dog! thou prickcar'd cur of Iceland !] The Iceland, or Island dog, as the name is often spelt by our old authors, was a shag-haired animal, imported in great numbers from Iceland, which it was the fashion for ladies to carry about with them.“ Use and custome hath entertained other Dogs of an Out-landish kinde, but a few and the same being of a pretty bigness, I mean Island Dogs, curled and rough all over, which by reason of the length of their hair make shew neither of face nor of body: And yet these Curs, forsooth, because they be so strange, are greatly set by, esteemed, taken up, and many times in the room of the Spaniel gentle or comforter.”*_TOPSEL's History of Fourjooted Beasts, 1658.

It is mentioned in the play of “Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks," 1611:

you shall have jewels,

A baboon, a parrot, and an Izeland dog." And again in the Masque of “Britannia Triumphans," 1636:

she who hath been bred to stand Near chair of queen, with Island shock in hand." (2) SCENE III.-'A made a finer end, and went away, an it had been any christom child.] The chrisom, so called from chrism, the holy oil which was anciently used in baptism, was a white cloth, placed on the child's head, and always wom by it for seven days afterwards. After the Reformation the sacred oil was no longer used, but the chrisom was


(1) SCENE V.-And teach lavoltas high, and swift corintos.] Larolta, a dance of Italian origin, appears by the description given of it in Thoinot Arbeau's "Orchesographie," and in Florio's “World of Words,” to have somewhat resembled the modern“ Polka.” It is frequently mentioned by our earlier writers, and was evidently much in vogue about Shakespeare's time :

“So may you see by two Laralto danced,

Who face to face about the house do hop;
And when one mounts, the other is advanced,
At once they move, at once they both do stop."

An old-fashioned Lore. Poem by J.T. 1594.
" Yet there is one the most delightfull kind,

A loftie iumping or a leaping round, * This description we find Topsel has borrowed from Abraham Flemiag's translation of “Caius de Canibus," 1576, “Of English Dogges."

English Army," i. p. 400, as stated in a writ directed to the Clerk of the Ordnance and John Bonet, mason, of Maidstone, to cut 7,000 stone-shot in the quarries at that place. As Henry's gun-stones were all to be transported across the sea, they were probably not very large; but when Mahomet the Second besieged Constantinople in 1453, he battered the walls with stone-shot, and some of his pieces were of the calibre of 1,200 lbs. ; but they could not be tired more than four times in the day. The well-known circumstance of the tennis-balls, which Shakespeare has introduced into this scene, is noticed by several contemporaneous historians; but the probability of it is questioned by Hume. For an examination into the truth of the story, see Sir N. H, Nicolas's “History of the Battle of Agincourt,” pp. 8--13.

retained, the child wearing it until the purification of the mother by the rite of churching. If an infant died before this latter ceremony, the chrisom formed its shroud, from which circumstance, probably, children, in the old bills of mortality, are denominated chrisoms.

This is

(3) SCENE III.—'A parted even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o' the tide.) The opinion that animals, more particularly man, die only at the ebb of tide is of great antiquity, and was not peculiar to the profane vulgar. In the short chapter in which Pliny notices the marvels of the sea, he says that Aristotle affirms “that no living creature dieth but in the reflux and ebb of the sea. much observed in the Gallic Ocean, but is found true, in experience, only as to man.”Hist. Nat., lib. ii. c. xcviii. Dr. Mead, in his Tract, On the Influence of the Sun and Moon on Bodies, originally published in 1704, chap. ii., enters into an elaborate examination of this question, in which, having shown the moon's power over the tides when new and full, he illustrates his inquiry by several cases, ancient and modern, of great and fatal changes having taken place at those periods. If, at the present day, any importance is to be attributed to those seasons as critical times, it is probably on the principle that a great external disturbance, whether meteorological or otherwise, unduly excites and quickens the nervous-action, to bring on a moro rapid crisis ; and, in the case of dying persons, unnaturally agitates and expends those vital powers which were already nearly exhausted.

Where arme in arme, two dauncers are entwin'd,
And whirle themselves with strict embracements bound,
And still their feet an Anapest do sound :
An Anapest is all their musick's song,
Whose first two feet are short, and third is long."

Orchestra, by Sir John DAVIES, 1622. Stanza 70. The Coranto has been already spoken of as a dance characterised by the spirit and rapidity of its movements. See note (b), p. 20. It is thus described in Davies' Orchestra :"

“What shall I name those currant travases,
That on a triple Dactile foot doe runne
Close by the ground with sliding passages,
Wherein that Dauncer greatest praise hath wonne:
Which with best order can all orders shunne:
For every where he wantonly must range,
And turne and wind, with unexpected change."

Stanza 69.

(2) SCENE VI.-

Fortune is Bardolph's foe, and frowns on him ;

For he hath stul'n a pax.] It was customary, in the early Church, for Christians, in conformity with the words of St. Paul, “to salute one another with a holy kiss.” This ceremony appears to have obtained until about the twelfth or thirteenth century, when, for some reason not clearly defined, the laity (for the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church still practise it at High Mass,) were required to kiss, instead, an instrument called indifferently a pax, a tabula pacis, or an osculatorium. This was a small plate of metal, precious or otherwise, according to circumstances, having a religious subject engraved upon its surface, generally a representation of the crucitixion; and the proper time for using it was at that part of the mass just before the communion, where the priest recites the prayer for peace.

The pax itself became disused in its turn, owing, it is said, to certain jealousies about precedence, an irregularity rebuked by Chaucer's “ Persone :” -“And yit is ther a prive spice of pride, that wayteth first to be saluet er he saliewe, al be he lasse worth than that other is, paradventure; and eek wayteth or desireth to sitte above him, or to go above him in the way, or kisse the pax, or ben encensed, or gon to the offringe biforn his neighebore.” Nevertheless, the use of the pax was not at first abrogated at the Reformation in England, but, on the contrary, enforced by the Royal Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Edward VI.

The act of sacrilege which Shakespeare has fathered upon Bardolph agrees in the main with Holinshed's statement :- " That a folish soldiour stale a pixe out of a churche, for which cause he was apprehended, and the king would not once remove till the box was restored, and the offender strangled.”

The elder commentators thought it necessary to reconcile Shakespeare's text with Holinshed, by reading pix instead of par; but without reason, as the alteration was most likely deliberate on the part of the poet. The pix was a sacred vessel, made sometimes of precious metal, but more usually of copper gilt, and intended to receive the consecrated host for conveyance to the sick. Shakespeare might well shrink from bringing anything of this nature in contact with Falstatl's worthless old retainer. We may add that the first line of Pistol's speech

" Fortune is Bardolph's foe, and frowns on him"conveys an allusion to the famous old ballad, “Fortune

my Foe,'

" Fortune my Foe, why dost thou frown on me?" See note (3), p. 688, Vol. I.

(3) SCENE VI,-A beard of the general's cut.] Not the least odd among the fantastic fashions of our forefathers, was the custom of distinguishing certain professions and classes by the cut of the beard : thus we hear, inter alia, of the bishop's-beurd, the judge's-beard, the soldier's-beard, the citizen's-beard, and even the clown's-beard. The peculiar shape appropriated to the Bench we have failed to discover : but Randle Holme tells us, “ the broad or cathedral beard [is] so called because bishops and gownmen of the church anciently did wear such beards.” By


(1) The armourers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closiny rivets up,

Give dreadjul note of preparation.] The din of preparation before battle has always been a favourite theme of poets. Chaucer has a passage much

the military man, the cut adopted was known as the stiletto or the spacle :-" he [the barber] descends as low as his beard, and asketh whether he please to be shaven or no? whether he will have his peak cut short and sharp, amiable, like an inamorato, or broade pendante, like a spade, to be terrible, like a warrior and soldado 1"GREENE's Quip for an Upstart Courtier, 1592.

The beard of the citizen was usually worn round, as Mrs. Quickly describes it, “like a glover's paring-knife ;" and that of the clown was left bushy or untrimmed :

“Next the clown doth out-rush,

With the beard of the bush."
Old Ballad, quoted by Malone from a Miscellany, entitled,

"Le Prince d'Amour," 1660. For additional particulars on the subject of beards, consult F. W. Fairholt's “Costume in England." Lond. 1$46.


There's for thy labour, Montjoy.
Go, bid thy master well advise himself :
ļi xe may pass, we will; if we be hinderd,
ile shall your tawny ground with your red blood

Discolour : and so, Montjoy, fare you well.] The embassy here referred to, and even the words of Henry on that occasion, are taken from the following passage in Holinshed. Thirty of the French King's council

agreed that the Englishmen should not depart unfought withall, and five were of a contrary opinion ; but the greater number ruled the matter: and so Montjoy, King at Armes, was sent to the King of England, to detie him as the enemie of France, and to tell him that he should shortlie have battell. King Henrie aivisedlie answered, “Mine intent is to doo as it pleaseth God. I will not seeke your maister at this time; but if he or his seeke me I will meete with them God willing. If anie of your nation attempt once to stop me in my journie now towarıls Callis, at their jeopardie be it : and yet wish I not anie of you so unadvised as to be the occasion that I dye your tawnie ground with your red blood.' When he had thus answered the herald, he gave him a princelie reward and monie to depart."

It has been supposed that many of the English nobility retained heralds in their households, who bore their names, and proclaimed their titles, even before the reign of Edwari III, when Heraldry and officers of arms began to rise into the greatest eminence. Both the private heralds and the royal heralds received regular stipends, and wore surcoats or tabards embroidered with the armorial ensigns of their patrons; and considerable gratuities or largesses were at one period given to them at all ceremonials in which they performed any duty, either for the king or the nobility. These consisted of coronations, creations of peers and knights, embassies, displaying of banners in the field or at tournaments, processions and progresses, great banquets, baptisms, and funerals; the annual festivals of the Church, and the enthronisation of prelates. Some notion of the amount of these fees is supplied by a record of the reign of Richard II, of the dues and largesses anciently accustomed to be paid to the Kings of Arms and Heralds on such occasions, printed in the Rev. James Dallaway's Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of Heraldry in England, p. 142–148.

resembling the above, which Shakespeare probably remembered :

" Ther fomen steedes, on the golden bridel

Gnawyng, and faste armurers also
With Jyle and hamer prikyng to and fro."

The Knightes Tale, I. 2505.

To both descriptions some poetical licence must be accorded ; and it is difficult to repress a smile at the gravity with which the commentators assume they are to be construed literally. Doubtless, in actual warfare, armour frequently wanted repair; but surely the poor knight had enough to endure in his cumbrous equipment without being made a blacksmith's anvil. No such necessity is recognised in any of the instructions “how to arme a man,” still extant. From these we learn, that about Henry the Fifth's time, when plato armour had superseded chain mail, the “accomplishing a knight consisted in first encasing him in garments of leather or fustian, fitting tight to the person and padded. The arming then began at the feet, and was continued gradually upward, each piece being fastened by “points,” 1.e. laces with tags at the end, or buckles and leather straps. The last thing fixed was the bascinet, or steel skull cap, which was “pinned upon two grete staples before the breste,” and rendered firm by “a double bocle,” or two buckles and straps “behynde upon the back.”*

Thus it is apparent that arming a knight for battle or tourney, although a tedious business, was yet one simply and easily performed, and necessarily so, or the wounded man might die before he could be unharnessed. When Arcite is injured by a fall from his steed, Chaucer tells us that,

he was y-born out of the place With herte sore, to Theseus paleys, Tho was he corven out of his harneys."

The Knightes Tale, 1. 2696. ie, cut out of his armour, meaning that the laces which held it together were cut, for greater expedition.


Why do you stay so long, my lords of France ?
Yond island carrions, desperate of their bones,

Ili-facour’dly become the morning field.] The miserable condition of the English army previous to the battle is feelingly depicted by Holinshed :

“ The Englishemen were brought into great misery in this jomney, their victuall was in maner spent, and nowe coulde they get none; for their enimies had destroied all the core before they came : Reste coulde they none take, for their enimies were ever at hande to give them alarmes : daily it rained, and nightly it freesed : of fewell there was great scarsitie, but of tluxes greate plenty: money they hadde ynoughe, but wares to bestowe it uppon, for their reliefe or comforte, hadde they little or none.'

(2) SCENE 1II.--The feast of Crispian.] Of the martyrs Crispin and Crispinian, whose festival was formerly kept with especial honour in France on the 25th of October, the Golden Legende" says,

(3) SCENE IV.This roaring devil i' the old play, that every one may pare kis nails with a wooden dagger. In the ancient religious dramas, called “Mysteries,” the Devil was usually a very prominent personage. He was hideously apparelled; wore a mask with goggle eyes, wide mouth, and huge nose ; had a red beard, horned head, cloven feet, and hooked nails to his fingers. He was generally armed with a massive club, stuffed with wool, which he laid about him, during the performance, on all within his reach. To frighten others, he was wont to bellow out, “Ho, ho, ho!” and when himself alarmed, he roared, “Out haro, out!” As these popular representations assumed a more secular tone, an addition was made to the dramatis persona, in the shape of a character called the " Vice,” (see note 5, p. 628, Vol. I.) whose chief humour consisted in belabouring the evil-one with a wooden lath or dayger similar to that employed by the modern Harlequin, in skipping on to his back, and, as a crowning affront, in pretending to pare his nails. Shakespeare again alludes to this last exploit in * Twelfth Night," Act IV. Sc. 2:


"I'll be with you again

In a trice,
Like to the old vice,
Your need to sustain.

Who with dagger of lath,
In his rage and his wrath,
Cries, ah, h! to the devil.
Like a mad lad,
Pare thy nails, dad,
Adieu, goodman devil."


“ In the tyme whan the furyous persecucyon of crysten men was vnder Dyoclesyan and Maxymyan toogydre regninge, Cryspyn and Cryspynyan borne at Rome of noble lygnage came with the blessyd sayntes Quyntyn, Faustyan, and Victoryn vnto Parys in Fraunce; and they there chese dyverse places for to preche the fayth of Cryste. Cryspyn and Cryspynyan came to the eyte of Suessyon (Soissons) and chosen that cyte for the place of theyr pylgrymage where they folowed the steppes of saynt Poule the appostle, that is to saye, To laboure with theyr hondes for to provyde to them necessaryly to lyve, and exenysed the craft of makynge of shoes. . In whiche craft they passed other and toke by constraynt no reward of no body, wherefore the gentyles and paynems overcome by love of them, not only for nede of the craft, but also for the love of God came oft to them and left the error of the ydolls and byleuyd in very God."

After a series of persecutions and torments, borne with great constancy, these saints “ receyved the crowne of martyriome on the x kalendes of Novembre," about the

(4) SCENE VI.— Then every soldier kill his prisoners.] “In the meane season, while the battaile thus continued, and that the englishemen had taken a greate number of prisoners, certayne frenchemen on horse back, whereof were capteines Robinet of Bornevill, Riffart of Clamas, Isambert of Agincourt, and other men of armes, to the number of six hundred horssemen, which were the first that tled,-hearing that the english tents and pavilions

a good way distant from the army, without any sufficient gard to defend the same, either upon a covetous meaning to gaine by the spoile, or upon a desire to be revenged, entred upon the kings camp, and there spoiled the bales, robbed the tents, brake up chests, and carried away caskets, and slew suche servants as they founde to make any resistance. For the which acte they were after committed to prison, and had loste their lives, if the Dol. phin had longer lived : for when the outcrye of the lackies and boys which ran away for feare of the frenohmen thus spoiling the campe, came to the kings eares, he doubting least his enemies should gather togither againe and begin a newe fielde; and mistrusting further that the prisoners would either be an aide to his enimies, or verie enimies to their takers in deed if they were suffred to live, contrary to his accustomed gentlenes, commanded by sound of trumpet, that every man (ipon paine of death) should incontinently slaie his prisoner.”-HOLINSHED.

(5) SCENE VIII.-- Let there be sung “Non nobis,” and Te Deum.”] The incidents referred to in the preceding passage appear to be the last for which Shakespeare was indebted to Holinshed in this play ; as well as the last of the more serious parts of the noble dramatic history of the French wars of Henry V. “Aboutе foure of the clocke in the after noone," says the old chronicler, deriving his information from the contemporaneous historian known by the name of Titus Livius,—"the king, when he saw no appearance of enemies, caused the retreit to be blowen; and, gathering his armie together, gave thanks to Almightie God for so happie a victorie : causing his prelates and chapleins to sing this psalm, 'In Exitu Israel de Egypto, and commanded everie man to kneele downe on the ground at this verse, Von nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da gloriam :' which done, he caused «Te Deum,' with certaine anthems to be sung, giving laud and praise to God, without boasting of his owne force, or anie humane power.' In the English version Psalm cxiii. commences, * When

year 27.


Archeologia, xx. 505.

Israel came out of Egypt,” and the verse “Non nobis" chronicler Fabyan. The former historian says that “when forms the beginning of that following; answering to Psalms the king had settled things much to his purpose, he caused cxiv. cxv. of the ordinary Vulgate; though in the older the bodie of King Richard to be removed, with all funerall psalters they are united into one. It will be remem- dignities convenient to his estate, from Langley to Westbered that Shakespeare has given to Henry a very fine minster, where he was honourablie interred, with Queen paraphrase of the Von nobisin his speech on receiving Anne, his first wife, in solenne toome, made and set up the account of the loss sustained by both armies :

at the charges of this king. Polychronicon saith that after

the bodie of the dead king was taken up out of the earth, O God, thy arm was here, And not to us, but to thy arm alone,

this new king, happily tendering the magnificence of a Ascribe we all !"

prince, and abhorring obscure buriall, caused the same to

be conveied to Westminster in a roiall seat or chaire of The command which the king issues in his next speech :- estate, covered all over with black velvet, and adorned with

banners of divers armes round about." Fabyan adds that “ And be it death proclaimed through our host,

“after a solemne terrement there holden, he provided that To boast of this, or take that praise from God, Which is his only," —

fower tapers should bren day and night about his grave

while the world endureth; and one day in the weeke a would appear to have been derived from the following very

solempne Dirige, and upon the morowe a masse of Requiencurious passage in Holinshed, though it really refers to

song by note : after which masse ended to be geven wekely

in Henry's entry into London.

unto the poore people an xis. and viii. pense, “ The king, like a grave and


pense. sober personage, and as one remembering from whom all

upon the daye of his anniversary, after the saide masse of victories are sent, seemed little to regard such valne pompe

Requiem-song, to be yerely distributed for his soule, ex and shewes as were in triumphant sort devised for his wel

pounde in pense.” But notwithstanding Holinshed's praise coming home from so prosperous a journie; insomuch that

of the princely disposition which Henry V. exhibited he would not suffer his helmet to be carried before him,

towards the remains of Richard II. it seems to be almost whereby might have appeared to the people the blowes

certain that, so far as related to the translation of his body and dints that were to be seene in the same: neither

to Westminster, it was only restoring to him the occupation would he suffer any ditties to be made and sung by min

of his own sepulchre. His will proves that the tomb had strels of his glorious victorie, for that he would have the

been actually erected during his own life ; and there are in praise and thanks altogether given to God.”

Rymer's Fredera two indentures made for its erection, between Richard and Henry Yevell and Stephen Lote, Citizens and Masons of London, and Nicholas Broker and

Godfrey Prest, Citizens and Coppersmiths. In our Illustrative Comments on Act V. of “Richard II.”

There is but one other point requiring illustration, which we referred to this play our notice of the removal of the

refers to the meaning of Henry in saying, More will deposed king's hody from Abbot's Langley to Westminster,

do,” in the way of satisfaction for the death of Richard II.: in A.D. 1414. That ceremony appears to have been one of the earliest acts of Henry V. and he refers to it as an act

and a passage in the Chronicles of Monstrelet shews that,

like his father, he designed another crusade. When Henry of penitential restitution, in his speech immediately before

was informed that he could not live more than two hours, the battle of Agincourt, Act IV. Sc. 1:

he “sent for his confessor, some of his household, and his Not to-day, O Lord,

chaplains, whom he ordered to chaunt the Seven Penitential 0! not to-day, think not upon the fault

Psalms. When they came to · Beneilic fac Domine,' where My father made in compassing the crown!

mention is made of the Muri Hierusalem,' (Psalm li. 18,) I Richard's body have interred new,

he stopped them, and said aloud that he had fully intender, And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears,

after he had wholly subdued the realm of France to his Than from it issued forcéd drops of blood. Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,

obedience and restored it to peace, to have gone to conquer Who twice a day their wither'd hands hold up

the kingdom of Jerusalem, if it had pleased his Creator to Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built have granted him longer life.” In the play also, in his Two chantries, where the sad and solenın priests

courtship of the Princess Katharine, Act V. Sc. 2, Henry Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do:

makes the following humorous reference to the same Though all that I can do, is nothing worth,

intention :-“Shall not thou and I, between St. Denis and Since that my penitence comes after all, Imploring pardon.”

St. George, compound a boy, half French, half English,

that shall go to Constantinople and take the Turk by the Shakespeare derived the materials of this speech partly beard? Shall we not? What sayest thou, my fair flowerfrom Holinshed, and partly from the contemporaneous de-luce ?"



(1) A mighty whiffler.] The term is supposed by some to be derived from whitile, a name for a life or flute; and vhitiles, Douce surmises, were originally those who preceded armies or processions as fifers or pipers. Other authorities derive it from ukijile, to disperse as by a puff of wind, and affirm that a whüttler, in its original signification, meant a staff-bearer. In the old play of “ Clyomen, Knight of the Golden Shield,” &c. 1599, a whiffler presents himself at the tourney, clearing a passage for the king; and in Day's “lle of Gulls,” 1606, Miso says :—“And Manasses shall

goe afore like a whiffler, and make way with his horns.”

explain the terin, “means the music of stringed instri. ments, in contradistinction to those played by wind. The term originated probably from harps, lutes, and such other stringed instruments as were played without a bow, not having the capability to sustain a long note to its full duration of sound.” See also Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i. p. 216.

Shakespeare quibbles on the expression in “Troilus and Cressida,” Act III. Sc. 1 :

“Fair prince, here is good broken music;" proving, as Mr. Chappell remarks, that the musicians on the stage were then performing on stringed instruments,

And again in “ As You Like It," Act I. Sc. 2:

“But is there any else longs to see this broken music in his sides?

(1) SCENE II.—Come, your ansver in broken music.] Broken music,” says Mr. Chappell, who was the first to




“KiNG HENRY THE FIFTH is manifestly Shakspeare's favourite hero in English history: he paints him as endowed with every chivalrous and kingly virtue; open, sincere, affable, yet, as a sort of reminiscence of his youth, still disposed to innocent raillery, in the intervals between his perilous but glorious achievements. However, to represent on the stage his whole history subsequent to his accession to the throne, was attended with great difficulty. The conquests in France were the only distinguished event of his reign ; and war is an epic rather than a dramatic object. For wherever men act in masses against each other, the appearance of chance can never wholly be avoided ; whereas it is the business of the drama to exhibit to us those determinations which, with a certain necessity, issue from the reciprocal relations of different individuals, their characters and passions. In several of the Greek tragedies, it is true, combats and battles are exhibited, that is, the preparations for them and their results; and in historical plays war, as the ultima ratio regum, cannot altogether be excluded. Still, if we would have dramatic interest, war must only be the means by which something else is accomplished, and not the last aim and substance of the whole. For instance, in Macbeth, the battles which are announced at the very beginning merely serve to heighten the glory of Macbeth and to fire his ambition: and the combats which take place towards the conclusion, before the eyes of the spectator, bring on the destruction of the tyrant. It is the very same in the Roman pieces, in the most of those taken from English history, and, in short, wherever Shakspeare has introduced war in a dramatic combination. With great insight into the essence of his art, he never paints the fortune of war as a blind deity who sometimes favours one and sometimes another; without going into the details of the art of war, (though sometimes he even ventures on this, he allows us to anticipate the result from the qualities of the general, and their influence on the minds of the soldiers ; sometimes, without claiming our belief for miracles, he yet exhibits the issue in the light of a higher volition: the consciousness of a just cause and reliance on the protection of Heaven give courage to the one party, while the presage of a curse hanging over their undertaking weighs down the other. In Henry the Fifth no opportunity was afforded Shakspeare of adopting the last

mentioned course, namely, rendering the issue of the war dramatic; but he has skilfully availed himself of the first.—Before the battle of Agincourt he paints in the most lively colours the light-minded impatience of the French leaders for the moment of battle, which to them seemed infallibly the moment of victory; on the other hand, he paints the uneasiness of the English King and his army in their desperate situation, coupled with their firm determination, if they must fall, at least to fall with honour. He applies this as a general contrast between the French and English national characters; a contrast which betrays a partiality for his own nation, certainly excusable in a poet, especially when he is backed with such a glorious document as that of the memorable battle in question. He has surrounded the general events of the war with a fulness of individual, characteristic, and even sometimes comic features. A heavy Scotchman, a hot Irishman, a well-meaning, honourable, but pedantic Welshman, all speaking in their peculiar dialects, are intended to show us that the warlike genius of Henry did not merely carry the Eaglish with him, but also the other natives of the two islands, who were either not yet fully united or in no degree subject to him. Several good-for-nothing associates of Falstaff among the dregs of the army either afford an opportunity for proving Henry's strictness of discipline, or are sent home in disgrace. But all this variety still seeined to the poet insufficient to animate a play of which the subject was a conquest, and nothing but a conquest. He has, therefore, tacked a prologue in the technical language of that day a chorus) to the beginning of each act. These prologues, which unite epic pomp and solemnity with lyrical sublimity, and among which the description of the two camps before the battle of Agincourt forms a most

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