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The theme, as well as its treatment and the spirit which informs the whole, is essentially epic and lyrical rather than dramatic; and the words addressed by Ben Jonson to the arch-patriot among English poets - the poet of the Ballad of Agincourt, "his friend, Michael Drayton' - might more justly be applied to the patriot-dramatist of Agincourt,
"Look how we read the Spartans were inflamed
1 Ben Jonson's Vision on the Muses of his Friend, Michael Drayton. Jonson seems to have objected to Shakespeare's method in Henry V. See Prologue to Every Man in his Humour (added to the play after 1601),
"He rather prays you will be pleased to see
One such, to-day, as other plays should be;
Towards the end of his career, in his Winter's Tale, Shakespeare spoke again, in the person of the Chorus Time (iv. 1. 7–9), in defence of his
To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour
To plant and o'erwhelm custom."
KING HENRY THE FIFTH.
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, brothers to the King.
Duke of Bedford,
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.
SIR THOMAS GREY.
SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, GOWER, FLUellen, MacMorris, Jamy, officers in King Henry's army. BATES, COURT, WILLIAMS, soldiers in the same. PISTOL, NYM, Bardolph.
CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France.
LEWIS, the Dauphin.
Dukes of Burgundy, Orleans, and Bourbon.
RAMBURES and GrandprÉ, French Lords.
Governor of Harfleur.
MONTJOY, a French Herald.
Ambassadors to the King of England.
ISABEL, Queen of France.
KATHARINE, daughter to Charles and Isabel.
ALICE, a lady attending on her.
Hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap, formerly Mistress Quickly, and now married to Pistol.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, and Attendants.
SCENE - England: afterwards France.
Chor. 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!
The flat unraised spirits that have 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
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
SCENE I. London. An ante-chamber in the
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, and the
Cant. My lord, I'll tell you; that self bill is
Which in the eleventh year of the last king's reign Was like, and had indeed against us pass'd,