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PARTS I AND II OF KING HENRY IV
By ISRAEL GOLLANCZ, M.A.
THE EARLY EDITIONS
(1) The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, entered on the Stationers' Registers, under date of February 25, 1597–8, appeared for the first time in a Quarto edition, with the following title-page:-“The History of Henrie the Fourth; with the battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henrie Hotspur of the North. With the humorous conceits of Sir John
At London. Printed by P. S. for Andrew
No less than five subsequent Quarto editions appeared before the publication of the play in the first Folio; they were issued in 1599, 1604, 1608, 1613, 1622. Other. Quartos belong to the years 1632 and 1639. Each edition seems to have been derived from its predecessor.
The title of the play in the Folio is, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Surnamed Hotspurre.” The Cambridge editors refer the Folio text to a partially corrected copy of the fifth Quarto. The earlier Quartos were, however, probably consulted by the corrector.
(II) The Second part of King Henry the Fourth was first published in Quarto in 1600, with the following titlepage:-“The Second part of Henrie the fourth, continuing to his death, and coronation of Henry the fifth. With the humours of Sir John Falstaffe, and swaggering
Pistoll. As it hath been sundry times publikely acted by the right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by William Shakespeare. London.
London. Printed by V. S. for Andrew Wise and William Aspley. 1600." (Cp. Grigg's Facsimile edition.) The play was entered by the publishers upon the Stationers' Registers on August 23rd of the same year.
By some accident the first scene of Act III had been omitted in some copies of the Quarto. The error was rectified by inserting two new leaves, the type of some of the preceding and following leaves being used; hence there are two different impressions of the latter part of Act II and the beginning of Act II, ii.
The text of this part in the first Folio was probably ultimately derived from a transcript of the original MS. It contains passages which had evidently been originally omitted in order to shorten the play for the stage. “Some of these are among the finest in the play, and are too closely connected with the context to allow of the supposition that they were later additions, inserted by the author after the publication of the Quarto” (Cambridge editors). Similarly, the Quarto contains passages not found in the Folio, and for the most part "the Quarto is to be regarded as having the higher critical value.”
DATE OF COMPOSITION
There is almost unanimity among scholars in assigning 1 Henry IV to the year 1596–1597. (i) According to Chalmers, the opening lines of the play "plainly allude” to the expedition against Spain in 1596. Similarly the expression “the poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose” (II, i) may be connected with the Proclamation for the Dearth of Corn, etc., issued in the same year. The introduction of the word "valiant," detrimental to the meter of the line, in Act V, iv, 41,