« ZurückWeiter »
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 0," the very casques,"
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
0, pardon ! since a crooked figure may
Attest, in little place, a million ;
And let us, cyphers 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 thousands parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance :
(1) This goes upon the notion of the Peripatetic system, which imagined several heavens one above another; the last and highest of which was one of fire.
WARBURTON It alludes likewise to the aspiring nature of fire, which, by its levity, at the sepa ration of the chaos, took the highest seat of all the elements. JOHNSON.
(2) This image of the warlike Henry very much resembles Montfaucon's de scription of the Mars discovered at Bresse, who leads a lion and a lioness in couples and crouching for employment. TOLLET.
(3] Nothing shows more evidently the power of custom over language, than that the frequent use of calling a circle ap o could so much hide the meanness of the metaphor from Shakespeare, that he has used it many times where he makes his most eager attempts at dignity of style. JOHNSON.
 The helmets. JOHNSON.
(5) Imaginary for imaginative, your powers of fancy. JOHNSON.
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.
Duke of BEDFORD
; } brothers to the king.
Duke of Exeter, uncle to the king.
Duke of YORK, cousin to the king.
Earls of SALISBURY,
and WARWICK Archbishop of CANTERBURY. Bishop of EĽr. Earl of CAMBRIDGE, Lord SCROOP, conspirators against the king. Sir Thomas GREY, 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 herald.
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, Mes-
sengers, and Attendants. The SCENE—at the beginning of the play, lies in England;
but afterwards, wholly in France.