Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: James Mardock
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-409-7

    Copyright James Mardock. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: James Mardock
    Peer Reviewed

    Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)

    Enter Prologue.
    O For a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
    The brightest Heauen of Inuention:
    A Kingdome for a Stage, Princes to Act,
    5And Monarchs to behold the swelling Scene.
    Then should the Warlike Harry, like himselfe,
    Assume the Port of Mars, and at his heeles
    ( Leasht in, like Hounds) should Famine, Sword, and Fire
    Crouch for employment. But pardon, Gentles all:
    10The flat vnraysed Spirits, that hath dar'd,
    On this vnworthy Scaffold, to bring forth
    So great an Obiect. Can this Cock-Pit hold
    The vastie fields of France? Or may we cramme
    Within this Woodden O. the very Caskes
    15That did affright the Ayre at Agincourt?
    O pardon: since a crooked Figure may
    Attest in little place a Million,
    And let vs, Cyphers to this great Accompt,
    On your imaginarie Forces worke.
    20Suppose within the Girdle of these Walls
    Are now confin'd two mightie Monarchies,
    Whose high, vp-reared, and abutting Fronts,
    The perillous narrow Ocean parts asunder.
    Peece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
    25Into a thousand parts diuide one Man,
    And make imaginarie Puissance.
    Thinke when we talke of Horses, that you see them
    Printing their prowd Hoofes i'th' receiuing Earth:
    For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings,
    30Carry them here and there: Iumping o're Times;
    Turning th'accomplishment of many yeeres
    Into an Howre-glasse: for the which supplie,
    Admit me Chorus to this Historie;
    Who Prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
    35Gently to heare, kindly to iudge our Play.