Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: James D. Mardock
Peer Reviewed

Textual Introduction

1Two texts, two versions

Shakespeare's plays have been in a process of evolution since their composition, and no text of Henry V -- neither the earliest printed texts nor a modern edition -- can ever be considered to represent a moment of textual perfection. "Unfortunately," writes Andrew Gurr, one of the play's more recent editors, "with the technology of the printed book, editions have to pretend that there is such a moment. It is like using a single snapshot to represent a lifetime. The text exists like a freeze-frame from a moving picture, pretending fixity while in reality it offers only one moment in the process" (Gurr 1992, 64). Editors working with the medium of print have had to contend with this realization, and their solution, for the most part, has been to present the most perfect freeze-frame possible. For most of the twentieth century, following the rationale of the "New Bibliography" pioneered by W. W. Greg and R. B. McKerrow, editors considered the perfect textual moment in a play's evolution to be its conception in the author's mind before the chaos of errors crept in from scribal transmission, performance, and printing; the editor's goal was to approximate Shakespeare's first intentions. The Oxford Shakespeare project of the 1980s began to reposition the perfect moment later in the process, acknowledging that Shakespeare worked collaboratively with other players. The goal of the Oxford editors became the reproduction of the playing script of the first performance, the texts as read and heard in the playhouse during Shakespeare's lifetime. Despite this shift in focus, however, the reproduction of some perfect moment has remained the admittedly impossible goal for a modern edition, and an erasure of the idea of the plays as evolving texts has accompanied that goal.

With the Internet Shakespeare Editions, we have scope to match our editorial assumptions and practices to the evolutionary process. The ISE strives toward the goal, not of a definitive, authoritative play text, but of the "postmodern edition" as defined by Leah Marcus: presenting plural texts that reject "totalizations of all kinds" (Marcus 128). It provides edited texts alongside facsimiles of the original printed documents and searchable diplomatic transcripts of those documents, available for comparison at a mouse click. We are in a position to present the reader with a more dynamic picture than a "freeze frame" of a play's development: a slide show at least, if not a film. To that end, this edition presents fully-annotated texts of both early printed versions of Henry V -- the version printed in the small quarto format in 1600 and the posthumously-published version that appeared in the First Folio of the plays in 1623 -- as authoritative texts of Shakespeare's play. What follows is a discussion of the relationship between the texts, and this edition's treatment of the peculiarities of each.

An entry in the register of the London Stationers' Company, dated 4 August 1600, may provide the earliest surviving evidence of a text of Shakespeare's Henry V. The register item is a "staying entry" -- that is, a claim of ownership designed to prevent unauthorized publication -- for four plays, referred to as "As yow like yt," "Euery man in his Humor," "The co~medie of muche / A doo about nothinge," and "Henrie the ffift." (Greg, Stationers' Records15). If the staying entry does refer to the play that we know as Shakespeare's Henry V, then it failed to prevent the play's publication: only ten days later, when another Stationers' Register entry transfers the copyright of Henry Vto Thomas Pavier (who would publish two later texts of the play), the play is referred to as having been "formerlye printed" (Stationers' Records16). Some version of a play about Henry V, probably Shakespeare's, had been printed in the intervening time, and may already have been in press when the staying entry was recorded.

The staying entry, together with the fact that this first-printed text is roughly half the length of the more familiar version printed in the 1623 Folio, was seen until recently to lend it an air of inauthenticity, and the 1600 text has long been considered to be one of what A. W. Pollard called the "bad quartos" (Pollard 1909; See also Pollard and Wilson 1919), corrupt texts published without the permission of Shakespeare and his company and degraded by the publishers of the First Folio as "stolne and surreptitious copies." The Stationers' Register evidence need not be seen as an indication that the First Quarto was published illicitly, however. Indeed, since the Register often lists plays and other books by titles other than those that have become familiar to us today, this entry may not even refer to the play we know as Henry V. Peter Blayney and Lukas Erne have argued that it is just as likely to refer to Shakespeare's 2 Henry IV, which ends with the coronation of Henry V and was also in the possession of Shakespeare's playing company (Erne 103n.; see also Knutson). If it does refer to Henry V, the 4 August entry, rather than standing as a mark of inauthenticity upon the earlier text, likely represents the Lord Chamberlain's Men's knowledge of its printing, and an attempt to ensure that they were compensated for the use of their popular property (see Knowles 353-64).

5The 1600 version of the play was printed in the small, affordable quarto format, so named for the fact that a standard sheet of paper was folded into quarters and thus made into eight leaves of the book. Referred to by modern scholars simply as Q (or Q1, since two more quartos would be produced in 1602 and 1619), the First Quarto was produced by the printer Thomas Creede for the booksellers Thomas Millington and John Busby, under the title The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, With his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auntient Pistoll. Its text is fairly well printed, but riddled with apparent errors, as well as many discrepant, but not necessarily erroneous readings that appear only in comparison with the Folio text. It consists of 1717 lines, printed entirely as verse.

The version of Henry V printed in the First Folio (F) -- published by Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount with the approval and help of Shakespeare's fellow actors -- is nearly twice as long at 3381 lines, and printed, like most of the plays in the Folio, as a combination of verse and prose. It appears as the fifth play in the "Histories," which are arranged in the Folio chronologically by subject. Printed on twenty-seven pages, or thirteen leaves plus the recto of a fourteenth, the play takes up two full "quires" of three bi-folded, nested sheets (quires h and i), as well as the first three pages of quire k. Although the Folio text of Henry Vdoes contain a number of obvious errors, the type for the play appears to have been set comparatively competently; the majority of its pages (22) were set by the experienced compositor in Jaggard's printing house whom Charlton Hinman designated Compositor A, and the remaining five by the apprentice known as Compositor B, working alongside A (see Blayney xxxii-xxxvii).

Grouped as it once was with the other "bad" quartos, Q Henry V was for many years bound to a rather derogatory narrative of piracy, unauthorized memorial reconstruction, and the hatchet surgery supposed to be attendant on and necessary for provincial touring. Although the stigma dies hard, this narrative was complicated or discarded for the most part after 1979 when Gary Taylor found in Q the signs of deliberate adaptation of an earlier text that served as the basis for F, rather than corruption. Taylor asserted in those essays that "Q represents an accurate text of a different version of the play" -- a "deliberately adapted version" (Three Studies125) -- and made the case for redefining authority away from the author's first thoughts. But when he came to edit the play for Oxford in 1982, he considered Q primarily a historical document having little to do with Shakespearean authority, arguing that "the bulk of the readings in which it differs from F have no claim whatsoever on our attentions" (Taylor 1982, 23). My edition was carried out in the belief that if the variant text of Q reflects not corruption of an authoritative ideal text -- whether by pirates, players, or printers, whether from lack of skill or of scruples -- but rather deliberate adaptation, then whether it came from Shakespeare himself or not, such adaptation has given us two authoritative witnesses to the evolving text of the play.

Since nearly every edition of the play is based upon the Folio text, readers of the Quarto version will find that it omits many of the scenes and speeches with which they are most familiar; among the most obvious are the omissions of all the Chorus's speeches and Henry's "Once more unto the breach" speech before Harfleur (3.1, TLN 1083-1117). The Quarto version opens not with two bishops plotting in private, but with the public council scene (1.2 in the Folio) that culminates in the gift of tennis balls. The squabble between Fluellen and the Irish captain (TLN 1183-1258) does not appear in Q, nor does the scene of the French preparing on the morning of Agincourt (4.2, TLN 2165-2236. The Quarto version's list of speaking roles is also smaller than F's. The work requiring two English bishops (Canterbury and Ely) in F is done by only one untitled bishop in Q. The Duke of Bedford is listed in entrance directions but given no lines, and the characters of Jamy, Macmorris, Westmorland, Erpingham, the English Herald, and the French Queen do not appear at all.

Of the material appearing in F but omitted in Q, the six speeches of the Chorus are perhaps the most glaring. The Chorus is integral to the experience of the play for many readers and audiences. His role as intermediary between the history and the contemporary audience, constantly enjoining us to "entertain conjecture of a time" that both is and is not "Now" (TLN 1790) has been central to critical treatments of the play, and his apologies for the limits of stage representation has been no less central to our picture of Shakespearean dramaturgy. The references in the fifth chorus speech to current hopes for the return of the Earl of Essex from Ireland are the primary evidence on which the dating of the play's composition rests (see TLN 2880-81 n.). What, then, are we to make of the omission of the Chorus in Q? A Chorus-less Henry Vis quite different in tone, which might suggest a revision designed to alter the play's political arguments, but the omission admits of other explanations. As Tiffany Stern has shown, prologues and epilogues were considered by Shakespeare and his contemporaries to be temporary features of plays, sometimes performed only once, at a play's opening, in order to appeal to a first-day audience that had the power to make or break a play's popularity and to vote with their applause for or against repeat performances (Stern, "Small-Beer Health" 172-73). The prologue's entreaty for the audience "Gently to hear, kindly to judge our play" (TLN 35) is an appeal typical of dramatic prologues, as "In your fair minds let this acceptance take" (TLN 3381) is the typical stuff of epilogues. The internal Choruses that precede each act add little if any information crucial to the understanding of the play: the introduction and naming of the traitors in 2.0 is repeated at the beginning of 2.2, and although readers familiar with F will surely miss the brilliance of the description of the camps in the night before Agincourt, the important information is all repeated by characters in the following scenes: the closeness of the camp; the French gambling for English prisoners; the weariness of the English soldiers, and Henry's attempts to cheer them. These speeches are clearly intended for a critically astute audience -- whose stomachs might be offended by a play (TLN 502) -- in a permanent playhouse (TLN 498), specifically a "Wooden O" (TLN 14) -- and if not for a specifically London-based audience, then one familiar enough with the environs to picture the city's geographical relation to Blackheath (TLN 2866). Thus the Folio's inclusion of the choric speeches, as Stern suggests (174), may well reflect its provenance as the script for Henry V's first performance, with the assumption that the speeches were disposable and would not be performed later, especially if the play was performed on tour in a variety of non-playhouse venues.

10The material appearing in only in Q is extremely limited. Unlike the first (so-called "bad") quarto of Hamlet, Q1 Henry V contains no full scenes that do not appear in Folio, though it does bear sole witness to several short speeches. Because of their brevity and relative lack of important content, these have sometimes been explained as interpolations by the actors; the majority of such brief speeches come from the more "comic" characters, which may indicate improvisation for laughs. In the Quarto version, for instance, Pistol admonishes his new wife at their leave-taking not with "Keep close, I thee command" (TLN 882-83), but with the bawdier "Keep fast thy buggle boe." At the siege of Harfleur in Q, Nym offers a sardonic comment on the justification for the death toll: "'Tis honor, and there's the humor of it" (TLN 1126.1), which may recall Falstaff's soliloquy on honor at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1 Henry IV. After the order to kill the French prisoners at Agincourt, Q has Pistol repeat his favorite pidgin-French threat, "Couple gorge" (TLN 2522.1), perhaps an indication that he cuts his captured French soldier's throat onstage. Only Q contains Pistol giving the fig to Flewellen a third time -- "the fig within thy bowels and thy dirty maw" (TLN 1507.1) -- and only Q records Flewellen's wonderfully dismissive response: "Captain Gower, cannot you hear it lighten and thunder?" (TLN 1507.3). The traditional editorial response to actorly interpolation and improvisation has been to denigrate it, perhaps internalizing Hamlet's complaint that clownish riffing is "villainous" (TLN 1891). But even if it were provable that these lines in Q record the additions of the players, such a provenance need not be seen as lacking authority; Shakespearean play texts evolved freely in the hands of the colleagues for whom he wrote them.

The Quarto transposes the order of lines at several points, and even that of scenes. In some cases, such as the different order of lines in Henry's "Crispin's Day" speech, the differences between Q and F appear more or less inconsequential, but in other cases they produce markedly different effects. The Folio version of the play, for example, has two scenes (3.7 and 4.2) set among the French lords at Agincourt; the Quarto omits the latter, but transposes a version of its final couplet -- "Come, come away. / The sun is high and we outwear the day" (TLN 2235-36) -- to the end of the former scene, replacing a couplet that declares the time to be two in the morning. To T. W. Craik, this is a sign of faulty memorial reconstruction of the Quarto scene, since only thirty-seven Quarto lines earlier we are told that it is not yet morning (TLN 1706), and in the following scene it is still night in the English camp. Whoever was cobbling together the scene from memory, Craik argues, simply "found the wrong couplet easier to remember than the right one" (Craik 23). Perhaps, but the differences in the Quarto seem rather deliberate, and arguably more believable: it consistently omits the references to specific hours in the Folio version ("midnight" at TLN 1715, "two o'clock" at TLN 1786, "the third hour of drowsy morning" at TLN 1805) that draw attention to the artificiality of dramatic time compression more starkly than the Quarto's move from night to day. Ending the only pre-battle French scenes with the "come away" couplet artfully maintains the urgency of the longer version and dramatically increases the miraculousness of the battle by heightening the contrast between the French overconfidence and their shame: the next time we see these lords in the Quarto, they have already lost the battle.

On the subject of French bluster before Agincourt: one of most striking differences between the Q and F texts is the identity of the boastful lord who composes a sonnet to his horse and becomes the butt of the constable's mockery (TLN 1624-1715). In the Quarto text, this character is the Duke of Bourbon, but in the Folio text, it is the dauphin himself. Historically, the dauphin did not fight at Agincourt, a fact that Shakespeare knew from both his chronicle and dramatic sources. Indeed, in Shakespeare's play, the French king forbids his son to accompany the army that confronts the English (see TLN 1444 n.). The Q version, in which the dauphin disappears after scene 8, is more historically accurate and internally consistent; Gary Taylor argues that it represents a later authorial revision, and his otherwise Folio-based edition accordingly replaces the dauphin with Bourbon. But the choice to bring the dauphin to Agincourt in F produces a satisfying dramatic balance, as the sender of the tennis balls gets the battlefield comeuppance that Henry seems to promise in 1.2 and Exeter in 2.4; to my knowledge, no modern production of the play has passed up the chance to give the dauphin his due by deleting him from Agincourt in the name of historical accuracy.

These textual differences have been primarily discussed as evidence for the dating, priority, relationship, and relative authority of the 1600 and 1623 documents, and I will treat these issues below. First, however, I want to think about what they tell us about the plays as plays, or rather as two distinct records of Shakespeare's play as performed at different times and in different venues, producing two distinct groups of arguments about the historical events they represent.

The Chorus speeches may not add much information, but they do add a tone; as discussed above, the Folio's most insistent declarations of the nobility of the English military enterprise are to be found in the Chorus's introductions to each act, but these idealizing representational lines are often at odds with the presentational picture of Henry and his war found in the subsequent scenes. Without the Chorus, the Quarto version of the play avoids these jarring juxtapositions. As Annabel Patterson has argued, although it lacks many of the most stridently pro-Henry lines, the Quarto's version of the play comes across as paradoxically more sympathetic to the king because it lacks the ironizing potential of this mismatch between celebratory remembrance and personated history ("Two Versions" 39).

15Similarly, the fact that the Quarto version begins with the bishop's justification for war without the additional opening scene in the Folio showing that justification in the cynical light of episcopal politics presents a less troublesome version of Henry's actions. The omission of Jamy and Macmorris may be due to casting difficulties or, as Taylor has suggested, to fears of the Scottish king's disapproval (Three Studies85), but it also has the effect of omitting the internecine squabbles that plague the British officers in the Folio. In the Quarto text, Henry ends the scene with his soldiers with a joke, rather than with a soliloquized complaint about his subjects' ingratitude. The horrors of war that he promises to visit on Harfleur (TLN 1260-1302) are substantially lessened by the Quarto's shorter version of the scene; threats of rape and infanticide are notably missing, as are, at the scene's end, his confession of his army's sickness and his plans to retreat. Taylor sees these omissions as "deliberate and coherent. . . in the interests of simplifying the play into patriotism" (Three Studies 130).

But Q1 Henry V hardly presents a simple or unambiguously patriotic portrait of its subject; many of the morally questionable aspects of Henry's character and actions appear in both versions. The anonymous Queen's Men EditionsFamous Victories, Shakespeare's source for the structural outline of Henry V, shows what a bluffly jingoistic dramatization of Henry's war he could have produced. It takes the siege of Harfleur offstage, entirely omits both the Southampton treason and the killing of the prisoners, and in avoiding all mention of the English retreat to Calais, gives the impression that the Agincourt campaign was nothing but one unstoppable march to victory. Indeed, the more patriotic productions of Shakespeare's play that have cut these more distressing elements might have taken the smoothed-over plot of Famous Victories as a model. The Quarto of Shakespeare's play, like the Folio, portrays a king who turns the responsibility for Harfleur's fate on French heads, a king whose security is threatened by treason, who picks fights with his soldiers while in disguise, and who, in his subjects' eyes, bears the responsibility for Falstaff's death. Shakespeare -- or any other agents involved in producing the Quarto version of his play -- could easily have removed the more questionable aspects of Henry's character with more strategic cutting, but they did not. Evidently the ambiguity of the portrait was seen as a central and desirable aspect of Shakespeare's dramatization of history.

If it does not offer a markedly more positive view of Henry, Q does give a subtly different view of the English collectively; in the shorter play they present a more unified front, and not only because Q omits the scene of the squabbling captains. In the Folio version, Henry's rhetoric preserves a careful distinction between the nobility and the commons in his army. In the rallying speech before Harfleur, the king addresses the "noble English" (TLN 1100) separately from the "good yeomen" (TLN 1108) exhorting the former to "be copy now to men of grosser blood / And teach them how to war" (TLN 1107-8). Henry may say he sees the noble luster in the men's hearts, but in the same sentence he reminds them of their low-born baseness (TLN 1112-13). In both texts, the rhetoric of the "Crispin's day" speech conjures the equality of the field, claiming that anyone who fights at Agincourt, "be he ne'er so vile, / This day shall gentle his condition" (TLN 2305-6). After the battle, however, when the Folio text sees Henry listing the English dead, he specifically enumerates only the four slain noblemen and "None else of name" (TLN 2824), proving as stalwart in his preservation of class distinction as Montjoy, in his distress at the heaps of French casualties mixing vulgar and princely blood. All these instances are absent from the Quarto, with the result that the brotherhood Henry offers his men in that version of the play is never ironized or undercut.

The strikingly different appearance of the two printed texts on the page furthers the more egalitarian sense of the Quarto. The Folio text firmly demarcates between prose and verse lines. With a few exceptions -- notably, Henry speaks in prose while disguised among the soldiers, and shifts from verse to prose during his artfully plainspoken wooing of the princess -- common folk in the Folio version of the play speak in prose and nobility in meter, reifying class structure in the rhythms of characters' speech. Thus Henry's band-of-brothers rhetoric is undercut by the fact that he is visually and aurally not of his underlings' ilk. The Quarto, on the other hand, is set as if every line were verse, with ragged right justification and consistent first-letter capitalization. Though much of the lineation is faulty and indeed speeches F prints as prose do not always become verse, exactly, there is a thoroughgoing attempt to make everyone's speeches look the same. Moreover, even aside from the speeches of Pistol, whose prose rhythms echo the bombast of Marlovian dramatic verse as a character trait, lines that appear as prose in the Folio approach the rhythm of the verse in which they are set in the Quarto. In the 1623 text, Williams's speech at TLN 1982-86 is not just printed as prose, but distinctly non-metrical:

Williams.But if the Cause be not good, the King him-
selfe hath a heauie Reckoning to make, when all those
Legges, and Armes, and Heads, chopt off in a Battaile,
shall ioyne together at the latter day, and cry all, Wee dy-
ed at such a place

The corresponding lines in the Quarto, while not strictly regular, seem adjusted toward the iambic:

But the king hath a heauy reckoning to make,
If his cause be not good: when all those soules
Whose bodies shall be slaughtered here,
Shall ioyne together at the latter day,
And say I dyed at such a place.

The setting of the Quarto entirely in verse may simply be the result of printing-house expedience, but in comparison with a more familiar version of the play that keeps its classes segregated by speech, it does have potential political implications. Alfred Hart found the universality of the apparent verse to be troubling -- "King, queen, cardinal, duchess, peer, soldier, lover, courtier, artisan, peasant, servant and child all speak alike" (104) -- and perhaps class bias fed into his reading of Q as "illiterate." But we might just as easily see it as an attempt in Q to render the English as the more unified community that the Folio's choruses promise, but that the Folio play does not quite deliver.

The pattern is compounded by the two versions' different use of first-person pronouns. In both texts, King Henry's public speeches frequently use the royal "we" that links him as "Harry England" to the nation: "We are no tyrant," etc. In the Folio, he occasionally makes what seem like strategic shifts to "I" to clarify that he speaks for himself as a man. In Q, Henry rarely calls himself "I" in public, and his use of the "we" is not always as clearly marked as the royal pronoun. In the first lines of the Quarto play, for example, the king postpones the admission of the French ambassador "till we be resolved / Of some serious matters touching us and France." (Q TLN 149-51). The pronouns might refer to himself or to his council. In F the volitional verb and the specification of "our thoughts" make clear that Henry speaks only of himself: "We would be resolved, / Before we hear him, of some things of weight / That task our thoughts concerning us and France" (F TLN 149-51). Similarly ambiguous is Henry's "May we with right and conscience make this claim?" (Q TLN 243), a line where F's Henry uses "I." When responding to the dauphin's mock in F, Henry shifts mid-speech from a clearly royal plural to singular. In Q, the shift is rather from a royal to a collective we, with nine pronouns in twenty lines differing from the Folio; in the Quarto, the English claim France; the English are coming on to venge them as they may. When Montjoy announces himself with "You know me by my habit" (TLN 1563), the Folio Henry engages him in a man-to-man conversation: "Well then, I know thee. What shall I know of thee?" (F TLN 1564). The Quarto Henry, by using "we" instead, seems to force the French herald to include the troops as well, and later jeers that "We" -- not "I" -- "know thy quality" (Q TLN 1587). The pattern is not even confined to Henry; the Quarto version of Exeter also substitutes "we" for the Folio's "I" (TLN 1006). As a duke before a king, Exeter has no right to use the royal plural; his line in Quarto suggests that his embassage comes from the English as a whole. The textual differences in the Quarto play set up a thorough pattern of collectivizing the English endeavors.

20The relationship between Folio and Quarto

In the absence of manuscripts of Shakespeare's plays, our knowledge of how the two versions of Henry V relate to each other -- which came first, whether the Quarto play was cut from a longer text or the Folio play expanded from a shorter, what people or processes are responsible for the changes between the two -- must rely on what we know of the Elizabethan theater business and book trade, and on the fossil record of the printed texts themselves. What do these fossils tell us about the provenance, precedence, and relationship of these two versions of the Henry V? The history of the play's editing is largely the answer to this question, and it is grounded in the history of the reception of the first Quarto.

The earliest editors of the play, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, suggested three theories to explain the cuts, omissions, and patterns of discrepancies: that the Quarto represents a source text by another author (akin to The Famous Victories), that it represents a rough draft by the young Shakespeare, or that it was poorly transcribed and pirated by an unscrupulous audience member in the playhouse, at a performance of the longer version of the play that was later printed in the 1623 Folio with the authority of the playing company. These theories proceeded without the benefit of our fuller knowledge of Elizabethan shorthand, the practices of the printing house and playhouse, and a fuller range of dating evidence, and Laurie Maguire aptly dismisses them in Shakespearean Suspect Texts(7). Even with the benefits of twentieth- and twenty-first-century bibliographical scholarship, scholars remain divided about the relationship between the two Henry Vs, and we are unlikely ever conclusively to determine a correct answer, to produce a single, provable narrative of textual transmission. Saying this is simply judicious caution. I agree with Annabel Patterson on what

should be a cardinal rule governing the interpretation of textual divergences between quartos and folios; namely, that no single hypothesis is likely to be able to explain all the instances of textual divergence; and that it is better to admit this in advance than to be forced to introduce exceptions that shake the primary hypothesis at its roots. (Patterson, "Two Versions" 38-39).

With that caveat in mind, the following discussion of several modern explanations for the divergent texts must acknowledge each of them to be partly inadequate, each forced to admit of exceptions and counterevidence.

For the obvious reason of chronological priority, the earliest editors of Shakespeare believed the first printed texts of the plays to reflect the earliest versions. Nearly every textual scholar today believes the Quarto to have been shortened from the fuller text that is linked to the Folio, rather than the Folio's copy text having been expanded and derived from the shorter version. The reference in F's act-five chorus to "the general of our gracious empress" (TLN 2880) has been read by almost all critics as a reference to the Earl of Essex; if this is correct, it would seem to date the composition of the Folio version of the play between March and September of 1599, well before the printing of the Quarto (see TLN 2880-81 n. and TLN 1524 n.). That interpretation of the allusion has never been quite unanimous, however, and Steven Urkowitz has argued repeatedly since 1980 -- starting with his Shakespeare's Revision of King Lear -- that all of the earlier versions of plays that differ from their counterparts in the Folio represent earlier stages in Shakespeare's revising process, a consistent and continuous endeavor of expansion and artistic improvement. In this view, the 1600 Quarto might have been printed from the promptbook of a Henry V that had been performed in the 1590s, and was no longer in use since Shakespeare had revised and expanded the play into, if not the Folio version, then a step toward that version. Urkowitz's model is appealing for its picture of an author humanized by his less polished early drafts and deeply invested in the artistic quality of his plays. Even as his theory denigrates the Quarto text as rougher, it valorizes it as authorial, and it helps produce an attractive and, I believe, accurate picture of the fluid, evolving nature of the play.

Both texts of the play contain obvious errors, and it is true that F has many more readings that seem more "correct" than their equivalents in Q. It is also the case that F often includes versions of passages or whole scenes that are more complex or subtle than their equivalents in Q, if any equivalents exist. But several factors in the texts indicate that the Folio was set from an earlier version of the play. The Quarto does correct the occasional error in F -- correctly giving the traitor Grey's name as "Henry" at TLN 778, for example, where F reads "Thomas." Moreover, judgments about complexity, subtlety, and artistry are too subjective to admit as proof, and it is sometimes impossible to determine the direction of "improvement"; a revising author, as Gary Taylor has argued, might easily have changed F's "base pander" (TLN 2473) to Q's "base leno," a more erudite and uncommon synonym ("Shakespeare's Leno"). Similarly, the Quarto's "caning drone" seems more evocative than F's "yawning" one (TLN 351); and when Edward III is described in Q as having "Unmasked his power for France" (TLN 294), it contributes to the pattern of imagery comparing war and statecraft to theater in a way that F's much more banal "went with his forces into France" does not.

The rough-draft theory must explain the material found in F but omitted in Q as evidence of expansion rather than deletion, but too many of the omissions in Q simply look like cuts. In the Folio, for example, Fluellen complains about the direction of the mines and the English countermines in order that he and Macmorris will have something to argue about. The Quarto has no Macmorris, but Fluellen complains about the mines anyway, to no apparent purpose and with no resolution, as the scene turns immediately to Henry's parley with Harfleur. Urkowitz's theory would have to propose that Shakespeare had the Welsh captain bring up the mines, then later added a reason for him to have done so.

25The majority of scholars, myself included, believe on the internal evidence that the Folio was printed from an earlier version of the play than was the Quarto. It remains to explain how and why the later text was so drastically shortened and changed. For most of the twentieth century, the narrative of memorial reconstruction comprised the majority of this explanation. The earlier theory of playhouse piracy by a member of the audience -- either transcribing or memorizing the play in order to profit from unauthorized printings -- had been discarded by 1910, when W. W. Greg first proposed that certain actors, having memorized their own parts as well as many of their peers' lines, worked to reconstruct the plays from memory, and that the unauthorized versions they produced then served as the copy-texts for the "bad" quartos. From the passages that most closely paralleled those in the "good" texts, Greg and later scholars that pursued this explanation found that they could identify the parts played by these memorial reconstructors, most of which seemed to be small parts likely to have been played by hirelings, and not by the player-sharers, those actors with a financial stake in the textual property of the Lord Chamberlain's Men. The main logical problem with the memorial reconstruction model, as Maguire, among others, has pointed out, is that it can be used to explain nearly any textual problem at all (Maguire 6), but in the case of Henry V, it is also simply inadequate to explain quite a few of the changes to the Q text: the transposition of the French lords' scene of despair and Pistol's scene with his French captor seems more deliberate than poor memory could account for, as does the substitution of Bourbon for the dauphin, which requires considerable reshuffling of lines and reattribution of speeches.

In 1991, Kathleen Irace conducted the most exhaustive examination yet undertaken of the memorial reconstruction theory in regard to Henry V, to identify the likely reporters of the memorially-reconstructed text behind the Quarto, and she produced a narrative of actors who had taken part in the play -- the player of Exeter, along with one or two others -- producing a new text from their memory of performances of the longer, Folio-linked text. Irace's most innovative assertion is that the deliberate abridgement of the play for the Quarto version was undertaken by these actors themselves as they went along, presumably preparing a text for provincial performance. Although she notes many changes in the Q text unlikely to have resulted from the reporters' faulty memory -- its frequent reattribution of speeches to different characters than in F, for example -- she maintains that these changes, and the Quarto text itself, have no claim to authority: they "are intriguing and significant because they characterize a version of Henry Vprinted in England in Shakespeare's time," but they cannot "communicate Shakespeare's intentions" (Irace 249). Such a conclusion depends on circular thinking, treating as a priori the assumption that a shortened, "inferior" text must be a promptbook for a touring performance and that since such performances are inferior, such texts are by definition further removed from authorial intentions.

The theory that the Quarto reflects an intentional abridgement of the text for touring in the provinces has as long a pedigree as that of memorial reconstruction; both originate with Greg. As Janette Dillon points out, one theory requires the other: once we suggest that actors are reconstructing texts, we need to give them a reason to do so (Dillon 1994; see also Werstine 1998). But though the assumption that provincial audiences required shorter, less complex, more bawdy plays than did their theatergoing contemporaries in London has been frequently made, they have never been based on evidence (see Maguire 6, Chambers 1924).

Even should it be true that the "Once more unto the breach" speech and the entry of the troops with scaling ladders was deleted from Q when the text was adapted for performance, such changes need not be seen as less than authoritative. In Andrew Gurr's narrative, though actors were still responsible for the memorial reconstruction of Q's text, the reconstruction was authorized by the company, if not by the author himself, as a reading version of the play in the form that theatergoers knew, a sort of souvenir program. The changes and abridgements, when error can be discounted, are thus more authoritative than Irace would admit, deriving from the kind of playhouse revision that Tiffany Stern has shown to be the norm in the Elizabethan theater (Stern 2000).

Gurr goes further than any previous editor in asserting the authority of Q. The two versions of the play, he argues, are not just different, but differently authoritative. The Folio represents something close to what Gurr has come to call the "maximal" text, or the author's ideal version of a play, a version that was never expected to hold the stage. This text -- analogous to the director's cut of a modern film -- was altered in every early performance "into more realistic or realisable shapes, often at a quite drastic remove from the ideal" (Gurr 2000, 2-3; see also Gurr, "Maximal and Minimal Texts"). The "minimal" text represented in Q is closer to the play as actually performed at the Globe, according to Gurr, who thus removes the stigma of provincial touring from the Quarto, asserting that it is "probably closer to the version of the play that Shakespeare's company first put on the stage in 1599 than any form of the play that modern audiences have seen" (Gurr 2000, 2).

30Although no one theory of textual transmission can possibly explain all the differences between the two versions of Shakespeare's play, we can carefully assert that F's version precedes Q's, and that many of the changes seem deliberate and to have a claim of authority -- either that of the playwright or that of the rehearsing company of which he was an active member. The copy for each printed text seems to have been an authoritative manuscript: for F, according to Taylor, the compositors seem to have had an original draft manuscript, the so-called "foul papers" (Taylor, Three Studies 41-71; for an opposing view see Werstine 1990). We can be less certain about the copy text for the printing of the Quarto, but it seems to have been an authorial manuscript already in the process of revision and abridgement, by some combination of the author and his playing company colleagues. The Quarto reflects conscious revisions, cuts, and speech reassignments (as well as changes made inadvertently or considered less important) that cannot be positively traced to Shakespeare, but whose authority cannot be positively dismissed.

The burgeoning case for the authoritative nature of Quarto Henry V as a witness to another moment in the play's evolution makes it surprising that no fully collated and annotated edition of Q has appeared until now. Taylor's editions in 1982 and 1986, and Gurr's editions in 1992 and 2000, despite the validations of Q that the two editors have voiced with differing levels of enthusiasm, did not treat the Quarto as a different but valid version of the play. Both editors do use the view that the Quarto represents a stage of revision closer to performance to justify selective emendation of the Folio text: Taylor adopts the Quarto's replacement of the dauphin with Bourbon, and Gurr, whose narrative about minimal and maximal texts with similar authority looks to replace the old dichotomy of bad versus good texts, follows Taylor in this choice, producing in his first Cambridge edition a conflated version of the play that likely never saw the stage: a revised, but still maximal text. Gurr's 2000 edition of the Quarto for Cambridge acknowledged the necessity of editing both texts, but since the constraints of print publishing required that that volume be presented without commentary notes -- and to an audience, one presumes, composed mainly of textual scholars -- it is destined to take its place in the shadow of his more accessible conflated edition of the longer play.

The current edition presents variant texts as multiple witnesses to an evolving play, texts that might bear a relation to some ideal play in the author's mind, but also to various versions of actor's scripts and the playhouse experience, which also have claims to authority. The plays, after all, continue to evolve and are ultimately mediated by directors, readers, editors, and audiences.

Editorial procedure

Like all modern editors of Shakespeare, I modernize the spelling and punctuation of the original printed texts, following the conventions laid out by Stanley Wells (1979). Because the ISE website presents multiple facsimiles of the original printed texts as well as diplomatic transcriptions with original spelling intact, readers who wish to compare modern conventions with those of Shakespeare's contemporaries will easily be able to do so.

As befits an edition that preserves both texts of the play, I have edited each text conservatively, resisting the impulse to regularize variant readings between texts, preserving the reading of the original if its meaning can be justified, and only emending if the source of error can be explained. For example, this edition preserves the reading "levity" (TLN 1560) which, though it may be the result of compositorial error in F (the n in "lenity" inverted to u), nevertheless preserves a possibly intentional reading consistent with Henry's character. I have likewise preserved readings like "headly" (TLN 1291) and "curselary" (F) / "cursenary" (Q) at TLN 3065, on the grounds that such unique coinages were common enough for Shakespeare that no emendation to the more common heady and cursitory is justified. In each such case, the issue is discussed in the commentary notes. Conversely, I have adopted Lewis Theobald's famous emendation "a babbled o' green fields" (see TLN 839 n.) after having fared no better than any previous editor or critic to convince myself that the original reading, "a Table of greene fields," is anything other than error. Where editorial tradition has identified a textual crux, or in other instances where I have emended despite my general rule, I discuss the issue at length in the commentary.

35The names of historical persons and places have been modernized according to their use by modern historians, regardless of their spelling in the printed texts or in the editorial tradition, using Anne Curry's convention in Agincourt: A New History (2005) as a touchstone. Thus Isabel becomes Isabeau, Katherine becomes Catherine, Britaine becomes Brittany, etc. In cases where such emendation changes the pronunciation enough to produce metrical awkwardness, especially in the modernization of sixteenth-century England's French, -- d'Albret (for "Delabreth"), Rouen (for "Roan"), and Louvre (for "Louer"), for example -- I discuss the history and give performance options in the commentary. In the case of ahistorical or fictional names, I do not follow this pattern of modernization, but preserve the original text's spelling. Fluellen remains Fluellen in F and Flewellen in Q, rather than a Welshman with the modern name Llewellyn. Likewise, "Ancient" Pistol retains the sixteenth-century version of his rank rather than being promoted to Ensign as the Oxford editors did. Had the character been a historical Llewellyn mentioned in the chronicles, there would be grounds for modernizing, but as a fiction invented by an Englishman to stand for the Welsh nation within an English context, the justification is weaker. Fluellen's initial F -- the consonant that Shakespeare's English ear heard in the Welsh double-L -- is as much a part of his stereotyped portrait as his oaths, his accent, and his verbal tics. And changing Ancientto Ensign removes a pun of potential significance to Pistol's characterization. Such characters have a dramatic life of their own, and their names and designations carry their own weight, even if they are historically inaccurate. We should no more modernize their names than turn As You Like It's Jaques into the monosyllabic Jacques.

The treatment of different languages in Henry Vpresents another, similar challenge. To the extent that it is possible, I have applied the same logic to the modernization of Shakespeare's French and to the regional dialects of Captains Jamy, Fluellen, and MacMorris. With the French, I use modern French spellings, relying on notes to discuss those moments when an archaic pronunciation determines a hearer's response, as for example when Pistol hears "moy" for the French prisoner's moi. For the captains' versions of English, I retain the characteristic orthography as much as possible, modernizing only when a dialect form has a conventional modern spelling (e.g. guid for Captain Jamy's "gud").

I have used act and scene divisions for the Folio text, and scene numbers only for the Quarto text, in which no scene divisions are marked. In the battlefield sequences, at Harfleur and before and after Agincourt, staging is intentionally fluid, often with simultaneous entrances and exits indicated. It is conventional to designate a new scene only when the stage has been cleared, and since in these sequences the plays do not always clarify that this is the case, my scene numberings may differ from those in other editions. When a text is unclear as to whether or not the location has changed and a new scene begun, I have discussed the options in the commentary.

For the edition based on the Q text, which was set entirely as verse, I switch to prose only in places where no meter is apparent in the lines. For the Folio text I follow the mode switches in the original text, regardless of how metrical Pistol's verse occasionally sounds, on the grounds that while his speech often evokes the rhythms of bombastic blank verse drama, printing it as such would seem to indicate that Pistol quotes particular lines.

The Famous Victories of Henry the V and Shakespeare

The full title of this anonymous play, as it appears on the title page of the 1598 quarto, is The Famovs Victories of Henry the fifth: Containing the Honourable Battel of Agin-court. It was written some time before 1594 (when printer Thomas Creede entered it in the Stationers' Register), and if a 1613 anecdote about the famous clown Richard Tarlton performing the role of Derrick can be trusted, it was performed by the Queen's Men in the mid-1580s (Tarlton's Jests C2v ). Along with Holinshed's Chronicles, the play provided the source material for Shakespeare's Henry IV plays as well as for Henry V(Bullough 4.159 ).

40Famous Victories, which may be the first professionally performed example of the English history play (McMillin and MacLean, 89),seems to have inspired the blending of comic and tragic modes that characterize Shakespeare's Henry plays, and it has many direct analogs to specific scenes, particularly the comic ones. Shakespeare's cowardly, thieving clowns, his treatment of Prince Hal's involvement in highway robbery and conflict with the chief justice, the tennis ball scene, the leave-taking of the common soldier, the capture of a French prisoner by an English coward, and the wooing of Catherine during treaty negotiations are all inspired by the earlier play. There are also important differences in tone and characterization; Famous Victories presents a version of the Agincourt campaign simpler both in its facts and its ethical justifications.

So similar in structure is Famous Victoriesto Shakespeare's plays that it has been argued that it is an early Shakespearean draft (see Pitcher). On stylistic grounds this seems unlikely, and it is more probable that Shakespeare used the play as rough outline for his histories. The title page of the play's second quarto, printed in 1617, makes the claim that it was "Acted by the Kinges Maiesties Seruants," so it is possible, as Andrew Gurr has argued, that Shakespeare's company had acquired the playbook and the right of performance in 1594 when it merged with the Queen's Men. Whether or not his company owned Famous Victories, though, Shakespeare would certainly have been familiar with a dramatized version of Henry V's life in the mid-1590s, as he was preparing to write Henry IV and Henry V.

For a fully collated and annotated edition of Famous Victories, see the Queen's Men Editionsedition of the play for the Queen's Men's Editions.