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The cronicle history of Henry the fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in France.
1600

STC 22289, title page

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STC 22289, title page
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Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: The cronicle history of Henry the fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants.
Date: London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington, and Iohn Busby. And are to be sold at his house in Carter Lane, next the Powle head, 1600.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22289, title page
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Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
The cronicle history of Henry the fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants.
Item Date
London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington, and Iohn Busby. And are to be sold at his house in Carter Lane, next the Powle head, 1600.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22289, title page

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: The cronicle history of Henry the fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants.
Date: London : Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington, and Iohn Busby. And are to be sold at his house in Carter Lane, next the Powle head, 1600.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22289, title page
View online bibliographic record

 

The first edition of Henry V, shown here, was printed in 1600 by Thomas Creede for Thomas Millington and John Busby. It had been entered into the Stationers’ Register on August 4, along with Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and Ben Jonson’s Every Man in His Humor, all of which were likely in Shakespeare's company's repertoire at the time. First performed in the summer of 1599, Henry V was brought to press unusually fast; typically, Shakespeare’s plays were at least three years old before being printed.

The text of this edition, one of the so-called “bad quartos” (although the term has fallen out of favor with scholars), is substantially different from the play as we know it today. Henry V as represented in this edition is about half the length of the First Folio (1623) version of the play. For example, it omits a topical reference that appears in the Folio text that allows modern scholars to date the play’s first performance. In the prologue to act five, the Chorus compares the triumphant Henry’s return to England to “the general of our gracious empress ... from Ireland coming, / Bringing rebellion broachèd on his sword” (Act 5, prologue, lines 31–33). The Earl of Essex’s expedition to Ireland in the summer of 1599 ended in disaster, not triumph, and he returned to England in September in disgrace. This means that while the play’s first performance must date to the few months during which Essex was still in Ireland, its first publication occurred after the hopeful reference to Essex was no longer politically safe. The reference was therefore omitted from this 1600 edition, and re-introduced to the 1623 Folio text after the political climate changed.

Although scholars largely agree that this edition is based on the same texts as the later Folio version, some believe it was created from a script for a reduced cast (either for touring the provinces or performance in London in the wake of Essex’s fall from grace), while others argue that its abbreviated form is the result of memorial reconstruction by the actors playing Exeter, Pistol, and Gower. The most significant difference between this text and the play as we know it from the First Folio is the lack of the Chorus, although many other characters’ speeches are eliminated or reassigned.

Six copies are known to survive, according to the English Short Title Catalogue. The copy shown above, held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, is fragmentary; everything after leaf B3 (the third leaf in the second gathering) is supplied in 19th century type facsimile, likely from around the time it was re-bound by Francis Bedford (1799–1883), a famous London bookbinder. Henry Clay Folger bought the book at one of Henry Huntington’s duplicate sales on March 6, 1919. (The copy that Huntington retained, Huntington 69321, is fully digitized.) 

To learn more about Henry V, please see the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Shakespeare’s Works and the British Library’s Shakespeare in Quarto, which also includes information about additional copies of this edition.

Written by Meaghan J. Brown

Sources

Melissa D. Aaron, “The Globe and Henry V as Business Document,” Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 40, no. 2 (2000): 277–292.

Andrew Gurr, ed., The First Quarto of King Henry V (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Kathleen Irace, “Reconstruction and Adaptation in Q Henry V” Studies in Bibliography, 44 (1991): 228-253.

Rosalyn Knutson, The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991).

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Last updated July 20, 2017