The sources of the serious plot of both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV are (1) the 1587 edition of The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland by Raphael Holinshed 'of Bromecote in the County of Warr(wick)'; and (2) either Samuel Daniel's poem, The Civill Wars of England (1595) or some lost poem, play, or chronicle followed by both Daniel and Shakespeare.

The source of the comic plot is a crude and slight chronicle play called The Famous Victories of Henry V, first acted in 1588, licensed in 1594, and published in 1598.

Selections from Holinshed's Account of the Battle of Shrewsbury

The next daie in the morning earlie, being the even of Marie Magdalene (July 21. 1403), they set their battells in order on both sides, and now, whilest the warriors looked when the token of battell should be given, the abbat of Shrewesburie, and one of the clerks of the privie seale, were sent from the king vnto the Persies, to offer them pardon, if they would come to any reasonable agreement. By their persuasions, the lord Henrie Persie began to give ear vnto the kings offers, & so sent with them his vncle the earle of Worcester, to declare vnto the king the causes of those troubles. . . .

It was reported for a truth, that now when the king had condescended vnto all that was reasonable at his hands to be required, and seemed to humble himself more than was meet for his estate, the earle of Worcester vpon his return to his nephue made relation cleane contrarie to that the king had said, in such sort that he set his nephues hart more in displeasure toward the king than ever it was before; driving him by that means to fight whether he would or not. . . .

And forthwith the lord Persie, as a capteine of high courage, began to exhort the capteines and souldiers to prepare themselves to battell, sith the matter was grown to that point, that by no meanes it could be avoided, "so that," said he, "this daie shall either bring vs all to advancement & honor, or else if it shall chance vs to be overcome, shall deliver us from the kings spitefull malice and cruell disdaine: for plaieng the men, as we ought to doo, better it is to die in battell for the commonwealths cause, than through cowardlike feare to prolong life, which after shall be taken from us by the sentence of the enimie. . . .

Then suddenlie blew the trumpets, the kings part crieng, "St. George! Upon them!" the adversaries cried "Esperance! Persie!" and so the two armies furiouslie ioined. . . .

The prince that daie holpe his father like a lustie yoong gentleman; for although he was hurt in the face with an arrow, so that diuerse noblemen, that were aboute him, would have conveyed him foorth from the field, yet he would not suffer them so to doo, least his departure from amongst his men might happilie have stricken some feare into their harts: and so without regard of his hurt, he continued with his men, and never ceassed either to fight where the battell was most hot, or to incourage his men where it seemed most need.

Selections from Daniel's Civill Wars, Book IV

(The battle of Shrewsbury)

No. 37

And yet, undaunted Hotspur, seeing the King
So neere arriv'd; leaving the work in hand, . . .
Brings on his army, eger vnto fight;
And plac't the same before the king in sight.

No. 38

"This day (saith he) my valiant trusty friends,
"Whatever it shall give, shal glory give;
"This day, with honor, frees our state, or ends
"Our misery with fame, that still shal live:
"And doo but thinke, how well the same he spends,
"Who spends his blood, his Country to relieve.
"What? Have we hands, and shall we servile bee?
"Why were swordes made? but, to preserve men free.

No. 45

Forthwith, began these fury-moving sounds.
The notes of wrath, the musicke brought from Hell,
The ratling drums (which trumpets voyce confounds)
The cryes, th' incouragements, the shouting shrill;
That, all about, the beaten ayre rebounds
Confused thundring-murmurs horrible. . . .

No. 48

There, lo that new-appearing glorious starre,
Wonder of armes, the terror of the field,
Young Henrie, labouring where the stoutest are,
And even the stoutest forceth backe to yeeld. . . .

No. 52

And never worthy Prince a day did quit
With greater hazard, and with more renowne
Than thou didst, mighty [1]Henrie, in this fight;
Which onely made thee owner of thine owne. . . .

No. 53

And deare it cost, and much good blood is shed
To purchase thee, a saving victorie:
Great Stafford, thy high Constable, lyes dead.
With Shorly, Clifton, Gawsell, Calverly,
And many more; whose brave deaths witnessed
Their noble valour and fidelitie:
And many more had left their dearest bloud
Behind, that day, had Hotspur longer stood.

No. 54

But he, as Dowglas, with a furie ledde,
Rushing into the thickest woods of speares,
And brakes of swordes, still laying at the Head
(The life of th' army) whiles he nothing feares
Or spares his owne, comes all invironed
With multitude of power, that overbeares
His manly worth: who yeeldes not in his fall;
But fighting dyes, and dying kils withal.

Selection from the Famous Victories of Henry V

The following is the first conversation between Prince Hal and Falstaff (Sir John Oldcastle):

Enter Sir lohn Old-Castle.

Hen. 6. How now sir Iohn Old-Castle,
What newes with you?

Ioh. Old. I am glad to see your grace at libertie,[2]
I was come, I, to visit you in prison.

Hen. 5. To visit me? Didst thou not know that I
am a Princes son. . . But I tell you, sirs,
when I am king we will have no such things.
But, my lads, if the old king, my father, were
dead, we should all be kings.

Ioh. Old. Hee is a goode olde man, God take him to
his mercy the sooner.

Hen. 5. But, Ned, so soone as I am King, the first
thing I will do, shal be to put my lord chief
Justice out of office. And thou shalt be my
Lord chiefe Justice of England.

Ned. Shall I be Lord chiefe Justice?
By gogs wounds, ile be the bravest Lord chiefe Justice
That ever was in England.

Hen. 5. Thou shalt hang none but picke purses and
horse stealers, and such base-minded vil-
laines. But that fellow that will stand by
the high way side couragiously with his sword
and buckler and take a purse, that fellow
give him commendations, beside that send
him to me and I will give him an annual
pension out of my Exchequer.

  1. The King.
  2. The Prince had just been committed to the Fleet for striking the Lord Chief Justice.