might, but onelie to God's assistance; to whome I haue no doubt we shall worthilie haue cause to giue thanks therefore. And if so be that for our offenses sakes we shall be deliuered into the hands of our enimies, the lesse number we be, the lesse damage shall the realme of England susteine; but if we should fight in trust of multitude of men, and so get the victorie, (our minds being prone to pride,) we should therevpon peraduenture ascribe the victorie not so much to the gift of God, as to our owne puissance, and thereby prouoke his high indignation and displeasure against vs: and if the enimie get the vpper hand, then should our realme and countrie suffer more damage and stand in further danger. But be you of good comfort, and shew your selues valiant! God and our iust quarrell shall defend vs, and deliuer these our proud aduersaries with all the multitude of them which you see (or at the least the most of them) into our hands.'
The History of the Play
The production of Henry V has been assigned, on very substantial evidence, to the year 1599. Francis Meres, giving a list of Shakespeare's plays in a book published in 1598, makes no mention of Henry V, although his list includes Henry IV. The play was entered on the Stationers' Register in August, 1600, and the first edition was published in that year. The reference to the 'wooden O' in line 13 of the Prologue is usually supposed to be an allusion to the Globe Theatre, which was completed in 1599. Most significant of all, the lines in the Prologue to Act V referring to the Earl of Essex must have been written