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The Life of

and spoken during the earl's absence in Ireland, which extended from March 27 until September 28, 1599.

Three very imperfect editions of the play appeared prior to the publication of the First Folio in 1623. The First Quarto (1600) omits all the prologues, the epilogue, and several entire scenes. These and other omissions, notably in the long speeches, which are much curtailed, shorten the play by some seventeen hundred lines. The errors and absurdities of the edition are many; particularly in the scenes written in French (which is very 'fausse French' indeed as it appears in this volume), and in the prose scenes, where an heroic attempt has been made to transform the prose into poetry. It is now generally believed that the First Quarto is an imperfect edition of a shortened acting version of the play, and it may have been made up for the press largely from notes taken in the theatre during a performance. The Second Quarto (1602) and the Third Quarto, dated 1608, but really printed in 1619, are reprints of the edition of 1600, very slightly amended and without independent value. Modern editors accept the text of the First Folio (1623) as the most reliable, and have adopted the reading of the Quartos in only a few instances.

A funeral elegy on Richard Burbage, Shakespeare's most famous fellow actor, gives us the information that the part of King Henry was one in which Burbage won distinction. The unknown writer laments:


Poor Romeo never more shall tears beget
For Juliet's love and cruel Capulet;
Harry shall not be seen as king or prince,
They died with thee, dear Dick (and not long since.)


This is the only bit of information we have as to the early stage history of Henry V. The records of Sir Henry Herbert show that a play entitled 'Henry the 5th' was licensed for the stage in 1663, but it is not