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Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
s- of Crispian:] The battle of Agincourt was fought upon the 25th of October (1415], St. Crispin's day. The legend upon which this is founded, follows :—“ Crispinus and Crispianus were brethren, born at Rome; from whence they travelled to Soissons, in France, about the year 303, to propagate the Christian religion ; but because they would not be chargeable to others for their maintenance, they exercised the trade of shoemakers ; but the governor of the town discovering them to be Christians, ordered them to be beheaded about the year 303. From which time. the shoemakers made choice of them for their tutelar saints." Wheatley's Rational Illustration, folio edit. p. 56. See Hall's Chronicle, fol. 47. GREY.
6 He, that shall Live this day, and see old age,] The folio reads :
“ He that shall see this day and live old age." The transposition (which is supported by the quarto) was made by Mr. Pope. MALONE. '7- the vigil -] i. e. the evening before this festival.
STEEVENS. 8 And say, these wounds I had on Crispin's dav.) This line I have restored from the quarto, 1600. The preceding line appears to me abrupt and imperfect without it. Malone, 9 — yer all --] I believe we should read-yea, all, &c.
MALONE. I with advantages,] Old men, notwithstanding the natural forgetfulness of age, shall remember “their feats of this day,"
What feats he did that day: Then shall our names,
and remember to tell them “ with advantage." Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times.
Johnson. 2 Familiar in their MOUTHS — i. e. in the mouths of the old man (“ who has outlived the battle and come safe home,”) and “his friends." This is the reading of the quarto, which I have preferred to that of the folio,-his mouth ; because their cups, the reading of the folio in the subsequent line, would otherwise appear, if not ungrammatical, extremely aukward. The quarto reads—in their flowing bowls; and there are other considerable variations in the two copies. Malone.
3 From this day to the ending -] It may be observed that we are apt to promise to ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits. This prediction is not verified; the feast of Crispin passes by without any mention of Agincourt. Late events obliterate the former: the civil wars have left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more ancient history. JOHNSON.
4 — gentle his condition :) This day shall advance him to the rank of a gentleman Johnson.
King Henry V. inhibited any person but such as had a right by inheritance, or grant, to assume coats of arms, except those who fought with him at the battle of Agincourt; and, I think, these last were allowed the chief seats of honour at all feasts and pub. lick meetings. Tollet.
That Mr. Tollet is right in his account, is proved by the original writ to the Sheriff of Southampton and others, printed in Rymer's Federa, anno 5 Henry V. vol. ix. p. 457. And see more fully on the subject Anstis's Order of the Garter, vol. ii. p. 108, VOL, XVII.
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
K. Hen. All things are ready, if our minds be so.
England, cousin ?
who mentions it, and observes thereon, citing Gore's Catalog. Rei Herald. Introduct. and Sandford's Geneal. Hist. p. 283.
VAILLANT. s- upon Saint Crispin's day.] This speech, like many others of the declamatory kind, is too long. Had it been contracted to about half the number of lines, it might have gained force, and lost none of the sentiments. JOHNSON.
6- bravely -] Is splendidly, ostentatiously. Johnson. Rather-gallantly. So, in The Tempest :
“ Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou
“ Performd, my Ariel !" Steevens. n - expedience -] i. e. expedition. So, in King Richard II. :
“Are making hither with all due expedience." Steevens. 8 - MIGHT fight this battle out!] Thus the quarto. The folio reads :
“ could fight this royal battle." Malone. 9- thou hast unwish'd five thousand men ; By wishing only thyself and me, thou hast wished five thousand men away. Shakspeare never thinks of such trifles as numbers. In the last scene the French are said to be full threescore thousand, which Exeter
Which likes me better, than to wish us one.
Tucket. Enter Montjoy.
declares to be five to one ; but, by the king's account, they are twelve to one. Johnsox.
Holinshed makes the English army consist of 15,000, and the French of 60,000 horse, besides foot, &c. in all 100,000; while Walsingham and Harding represent the English as but 9000 ; and other authors say that the number of French amounted to 150,000.
STEEVENS. Dr. Johnson, I apprehend, misunderstood the King's words. He supposes that Henry means to say, that Westmoreland, wishing himself and Henry alone to fight the battle out with the French, had wished away the whole English army, consisting of five thousand men. But Henry's meaning was, I conceive, very different. Westmoreland had before expressed a wish that ten thousand of those who were idle at that moment in England were added to the King's arr.y; a wish, for which, when it was uttered, Henry, whether from policy or spirit, reprimanded him. Westmoreland now says, he should be glad that he and the King alone, without any other aid whatsoever, were to fight the battle out against the French. “ Bravely said, (replies Henry,) you have now half atoned for your former timid wish for ten thousand additional troops. You have unwished half of what you wish'd before." The King is speaking figuratively, and Dr. Johnson understood him literally. --Shakspeare therefore, though often inattentive to "such trifles as numbers,” is here not inaccurate. He undoubtedly meant to represent the English army, (according to Exeter's state of it,) as consisting of about twelve thousand men ; and according to the best accounts this was nearly the number that Henry had in the field. Hardyng, who was himself at the battle of Agincourt, says that the French army consisted of one hundred thousand ; but the account is probably exaggerated.
Fabian says the French were 40,000, and the English only 7000.
Mr. Malone, in a very elaborate note, has endeavoured to prove that Westmoreland, by wishing that he and the King alone, with out more help, might fight the battle out, did not wish away the whole of the army, but 5000 men only. But I must confess that I cannot comprehend his argument, and must therefore concur with Johnson, in his observation on the poet's inattention.
If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound,
. bodies Must lie and fester.
K. Hen. Who hath sent thee now ?
1- mind,] i. e. remind. So, in Coriolanus :
“I minded him how royal 'twas to pardon." STEEVENS. ? A many -] Thus the folio. The quarto—" And many.
STEEVENS. 3- in brass -] i. e. in brazen plates anciently let into tombstones. STEEVENS.
4 Mark then A BOUNDING valour in our English ;] The old folios