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Lords, Messengers, French and English Soldiers, with other Attendants.

The SCENE, at the Beginning of the Play, lies in England; but afterwards, wholly in France,


For a muse of fire?, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and, at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles
The flat unraised spirit, that hath dar'd,
On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth
So great an object: Can this cockpit hold
The vasty field of France? or may we cram,
Within this wooden O3, the very casques*
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest, in little place, a million;

And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,

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'The transactions comprised in this historical play commence about the latter end of the first, and terminate in the eighth year of this king's reign; when he married Katharine princess of France, and closed up the differences betwixt England and that crown. It was writ (as appears from a passage in the chorus of the fifth act) at the time of the earl of Essex's commanding the forces in Ireland in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and not 'till after Henry the VIth had been played, as may be seen by the conclusion of this play. This goes upon the notion of the Peripatetic system, which imagines several


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