Archive for September, 2011

Answer to quiz in previous post.


Good morrow, sweet Hero.


Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?


I am out of all other tune, methinks.

From Much ado about Nothing – Act Three Scene Four

I’m feeling much better, thank you for asking.

Ok I will be starting my third play AS YOU LIKE IT at the weekend.


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Quiz: What play is this from? Use Comments to answer. I’ll give the answer next post.


Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?


I am out of all other tune, methinks.

I have been in a sick tune this week. Ok. A timeline for Henry V for reference from http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/timeline-of-king-henry-v.htm

Timeline of Key Dates

Timeline of King Henry V
Key events

1413 – 1422

King Henry V reigned as King of England from March 21, 1413 – August 31, 1422


Henry was born on September 16, 1387 in Monmouth, Wales, he was known as Prince Hal. Henry was the son of King Henry IV (1367-1413) and Mary de Bohun (c. 1369-1394) 


King Henry IV quashed the Welsh rebellion led by Owain Glyndwr who had declared himself Prince of Wales with the help of Prince Hal


The Battle of Shrewsbury was fought on July 21, 1403: The Battle of Shrewsbury  where King Henry quashed the rebellion of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland ( Harry Hotspur) once again with the help of Prince Hal


King Henry IV suffered from an unnamed illness – some believe leprosy, and suffered recurring illnesses up to his death


The health of King Henry IV was so bad that his son, Prince Hal, took over many of his kingly duties


March 20, 1413: King Henry IV died  in Westminster. He was buried at Canterbury Cathedral


March 21, 1413: Prince Hal succeeded his father to the throne of England as King Henry V


9 April 1413: The coronation of King Henry V


Southampton Plot: Henry quashed the Southampton plot which was in favour of Mortimer


The Siege of Harfleur: Henry invaded France and gained a victory at the Siege of Harfleur.  The town surrendered on 22 September


25 October 1415 the Battle of Agincourt: One of the greatest victories in the Hundred Years War against France, famous for the English use of the Longbow


Treaty of Troyes: Henry was recognised by the French in the Treaty of Troyes as heir to the French throne. This was cemented by his marriage to Catherine of Valois, the daughter of King Charles VI.


June 2, 1420: Henry married Catherine of Valois (27 October 1401 – 3 January 1437), the daughter of King Charles VI, thus cementing the Treaty of Troyes


6 December 1421: The only child of Catherine and Henry was born was referred to as Henry of Windsor ( who later became King Henry VI)


August 31, 1422: King Henry V died of dysentery at Bois de Vincennes. He was buried in Westminster Abbey


King Henry V was succeeded by his son who became King Henry VI


Catherine of Valois secretly married a Welsh courtier called Owen Tudor after the death of King Henry V – they became the grand parents of King Henry VII of England.

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Just like I did after Julius Caesar I will take a few weeks posting some interesting things I have found relating to Henry V, before moving on to AS YOU LIKE IT

Where better to start than back at the Prologue.

Here is a video of Thomas Allen delivering the “muse of fire” Speech with the backing of William Walton‘s music for Henry V, conducted by Richard Hickox.

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Recorded this summer on location in 22 acres of Sussex woodland, this production has an all star cast.

Director: Celia de Wolff

Music by Stephanie Nunn

Titania ….. Lesley Sharp
Oberon ….. Toby Stephens
Peter Quince ….. Robert Pugh
Nick Bottom ….. Roger Allam
Puck ….. Freddie Fox
Theseus ….. Nicholas Farrell
Hippolyta ….. Emma Fielding
Lysander ….. Joseph Timms
Demetrius ….. Ferdinand Kingsley
Hermia ….. Emerald O’Hanrahan
Helena ….. Anna Madeley
Egeus / Starveling ….. David Collings
Philostrate / Snug ….. Nicholas Boulton
Fairy ….. Sara Markland
Francis Flute ….. Sam Alexander
Tom Snout ….. Sam Dale
Peaseblossom ….. Jessica Sian
Cobweb ….. Jay Carter
Moth ….. Tressa Brooks
Mustardseed ….. Stuart Walker.


Just listening to, or reading Midsummer Night’s dream is a problem to start with. This is a visual play, possibly Shakespeare’s most visual play. From the confusion of the two pairs of lovers to Bottom’s ass head, and the magical fairies,  it is very difficult to get these over on the radio.

That said, I still enjoyed this radio production. I thought the verse speaking was first class and the director used sound effects sparingly.  Although this was filmed on location in a wood it wasn’t obvious and didn’t really add anything, to my ears, to the feel of the play.

The Mechanicals were excellent and the two pairs lovers were well played. Puck suitably mischievous with Oberon suitably threatening.

The play of “Pyramus and Thisbe” just doesn’t work on the radio. Interestingly, they made  Bottom a good actor in “Pyramus’ death scene” and moved the audience to “almost” tears, which is a depature as I have heard, and always imagined this as played for laughs. I think the script calls for overacting in this over the top scene. Judge from the reaction of the audience

Here she comes; and
her passion ends the play.

Re-enter Thisbe


Methinks she should not use a long one for such a

The response of the audience is scornful throughout.

Overall, well spoken and well acted yet A Midsummer Nights’ Dream is only half a play when heard and not seen.

Link to Production details and “Behind the Scenes Video”


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In France still but some time has jumped since the last scene. The two Kings face each other to negotiate.  The two councils go and debate the terms and conditions of the French surrender and leave Henry alone with Katherine with Alice as her interpreter. Henry woos her modestly

 Henry V

If thou canst love a
fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth
sun-burning, that never looks in his glass for love
of any thing he sees there, let thine eye be thy

 You wouldn’t think of looking in the History plays for exquisite love poetry but here it is.

 Henry V

. for these fellows of infinite tongue, that
can rhyme themselves into ladies’ favours, they do
always reason themselves out again. What! a
speaker is but a prater; a rhyme is but a ballad. A
good leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a
black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow
bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax
hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the
moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it
shines bright and never changes, but keeps his
course truly.

 There is a lack of understanding of the different languages but Henry woos her and she is “content”   Henry speaks of her giving him a son as part of the condition and hopes that he will be a valiant soldier like himself. We shall see.

The Councils return and Henry has everything he has asked for, including being next in line to the throne. But he will die before that becomes reality, and what of his offspring, the mighty soldier? Let the Chorus have the final word on that.


Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the world’s best garden be achieved,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown’d King
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing,
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.


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Henry V – ACT FIVE – Prologue & Scene 1

The Chorus fills in the blanks for us. He brings us back to England for the triumphant return of King Henry. Then back to France again for the final scenes


Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story,
That I may prompt them: and of such as have,
I humbly pray them to admit the excuse
Of time, of numbers and due course of things,
Which cannot in their huge and proper life
Be here presented. Now we bear the king
Toward Calais: grant him there; there seen,
Heave him away upon your winged thoughts
Athwart the sea. Behold, the English beach
Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys,
Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth’d sea,
Which like a mighty whiffler ‘fore the king
Seems to prepare his way: so let him land,
And solemnly see him set on to London.
So swift a pace hath thought that even now
You may imagine him upon Blackheath;
Where that his lords desire him to have borne
His bruised helmet and his bended sword
Before him through the city: he forbids it,
Being free from vainness and self-glorious pride;
Giving full trophy, signal and ostent
Quite from himself to God. But now behold,
In the quick forge and working-house of thought,
How London doth pour out her citizens!
The mayor and all his brethren in best sort,
Like to the senators of the antique Rome,
With the plebeians swarming at their heels,
Go forth and fetch their conquering Caesar in:
As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
Were now the general of our gracious empress,
As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him! much more, and much more cause,
Did they this Harry. Now in London place him;
As yet the lamentation of the French
Invites the King of England’s stay at home;
The emperor’s coming in behalf of France,
To order peace between them; and omit
All the occurrences, whatever chanced,
Till Harry’s back-return again to France:
There must we bring him; and myself have play’d
The interim, by remembering you ’tis past.
Then brook abridgment, and your eyes advance,
After your thoughts, straight back again to France.


We are in back in France. Fluellen and Pistol meet and argue. Fluellen forces Pistol to eat a leek that he keeps in his cap.


if you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.

Pistol is humiliated by Fluellen and Gower. Left alone he gives this warning


Doth Fortune play the huswife with me now?
News have I, that my Nell is dead i’ the spital
Of malady of France;
And there my rendezvous is quite cut off.
Old I do wax; and from my weary limbs
Honour is cudgelled. Well, bawd I’ll turn,
And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand.
To England will I steal, and there I’ll steal:
And patches will I get unto these cudgell’d scars,
And swear I got them in the Gallia wars

The end of a wonderful, if minor, character through the Henry IV plays and Merry wives of Windsor. I wonder what happens to him after this play has finished?

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Henry V – Act Four – Scene Seven and Eight

As the battle draws to a close the English find a terrible site in their camp


Kill the poys and the luggage! ’tis expressly
against the law of arms: ’tis as arrant a piece of
knavery, mark you now, as can be offer’t; in your
conscience, now, is it not?


‘Tis certain there’s not a boy left alive; and the
cowardly rascals that ran from the battle ha’ done
this slaughter:

Henry is furious at this slaughter of the boys.


I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight:
If they’ll do neither, we will come to them,
And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Enforced from the old Assyrian slings:
Besides, we’ll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.

The French Herald returns in less confident mood


I tell thee truly, herald,
I know not if the day be ours or no;
For yet a many of your horsemen peer
And gallop o’er the field.


The day is yours.


Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!
What is this castle call’d that stands hard by?


They call it Agincourt.


Then call we this the field of Agincourt,
Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.

The King sees the soldiers who challenged him the night before. He gives Fluellen the glove, claiming it’s a Frenchman’s and bids him to wear so if any man challenge him then he is a traitor. He then tells Warwick and Gloucester to watch them and make sure no harm comes to either from his prank.


Fluellen and Williams meet and argue until Henry and other lords turn up and the jest is revealed, much to the embarrassment of Williams.

Then comes the sober news of the Battle.


This note doth tell me of ten thousand French
That in the field lie slain: of princes, in this number,
And nobles bearing banners, there lie dead
One hundred twenty six: added to these,
Of knights, esquires, and gallant gentlemen,
Eight thousand and four hundred; of the which,
Five hundred were but yesterday dubb’d knights:
So that, in these ten thousand they have lost,
There are but sixteen hundred mercenaries;
The rest are princes, barons, lords, knights, squires,
And gentlemen of blood and quality.

Here was a royal fellowship of death!
Where is the number of our English dead?

When told the number of the English casualties he can hardly believe it

Edward the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk,
Sir Richard Ketly, Davy Gam, esquire:
None else of name; and of all other men
But five and twenty.

Henry gives praise to God.


O God, thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all! When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!

Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum;’
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne’er from France arrived more happy men.

The battle of Agincourt is over and the English are victorious

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