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of the conqueror of Ağincourt was at the period when Shakspere began to write, and, perhaps, indeed, up to the time when he gave us hís own idea of Henry of Monmouth; and when we know that nearly all the historian's up to the time of Shakspèré took pretty much the same view of Henry's character,—we may, perhaps, be astonished to be told that Shakspere's fascinating representation of Henry of Monmouth, "as an historical portrait, is not only unlike the original, but misleading and unjust in 'essential points of character."* Shakspere was, in truth, the only man of his age who rejected the imperfect evidence of all the historians as to the character of Henry of Monmouth, and nobly vindicated him even from his own biographers, and, what was of more importance from the coarser traditions embodied in a popular drama of Shakspère's own day.
In the play of The Famous Victories of Henry V;' we have, as already mentioned, the character of « Sit John Oldcastle." This personage, like all the other companions of the prince in that play, is a low, worthless fellow, without a single spark of wit or humour to relieve his giovelling profligacy. But he is also a very insignificant character, with less stage business than even - Ned" and "Tom." Derieke, the clown, ís, indeed, the leading character throughout this play. Altogether Oldcastle has only thirty lines put in his mouth in the whole piece. We have no allusion to his being fát; we hear nothing of his gluttony Malone, however, calls this Sir John Oldcastle“ a pampered glutton.” It is a question whether this Oldcastle, or Jockey, suggested to Shakspere his Falstaff. We cannot discover the very slightest similarity; although Malone decidedly says, “ Shakspere appears evidently to have caught the idea of the character of Falstaff from a wretched play entitled 'The Famous Victories of King Henry V.'” But Malone is arguing for the support of a favourite theory. Rowe has noticed a tradition that Falstaff was written originally under the name of Oldcastle. This opinion would receive some confirmation from the fact that Shakspere has transferred other names from the old play, Ned, Gadshill,--and why not, then, Oldcastle? The prince in one place calls Falstaff“ my old lad of the castle;" but this may be otherwise explained. The Sir John Oldcastle of history, Lord Cobham, was, as is well known, one of the most strenuous supporters of the Reformation of Wickliffe ; and hence it has been argued that the original name of Shakspere's fat knight was offensive to zealous Protestants in the time of Elizabeth, and was accordingly changed to that of Falstaff. Whether or not Shakspere's Falstaff was originally called Oldcastle, he was, after the character was fairly established as Falstaff, anxious to vindicate himself from the charge that he had attempted to represent the Oldcastle of history. In the epilogue to · The Second Part of Henry IV.? we find this passage :-"For anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already he be killed with your hard opinions ; for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man."
* • Henry of Monmouth,' by J. Endell Tyler, B.D., vol. i.,
KING HENRY IV. Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1 ;
SC. 4; sc. 5. HENRY PRINCE OF WALES, son to the King. Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 3.
Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 3; sc. 4; sc. 5. PRINCE JOHN OF LANCASTER, son to the King.
Appears, Act V. sc. 1; sc. 4 ; sc. 5. EARL OF WESTMORELAND, friend to the King. Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 4; sc. 5.
SIR WALTER BLUNT, friend to the King. Appears, Act I. sc. l; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2. Act IV. sc. 3.
Act V. sc. 1; sc. 3.
Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 5.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3.
of Northumberland. Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 3. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV.
sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 4.
Sır MICHAEL, a friend of the Archbishop.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 4.
ARCHIBALD, Earl of Douglas. Appears, Act IV. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act V. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1.
SIR RICHARD VERNON. Appears, Act IV. sc. 1; se. 3. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 5.
SIR JOHN FALSTAFF. Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2, sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3. Act IV. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 3; sc. 4.
Mortimer. Äppears, Act II. sc. 3. Act IIÏ. sc. 1. LADY MORTIMER, daughter to Glendower, and wife
Appears, Act III. sc. i. MRS. QUICKLY, hostess of a tavern in Eastcheap.
Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 3, Lords, Officers, Sheriff, Vintner, Chamberlain, Drawers, Two Carriers, Travellers, and Attendants.
KING HENRY IV.,
SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace, Enter KING HENRY, WESTMORELAND, SIR WALTER
BLUNT, and others.
& Stronds-strands, shores.
b Entrance. In the variorum editions of Shakspere we have the following correction of the text:
“ No more the thirsty Erinnys of this soil.” The original text is somewhat obscure; but the obscurity is perfectly in the manner of Shakspere, and in great part arises from the boldness of the metaphor. Entrance is put for mouth; and if we were to read, “ No more the thirsty mouth of this earth shall daub her lips with the blood of her own children," we should find little difficulty.