Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter CHORUS
The CHORUS enters.

CHORUS

Thus far with rough and all-unable pen
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
350Mangling 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.
355Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crowned 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,
360In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

CHORUS

Thus far has our straining author pursued the story with his crude, inadequate writing, keeping important people penned up in this little room while he mangled history’s full glory with his uneven telling. The lifespan of our English hero was brief, but in that brief time he achieved greatness. He had good luck as a warrior, and with it he created the world’s greatest garden, France, leaving his son as its imperial ruler. Henry the Sixth, crowned king of France and England while still in his infancy, succeeded him. But so many people had a hand in managing the child’s kingdom that France was lost and civil war came to England—a story we’ve acted out many times on this stage. With those plays in mind, we hope you’ll receive this one kindly.
Exit
The CHORUS exits.