David Bruce: THE FAMOUS VICTORIES OF HENRY V: A Retelling — Cast of Characters and Scene 1


(in order of appearance)

Prince Henry: King Henry IV’s son and later King Henry V. In William Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, he is known as Prince Hal.

Ned: Prince Henry’s companion.

Tom: Prince Henry’s companion.

Jockey: Nickname of Sir John Oldcastle, Prince Henry’s companion. In William Shakespeare’s Henry IVplays, he is known as Sir John Falstaff.

Two Receivers: King Henry IV’s tax and rent collectors.

John Cobbler: a cobbler and member of the parish watch. A cobbler makes and mends shoes and boots.

Robin Pewterer: a pewterer and member of the parish watch. Pewter is an alloy of tin and lead; a pewterer works with this metal.

Lawrence Costermonger: a fruit-seller and member of the parish watch. A costard is a kind of apple.

Derrick: a carrier and later John Cobbler’s apprentice.

Cutbert Cutter: a thief.

Vintner’s Boy. A vintner is a wine merchant and/or a wine maker. The boy, whose name is Robert, is a young servant in an inn that serves wine.

King Henry IV: King of England.

Earl of Exeter: one of King Henry IV’s Lords.

Earl of Oxford: one of King Henry IV’s Lords.

Other English Lords.

Mayor of London.

Sheriff of London.

Lord Chief Justice of England.

Clerk of the Office.



Archbishop of Canterbury.

Duke of York: King Henry V’s uncle.

Archbishop of Bruges: the French ambassador.

English Captain.

John Cobbler’s Wife.

King Charles VI: King of France.

Prince Dauphin: King Charles VI’s son.

Lord High Constable of France.


French Herald.

French Soldiers.

French Drummer.

French Captain.

English Soldier.

English Secretary.


Lady Katherine: King Charles VI’s daughter.

Lady Katherine’s Ladies.

Duke of Burgundy: King Charles VI’s most powerful noble.

French Secretary.


The English Court and Officials

Prince Henry, later King Henry V.

King Henry IV.

Duke of York.

Earl of Oxford.

Earl of Exeter.

Archbishop of Canterbury.

Secretary to King Henry V.

Lord Mayor of London.

Lord Chief Justice.

Clerk of the Office.


Two Receivers.

Sheriff of London.

English Citizens: Friends of Prince Henry



Jockey (Sir John Oldcastle).

Thief (Cuthbert Cutter).


Derrick, a carrier.

John Cobbler.

Wife of John Cobbler.

Robin Pewterer.

Lawrence Costermonger.

A Vintner’s Boy.

An English Soldier.

The French Court, Officials, and Military

Charles VI, King of France.

Lady Katherine, Princess of France.

Dauphin, French Prince.

Archbishop of Burges.

Duke of Burgundy.

Lord High Constable of France.


French Soldiers


First Soldier.

Second Soldier.

Third Soldier.

Jack Drummer.

French Captain.

— SCENE 1 —

Young Prince Henry, who was the son of King Henry IV of England, and his companions Ned and Tom had just finished robbing some English citizens. The citizens were two receivers who collected tax and rent money for King Henry IV.

“Come away, Ned and Tom!” Prince Henry said. “Let’s go!”

“Here we are, my Lord,” Ned and Tom said.

“Come away, my lads,” Prince Henry repeated, and then he added, “Tell me, sirs, how much gold have you gotten?”

“Indeed, my Lord,” Ned said. “I have gotten five hundred pounds.”

 “But tell me, Tom,” Prince Henry said, “how much have you gotten?”

“Truly, my Lord,” Tom said, “some four hundred pounds.”

“Four hundred pounds?” Prince Henry said. “Bravely spoken, lads! But tell me, sirs, don’t you think it was villainous of me to rob my father’s receivers?”

A receiver receives money on behalf of another person; a receiver can be a treasurer. These receivers were tax and rent collectors.

“Why, no, my Lord,” Ned said. “It was only youthful tomfoolery.”

“Indeed, Ned, you say the truth,” Prince Henry said, and then he added, “But tell me, sirs, whereabouts are we?”

“My Lord,” Tom replied, “we are now about a mile from London.”

“But, sirs,” Prince Henry said, “I marvel that Sir John Oldcastle has not come away from the scene of the crime.”

Hearing a sound, he looked up and said, “By God’s wounds, I see him coming now!”

Sir John Oldcastle’s nickname was Jockey.

As Sir John Oldcastle arrived, Prince Henry greeted him: “How are you now, Jockey? What news do you bring?”

“Indeed, my Lord,” Jockey said, “such news as is current, for the town of Deptford has now risen with hue and cry after your man who parted from us last night and who has set upon and robbed a poor carrier.”

By “man,” he meant a kind of companion who was definitely subordinate to the Prince.

When a person in the Middle Ages was robbed, he would shout for help. Citizens in the area were obliged to chase after the robber. In the redundant phrase “hue and cry,” “hue” means a shout or an outcry.

A carrier carries goods; he moves them from one place to another.

“By God’s wounds,” Prince Henry said, “you mean the villain who was accustomed to spy out our booties?”

The villain would seek information about who had booty — who had wealth — and who would be a good person to rob.

 “Yes, my Lord,” Jockey said. “He is the one I mean.”

“Now, he must be a base-minded rascal to rob a poor carrier!” Prince Henry said. “Well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll save the base villain’s life. Yes, I may. But tell me, Jockey, whereabouts are the receivers?”

“Indeed, my Lord, they are very near, but the best thing is that we are on horseback and they are on foot, and so we may escape them.”

“Well, if the villains come, let me alone with them,” Prince Henry said. “But tell me, Jockey, how much did you get from the knaves? For I am sure I got something, for one of the villains so beat me about the shoulders that I shall feel it for all this month.”

“Indeed, my Lord,” Jockey said. “I have got a hundred pounds.”

“A hundred pounds!” Prince Henry said. “Now, bravely spoken, Jockey. But come, sirs, lay all your money before me.”

They placed their booty at his feet.

“Now, by Heaven, here is a splendid show of money!” Prince Henry said. “But, as I am a true gentleman, I will have half of this spent tonight. But, sirs, take up your bags. Here come the receivers. Let me alone with them.”

They hid the booty.

Two receivers arrived.

“Alas, good fellow, what shall we do?” the first receiver said to the second. “I can never dare go home to the court, for I shall be hanged. But look, here is the young Prince. What shall we do?”

“How are you now, you villains?” Prince Henry asked. “Who are you?”

The first receiver whispered to the second receiver, “You speak to him.”

“No,” the second receiver whispered back. “Please, you speak to him.”

“Why, what’s going on, you rascals?” Prince Henry asked. “Why don’t you speak?”

“Truly we are —” the first receiver began, but he stopped and whispered to the second receiver, “Please, you speak to him.”

“By God’s wounds, villains,” Prince Henry said, “speak, or I’ll cut off your heads.”

“Truly,” the second receiver said, “he can tell the tale better than I.”

“Indeed,” the first receiver said, “we are your father’s receivers.”

“Are you really my father’s receivers?” Prince Henry said. “Then I hope you have brought me some money.”

“Money? Alas, sir,” the first receiver said. “We have been robbed.”

“Robbed?” Prince Henry asked. “How many robbers were there?”

“Indeed, sir, there were four of them,” the first receiver said, “and one of them had Sir John Oldcastle’s bay hobby and your black nag.”

A hobby is a kind of horse, as is a nag.

“By God’s wounds!” Prince Henry exclaimed.

He said to Sir John Oldcastle, “How do you like this, Jockey?”

He then said to the receivers, “By God’s blood, you villains! My father has been robbed of his money here, and we have been robbed in our stables. But tell me, how many robbers were there?”

The first receiver said, “If it please you, there were four of them, and there was one about your size, but I am sure I so beat him about the shoulders that he will feel it all this month.”

“By God’s wounds,” Prince Henry said, “you beat those shoulders well — and so they have carried away your money!”

He then said to Ned, Tom, and Jockey, “But come, sirs, what shall we do with the villains?”

The two receivers, frightened because of the loss of money, and because Prince Henry’s father, King Henry IV, could sentence them to death, said, “We beg your grace, be good to us.”

The two receivers knelt.

“Please, my Lord,” Ned said, “forgive them this once.”

“Well, stand up and get you gone,” Prince Henry said to the two receivers. “And look that you don’t speak a word about it, for if I hear news about it, by God’s wounds, I’ll hang you and all your kin.”

The two receivers exited.

“Now, sirs, how do you like this?” Prince Henry said to his companions. “Wasn’t this splendidly done? For now the villains dare not speak a word about this robbery because I have made them so afraid with my words. Now, where shall we go?”

“Why, my Lord,” his companions said, “you know our old hostess at Feversham?”

“Our hostess at Feversham?” Prince Henry said. “By God’s blood, what shall we do there? We have a thousand pounds about us, and shall we go to a petty alehouse? No, no. You know the old tavern in Eastcheap? There is good wine. Besides, there is a pretty wench who can talk well, for I delight as much in their tongues as any other part about them.”

In this society, the word “wench” was often an affectionate word; it was not necessarily a negative word.

“We are ready to wait upon your grace,” his companions said.

“By God’s wounds!” Prince Henry said. “Wait! We will go all together. We are all fellows, I tell you, sirs. If the King my father were dead, we would all be Kings. Therefore, let’s go.”

“By God’s wounds,” Ned said, “you have splendidly spoken, Harry!”

Prince Henry, Ned, Tom, and Jockey exited.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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This is an easy-to-retelling of “The Famous Victories of Henry V,” which is an important source for William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” and “Henry V “plays.





FREE eBook: davidbrucehaiku #14 (pdf)




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