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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
H5
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2159  Monday, 10 November 2003

[1]     From:   Andy Jones <
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        Date:   Saturday, 8 Nov 2003 11:11:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2142 H5

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Sunday, 9 Nov 2003 09:14:50 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2142 H5

[3]     From:   Keith Hopkins <
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        Date:   Sunday, 9 Nov 2003 17:52:04 -0000
        Subj:   H5 and the Trunks issue


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy Jones <
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Date:           Saturday, 8 Nov 2003 11:11:03 -0400
Subject: 14.2142 H5
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2142 H5

Well, I hate to be a wet blanket, but the scene you are referring to
must, I think, be Act IV Scene iii - not Henry's last speech to Mountjoy
(which happens in Act IV Scene vii), but the last before the battle. The
speech doesn't contain the quote you give, but ends:

: Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald.
: They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints*
: Which if they have as I will leave 'em them
: Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.

... and "trunks" are not mentioned. (*Cannabis reference, anyone?)

The reference to trunks is in an earlier scene (Act III, Scene vi),
Mountjoy's first meeting with Henry, where Henry says:

: My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk,
: My army but a weak and sickly guard.

... in a context where I don't think a "trunk=torso,trunk=treasure"
misunderstanding could arise.

Andy Jones

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Sunday, 9 Nov 2003 09:14:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2142 H5
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2142 H5

Actually, Henry twice refers to his body and not trunks. In the same
speech to Mountjoy, he opens with:

I pray thee bear my former answer back.
Bid them achieve me, and then sell my bones. (IV iii 91-92, Oxford
Complete)

And the same speech concludes with

They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints -
Which if they have as I will leave 'em them,
Shall yield them little. Tell the Constable. (124-126)

An interesting hypothesis, but it doesn't fit the text.

Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Keith Hopkins <
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Date:           Sunday, 9 Nov 2003 17:52:04 -0000
Subject:        H5 and the Trunks issue

Dana Wilson raises a fascinating point about the trunk speech of H5 to
Montjoy. I have a number difficulties with this, attractive though I
find Dana Wilson's point; 1. The Arden and Norton/Oxford Shakespeare
refer to joints, not limbs.  I am intrigued as to what edition of
Shakespeare the word 'trunks' comes in.  It is a word that has specific
connotations in Shakespeare and is used as meaning as a trunk of
humours, or the trunk of dead Cloten in Cymbeline.  Obviously 'joints'
would point to a simple bodily reference and would not have the
commercial connotation of trunks of value in the baggage camp.

2. There is a difficulty with this point about the destruction of the
French Cavalry.   Gower reports that the Cavalry did carry away
everything that was in the King's tent implying that there was something
worth carrying away,  and also the execution was of French prisoners,
not of the French Cavalry. So the prisoners, whatever threat they may
have posed, could not have been on the same level as the mounted armed
horsemen.   Also, Gower talks about rascals running from the battle, not
riding, that have done the slaughter.

3.  This is basically borne out by Holinshed quoted in the Arden, who
states that the French Cavalry to gain spoil and be revenged for the
capture of French prisoners by the English, entered in the King's camp,
broke up chests and carried away caskets, which implies that they found
something worth taking.   Further Holinshed states, that the Cavalry
were not killed there and then, but many were afterwards committed to
prison.  So we have a fairly consistent picture in the play and in the
sources indicating that is must have been a strange deal that Henry came
to with the French if he allowed them to take away valuables, kill his
servants and then basically be at liberty to roam over the battle
field.  The point is that there seems  have been no strategic advantage
to Henry in what happened, and I can't see what advantage there would
have been to plan this.

Keith Hopkins

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