QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: Famous Victories of Henry V: Supplementary Materials
  • Author: Karen Sawyer Marsalek
  • General editor: Helen Ostovich
  • Coordinating editor:

  • Copyright Karen Sawyer Marsalek. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Karen Sawyer Marsalek
    Peer Reviewed

    Supplementary Materials

    Tarlton's Jests (excerpt)

    London: Thomas Snodham for John Budge, 1613.

    An Excellent Jest of Tarlton, Suddenly Spoken

    At the Bull at Bishopsgate was a play of Henry the Fifth, wherein the Judge was to take a box on the ear, and because he was absent that should take the blow, Tarlton himself (ever forward to please) took upon him to play the same Judge, besides his own part of the clown, and Knell, then playing Henry the Fifth, hit Tarlton a sound box indeed, which made the people laugh the more, because it was he. But anon the Judge goes in, and immediately Tarlton (in his clownʼs clothes) comes out and asks the actors. “What news?” “Oh,” saith one, “hadst thou been here thou shouldst have seen Prince Henry hit the Judge a terrible box on the ear.” “What, man,” said Tarlton, “strike a Judge?” “It is true in faith,” said the other. “No other like,” said Tarlton “and it could not but be terrible to the Judge, when the report so terrifies me that methinks the blow remains still on my cheek, that it burns again.” The people laughed at this mightily, and to this day I have heard it commended for rare, but no marvel, for he had many of these. But I would see our clowns in these days do the like; no, I warrant thee, and yet they think well of themselves, too. (fols. C2v-C3r)