Chorus Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen
The well-appointed king at Hampton pier
Embark his royalty; and his brave fleet
With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning:
Play with your fancies, and in them behold
Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing;
Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails,
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow’d sea,
Breasting the lofty surge: O, do but think
You stand upon the ravage and behold
A city on the inconstant billows dancing;
For so appears this fleet majestical,
Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow:
Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy,
And leave your England, as dead midnight still,
Guarded with grandsires, babies and old women,
Either past or not arrived to pith and puissance;
For who is he, whose chin is but enrich’d
With one appearing hair, that will not follow
These cull’d and choice-drawn cavaliers to France?
Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege;
Behold the ordnance on their carriages,
With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur.
Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back;
Tells Harry that the king doth offer him
Katharine his daughter, and with her, to dowry,
Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.
The offer likes not: and the nimble gunner
With linstock now the devilish cannon touches,
Alarum, and chambers go off
And down goes all before them. Still be kind,
And eke out our performance with your mind.
Alarum. Enter King Henry, Exeter, Bedford, Gloucester, and Soldiers, with scaling-ladders
King Henry V Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off
Enter Nym, Bardolph, Pistol, and Boy
Bardolph On, on, on, on, on! to the breach, to the breach!
Nym Pray thee, corporal, stay: the knocks are too hot; and, for mine own part, I have not a case of lives: the humour of it is too hot, that is the very plain-song of it.
Pistol The plain-song is most just: for humours do abound:
Knocks go and come; God’s vassals drop and die;
And sword and shield,
In bloody field,
Doth win immortal fame.
Boy Would I were in an alehouse in London! I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety.
Pistol And I:
If wishes would prevail with me,
My purpose should not fail with me,
But thither would I hie.
Boy As duly, but not as truly,
As bird doth sing on bough.
Fluellen Up to the breach, you dogs! avaunt, you cullions!
Driving them forward
Pistol Be merciful, great duke, to men of mould.
Abate thy rage, abate thy manly rage,
Abate thy rage, great duke!
Good bawcock, bate thy rage; use lenity, sweet chuck!
Nym These be good humours! your honour wins bad humours.
Exeunt all but Boy
Boy As young as I am, I have observed these three swashers. I am boy to them all three: but all they three, though they would serve me, could not be man to me; for indeed three such antics do not amount to a man. For Bardolph, he is white-livered and red-faced; by the means whereof a’ faces it out, but fights not. For Pistol, he hath a killing tongue and a quiet sword; by the means whereof a’ breaks words, and keeps whole weapons. For Nym, he hath heard that men of few words are the best men; and therefore he scorns to say his prayers, lest a’ should be thought a coward: but his few bad words are matched with as few good deeds; for a’ never broke any man’s head but his own, and that was against a post when he was drunk. They will steal any thing, and call it purchase. Bardolph stole a lute-case, bore it twelve leagues, and sold it for three half pence. Nym and Bardolph are sworn brothers in filching, and in Calais they stole a fire-shovel: I knew by that piece of service the men would carry coals. They would have me as familiar with men’s pockets as their gloves or their handkerchers: which makes much against my manhood, if I should take from another’s pocket to put into mine; for it is plain pocketing up of wrongs. I must leave them, and seek some better service: their villany goes against my weak stomach, and therefore I must cast it up.
Re-enter Fluellen, Gower following
Gower Captain Fluellen, you must come presently to the mines; the Duke of Gloucester would speak with you.
Fluellen To the mines! tell you the duke, it is not so good to come to the mines; for, look you, the mines is not according to the disciplines of the war: the concavities of it is not sufficient; for, look you, the athversary, you may discuss unto the duke, look you, is digt himself four yard under the countermines: by Cheshu, I think a’ will plough up all, if there is not better directions.
Gower The Duke of Gloucester, to whom the order of the siege is given, is altogether directed by an Irishman, a very valiant gentleman, i’ faith.
Fluellen It is Captain Macmorris, is it not?
Gower I think it be.
Fluellen By Cheshu, he is an ass, as in the world: I will verify as much in his beard: be has no more directions in the true disciplines of the wars, look you, of the Roman disciplines, than is a puppy-dog.
Enter Macmorris and Captain Jamy
Gower Here a’ comes; and the Scots captain, Captain Jamy, with him.
Fluellen Captain Jamy is a marvellous falourous gentleman, that is certain; and of great expedition and knowledge in th’ aunchient wars, upon my particular knowledge of his directions: by Cheshu, he will maintain his argument as well as any military man in the world, in the disciplines of the pristine wars of the Romans.
Jamy I say gud-day, Captain Fluellen.
Fluellen God-den to your worship, good Captain James.
Gower How now, Captain Macmorris! have you quit the mines? have the pioneers given o’er?
Macmorris By Chrish, la! tish ill done: the work ish give over, the trompet sound the retreat. By my hand, I swear, and my father’s soul, the work ish ill done; it ish give over: I would have blowed up the town, so Chrish save me, la! in an hour: O, tish ill done, tish ill done; by my hand, tish ill done!
Fluellen Captain Macmorris, I beseech you now, will you voutsafe me, look you, a few disputations with you, as partly touching or concerning the disciplines of the war, the Roman wars, in the way of argument, look you, and friendly communication; partly to satisfy my opinion, and partly for the satisfaction, look you, of my mind, as touching the direction of the military discipline; that is the point.
Jamy It sall be vary gud, gud feith, gud captains bath: and I sall quit you with gud leve, as I may pick occasion; that sall I, marry.
Macmorris It is no time to discourse, so Chrish save me: the day is hot, and the weather, and the wars, and the king, and the dukes: it is no time to discourse. The town is beseeched, and the trumpet call us to the breach; and we talk, and, be Chrish, do nothing: ’tis shame for us all: so God sa’ me, ’tis shame to stand still; it is shame, by my hand: and there is throats to be cut, and works to be done; and there ish nothing done, so Chrish sa’ me, la!
Jamy By the mess, ere theise eyes of mine take themselves to slomber, ay’ll de gud service, or ay’ll lig i’ the grund for it; ay, or go to death; and ay’ll pay ’t as valourously as I may, that sall I suerly do, that is the breff and the long. Marry, I wad full fain hear some question ’tween you tway.
Fluellen Captain Macmorris, I think, look you, under your correction, there is not many of your nation —
Macmorris Of my nation! What ish my nation? Ish a villain, and a bastard, and a knave, and a rascal. What ish my nation? Who talks of my nation?
Fluellen Look you, if you take the matter otherwise than is meant, Captain Macmorris, peradventure I shall think you do not use me with that affability as in discretion you ought to use me, look you: being as good a man as yourself, both in the disciplines of war, and in the derivation of my birth, and in other particularities.
Macmorris I do not know you so good a man as myself: so
Chrish save me, I will cut off your head.
Gower Gentlemen both, you will mistake each other.
Jamy A! that’s a foul fault.
A parley sounded
Gower The town sounds a parley.
Fluellen Captain Macmorris, when there is more better opportunity to be required, look you, I will be so bold as to tell you I know the disciplines of war; and there is an end.
The Governor and some Citizens on the walls; the English forces below. Enter King Henry and his train
King Henry V How yet resolves the governor of the town?
This is the latest parle we will admit;
Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves;
Or like to men proud of destruction
Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,
A name that in my thoughts becomes me best,
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
Till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh’d soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious war,
Array’d in flames like to the prince of fiends,
Do, with his smirch’d complexion, all fell feats
Enlink’d to waste and desolation?
What is’t to me, when you yourselves are cause,
If your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness
When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as bootless spend our vain command
Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil
As send precepts to the leviathan
To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
Take pity of your town and of your people,
Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
O’erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villany.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash’d to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod’s bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? will you yield, and this avoid,
Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy’d?
Governor Our expectation hath this day an end:
The Dauphin, whom of succors we entreated,
Returns us that his powers are yet not ready
To raise so great a siege. Therefore, great king,
We yield our town and lives to thy soft mercy.
Enter our gates; dispose of us and ours;
For we no longer are defensible.
King Henry V Open your gates. Come, uncle Exeter,
Go you and enter Harfleur; there remain,
And fortify it strongly ’gainst the French:
Use mercy to them all. For us, dear uncle,
The winter coming on and sickness growing
Upon our soldiers, we will retire to Calais.
To-night in Harfleur we will be your guest;
To-morrow for the march are we addrest.
Flourish. The King and his train enter the town
Enter Katharine and Alice
Katharine Alice, tu as ete en Angleterre, et tu parles bien le langage.
Alice Un peu, madame.
Katharine Je te prie, m’enseignez: il faut que j’apprenne a parler. Comment appelez-vous la main en Anglois?
Alice La main? elle est appelee de hand.
Katharine De hand. Et les doigts?
Alice Les doigts? ma foi, j’oublie les doigts; mais je me souviendrai. Les doigts? je pense qu’ils sont appeles de fingres; oui, de fingres.
Katharine La main, de hand; les doigts, de fingres. Je pense que je suis le bon ecolier; j’ai gagne deux mots d’Anglois vitement. Comment appelez-vous les ongles?
Alice Les ongles? nous les appelons de nails.
Katharine De nails. Ecoutez; dites-moi, si je parle bien: de hand, de fingres, et de nails.
Alice C’est bien dit, madame; il est fort bon Anglois.
Katharine Dites-moi l’Anglois pour le bras.
Alice De arm, madame.
Katharine Et le coude?
Alice De elbow.
Katharine De elbow. Je m’en fais la repetition de tous les mots que vous m’avez appris des a present.
Alice Il est trop difficile, madame, comme je pense.
Katharine Excusez-moi, Alice; ecoutez: de hand, de fingres, de nails, de arma, de bilbow.
Alice De elbow, madame.
Katharine O Seigneur Dieu, je m’en oublie! de elbow. Comment appelez-vous le col?
Alice De neck, madame.
Katharine De nick. Et le menton?
Alice De chin.
Katharine De sin. Le col, de nick; de menton, de sin.
Alice Oui. Sauf votre honneur, en verite, vous prononcez les mots aussi droit que les natifs d’Angleterre.
Katharine Je ne doute point d’apprendre, par la grace de Dieu, et en peu de temps.
Alice N’avez vous pas deja oublie ce que je vous ai enseigne?
Katharine Non, je reciterai a vous promptement: de hand, de fingres, de mails —
Alice De nails, madame.
Katharine De nails, de arm, de ilbow.
Alice Sauf votre honneur, de elbow.
Katharine Ainsi dis-je; de elbow, de nick, et de sin. Comment appelez-vous le pied et la robe?
Alice De foot, madame; et de coun.
Katharine De foot et de coun! O Seigneur Dieu! ce sont mots de son mauvais, corruptible, gros, et impudique, et non pour les dames d’honneur d’user: je ne voudrais prononcer ces mots devant les seigneurs de France pour tout le monde. Foh! le foot et le coun! Neanmoins, je reciterai une autre fois ma lecon ensemble: de hand, de fingres, de nails, de arm, de elbow, de nick, de sin, de foot, de coun.
Alice Excellent, madame!
Katharine C’est assez pour une fois: allons-nous a diner.
Enter the King Of France, the Dauphin, the Duke oF Bourbon, the Constable Of France, and others
King Of France ’Tis certain he hath pass’d the river Somme.
Constable And if he be not fought withal, my lord,
Let us not live in France; let us quit all
And give our vineyards to a barbarous people.
Dauphin O Dieu vivant! shall a few sprays of us,
The emptying of our fathers’ luxury,
Our scions, put in wild and savage stock,
Spirt up so suddenly into the clouds,
And overlook their grafters?
Bourbon Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards!
Mort de ma vie! if they march along
Unfought withal, but I will sell my dukedom,
To buy a slobbery and a dirty farm
In that nook-shotten isle of Albion.
Constable Dieu de batailles! where have they this mettle?
Is not their climate foggy, raw and dull,
On whom, as in despite, the sun looks pale,
Killing their fruit with frowns? Can sodden water,
A drench for sur-rein’d jades, their barley-broth,
Decoct their cold blood to such valiant heat?
And shall our quick blood, spirited with wine,
Seem frosty? O, for honour of our land,
Let us not hang like roping icicles
Upon our houses’ thatch, whiles a more frosty people
Sweat drops of gallant youth in our rich fields!
Poor we may call them in their native lords.
Dauphin By faith and honour,
Our madams mock at us, and plainly say
Our mettle is bred out and they will give
Their bodies to the lust of English youth
To new-store France with bastard warriors.
Bourbon They bid us to the English dancing-schools,
And teach lavoltas high and swift corantos;
Saying our grace is only in our heels,
And that we are most lofty runaways.
King Of France Where is Montjoy the herald? speed him hence:
Let him greet England with our sharp defiance.
Up, princes! and, with spirit of honour edged
More sharper than your swords, hie to the field:
Charles Delabreth, high constable of France;
You Dukes of Orleans, Bourbon, and of Berri,
Alencon, Brabant, Bar, and Burgundy;
Jaques Chatillon, Rambures, Vaudemont,
Beaumont, Grandpre, Roussi, and Fauconberg,
Foix, Lestrale, Bouciqualt, and Charolois;
High dukes, great princes, barons, lords and knights,
For your great seats now quit you of great shames.
Bar Harry England, that sweeps through our land
With pennons painted in the blood of Harfleur:
Rush on his host, as doth the melted snow
Upon the valleys, whose low vassal seat
The Alps doth spit and void his rheum upon:
Go down upon him, you have power enough,
And in a captive chariot into Rouen
Bring him our prisoner.
Constable This becomes the great.
Sorry am I his numbers are so few,
His soldiers sick and famish’d in their march,
For I am sure, when he shall see our army,
He’ll drop his heart into the sink of fear
And for achievement offer us his ransom.
King Of France Therefore, lord constable, haste on Montjoy.
And let him say to England that we send
To know what willing ransom he will give.
Prince Dauphin, you shall stay with us in Rouen.
Dauphin Not so, I do beseech your majesty.
King Of France Be patient, for you shall remain with us.
Now forth, lord constable and princes all,
And quickly bring us word of England’s fall.
Enter Gower and Fluellen, meeting
Gower How now, Captain Fluellen! come you from the bridge?
Fluellen I assure you, there is very excellent services committed at the bridge.
Gower Is the Duke of Exeter safe?
Fluellen The Duke of Exeter is as magnanimous as Agamemnon; and a man that I love and honour with my soul, and my heart, and my duty, and my life, and my living, and my uttermost power: he is not-God be praised and blessed! — any hurt in the world; but keeps the bridge most valiantly, with excellent discipline. There is an aunchient lieutenant there at the pridge, I think in my very conscience he is as valiant a man as Mark Antony; and he is a man of no estimation in the world; but did see him do as gallant service.
Gower What do you call him?
Fluellen He is called Aunchient Pistol.
Gower I know him not.
Fluellen Here is the man.
Pistol Captain, I thee beseech to do me favours:
The Duke of Exeter doth love thee well.
Fluellen Ay, I praise God; and I have merited some love at his hands.
Pistol Bardolph, a soldier, firm and sound of heart,
And of buxom valour, hath, by cruel fate,
And giddy Fortune’s furious fickle wheel,
That goddess blind,
That stands upon the rolling restless stone —
Fluellen By your patience, Aunchient Pistol. Fortune is painted blind, with a muffler afore her eyes, to signify to you that Fortune is blind; and she is painted also with a wheel, to signify to you, which is the moral of it, that she is turning, and inconstant, and mutability, and variation: and her foot, look you, is fixed upon a spherical stone, which rolls, and rolls, and rolls: in good truth, the poet makes a most excellent description of it: Fortune is an excellent moral.
Pistol Fortune is Bardolph’s foe, and frowns on him;
For he hath stolen a pax, and hanged must a’ be:
A damned death!
Let gallows gape for dog; let man go free
And let not hemp his wind-pipe suffocate:
But Exeter hath given the doom of death
For pax of little price.
Therefore, go speak: the duke will hear thy voice:
And let not Bardolph’s vital thread be cut
With edge of penny cord and vile reproach:
Speak, captain, for his life, and I will thee requite.
Fluellen Aunchient Pistol, I do partly understand your meaning.
Pistol Why then, rejoice therefore.
Fluellen Certainly, aunchient, it is not a thing to rejoice at: for if, look you, he were my brother, I would desire the duke to use his good pleasure, and put him to execution; for discipline ought to be used.
Pistol Die and be damn’d! and figo for thy friendship!
Fluellen It is well.
Pistol The fig of Spain!
Fluellen Very good.
Gower Why, this is an arrant counterfeit rascal; I remember him now; a bawd, a cutpurse.
Fluellen I’ll assure you, a’ uttered as brave words at the bridge as you shall see in a summer’s day. But it is very well; what he has spoke to me, that is well, I warrant you, when time is serve.
Gower Why, ’tis a gull, a fool, a rogue, that now and then goes to the wars, to grace himself at his return into London under the form of a soldier. And such fellows are perfect in the great commanders’ names: and they will learn you by rote where services were done; at such and such a sconce, at such a breach, at such a convoy; who came off bravely, who was shot, who disgraced, what terms the enemy stood on; and this they con perfectly in the phrase of war, which they trick up with new-tuned oaths: and what a beard of the general’s cut and a horrid suit of the camp will do among foaming bottles and ale-washed wits, is wonderful to be thought on. But you must learn to know such slanders of the age, or else you may be marvellously mistook.
Fluellen I tell you what, Captain Gower; I do perceive he is not the man that he would gladly make show to the world he is: if I find a hole in his coat, I will tell him my mind.
Hark you, the king is coming, and I must speak with him from the pridge.
Drum and colours. Enter King Henry, Gloucester, and Soldiers
God pless your majesty!
King Henry V How now, Fluellen! camest thou from the bridge?
Fluellen Ay, so please your majesty. The Duke of Exeter has very gallantly maintained the pridge: the French is gone off, look you; and there is gallant and most prave passages; marry, th’ athversary was have possession of the pridge; but he is enforced to retire, and the Duke of Exeter is master of the pridge: I can tell your majesty, the duke is a prave man.
King Henry V What men have you lost, Fluellen?
Fluellen The perdition of th’ athversary hath been very great, reasonable great: marry, for my part, I think the duke hath lost never a man, but one that is like to be executed for robbing a church, one Bardolph, if your majesty know the man: his face is all bubukles, and whelks, and knobs, and flames o’ fire: and his lips blows at his nose, and it is like a coal of fire, sometimes plue and sometimes red; but his nose is executed and his fire’s out.
King Henry V We would have all such offenders so cut off: and we give express charge, that in our marches through the country, there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language; for when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.
Tucket. Enter Montjoy
Montjoy You know me by my habit.
King Henry V Well then I know thee: what shall I know of thee?
Montjoy My master’s mind.
King Henry V Unfold it.
Montjoy Thus says my king: Say thou to Harry of England: Though we seemed dead, we did but sleep: advantage is a better soldier than rashness. Tell him we could have rebuked him at Harfleur, but that we thought not good to bruise an injury till it were full ripe: now we speak upon our cue, and our voice is imperial: England shall repent his folly, see his weakness, and admire our sufferance. Bid him therefore consider of his ransom; which must proportion the losses we have borne, the subjects we have lost, the disgrace we have digested; which in weight to re-answer, his pettiness would bow under. For our losses, his exchequer is too poor; for the effusion of our blood, the muster of his kingdom too faint a number; and for our disgrace, his own person, kneeling at our feet, but a weak and worthless satisfaction. To this add defiance: and tell him, for conclusion, he hath betrayed his followers, whose condemnation is pronounced. So far my king and master; so much my office.
King Henry V What is thy name? I know thy quality.
King Henry V Thou dost thy office fairly. Turn thee back.
And tell thy king I do not seek him now;
But could be willing to march on to Calais
Without impeachment: for, to say the sooth,
Though ’tis no wisdom to confess so much
Unto an enemy of craft and vantage,
My people are with sickness much enfeebled,
My numbers lessened, and those few I have
Almost no better than so many French;
Who when they were in health, I tell thee, herald,
I thought upon one pair of English legs
Did march three Frenchmen. Yet, forgive me, God,
That I do brag thus! This your air of France
Hath blown that vice in me: I must repent.
Go therefore, tell thy master here I am;
My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk,
My army but a weak and sickly guard;
Yet, God before, tell him we will come on,
Though France himself and such another neighbour
Stand in our way. There’s for thy labour, Montjoy.
Go bid thy master well advise himself:
If we may pass, we will; if we be hinder’d,
We shall your tawny ground with your red blood
Discolour: and so Montjoy, fare you well.
The sum of all our answer is but this:
We would not seek a battle, as we are;
Nor, as we are, we say we will not shun it:
So tell your master.
Montjoy I shall deliver so. Thanks to your highness.
Gloucester I hope they will not come upon us now.
King Henry V We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.
March to the bridge; it now draws toward night:
Beyond the river we’ll encamp ourselves,
And on to-morrow, bid them march away.
Enter the Constable of France, the Lord Rambures, Orleans, Dauphin, with others
Constable Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!
Orleans You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
Constable It is the best horse of Europe.
Orleans Will it never be morning?
Dauphin My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you talk of horse and armour?
Orleans You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.
Dauphin What a long night is this! I will not change my horse with any that treads but on four pasterns. Ca, ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus, chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
Orleans He’s of the colour of the nutmeg.
Dauphin And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in Patient stillness while his rider mounts him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you may call beasts.
Constable Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
Dauphin It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
Orleans No more, cousin.
Dauphin Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as fluent as the sea: turn the sands into eloquent tongues, and my horse is argument for them all: ’tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for a sovereign’s sovereign to ride on; and for the world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart their particular functions and wonder at him. I once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus: ‘Wonder of nature,’—
Orleans I have heard a sonnet begin so to one’s mistress.
Dauphin Then did they imitate that which I composed to my courser, for my horse is my mistress.
Orleans Your mistress bears well.
Dauphin Me well; which is the prescript praise and perfection of a good and particular mistress.
Constable Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly shook your back.
Dauphin So perhaps did yours.
Constable Mine was not bridled.
Dauphin O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode, like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in your straight strossers.
Constable You have good judgment in horsemanship.
Dauphin Be warned by me, then: they that ride so and ride not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have my horse to my mistress.
Constable I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
Dauphin I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
Constable I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow to my mistress.
Dauphin ‘Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et la truie lavee au bourbier;’ thou makest use of any thing.
Constable Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
Rambures My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?
Constable Stars, my lord.
Dauphin Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.
Constable And yet my sky shall not want.
Dauphin That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and
’twere more honour some were away.
Constable Even as your horse bears your praises; who would trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
Dauphin Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and my way shall be paved with English faces.
Constable I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out of my way: but I would it were morning; for I would fain be about the ears of the English.
Rambures Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
Constable You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.
Dauphin ’Tis midnight; I’ll go arm myself.
Orleans The Dauphin longs for morning.
Rambures He longs to eat the English.
Constable I think he will eat all he kills.
Orleans By the white hand of my lady, he’s a gallant prince.
Constable Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.
Orleans He is simply the most active gentleman of France.
Constable Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.
Orleans He never did harm, that I heard of.
Constable Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still.
Orleans I know him to be valiant.
Constable I was told that by one that knows him better than you.
Orleans What’s he?
Constable Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared not who knew it
Orleans He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.
Constable By my faith, sir, but it is; never any body saw it but his lackey: ’tis a hooded valour; and when it appears, it will bate.
Orleans Ill will never said well.
Constable I will cap that proverb with ‘There is flattery in friendship.’
Orleans And I will take up that with ‘Give the devil his due.’
Constable Well placed: there stands your friend for the devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with ‘A pox of the devil.’
Orleans You are the better at proverbs, by how much ‘A fool’s bolt is soon shot.’
Constable You have shot over.
Orleans ’Tis not the first time you were overshot.
Enter a Messenger
Messenger My lord high constable, the English lie within fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
Constable Who hath measured the ground?
Messenger The Lord Grandpre.
Constable A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for the dawning as we do.
Orleans What a wretched and peevish fellow is this king of England, to mope with his fat-brained followers so far out of his knowledge!
Constable If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.
Orleans That they lack; for if their heads had any intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy head-pieces.
Rambures That island of England breeds very valiant creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
Orleans Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a Russian bear and have their heads crushed like rotten apples! You may as well say, that’s a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
Constable Just, just; and the men do sympathize with the mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on, leaving their wits with their wives: and then give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.
Orleans Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.
Constable Then shall we find to-morrow they have only stomachs to eat and none to fight. Now is it time to arm: come, shall we about it?
Orleans It is now two o’clock: but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59