William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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My army, but a weak and sickly guard ;

Yet, God before, 1 tell him we will come on,

Though France himself, and such another neighbor,

Stand in our way. There s for thy labor, Montjoy.

Go, bid thy master well advise himself.

If we may pass, we will; if we be hindered,

We shall your tawny ground with your red blood

Discolor ; 2 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.

Mont. I shall deliver so. Thanks to your highness.


Glo. I hope they will not come upon us now.

K. Hen. We are in God s hand, brother, not in


March to the bridge ; it now draws toward night.
Beyond the river we ll encamp ourselves ;
And on to-morrow bid them march away. [Exeunt.

SCENE VII. The French Camp, near Agincourt.

Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES,
the DUKE of ORLEANS, Dauphin, and others.

Con. Tut! I have the best armor of the world.
Would it were day !

Or/. You have an excellent armor ; but let my
horse have his due.

1 God before was then used for God being my guide.

2 This is from Holinshed. " My desire is, that none of you be so unad
vised as to be the occasion that I in my defence shall colour and make red
your tawny ground with the effusion of Christian blood. When he had
thus answered the herauld he gave him a great rewarde, and licenced him
to depart." It was always customary to give a reward, or largess, to the
herald, whether he brought a message of defiance or congratulation.

VOL. iv. 22


Con. It is the best horse of Europe.

OrL Will it never be morning ?

Dau. My lord of Orleans, and my lord high con
stable, you talk of horse and armor,

OrL You are as well provided of both, as any prince
in the world.

Dau. What a long night is this ! 1 will not

change my horse with any that treads but on four pas
terns. Ca, ha! He bounds from the earth, as if his
entrails were hairs ; J le cheval volant, the Pegasus, qui
a les narines defeu! 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.

OrL He s of the color of the nutmeg.

Dau. And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast
for Perseus. He is pure air and fire ; and the dull ele
ments 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

Con. Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and ex
cellent horse.

Dau. It is the prince of palfreys ; his neigh is like
the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance enforces

OrL No more, cousin.

Dau. 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 sove
reign to ride on ; and for the world (familiar to us, and
unknown) to lay apart their particular functions, and
wonder at him. I once wrote a sonnet in his praise,
and began thus : Wonder of nature,

1 Alluding to the bounding of tennis-balls, which were stuffed with


Or/. I have heard a sonnet begin so to one s mistress.

Dau. Then did they imitate that which I composed
to my courser ; for my horse is my mistress.

Or/. Your mistress bears well.

Dau. Me well ; which is the prescript praise and
perfection of a good and particular mistress.

Con. Mafoy! The other day, methought, your mis
tress shrewdly shook your back.

Dau. So, perhaps, did yours.

Con. Mine was not bridled.

Dau. O ! then, belike, she was old and gentle ; and
you rode like a Kerne of Ireland, your French hose off,
and in your strait trossers. 1

Con. You have good judgment in horsemanship.

Dau. 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.

Con. I had as lief have my mistress a jade.

Dau. I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears her
own hair.

Con. I could make as true a boast as that, if I had
a sow to my mistress.

Dau. Le chien est retourne a sonpropre vomissement,
et la truie lavee au bourbier. Thou makest use of any


Con. Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress ; or
any such proverb, so little kin to the purpose.

Ram. My lord constable, the armor, that I saw in
your tent to-night, are those stars, or suns, upon it ?

Con. Stars, my lord.

Dau. Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.

Con. And yet my sky shall not want.

Dau. That may be, for you bear a many super
fluously ! and twere more honor, some were away.

Con. Even as your horse bears your praises ; who

1 "Like a Kerne of Ireland, your French hose off, and in your strait
trossers" This expression is here merely figurative, as Theobald long
since observed, for femoribus denudatis. But it is certain that the Irish
trossers, or trowsers, were anciently the direct contrary to the modern gar
ments of that name. " Their trowses, commonly spelt trossers, were long
pantaloons exactly fitted to the shape."


would trot as well, were some of jour brags dis

Dau. 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

Con. 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.

Ram. Who will go to hazard with me for twenty
English prisoners ?

Con. You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you
have them.

Dau. Tis midnight ; I ll go arm myself. [Exit.

Orl. The dauphin longs for morning.

Ram. He longs to eat the English.

Con. I think he will eat all he kills.

Orl. By the white hand of my lady, he s a gallant

Con. Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the

Orl. He is, simply, the most active gentleman of

Con. Doing is activity ; and he will still be doing.

Orl. He never did harm, that I heard of.

Con. Nor will do none to-morrow ; he will keep
that good name still.

Orl. I know him to be valiant.

Con. I was told that, by one that knows him better
than you.

Orl. What s he ?

Con. Marry, he told me so himself; and he said, he
cared not who knew it.

Orl. He needs not ; it is no hidden virtue in him.

Con. By my faith, sir, but it is ; never any body
saw it, but his lackey. Tis a hooded valor ; and,
when it appears, it will bate. 1

1 When a hawk is unhooded, her first action is to bate (i. e. beat her
wings, or flutter). The hawk wants no courage, but invariably bates upon
the removal of her hood. The constable intimates that the dauphin s

SC. Vll.] KING HENRY V. 173

Orl. Ill will never said well.

Con. I will cap that proverb with There is flattery
in friendship.

Orl. And I will take up that with Give the devil
his due.

Con. Well placed ; there stands your friend for the
devil. Have at the very eye of that proverb, with a
pox of the devil.

Orl. You are the better at proverbs, by how much
a fool s bolt is soon shot.

Con. You have shot over.

Orl. Tis not the first time you were overshot.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My lord high constable, the English lie within
fifteen hundred paces of your tent.

Con. Who hath measured the ground ?

Mess. The lord Grand pre.

Con. A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would
it were day! ] Alas, poor Harry of England! He
longs not for the dawning, as we do.

Orl. What a wretched and peevish 2 fellow is this
king of England, to mope with his fat-brained followers
so far out of his knowledge !

Con. If the English had any apprehension, they
would run away.

Orl. That they lack ; for if their heads had any in
tellectual armor, they could never wear such heavy

Ram. That island of England breeds very valiant
creatures ; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.

Orl. Foolish curs! that run winking into the mouth

courage, when it appears (i. e. when he prepares for encounter), will bate;
i. e. soon diminish or evaporate.

1 Instead of this and the succeeding speeches, the quartos conclude this
scene with a couplet :

" Come, come away ;

The sun is high, and we wear out the day."

2 Peevish, i. e. foolish.


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.

Con. 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.

Orl. Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of

Con. Then we shall find to-morrow they have
only stomachs to eat, and none to fight. Now is it
time to arm. Come, shall we about it ?

Orl. It is now two o clock : but, let me see, by

We shall have each a hundred Englishmen. [Exeunt.



Chor. Now entertain conjecture of a time,
When creeping murmur, and the poring dark,
Fills the wide vessel of the universe. 1
From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other s watch. 2

1 " Fills the wide vessel of the universe." Warburton says universe
for horizon. Johnson remarks that, " however large in its philosophical
sense, it may be poetically used for as much of the world as falls under

2 " The secret whispers of each other s watch." Holinshed says that
the distance between the two armies was but two hundred and fifty paces :
and again, " at their coming into the village, fires were made (by the
English) to give light on every side, as there were likewise by the French


Fire answers fire ; and through their paly flames

Each battle sees the other s umbered 1 face.

Steed threatens steed in high and boastful neighs,

Piercing the night s dull ear : and from the tents,

The armorers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closing rivets up, 2

Give dreadful note of preparation.

The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,

And the third hour of drowsy morning name.

Proud of their numbers, and secure in soul,

The confident and over-lusty 3 French

Do the low-rated English play at dice ;

And chide the cripple, tardy-gaited night,

Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp

So tediously away. The poor, condemned English,

Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires

Sit patiently, and inly ruminate

The morning s danger ; and their gestures sad,

Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats,

Presenteth them unto the gazing moon

So many horrid ghosts. O, now, who will behold

The royal captain of this mined band,

Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,

Let him cry Praise and glory on his head !

For forth he goes, and visits all his host ;

Bids them good morrow, with a modest smile ;

And calls them brothers, friends, and countrymen.

Upon his royal face there is no note,

How dread an army hath enrounded him ;

Nor doth he dedicate one jot of color

Unto the weary and all-watched night ;

1 Umbre for shadow is common in our elder writers.

2 "The armorers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closing rivets up."

This does not solely refer to the riveting the plate armor before it was
put on, but as to part when it was on. The top of the cuirass had a little
projecting bit of iron that passed through a hole pierced through the bot
tom of the casque. When both were put on, the smith or armorer pre
sented himself, with his riveting hammer, to close the rivet up ; so that the
party s head should remain steady, notwithstanding the force of any blow
that might be given on the cuirass or helmet.

3 Over-lusty, i. e. over-saucy.


But freshly looks, and over-bears attaint,
With cheerful semblance, and sweet majesty ;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks.
A largess universal, like the sun,
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear. Then, mean and gentle all,
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly ;
Where (O for pity !) we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill-disposed, in brawl ridiculous
The name of Agincourt. Yet, sit and see ;
Minding l true things, by what their mockeries be.


SCENE I. The English Camp at Agincourt.


K. Hen. Gloster, tis true, that we are in great

danger ;

The greater therefore should our courage be.
Good morrow, brother Bedford. God Almighty !
There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out ;
For our bad neighbor makes us early stirrers,
Which is both healthful, and good husbandry.
Besides, they are our outward consciences,
And preachers to us all ; admonishing,
That we should dress us fairly for our end. 2
Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
And make a moral of the devil himself.

1 " Minding true things." To mind is the same as to call to remem
brance. Such is the Scotch use of the word at this day.

2 " To dress is to make ready, to prepare (paro, Lat).


Enter ERPiNGHAM. 1

Good morrow, old sir Thomas Erpingham.
A good soft pillow for that good white head
Were better than a churlish turf of France.

Erp. Not so, my liege ; this lodging likes me better,
Since I may say now lie I like a king.

K. Hen. Tis good for men to love their present


Upon example ; so the spirit is eased ;
And, when the mind is quickened, out of doubt,
The organs, though defunct and dead before,
Break up their drowsy grave, and newly move
With casted slough and fresh legerity. 2
Lend me thy cloak, sir Thomas. Brothers both,
Commend me to the princes in our camp ;
Do my good morrow to them ; and, anon,
Desire them all to my pavilion.

Glo. We shall, my liege.


Erp. Shall I attend your grace ?

K. Hen. No, my good knight ;

Go with my brothers to my lords of England.
I and my bosom must debate awhile,
And then I would no other company.

Erp. The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry !


K. Hen. God-a-mercy, old heart; thou speakest


Pist. Qui va la ?
K. Hen. A friend.

Pist. Discuss unto me. Art thou officer ;
Or art thou base, common, and popular?

1 Sir Thomas Erpingham came over with Bolingbroke from Bretagne,
and was one of the commissioners to receive king Richard s abdication.
He was at this time warden of Dover castle, and his arms are still visible
on the side of the Roman Pharos.

2 Legerity is lightness, nimbleness.

VOL. iv. 23


K. Hen. I am a gentleman of a company.

Pist. Trailest thou the puissant pike ?

K. Hen. Even so. What are you ?

Pist. As good a gentleman as the emperor.

K. Hen. Then you are a better than the king.

Pist. The king s a bawcock, and a heart of gold,
A lad of life, an imp of fame ;
Of parents good, of fist most valiant.
I kiss his dirty shoe, and from my heart-strings
I love the lovely bully. What s thy name ?

K. Hen. Harry le Roy.

Pist. LeRoy! a Cornish name ; art thou of Cornish
crew ?

K. Hen. No, I am a Welshman.

Pist. Knowest thou Fluellen ?

K. Hen. Yes.

Pist. Tell him, I ll knock his leek about his pate,
Upon Saint Davy s day.

K. Hen. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap
that day, lest he knock that about yours.

Pist. Art thou his friend ?

K. Hen. And his kinsman too.

Pist. Thefigo for thee then!

K. Hen. I thank you. God be with you !

Pist. My name is Pistol called. [Exit.

K. Hen. It sorts well with your fierceness.

Enter FLUELLEN and GOWER, severally.

Gow. Captain Fluellen!

Flu. So ! in the name of Cheshu Christ, speak
lower. It is the greatest admiration in the universal
orld, when the true and auncient prerogatifes and
laws of the wars is not kept : if you would take the
pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the Great,
you shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle
taddle, or pibble pabble, in Pompey s camp; I warrant
you, you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and
the cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety
of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise.


Gaw. Why, the enemy is loud ; you heard him all

Flu. If the enemy is an ass, and a fool, and a
prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should
also, look you, be an ass, and a fool, and a prating
coxcomb ; in your own conscience now ?

Goiv. I will speak lower.

Flu. I pray you, and beseech you, that you will.


K. Hen. Though it appear a little out of fashion,
There is much care and valor in this Welshman.


Court. Brother John Bates, is not that the morning
which breaks yonder ?

Bates. I think it be ; but we have no great cause
to desire the approach of day.

Will. We see yonder the beginning of the day,
but, I think, we shall never see the end of it. Who
goes there ?

K. Hen. A friend.

Will. Under what captain serve you ?

K. Hen. Under sir Thomas Erpingham.

Will. A good old commander, and a most kind
gentleman. I pray you, what thinks he of our estate ?

K. Hen. Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that
look to be washed off the next tide.

Bates. He hath not told his thought to the king ?

K. Hen. No ; nor it is not meet he should. For,
though I speak it to you, I think the king is but a
man, as I am : the violet smells to him as it doth to
me ; the element shows to him as it doth to me ; all
his senses have but human conditions : 1 his ceremonies
laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man ; and
though his affections are higher mounted than ours,
yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing; 2

1 i. e. but human qualities.

2 When the hawk descended in its flight, it was said to stoop.


therefore, when he sees reason of fears, as we do, his
fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are.
Yet, in reason, no man should possess him with any
appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dis
hearten his army.

Bates. He may show w r hat outward courage he
will ; but, I believe, as cold a night as tis, he could
wish himself in the Thames up to the neck ; and so
I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so
we were quit here.

K. Hen. By my troth, 1 will speak my conscience
of the king ; I think he would not wish himself any
where but where he is.

Bates. Then, would he were here alone ; so should
he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men s
lives saved.

K. Hen. I dare say, you love him not so ill, to wish
him here alone ; howsoever you speak this, to feel
other men s minds. Methinks I could not die any
where so contented, as in the king s company ; his
cause being just, and his quarrel honorable.

Will. That s more than wo know.

Bates. Ay, or more than we should seek after ; for
we know enough, if we know we are the king s sub
jects ; if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the
king wipes the crime of it out of us.

Will. But, if the cause be not good, the king
himself hath a heavy reckoning to make ; when all
those legs, and arms, and heads, chopped off in a
battle, shall join together at the latter day, and cry
all We died at such a place ; some, swearing ; some,
crying for a surgeon ; some, upon their wives left poor
behind them ; some, upon the debts they owe ; some,
upon their children rawly 1 left. I am afcard there
are few die well, that die in battle ; for how can they
charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
will be a black matter for the king that led them to

1 i. e. their children left immaturdy, left young and helpless.


it ; whom to disobey were against all proportion of

K. Hen. So, if a son, that is by his father sent
about merchandise, do sinfully miscarry upon the sea,
the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should
be imposed upon his father that sent him ; or if a
servant, under his master s command, transporting a
sum of money, be assailed by robbers, and die in
many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business
of the master the author of the servant s damnation.
But this is not so : the king is not bound to answer
the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his
son, nor the master of his servant ; for they purpose
not their death, when they purpose their services.
Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spot
less, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try
it out with all unspotted soldiers. Some, peradventure,
have on them the guilt of premeditated and contrived
murder ; some, of beguiling virgins with the broken
seals of perjury ; l some, making the wars their bul
wark, that have before gored the gentle bosom of
peace with pillage and robbery. Now, if these men
have defeated the law, and outrun native punishment, 2
though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to
fly from God : war is his beadle, war is his vengeance ;
so that here men are punished, for before-breach of
the king s laws, in now the king s quarrel ; where
they feared the death, they have borne life away; and
where they would be safe, they perish. Then if they
die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of their
damnation, than he was before guilty of those impie
ties for the which they are now visited. Every sub
ject s duty is the king s ; but every subject s soul is his
own. Therefore should every soldier in the wars do
as every sick man in his bed wash every mote out of

1 beguiling virgins with the broken seals of perjury. Thus in the
song at theoeginning of the fourth act of Measure for Measure :

" That so sweetly were forsworn
Seals of love, but sealed in vain."

2 i. e. the punishment they are born to.


his conscience ; and dying so, death is to him advan
tage ; or not dying, the time was blessedly lost, wherein
such preparation was gained; and, in him that escapes,
it were not sin to think, that making God so free an
offer, he let him outlive that day to see his greatness,
and to teach others how they should prepare.

Will. Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill is
upon his own head ; the king is not to answer for it.

Bates. I do not desire he should answer for me ;
and yet I determine to fight lustily for him.

K. Hen. I myself heard the king say, he would not
be ransomed.

Will. Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully ;
but, when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed,
and we ne er the wiser.

K. Hen. If I live to see it, I will never trust his
word after.

Will. Mass, you ll pay J him then ! That s a peril
ous shot out of an elder gun, 2 that a poor and private
displeasure can do against a monarch ! You may as
well go about to turn the sun to ice, with fanning in
his face with a peacock s feather. You ll never trust
his word after! Come, tis a foolish saying.

K. Hen. Your reproof is something too round ; I
should be angry with you, if the time were convenient.

Will. Let it be a quarrel between us, if you live.

K. Hen. I embrace it.

Will. How shall I know thee again ?

K. Hen. Give me any gage of thine, and I will
wear it in my bonnet ; then, if ever thou darest ac
knowledge it, I will make it my quarrel.

Will. Here s my glove ; give me another of thine.

K. Hen. There.

Will. This will I also wear in my cap : if ever
thou come to me and say, after to-morrow, This is my
glove, by this hand, I will take thee a box on the ear.

1 To pay here signifies to bring to account, to punish.

2 " That s a perilous shot out of an elder gun." In the quarto the
thought is more opened It is a great displeasure that an elder gun can do
against a cannon, or a subject against a monarch.


K. Hen. If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.

Will. Thou darest as well be hanged.

K. Hen. Well, I will do it, though I take thee in
the king s company.

Will. Keep thy word ; fare thee well.

Bates. Be friends, you English fools, be friends ; we

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