The Life of King Henry V
William Shakespeare [Tudor edition]
Part 2 out of 3
Je ne doute point d'apprendre, par la grace de Dieu,
et en peu de temps.
N'avez-vous pas deja oublie ce que je vous ai enseigne?
Non, je reciterai a vous promptement: d'hand, de
fingres, de mails,--
De nails, madame.
De nails, de arm, de ilbow.
Sauf votre honneur, de elbow.
Ainsi dis-je; d'elbow, de nick, et de sin. Comment
appelez-vous le pied et la robe?
De foot, madame; et de coun.
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: d' hand, de fingres, de nails, d'arm, d'elbow, de
nick, de sin, de foot, de coun.
C'est assez pour une fois: allons-nous a diner.
SCENE V. The same.
[Enter the King of France, the Dauphin, [the Duke of Bourbon,]
the Constable of France, and others.]
'Tis certain he hath pass'd the river Somme.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
Jacques 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.
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.
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.
Not so, I do beseech your Majesty.
Be patient, for you shall remain with us.
Now forth, Lord Constable and princes all,
And quickly bring us word of England's fall.
SCENE VI. The English camp in Picardy.
[Enter Gower and Fluellen, meeting.]
How now, Captain Fluellen! come you from the bridge?
I assure you, there is very excellent services committed at the
Is the Duke of Exeter safe?
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 live, 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 I did see him do as
What do you call him?
He is call'd Aunchient Pistol.
I know him not.
Here is the man.
Captain, I thee beseech to do me favours.
The Duke of Exeter doth love thee well.
Ay, I praise God; and I have merited some love at his hands.
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--
By your patience, Aunchient Pistol. Fortune is painted
blind, with a muffler afore his 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.
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 windpipe 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.
Aunchient Pistol, I do partly understand your meaning.
Why then, rejoice therefore.
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.
Die and be damn'd! and figo for thy friendship!
It is well.
The fig of Spain.
Why, this is an arrant counterfeit rascal. I remember
him now; a bawd, a cutpurse.
I'll assure you, 'a uttered as prave words at the pridge 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.
Why, 't is 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 disgrac'd, 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-wash'd 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.
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. [Drum heard.] Hark
you, the King is coming, and I must speak with him from the pridge.
[Drum and colours. Enter King Henry, [Gloucester,] and his poor
God bless your Majesty!
How now, Fluellen! cam'st thou from the bridge?
Ay, so please your Majesty. The Duke of Exeter has very
gallantly maintain'd 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.
What men have you lost, Fluellen?
The perdition of the 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.
We would have all such offenders so cut off; and we give express
charge, that in our marches through the country, there be nothing
compell'd 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
[Tucket. Enter Montjoy.]
You know me by my habit.
Well then I know thee. What shall I know of thee?
My master's mind.
Thus says my King: Say thou to Harry of England: Though we
seem'd dead, we did but sleep; advantage is a better soldier
than rashness. Tell him we could have rebuk'd 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
pettishness 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 pronounc'd. So far my King and
master; so much my office.
What is thy name? I know thy quality.
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 lessen'd, 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 hind'red,
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.
I shall deliver so. Thanks to your Highness.
I hope they will not come upon us now.
We are in God's hands, 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.
SCENE VII. The French camp, near Agincourt.
[Enter the Constable of France, the Lord Rambures,
Orleans, Dauphin, with others.]
Tut! I have the best armour of the world.
Would it were day!
You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
It is the best horse of Europe.
Will it never be morning?
My Lord of Orleans, and my Lord High Constable, you talk of
horse and armour?
You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.
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.
He's of the colour of the nutmeg.
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.
Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the bidding of a
monarch, and his countenance enforces homage.
No more, cousin.
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
I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.
Then did they imitate that which I compos'd to my courser,
for my horse is my mistress.
Your mistress bears well.
Me well; which is the prescript praise and perfection of a
good and particular mistress.
Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly shook
So perhaps did yours.
Mine was not bridled.
O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode, like a
kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in your strait
You have good judgment in horsemanship.
Be warn'd by me, then; they that ride so and ride not warily,
fall into foul bogs. I had rather have my horse to my mistress.
I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
I tell thee, Constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow to
"Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et la
truie lavee au bourbier." Thou mak'st use of anything.
Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any such
proverb so little kin to the purpose.
My Lord Constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?
Stars, my lord.
Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.
And yet my sky shall not want.
That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and 'twere
more honour some were away.
Even as your horse bears your praises; who would trot as
well, were some of your brags dismounted.
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.
I will not say so, for fear I should be fac'd out of my way.
But I would it were morning; for I would fain be about
the ears of the English.
Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.
'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself.
The Dauphin longs for morning.
He longs to eat the English.
I think he will eat all he kills.
By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.
Swear by her foot that she may tread out the oath.
He is simply the most active gentleman of France.
Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.
He never did harm, that I heard of.
Nor will do none to-morrow. He will keep that good
I know him to be valiant.
I was told that by one that knows him better than you.
Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he car'd not
who knew it.
He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.
By my faith, sir, but it is; never anybody saw it but his
lackey. 'Tis a hooded valour; and when it appears, it will
"Ill will never said well."
I will cap that proverb with "There is flattery in friendship."
And I will take up that with "Give the devil his due."
Well plac'd. There stands your friend for the devil; have at
the very eye of that proverb with "A pox of the devil."
You are the better at proverbs, by how much "A fool's
bolt is soon shot."
You have shot over.
'Tis not the first time you were overshot.
[Enter a Messenger.]
My Lord High Constable, the English lie within fifteen
hundred paces of your tents.
Who hath measur'd the ground?
The Lord Grandpre.
A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were day!
Alas, poor Harry of England, he longs not for the dawning as
What a wretched and peevish fellow is this King of England,
to mope with his fat-brain'd followers so far out of his
If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.
That they lack; for if their heads had any intellectual armour,
they could never wear such heavy head-pieces.
That island of England breeds very valiant creatures. Their
mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a Russian bear
and have their heads crush'd like rotten apples! You may as well
say, that's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip
of a lion.
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.
Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.
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
It is now two o'clock; but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.
Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch;
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
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 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 gesture sad,
Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats,
Presented them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd 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 colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night,
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, that 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-dispos'd in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see,
Minding true things by what their mock'ries be.
SCENE I. The English camp at Agincourt.
[Enter King Henry, Bedford, and Gloucester.]
Gloucester, '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 neighbour 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.
Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
And make a moral of the devil himself.
Good morrow, old Sir Thomas Erpingham:
A good soft pillow for that good white head
Were better than a churlish turf of France.
Not so, my liege; this lodging likes me better,
Since I may say, "Now lie I like a king."
'Tis good for men to love their present pains
Upon example; so the spirit is eased;
And when the mind is quick'ned, out of doubt,
The organs, though defunct and dead before,
Break up their drowsy grave and newly move,
With casted slough and fresh legerity.
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.
We shall, my liege.
Shall I attend your Grace?
No, my good knight;
Go with my brothers to my lords of England.
I and my bosom must debate a while,
And then I would no other company.
The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry!
[Exeunt [all but King.]
God-a-mercy, old heart! thou speak'st cheerfully.
Qui va la?
Discuss unto me; art thou officer?
Or art thou base, common, and popular?
I am a gentleman of a company.
Trail'st thou the puissant pike?
Even so. What are you?
As good a gentleman as the Emperor.
Then you are a better than the King.
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 heart-string
I love the lovely bully. What is thy name?
Harry le Roy.
Le Roy! a Cornish name. Art thou of Cornish crew?
No, I am a Welshman.
Know'st thou Fluellen?
Tell him I'll knock his leek about his pate
Upon Saint Davy's day.
Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest
he knock that about yours.
Art thou his friend?
And his kinsman too.
The figo for thee, then!
I thank you. God be with you!
My name is Pistol call'd.
It sorts well with your fierceness.
[Enter Fluellen and Gower.]
So! in the name of Jesu Christ, speak lower. It is the greatest
admiration in the universal world, when the true and aunchient
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 nor
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.
Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all night.
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?
I will speak lower.
I pray you and beseech you that you will.
[Exeunt [Gower and Fluellen.]
Though it appear a little out of fashion,
There is much care and valour in this Welshman.
[Enter three soldiers, John Bates, Alexander Court,
And Michael Williams.]
Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks
I think it be; but we have no great cause to desire the
approach of day.
We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think
we shall never see the end of it. Who goes there?
Under what captain serve you?
Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.
A good old commander and a most kind gentleman. I
pray you, what thinks he of our estate?
Even as men wreck'd upon a sand, that look to be
wash'd off the next tide.
He hath not told his thought to the King?
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. 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. 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 dishearten his army.
He may show what outward courage he will; but I believe, as
cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself in Thames up to the
neck; and so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so
we were quit here.
By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the King: I think he
would not wish himself anywhere but where he is.
Then I would he were here alone; so should he be sure to be
ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved.
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 anywhere so contented as in the King's company,
his cause being just and his quarrel honourable.
That's more than we know.
Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough, if
we know we are the King's subjects. If his cause be wrong, our
obedience to the King wipes the crime of it out of us.
But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy
reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopp'd
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 left. I am afeard
there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they
charitably dispose of anything, 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 it; who to disobey were against
all proportion of subjection.
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 irreconcil'd
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 spotless, 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; some, making the wars their bulwark, 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,
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
punish'd 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 impieties for the which they are now
visited. Every subject'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 his conscience;
and dying so, death is to him advantage; 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.
'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon his own head,
the King is not to answer for it.
I do not desire he should answer for me; and yet I determine to
fight lustily for him.
I myself heard the King say he would not be ransom'd.
Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully; but when our
throats are cut, he may be ransom'd, and we ne'er the wiser.
If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.
You pay him then. That's a perilous shot out of an elder-gun,
that a poor and a 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.
Your reproof is something too round. I should be angry with
you, if the time were convenient.
Let it be a quarrel between us if you live.
I embrace it.
How shall I know thee again?
Give me any gage of thine, and I will wear it in my bonnet;
then, if ever thou dar'st acknowledge it, I will make it my
Here's my glove; give me another of thine.
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.
If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.
Thou dar'st as well be hang'd.
Well, I will do it, though I take thee in the King's company.
Keep thy word; fare thee well.
Be friends, you English fools, be friends. We have
French quarrels enow, if you could tell how to reckon.
Indeed, the French may lay twenty French crowns to one
they will beat us, for they bear them on their shoulders; but it
is no English treason to cut French crowns, and to-morrow the
King himself will be a clipper.
Upon the King! Let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children, and our sins lay on the King!
We must bear all. O hard condition,
Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease
Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idol Ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What are thy rents? What are thy comings in?
O Ceremony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of adoration?
Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy Ceremony give thee cure!
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
I am a king that find thee, and I know
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the King,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous Ceremony,--
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread,
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
The slave, a member of the country's peace,
Enjoys it, but in gross brain little wots
What watch the King keeps to maintain the peace,
Whose hours the peasant best advantages.
My lord, your nobles, jealous of your absence,
Seek through your camp to find you.
Good old knight,
Collect them all together at my tent.
I'll be before thee.
I shall do't, my lord.
O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts.
Possess them not with fear. Take from them now
The sense of reckoning, if the opposed numbers
Pluck their hearts from them. Not to-day, O Lord,
O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard's body have interred new,
And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood.
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a day their wither'd hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
My brother Gloucester's voice? Ay;
I know thy errand, I will go with thee.
The day, my friends, and all things stay for me.
SCENE II. The French camp.
[Enter the Dauphin, Orleans, Rambures, and others.]
The sun doth gild our armour; up, my lords!
Montez a cheval! My horse, varlet! lackey! ha!
O brave spirit!
Via! les eaux et la terre.
Rien puis? L'air et le feu.
Ciel, cousin Orleans.
Now, my Lord Constable!
Hark, how our steeds for present service neigh!
Mount them, and make incision in their hides,
That their hot blood may spin in English eyes,
And dout them with superfluous courage, ha!
What, will you have them weep our horses' blood?
How shall we, then, behold their natural tears?
[Enter a Messenger.]
The English are embattl'd, you French peers.
To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band,
And your fair show shall suck away their souls,
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men.
There is not work enough for all our hands;
Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins
To give each naked curtle-axe a stain,
That our French gallants shall to-day draw out,
And sheathe for lack of sport. Let us but blow on them,
The vapour of our valour will o'erturn them.
'Tis positive 'gainst all exceptions, lords,
That our superfluous lackeys and our peasants,
Who in unnecessary action swarm
About our squares of battle, were enow
To purge this field of such a hilding foe,
Though we upon this mountain's basis by
Took stand for idle speculation,
But that our honours must not. What's to say?
A very little little let us do,
And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall crouch down in fear and yield.
Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?
Yond island carrions, desperate of their bones,
Ill-favouredly become the morning field.
Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,
And our air shakes them passing scornfully.
Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar'd host,
And faintly through a rusty beaver peeps;
The horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks
With torch-staves in their hand; and their poor jades
Lob down their heads, drooping the hides and hips,
The gum down-roping from their pale-dead eyes,
And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal bit
Lies foul with chew'd grass, still, and motionless;
And their executors, the knavish crows,
Fly o'er them, all impatient for their hour.
Description cannot suit itself in words
To demonstrate the life of such a battle,
In life so lifeless as it shows itself.
They have said their prayers, and they stay for death.
Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits
And give their fasting horses provender,
And after fight with them?
I stay but for my guard; on to the field!
I will the banner from a trumpet take,
And use it for my haste. Come, come, away!
The sun is high, and we outwear the day.
SCENE III. The English camp.
[Enter Gloucester, Bedford, Exeter, Erpingham, with all his host:
Salisbury and Westmoreland.]
Where is the King?
The King himself is rode to view their battle.
Of fighting men they have full three-score thousand.
There's five to one; besides, they all are fresh.
God's arm strike with us! 'tis a fearful odds.
God be wi' you, princes all; I'll to my charge.
If we no more meet till we meet in heaven,
Then, joyfully, my noble Lord of Bedford,
My dear Lord Gloucester, and my good Lord Exeter,
And my kind kinsman, warriors all, adieu!
Farewell, good Salisbury, and good luck go with thee!
Farewell, kind lord; fight valiantly to-day!
And yet I do thee wrong to mind thee of it,
For thou art fram'd of the firm truth of valour.
He is as full of valour as of kindness,
Princely in both.
[Enter the King.]
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin.
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires;
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart. His passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse.
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispian's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford, and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
My sovereign lord, bestow yourself with speed.
The French are bravely in their battles set,
And will with all expedience charge on us.
All things are ready, if our minds be so.
Perish the man whose mind is backward now!
Thou dost not wish more help from England, coz?
God's will! my liege, would you and I alone,
Without more help, could fight this royal battle!
Why, now thou hast unwish'd five thousand men,
Which likes me better than to wish us one.
You know your places. God be with you all!
[Tucket. Enter Montjoy.]
Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry,
If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound,
Before thy most assured overthrow;
For certainly thou art so near the gulf,
Thou needs must be englutted. Besides, in mercy,
The Constable desires thee thou wilt mind
Thy followers of repentance; that their souls
May make a peaceful and a sweet retire
From off these fields, where, wretches, their poor bodies
Must lie and fester.
Who hath sent thee now?
The Constable of France.
I pray thee, bear my former answer back:
Bid them achieve me and then sell my bones.
Good God! why should they mock poor fellows thus?
The man that once did sell the lion's skin
While the beast liv'd, was kill'd with hunting him.
A many of our bodies shall no doubt
Find native graves, upon the which, I trust,
Shall witness live in brass of this day's work;
And those that leave their valiant bones in France,
Dying like men, though buried in your dunghills,
They shall be fam'd; for there the sun shall greet them,
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven;
Leaving their earthly parts to choke your clime,
The smell whereof shall breed a plague in France.
Mark then abounding valour in our English,
That being dead, like to the bullet's grazing,
Break out into a second course of mischief,
Killing in relapse of mortality.
Let me speak proudly: tell the Constable
We are but warriors for the working-day.
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host--
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly--
And time hath worn us into slovenry;
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads
And turn them out of service. If they do this--
As, if God please, they shall,--my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour.
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.
I shall, King Harry. And so fare thee well;
Thou never shalt hear herald any more.
I fear thou'lt once more come again for ransom.
My lord, most humbly on my knee I beg
The leading of the vaward.
Take it, brave York. Now, soldiers, march away;
And how thou pleasest, God, dispose the day!
SCENE IV. The field of battle.
[Alarum. Excursions. Enter Pistol, French Soldier, and Boy.]
Je pense que vous etes le gentilhomme de bonne qualite.
Qualitie calmie custure me! Art thou a gentleman?
What is thy name? Discuss.
O Seigneur Dieu!
O, Signieur Dew should be a gentleman.
Perpend my words, O Signieur Dew, and mark:
O Signieur Dew, thou diest on point of fox,
Except, O signieur, thou do give to me
O, prenez misericorde! ayez pitie de moi!
Moy shall not serve; I will have forty moys,
Or I will fetch thy rim out at thy throat
In drops of crimson blood.
Est-il impossible d'echapper la force de ton bras?
Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat,
Offer'st me brass?
O pardonnez moi!
Say'st thou me so? Is that a ton of moys?
Come hither, boy; ask me this slave in French
What is his name.
Ecoutez: comment etes-vous appele?
Monsieur le Fer.
He says his name is Master Fer.
Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.
Discuss the same in French unto him.
I do not know the French for fer, and ferret, and firk.
Bid him prepare; for I will cut his throat.
Que dit-il, monsieur?
Il me commande a vous dire que vous faites vous pret; car
ce soldat ici est dispose tout a cette heure de couper votre
Owy, cuppele gorge, permafoy,
Peasant, unless thou give me crowns, brave crowns;
Or mangled shalt thou be by this my sword.
O, je vous supplie, pour l'amour de Dieu, me pardonner!
Je suis gentilhomme de bonne maison; gardez ma vie, et
je vous donnerai deux cents ecus.
What are his words?
He prays you to save his life. He is a gentleman of a good
house; and for his ransom he will give you two hundred
Tell him my fury shall abate, and I
The crowns will take.
Petit monsieur, que dit-il?
Encore qu'il est contre son jurement de pardonner aucun
prisonnier; neanmoins, pour les ecus que vous l'avez promis, il
est content de vous donner la liberte, le franchisement.
Sur mes genoux je vous donne mille remercimens; et je m'estime
heureux que je suis tombe entre les mains d'un chevalier, je
pense, le plus brave, vaillant, et tres distingue seigneur
Expound unto me, boy.
He gives you upon his knees, a thousand thanks; and he esteems
himself happy that he hath fallen into the hands of one, as he
thinks, the most brave, valorous, and thrice-worthy signieur of
As I suck blood, I will some mercy show.
Suivez-vous le grand capitaine.
[Exeunt Pistol, and French Soldier.]
I did never know so full a voice issue from so empty a heart; but
the saying is true, "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound."
Bardolph and Nym had ten times more valour than this roaring
devil i' the old play, that every one may pare his nails with a
wooden dagger; and they are both hang'd; and so would this be,
if he durst steal anything adventurously. I must stay with the
lackeys with the luggage of our camp. The French might have a
good prey of us, if he knew of it; for there is none to guard it
SCENE V. Another part of the field.
[Enter Constable, Orleans, Bourbon, Dauphin, and Rambures.]
O Seigneur! le jour est perdu, tout est perdu!
Mort de ma vie! all is confounded, all!
Reproach and everlasting shame
Sits mocking in our plumes.
[A short alarum.]
O mechante fortune! Do not run away.
Why, all our ranks are broke.
O perdurable shame! let's stab ourselves,
Be these the wretches that we play'd at dice for?
Is this the king we sent to for his ransom?
Shame and eternal shame, nothing but shame!
Let's die in honour! Once more back again!
And he that will not follow Bourbon now,
Let him go hence, and with his cap in hand,
Like a base pandar, hold the chamber door
Whilst by a slave, no gentler than my dog,
His fairest daughter is contaminated.
Disorder, that hath spoil'd us, friend us now!
Let us on heaps go offer up our lives.
We are enow yet living in the field
To smother up the English in our throngs,
If any order might be thought upon.
The devil take order now! I'll to the throng.
Let life be short, else shame will be too long.
SCENE VI. Another part of the field.
[Alarum. Enter King Henry and his train, with prisoners.]
Well have we done, thrice valiant countrymen.
But all's not done; yet keep the French the field.
The Duke of York commends him to your Majesty.
Lives he, good uncle? Thrice within this hour
I saw him down; thrice up again, and fighting.
From helmet to the spur all blood he was.
In which array, brave soldier, doth he lie,
Larding the plain; and by his bloody side,
Yoke-fellow to his honour-owing wounds,
The noble Earl of Suffolk also lies.
Suffolk first died; and York, all haggled over,
Comes to him, where in gore he lay insteeped,
And takes him by the beard; kisses the gashes
That bloodily did yawn upon his face.
He cries aloud, "Tarry, my cousin Suffolk!
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven;
Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast,
As in this glorious and well-foughten field
We kept together in our chivalry."
Upon these words I came and cheer'd him up.
He smil'd me in the face, raught me his hand,
And, with a feeble gripe, says, "Dear my lord,
Commend my service to my sovereign."
So did he turn and over Suffolk's neck
He threw his wounded arm and kiss'd his lips;
And so espous'd to death, with blood he seal'd
A testament of noble-ending love.
The pretty and sweet manner of it forc'd
Those waters from me which I would have stopp'd;
But I had not so much of man in me,
And all my mother came into mine eyes
And gave me up to tears.
I blame you not;
For, hearing this, I must perforce compound
With mistful eyes, or they will issue too.
But hark! what new alarum is this same?
The French have reinforc'd their scatter'd men.
Then every soldier kill his prisoners;
Give the word through.
SCENE VII. Another part of the field.
[Enter Fluellen and Gower.]
Kill the poys and the luggage! 'Tis expressly against the
law of arms. 'Tis as arrant a piece of knavery, mark you now,
as can be offer't; in your conscience, now, is it not?
'Tis certain there's not a boy left alive; and the cowardly
rascals that ran from the battle ha' done this slaughter.
Besides, they have burned and carried away all that was in the
King's tent; wherefore the King, most worthily, hath caus'd every
soldier to cut his prisoner's throat. O, 'tis a gallant king!
Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, Captain Gower. What call you
the town's name where Alexander the Pig was born?
Alexander the Great.
Why, I pray you, is not pig great? The pig, or the great, or the
mighty, or the huge, or the magnanimous, are all one reckonings,
save the phrase is a little variations.
I think Alexander the Great was born in Macedon. His father
was called Philip of Macedon, as I take it.
I think it is in Macedon where Alexander is porn. I tell you,
Captain, if you look in the maps of the 'orld, I warrant you
sall find, in the comparisons between Macedon and Monmouth,
that the situations, look you, is both alike. There is a river in
Macedon; and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth; it is
call'd Wye at Monmouth; but it is out of my prains what is the
name of the other river; but 'tis all one, 'tis alike as my fingers
is to my fingers, and there is salmons in both. If you mark
Alexander's life well, Harry of Monmouth's life is come after it
indifferent well; for there is figures in all things. Alexander,
God knows, and you know, in his rages, and his furies, and his
wraths, and his cholers, and his moods, and his displeasures, and
his indignations, and also being a little intoxicates in his prains,
did, in his ales and his angers, look you, kill his best friend,
Our King is not like him in that. He never kill'd any of
It is not well done, mark you now, to take the tales out
of my mouth, ere it is made and finished. I speak but in the
figures and comparisons of it. As Alexander kill'd his friend
Cleitus, being in his ales and his cups; so also Harry Monmouth,
being in his right wits and his good judgements, turn'd away the
fat knight with the great belly doublet. He was full of jests,
and gipes, and knaveries, and mocks; I have forgot his name.
Sir John Falstaff.
That is he. I'll tell you there is good men porn at Monmouth.
Here comes his Majesty.
[Alarum. Enter King Henry and [forces; Warwick, Gloucester,
Exeter, with prisoners. Flourish.]
I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yond hill.
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight.
If they'll do neither, we will come to them,
And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Enforced from the old Assyrian slings.
Besides, we'll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.
Here comes the herald of the French, my liege.
His eyes are humbler than they us'd to be.
How now! what means this, herald? Know'st thou not
That I have fin'd these bones of mine for ransom?
Com'st thou again for ransom?
No, great King;
I come to thee for charitable license,
That we may wander o'er this bloody field
To book our dead, and then to bury them;
To sort our nobles from our common men.
For many of our princes--woe the while!--
Lie drown'd and soak'd in mercenary blood;
So do our vulgar drench their peasant limbs
In blood of princes; and their wounded steeds
Fret fetlock deep in gore, and with wild rage
Yerk out their armed heels at their dead masters,
Killing them twice. O, give us leave, great King,
To view the field in safety, and dispose
Of their dead bodies!
I tell thee truly, herald,
I know not if the day be ours or no;
For yet a many of your horsemen peer
And gallop o'er the field.
The day is yours.
Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!
What is this castle call'd that stands hard by?
They call it Agincourt.
Then call we this the field of Agincourt,
Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.
Your grandfather of famous memory, an't please your
Majesty, and your great-uncle Edward the Plack Prince of
Wales, as I have read in the chronicles, fought a most prave
pattle here in France.
They did, Fluellen.
Your Majesty says very true. If your Majesties is rememb'red of
it, the Welshmen did good service in garden where leeks did grow,
wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your Majesty know,
to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do
believe your Majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint
I wear it for a memorable honour;
For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.
All the water in Wye cannot wash your Majesty's Welsh plood out
of your pody, I can tell you that. Got pless it and preserve it,
as long as it pleases His grace, and His majesty too!
Thanks, good my countryman.
By Jeshu, I am your Majesty's countryman, I care not who know it.
I will confess it to all the 'orld. I need not be asham'd of your
Majesty, praised be God, so long as your Majesty is an honest man.
God keep me so!
Our heralds go with him;
Bring me just notice of the numbers dead
On both our parts. Call yonder fellow hither.
[Exeunt Heralds with Montjoy.]
Back to Full Books