Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT II. - The Life of King Henry the Fifth
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
ACT II. - William Shakespeare, The Life of King Henry the Fifth 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Now all the youth of England are on fire,
And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies;
Now thrive the armourers, and honour’s thought
Reigns solely in the breast of every man:
They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
Following the mirror of all Christian kings,
With winged heels, as English Mercuries.
For now sits Expectation in the air
And hides a sword from hilts unto the point
With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,
Promis’d to Harry and his followers.
The French, advis’d by good intelligence
Of this most dreadful preparation,
Shake in their fear, and with pale policy
Seek to divert the English purposes.
O England! model to thy inward greatness,
Like little body with a mighty heart,
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out
A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men,
One, Richard Earl of Cambridge, and the second,
Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third,
Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland,
Have, for the gilt of France,—O guilt, indeed!—
Confirm’d conspiracy with fearful France;
And by their hands this grace of kings must die,—
If hell and treason hold their promises,—
Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.
Linger your patience on; and well digest
The abuse of distance while we force a play.
The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed;
The king is set from London; and the scene
Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton:
There is the playhouse now, there must you sit:
And thence to France shall we convey you safe,
And bring you back, charming the narrow seas
To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
We’ll not offend one stomach with our play.
But, till the king come forth and not till then,
Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.
Well met, Corporal Nym.
Good morrow, Lieutenant Bardolph.
What, are Ancient Pistol and you friends yet?
For my part, I care not: I say little; but when time shall serve, there shall be smiles; but that shall be as it may. I dare not fight; but I will wink and hold out mine iron. It is a simple one; but what though? it will toast cheese, and it will endure cold as another man’s sword will: and there’s an end.
I will bestow a breakfast to make you friends, and we’ll be all three sworn brothers to France: let it be so, good Corporal Nym.
Faith, I will live so long as I may, that’s the certain of it; and when I cannot live any longer, I will do as I may: that is my rest, that is the rendezvous of it.
It is certain, corporal, that he is married to Nell Quickly; and, certainly she did you wrong, for you were troth-plight to her.
I cannot tell; things must be as they may: men may sleep, and they may have their throats about them at that time; and, some say, knives have edges. It must be as it may: though patience be a tired mare, yet she will plod. There must be conclusions. Well, I cannot tell.
Here comes Ancient Pistol and his wife. Good corporal, be patient here. How now, mine host Pistol!
Base tike, call’st thou me host?
Now, by this hand, I swear, I scorn the term;
Nor shall my Nell keep lodgers.
No, by my troth, not long; for we cannot lodge and board a dozen or fourteen gentlewomen that live honestly by the prick of their needles, but it will be thought we keep a bawdy-house straight. [NymandPistoldraw.] O well-a-day Lady! if he be not drawn now: we shall see wilful adultery and murder committed.
Good lieutenant! good corporal! offer nothing here.
Pish for thee, Iceland dog! thou prickeared cur of Iceland!
Good Corporal Nym, show thy valour and put up your sword.
Will you shog off? I would have you solus.
[Sheathing his sword.
Solus, egregious dog? O viper vile!
The solus in thy most mervailous face;
The solus in thy teeth, and in thy throat,
And in thy hateful lungs, yea, in thy maw, perdy;
And, which is worse, within thy nasty mouth!
I do retort the solus in thy bowels;
For I can take, and Pistol’s cock is up,
And flashing fire will follow.
I am not Barbason; you cannot conjure me. I have an humour to knock you indifferently well. If you grow foul with me, Pistol, I will scour you with my rapier, as I may, in fair terms: if you would walk off, I would prick your guts a little, in good terms, as I may; and that’s the humour of it.
O braggart vile and damned furious wight!
The grave doth gape, and doting death is near;
Hear me, hear me what I say: he that strikes the first stroke, I’ll run him up to the hilts, as I am a soldier.
An oath of mickle might, and fury shall abate.
Give me thy fist, thy fore-foot to me give;
Thy spirits are most tall.
I will cut thy throat, one time or other, in fair terms; that is the humour of it.
Coupe le gorge!
That is the word. I thee defy again.
O hound of Crete, think’st thou my spouse to get?
No; to the spital go,
And from the powdering-tub of infamy
Fetch forth the lazar kite of Cressid’s kind,
Doll Tearsheet she by name, and her espouse:
I have, and I will hold, the quondam Quickly
For the only she; and—pauca, there’s enough.
Enter the Boy.
Mine host Pistol, you must come to my master, and your hostess: he is very sick, and would to bed. Good Bardolph, put thy face between his sheets and do the office of a warming-pan. Faith, he’s very ill.
Away, you rogue!
By my troth, he’ll yield the crow a pudding one of these days. The king has killed his heart. Good husband, come home presently.
[Exeunt Hostess and Boy.
Come, shall I make you two friends? We must to France together. Why the devil should we keep knives to cut one another’s throats?
Let floods o’erswell, and fiends for food howl on!
You’ll pay me the eight shillings I won of you at betting?
Base is the slave that pays.
That now I will have; that’s the humour of it.
As manhood shall compound: push home.
By this sword, he that makes the first thrust, I’ll kill him; by this sword, I will.
Sword is an oath, and oaths must have their course.
Corporal Nym, an thou wilt be friends, be friends: an thou wilt not, why then, be enemies with me too. Prithee, put up.
I shall have my eight shillings I won of you at betting?
A noble shalt thou have, and present pay;
And liquor likewise will I give to thee,
And friendship shall combine, and brotherhood:
I’ll live by Nym, and Nym shall live by me.
Is not this just? for I shall sutler be
Unto the camp, and profits will accrue.
Give me thy hand.
I shall have my noble?
In cash most justly paid.
Well then, that’s the humour of it.
As ever you came of women, come in quickly to Sir John. Ah, poor heart! he is so shaked of a burning quotidian tertian, that it is most lamentable to behold. Sweet men, come to him.
The king hath run bad humours on the knight; that’s the even of it.
Nym, thou hast spoke the right;
His heart is fracted and corroborate.
The king is a good king: but it must be as it may; he passes some humours and careers.
Let us condole the knight; for, lambkins, we will live.
Southampton. A Council-chamber.
’Fore God, his Grace is bold to trust these traitors.
They shall be apprehended by and by.
How smooth and even they do bear themselves!
As if allegiance in their bosoms sat,
Crowned with faith and constant loyalty.
The king hath note of all that they intend,
By interception which they dream not of.
Nay, but the man that was his bedfellow,
Whom he hath dull’d and cloy’d with gracious favours,
That he should, for a foreign purse, so sell
His sovereign’s life to death and treachery!
Trumpets sound. EnterKing Henry, Scroop, Cambridge, Grey, Lords, and Attendants.
Now sits the wind fair, and we will aboard.
My Lord of Cambridge, and my kind Lord of Masham,
And you, my gentle knight, give me your thoughts:
Think you not that the powers we bear with us
Will cut their passage through the force of France,
Doing the execution and the act
For which we have in head assembled them?
No doubt, my liege, if each man do his best.
I doubt not that; since we are well persuaded
We carry not a heart with us from hence
That grows not in a fair consent with ours;
Nor leave not one behind that doth not wish
Success and conquest to attend on us.
Never was monarch better fear’d and lov’d
Than is your majesty: there’s not, I think, a subject
That sits in heart-grief and uneasiness
Under the sweet shade of your government.
True: those that were your father’s enemies
Have steep’d their galls in honey, and do serve you
With hearts create of duty and of zeal.
We therefore have great cause of thankfulness,
And shall forget the office of our hand,
Sooner than quittance of desert and merit
According to the weight and worthiness.
So service shall with steeled sinews toil,
And labour shall refresh itself with hope,
To do your Grace incessant services.
We judge no less. Uncle of Exeter,
Enlarge the man committed yesterday
That rail’d against our person: we consider
It was excess of wine that set him on;
And on his more advice we pardon him.
That’s mercy, but too much security:
Let him be punish’d, sovereign, lest example
Breed, by his sufference, more of such a kind.
O! let us yet be merciful.
So may your highness, and yet punish too.
You show great mercy, if you give him life
After the taste of much correction.
Alas! your too much love and care of me
Are heavy orisons ’gainst this poor wretch.
If little faults, proceeding on distemper,
Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye
When capital crimes, chew’d, swallow’d, and digested,
Appear before us? We’ll yet enlarge that man,
Though Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, in their dear care,
And tender preservation of our person,
Would have him punish’d. And now to our French causes:
Who are the late commissioners?
I one, my lord:
Your highness bade me ask for it to-day.
So did you me, my liege.
And I, my royal sovereign.
Then, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, there is yours;
There yours, Lord Scroop of Masham; and, sir knight,
Grey of Northumberland, this same is yours:
Read them; and know, I know your worthiness.
My Lord of Westmoreland, and uncle Exeter,
We will aboard to-night. Why, how now, gentlemen!
What see you in those papers that you lose
So much complexion? Look ye, how they change!
Their cheeks are paper. Why, what read you there,
That hath so cowarded and chas’d your blood
Out of appearance?
I do confess my fault,
And do submit me to your highness’ mercy.
To which we all appeal.
To which we all appeal.
The mercy that was quick in us but late
By your own counsel is suppress’d and kill’d:
You must not dare, for shame, to talk of mercy;
For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,
As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.
See you, my princes and my noble peers,
These English monsters! My Lord of Cambridge here,
You know how apt our love was to accord
To furnish him with all appertinents
Belonging to his honour; and this man
Hath, for a few light crowns, lightly conspir’d,
And sworn unto the practices of France,
To kill us here in Hampton: to the which
This knight, no less for bounty bound to us
Than Cambridge is, hath likewise sworn. But O!
What shall I say to thee, Lord Scroop? thou cruel,
Ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature!
Thou that didst bear the key of all my counsels,
That knew’st the very bottom of my soul,
That almost mightst have coin’d me into gold
Wouldst thou have practis’d on me for thy use!
May it be possible that foreign hire
Could out of thee extract one spark of evil
That might annoy my finger? ’tis so strange
That, though the truth of it stands off as gross
As black from white, my eye will scarcely see it.
Treason and murder ever kept together,
As two yoke-devils sworn to either’s purpose,
Working so grossly in a natural cause
That admiration did not whoop at them:
But thou, ’gainst all proportion, didst bring in
Wonder to wait on treason and on murder:
And whatsoever cunning fiend it was
That wrought upon thee so preposterously
Hath got the voice in hell for excellence:
And other devils that suggest by treasons
Do botch and bungle up damnation
With patches, colours, and with forms, being fetch’d
From glistering semblances of piety;
But he that temper’d thee bade thee stand up,
Gave thee no instance why thou shouldst do treason,
Unless to dub thee with the name of traitor.
If that same demon that hath gull’d thee thus
Should with his lion gait walk the whole world,
He might return to vasty Tartar back,
And tell the legions, ‘I can never win
A soul so easy as that Englishman’s.’
O! how hast thou with jealousy infected
The sweetness of affiance. Show men dutiful?
Why, so didst thou: seem they grave and learned?
Why, so didst thou: come they of noble family?
Why, so didst thou: seem they religious?
Why, so didst thou: or are they spare in diet,
Free from gross passion or of mirth or anger,
Constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood,
Garnish’d and deck’d in modest complement,
Not working with the eye without the ear,
And but in purged judgment trusting neither?
Such and so finely bolted didst thou seem:
And thus thy fall hath left a kind of blot,
To mark the full-fraught man and best indu’d
With some suspicion. I will weep for thee;
For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like
Another fall of man. Their faults are open:
Arrest them to the answer of the law;
And God acquit them of their practices!
I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Richard Earl of Cambridge.
I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Henry Lord Scroop of Masham.
I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland.
Our purposes God justly hath discover’d,
And I repent my fault more than my death;
Which I beseech your highness to forgive,
Although my body pay the price of it.
For me, the gold of France did not seduce,
Although I did admit it as a motive
The sooner to effect what I intended:
But God be thanked for prevention;
Which I in sufference heartily will rejoice,
Beseeching God and you to pardon me.
Never did faithful subject more rejoice
At the discovery of most dangerous treason
Than I do at this hour joy o’er myself,
Prevented from a damned enterprise.
My fault, but not my body; pardon, sovereign.
God quit you in his mercy! Hear your sentence.
You have conspir’d against our royal person,
Join’d with an enemy proclaim’d, and from his coffers
Receiv’d the golden earnest of our death;
Wherein you would have sold your king to slaughter,
His princes and his peers to servitude,
His subjects to oppression and contempt,
And his whole kingdom into desolation.
Touching our person seek we no revenge;
But we our kingdom’s safety must so tender,
Whose ruin you have sought, that to her laws
We do deliver you. Get you therefore hence,
Poor miserable wretches, to your death;
The taste whereof, God of his mercy give you
Patience to endure, and true repentance
Of all your dear offences! Bear them hence.
Now, lords, for France! the enterprise whereof
Shall be to you, as us, like glorious.
We doubt not of a fair and lucky war,
Since God so graciously hath brought to light
This dangerous treason lurking in our way
To hinder our beginnings. We doubt not now
But every rub is smoothed on our way.
Then forth, dear countrymen: let us deliver
Our puissance into the hand of God,
Putting it straight in expedition.
Cheerly to sea! the signs of war advance:
No king of England, if not king of France.
London. Before a Tavern in Eastcheap.
EnterPistol, Hostess, Nym, Bardolph,and Boy.
Prithee, honey-sweet husband, let me bring thee to Staines.
No; for my manly heart doth yearn.
Bardolph, be blithe; Nym, rouse thy vaunting veins;
Boy, bristle thy courage up; for Falstaff he is dead,
And we must yearn therefore.
Would I were with him, wheresome’er he is, either in heaven or in hell!
Nay, sure, he’s not in hell: he’s in Arthur’s bosom, if ever man went to Arthur’s bosom. A’ made a finer end and went away an it had been any christom child; a’ parted even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o’ the tide: for after I saw him fumble with the sheets and play with flowers and smile upon his fingers’ ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a’ babbled of green fields. ‘How now, Sir John!’ quoth I: ‘what man! be of good cheer.’ So a’ cried out ‘God, God, God!’ three or four times: now I, to comfort him, bid him a’ should not think of God, I hoped there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet. So a’ bade me lay more clothes on his feet: I put my hand into the bed and felt them, and they were as cold as any stone; then I felt to his knees, and so upward, and upward, and all was as cold as any stone.
They say he cried out of sack.
Ay, that a’ did.
And of women.
Nay, that a’ did not.
Yes, that a’ did; and said they were devils incarnate.
A’ could never abide carnation; ’twas a colour he never liked.
A’ said once, the devil would have him about women.
A’ did in some sort, indeed, handle women; but then he was rheumatic, and talked of the whore of Babylon.
Do you not remember a’ saw a flea stick upon Bardolph’s nose, and a’ said it was a black soul burning in hell-fire?
Well, the fuel is gone that maintained that fire: that’s all the riches I got in his service.
Shall we shog? the king will be gone from Southampton.
Come, let’s away. My love, give me thy lips.
Look to my chattels and my moveables:
Let senses rule, the word is, ‘Pitch and pay;’
For oaths are straws, men’s faiths are wafercakes,
And hold-fast is the only dog, my duck:
Therefore, caveto be thy counsellor.
Go, clear thy crystals. Yoke-fellows in arms,
Let us to France; like horse-leeches, my boys,
To suck, to suck, the very blood to suck!
And that’s but unwholesome food, they say.
Touch her soft mouth, and march.
I cannot kiss, that is the humour of it; but, adieu.
Let housewifery appear: keep close, I thee command.
France. An Apartment in theFrench King’sPalace.
Flourish. Enter theFrench King,attended; theDauphin,theDukes of Berri and Britaine,theConstable,and Others.
Thus come the English with full power upon us;
And more than carefully it us concerns
To answer royally in our defences.
Therefore the Dukes of Berri and Britaine,
Of Brabant and of Orleans, shall make forth,
And you, Prince Dauphin, with all swift dispatch,
To line and new repair our towns of war
With men of courage and with means defendant:
For England his approaches makes as fierce
As waters to the sucking of a gulf.
It fits us then to be as provident
As fear may teach us, out of late examples
Left by the fatal and neglected English
Upon our fields.
My most redoubted father,
It is most meet we arm us ’gainst the foe;
For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom,—
Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,—
But that defences, musters, preparations,
Should be maintain’d, assembled, and collected,
As were a war in expectation.
Therefore, I say ’tis meet we all go forth
To view the sick and feeble parts of France:
And let us do it with no show of fear;
No, with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:
For, my good liege, she is so idly king’d,
Her sceptre so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.
O peace, Prince Dauphin!
You are too much mistaken in this king.
Question your Grace the late ambassadors,
With what great state he heard their embassy,
How well supplied with noble counsellors,
How modest in exception, and, withal
How terrible in constant resolution,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
That shall first spring and be most delicate.
Well, ’tis not so, my lord high constable;
But though we think it so, it is no matter:
In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh
The enemy more mighty than he seems:
So the proportions of defence are fill’d;
Which of a weak and niggardly projection
Doth like a miser spoil his coat with scanting
A little cloth.
Think we King Harry strong;
And, princes, look you strongly arm to meet him.
The kindred of him hath been flesh’d upon us,
And he is bred out of that bloody strain
That haunted us in our familiar paths:
Witness our too much memorable shame
When Cressy battle fatally was struck
And all our princes captiv’d by the hand
Of that black name, Edward Black Prince of Wales;
Whiles that his mounting sire, on mountain standing,
Up in the air, crown’d with the golden sun,
Saw his heroical seed, and smil’d to see him
Mangle the work of nature, and deface
The patterns that by God and by French fathers
Had twenty years been made. This is a stem
Of that victorious stock; and let us fear
The native mightiness and fate of him.
Enter a Messenger.
Ambassadors from Harry King of England
Do crave admittance to your majesty.
We’ll give them present audience. Go, and bring them.
[Exeunt Messenger and certain Lords.
You see this chase is hotly follow’d, friends.
Turn head, and stop pursuit; for coward dogs
Most spend their mouths when what they seem to threaten
Runs far before them. Good my sovereign,
Take up the English short, and let them know
Of what a monarchy you are the head:
Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin
Re-enter Lords, withExeterand Train.
From our brother England?
From him; and thus he greets your majesty.
He wills you, in the name of God Almighty,
That you divest yourself, and lay apart
The borrow’d glories that by gift of heaven,
By law of nature and of nations ’long
To him and to his heirs; namely, the crown
And all wide-stretched honours that pertain
By custom and the ordinance of times
Unto the crown of France. That you may know
’Tis no sinister nor no awkward claim,
Pick’d from the worm-holes of long-vanish’d days,
Nor from the dust of old oblivion rak’d,
He sends you this most memorable line,
[Gives a pedigree.
In every branch truly demonstrative;
Willing you overlook this pedigree;
And when you find him evenly deriv’d
From his most fam’d of famous ancestors,
Edward the Third, he bids you then resign
Your crown and kingdom, indirectly held
From him the native and true challenger.
Or else what follows?
Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown
Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it:
Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,
In thunder and in earthquake like a Jove,
That, if requiring fail, he will compel;
And bids you, in the bowels of the Lord,
Deliver up the crown, and to take mercy
On the poor souls for whom this hungry war
Opens his vasty jaws; and on your head
Turning the widows’ tears, the orphans’ cries,
The dead men’s blood, the pining maidens’ groans,
For husbands, fathers, and betrothed lovers,
That shall be swallow’d in this controversy.
This is his claim, his threat’ning, and my message;
Unless the Dauphin be in presence here,
To whom expressly I bring greeting too.
For us, we will consider of this further:
To-morrow shall you bear our full intent
Back to our brother England.
For the Dauphin,
I stand here for him: what to him from England?
Scorn and defiance, slight regard, contempt,
And anything that may not misbecome
The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.
Thus says my king: an if your father’s highness
Do not, in grant of all demands at large,
Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,
He’ll call you to so hot an answer of it,
That caves and womby vaultages of France
Shall chide your trespass and return your mock
In second accent of his ordinance.
Say, if my father render fair return,
It is against my will; for I desire
Nothing but odds with England: to that end,
As matching to his youth and vanity,
I did present him with the Paris balls.
He’ll make your Paris Louvre shake for it,
Were it the mistress-court of mighty Europe:
And, be assur’d, you’ll find a difference—
As we his subjects have in wonder found—
Between the promise of his greener days
And these he masters now. Now he weighs time
Even to the utmost grain; that you shall read
In your own losses, if he stay in France.
To-morrow shall you know our mind at full.
Dispatch us with all speed, lest that our king
Come here himself to question our delay;
For he is footed in this land already.
You shall be soon dispatch’d with fair conditions:
A night is but small breath and little pause
To answer matters of this consequence.