Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT IV. - The Life of King Henry the Fifth
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ACT IV. - 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).
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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
Presenteth 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 overbears 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 dispos’d in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see;
Minding true things by what their mockeries be.
The English Camp at Agincourt.
EnterKing Henry, Bedford,andGloucester.
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 eas’d:
And when the mind is quicken’d, 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 awhile,
And then I would no other company.
The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry!
God-a-mercy, old heart! thou speak’st cheerfully.
Qui va là?
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 my heart-string
I love the lovely bully. What’s 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 called.
It sorts well with your fierceness.
Sol in the name of Cheshu Christ, speak lower. It is the greatest admiration in the universal world, 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 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 heard 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 peseech you that you will.
Though it appear a little out of fashion,
There is much care and valour in this Welshman.
EnterJohn Bates, Alexander Court,andMichael Williams.
Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder?
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 wracked upon a sand, that look to be washed 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 any where 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 any where 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, 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 left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a 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 it, whom 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 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 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 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 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 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 ransomed.
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.
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 darest acknowledge it, I will make it my quarrel.
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 darest as well be hanged.
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 idle 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 Phœbus, 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 interr’d anew,
And on it have bestow’d more contrite tears
Than from it issu’d 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.
The French Camp.
Enter theDauphin, Orleans, Rambures,and Others.
The sun doth gild our armour: up, my lords!
Montez à cheval! My horse! varlet! lacquais! 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 embattail’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 curtal-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 couch down in fear and yield.
Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?
Yon island carrions desperate of their bones,
Ill-favour’dly 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, dropping 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.
The English Camp.
Enter the English host;Gloucester, Bedford, Exeter, Salisbury,andWestmoreland.
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.
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 nam’d,
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 Crispin’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 remember’d.
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 sov’reign 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!
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 dung-hills,
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!
The Field of Battle.
Alarums: Excursions. Enter French Soldier, Pistol,and Boy.
Je pense que vous estes le gentilhomme de bonne qualité.
Quality? Calen O 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 pitié de moy!
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’eschapper la force de ton bras?
Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat,
Offer’st me brass?
O pardonnez moy!
Sayst thou me so? is that a ton of moys?
Come hither, boy: ask me this slave in French
What is his name.
Escoutez: comment estes vous appellé?
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 à vous dire que vous faites vous prest; car ce soldat icy est disposé tout à cette heure de couper vostre gorge.
Ouy, 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 le gentilhomme de bonne maison: gardez ma vie, et je vous donneray deux cents escus.
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 crowns.
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 aucan prisonnier; neant-moins, pour les escus que vous l’avez promis, il est content de vous donner la liberte, le franchisement.
Sur mes genoux, je vous donne mille remerciemens; et je m’estime heureux que je suis tombé entre les mains d’un chevalier, je pense, le plus brave, valiant, et très distingué seigneur d’Angleterre.
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 England.
As I suck blood, I will some mercy show.—
[ExeuntPistoland French Soldier.
Suivez vous le grand capitaine. 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 hanged; 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 but boys.
Another Part of the Field.
Alarums. EnterDauphin, Orleans, Bourbon, Constable, Rambures,and Others. Con. O diable!
O seigneur! le jour est perdu! tout est perdu!
Mort de ma vie! all is confounded, all!
Reproach and everlasting shame
Sit mocking in our plumes. O meschante fortune!
Do not run away.
[A short alarum.
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 pander, 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 enough 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.
Another Part of the Field.
Alarums. EnterKing Henryand Forces;Exeter,and Others.
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 insteep’d,
And takes him by the beard, kisses the gashes
That bloodily did yawn upon his face;
And cries aloud, ‘Tarry, dear 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.
Another Part of the Field.
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 have done this slaughter: besides, they have burned and carried away all that was in the king’s tent; wherefore the king most worthily hath caused 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 called 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 pest friend, Cleitus.
Our king is not like him in that: he never killed any of his friends.
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 killed his friend Cleitus, being in his ales and his cups, so also Harry Monmouth, being in his right wits and his good judgments, turned 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 goot men porn at Monmouth.
Here comes his majesty.
Alarum. EnterKing Henry,with a part of the English Forces;Warwick, Gloucester, Exeter,and Others.
I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon 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 licence,
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 remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a 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 Tavy’s day.
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 ashamed 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.
[Points toWilliams.ExeuntMontjoyand Others.
Soldier, you must come to the king.
Soldier, why wear’st thou that glove in thy cap?
An’t please your majesty, ’tis the gage of one that I should fight withal, if he be alive.
An’t please your majesty, a rascal that swaggered with me last night; who, if a’ live and ever dare to challenge this glove, I have sworn to take him a box o’ the ear: or, if I can see my glove in his cap,—which he swore as he was a soldier he would wear if alive,—I will strike it out soundly.
What think you, Captain Fluellen? is it fit this soldier keep his oath?
He is a craven and a villain else, an’t please your majesty, in my conscience.
It may be his enemy is a gentleman of great sort, quite from the answer of his degree.
Though he be as good a gentleman as the devil is, as Lucifer and Belzebub himself, it is necessary, look your Grace, that he keep his vow and his oath. If he be perjured, see you now, his reputation is as arrant a villain and a Jack-sauce as ever his black shoe trod upon God’s ground and his earth, in my conscience, la!
Then keep thy vow, sirrah, when thou meetest the fellow.
So I will, my liege, as I live.
Who servest thou under?
Under Captain Gower, my liege.
Gower is a goot captain, and is good knowledge and literatured in the wars.
Call him hither to me, soldier.
I will, my liege.
Here, Fluellen; wear thou this favour for me and stick it in thy cap. When Alençon and myself were down together I plucked this glove from his helm: if any man challenge this, he is a friend to Alençon, and an enemy to our person; if thou encounter any such, apprehend him, an thou dost me love.
Your Grace does me as great honours as can be desired in the hearts of his subjects: I would fain see the man that has but two legs that shall find himself aggriefed at this glove, that is all; but I would fain see it once, and please God of his grace that I might see.
Knowest thou Gower?
He is my dear friend, an’t please you.
Pray thee, go seek him, and bring him to my tent.
I will fetch him.
My Lord of Warwick, and my brother Gloucester,
Follow Fluellen closely at the heels.
The glove which I have given him for a favour,
May haply purchase him a box o’ the ear;
It is the soldier’s; I by bargain should
Wear it myself. Follow, good cousin Warwick:
If that the soldier strike him,—as, I judge
By his blunt bearing he will keep his word,—
Some sudden mischief may arise of it;
For I do know Fluellen valiant,
And touch’d with choler, hot as gunpowder,
And quickly will return an injury:
Follow and see there be no harm between them.
Go you with me, uncle of Exeter.
I warrant it is to knight you, captain.
God’s will and his pleasure, captain, I peseech you now come apace to the king: there is more good toward you peradventure than is in your knowledge to dream of.
Sir, know you this glove?
Know the glove! I know the glove is a glove.
I know this; and thus I challenge it.
’Sblood! an arrant traitor as any’s in the universal ’orld, or in France, or in England
How now, sir! you villain!
Do you think I’ll be forsworn?
Stand away, Captain Gower; I will give treason his payment into plows, I warrant you.
I am no traitor.
That’s a lie in thy throat. I charge you in his majesty’s name, apprehend him: he is a friend of the Duke Alençon’s.
How now, how now! what’s the matter?
My Lord of Warwick, here is,—praised be God for it!—a most contagious treason come to light, look you, as you shall desire in a summer’s day. Here is his majesty.
How now! what’s the matter?
My liege, here is a villain and a traitor, that, look your Grace, has struck the glove which your majesty is take out of the helmet of Alençon.
My liege, this was my glove; here is the fellow of it; and he that I gave it to in change promised to wear it in his cap: I promised to strike him, if he did: I met this man with my glove in his cap, and I have been as good as my word.
Your majesty hear now,—saving your majesty’s manhood,—what an arrant, rascally, beggarly, lousy knave it is. I hope your majesty is pear me testimony and witness, and avouchments, that this is the glove of Alençon that your majesty is give me; in your conscience now.
Give me thy glove, soldier: look, here is the fellow of it.
’Twas I, indeed, thou promisedst to strike;
And thou hast given me most bitter terms.
An’t please your majesty, let his neck answer for it, if there is any martial law in the ’orld.
How canst thou make me satisfaction?
All offences, my lord, come from the heart: never came any from mine that might offend your majesty.
It was ourself thou didst abuse.
Your majesty came not like yourself: you appeared to me but as a common man; witness the night, your garments, your lowliness; and what your highness suffered under that shape, I beseech you, take it for your own fault and not mine: for had you been as I took you for I made no offence; therefore, I beseech your highness, pardon me.
Here, uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns,
And give it to this fellow. Keep it, fellow;
And wear it for an honour in thy cap
Till I do challenge it. Give him the crowns:
And, captain, you must needs be friends with him.
By this day and this light, the fellow has mettle enough in his belly. Hold, there is twelve pence for you, and I pray you to serve God, and keep you out of prawls, and prabbles, and quarrels, and dissensions, and, I warrant you, it is the better for you.
I will none of your money.
It is with a good will; I can tell you it will serve you to mend your shoes: come, wherefore should you be so pashful? your shoes is not so good: ’tis a good shilling, I warrant you, or I will change it.
Enter an English Herald.
Now, herald, are the dead number’d?
Here is the number of the slaughter’d French.
[Delivers a paper.
What prisoners of good sort are taken, uncle?
Charles Duke of Orleans, nephew to the king;
John Duke of Bourbon, and Lord Bouciqualt:
Of other lords and barons, knights and squires,
Full fifteen hundred, besides common men.
This note doth tell me of ten thousand French
That in the field lie slain: of princes, in this number,
And nobles bearing banners, there lie dead
One hundred twenty-six: added to these,
Of knights, esquires, and gallant gentlemen,
Eight thousand and four hundred; of the which
Five hundred were but yesterday dubb’d knights:
So that, in these ten thousand they have lost,
There are but sixteen hundred mercenaries;
The rest are princes, barons, lords, knights, squires,
And gentlemen of blood and quality.
The names of those their nobles that lie dead:
Charles Delabreth, High Constable of France;
Jaques of Chatillon, Admiral of France;
The master of the cross-bows, Lord Rambures;
Great-master of France, the brave Sir Guischard Dauphin;
John Duke of Alençon; Antony Duke of Brabant,
The brother to the Duke of Burgundy,
And Edward Duke of Bar: of lusty earls,
Grandpré and Roussi, Fauconberg and Foix,
Beaumont and Marle, Vaudemont and Lestrale.
Here was a royal fellowship of death!
Where is the number of our English dead?
[Herald presents another paper.
Edward the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk,
Sir Richard Ketly, Davy Gam, esquire:
None else of name: and of all other men
But five and twenty. O God! thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all. When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!
Come, go we in procession to the village:
And be it death proclaimed through our host
To boast of this or take the praise from God
Which is his only.
Is it not lawful, an please your majesty, to tell how many is killed?
Yes, captain; but with this acknowledgment,
That God fought for us.
Yes, my conscience, he did us great good.
Do we all holy rites:
Let there be sung Non nobis and Te Deum;
The dead with charity enclos’d in clay.
We’ll then to Calais; and to England then,
Where ne’er from France arriv’d more happy men.