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Home > King Henry V > ACT IV - SCENE I. The English camp at Agincourt.

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ACT IV - SCENE I. The English camp at Agincourt.
Enter KING HENRY, BEDFORD, and GLOUCESTER

KING HENRY V
1    Gloucester, 'tis true that we are in great danger;
2    The greater therefore should our courage be.
3    Good morrow, brother Bedford. God Almighty!
4    There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
5    Would men observingly distil it out.
6    For our bad neighbour makes us early stirrers,
7    Which is both healthful and good husbandry:
8    Besides, they are our outward consciences,
9    And preachers to us all, admonishing
10   That we should dress us fairly for our end.
11   Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
12   And make a moral of the devil himself.
Enter ERPINGHAM
13   Good morrow, old Sir Thomas Erpingham:
14   A good soft pillow for that good white head
15   Were better than a churlish turf of France.
ERPINGHAM
16   Not so, my liege: this lodging likes me better,
17   Since I may say 'Now lie I like a king.'
KING HENRY V
18   'Tis good for men to love their present pains
19   Upon example; so the spirit is eased:
20   And when the mind is quicken'd, out of doubt,
21   The organs, though defunct and dead before,
22   Break up their drowsy grave and newly move,
23   With casted slough and fresh legerity.
24   Lend me thy cloak, Sir Thomas. Brothers both,
25   Commend me to the princes in our camp;
26   Do my good morrow to them, and anon
27   Desire them an to my pavilion.
GLOUCESTER
28   We shall, my liege.
ERPINGHAM
29   Shall I attend your grace?
KING HENRY V
30   No, my good knight;
31   Go with my brothers to my lords of England:
32   I and my bosom must debate awhile,
33   And then I would no other company.
ERPINGHAM
34   The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry!
Exeunt all but KING HENRY

KING HENRY V
35   God-a-mercy, old heart! thou speak'st cheerfully.
Enter PISTOL

PISTOL
36   Qui va la?
KING HENRY V
37   A friend.
PISTOL
38   Discuss unto me; art thou officer?
39   Or art thou base, common and popular?
KING HENRY V
40   I am a gentleman of a company.
PISTOL
41   Trail'st thou the puissant pike?
KING HENRY V
42   Even so. What are you?
PISTOL
43   As good a gentleman as the emperor.
KING HENRY V
44   Then you are a better than the king.
PISTOL
45   The king's a bawcock, and a heart of gold,
46   A lad of life, an imp of fame;
47   Of parents good, of fist most valiant.
48   I kiss his dirty shoe, and from heart-string
49   I love the lovely bully. What is thy name?
KING HENRY V
50   Harry le Roy.
PISTOL
51   Le Roy! a Cornish name: art thou of Cornish crew?
KING HENRY V
52   No, I am a Welshman.
PISTOL
53   Know'st thou Fluellen?
KING HENRY V
54   Yes.
PISTOL
55   Tell him, I'll knock his leek about his pate
56   Upon Saint Davy's day.
KING HENRY V
57   Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day,
58   lest he knock that about yours.
PISTOL
59   Art thou his friend?
KING HENRY V
60   And his kinsman too.
PISTOL
61   The figo for thee, then!
KING HENRY V
62   I thank you: God be with you!
PISTOL
63   My name is Pistol call'd.
Exit

KING HENRY V
64   It sorts well with your fierceness.
Enter FLUELLEN and GOWER

GOWER
65   Captain Fluellen!
FLUELLEN
66   So! in the name of Jesu Christ, speak lower. It is
67   the greatest admiration of the universal world, when
68   the true and aunchient prerogatifes and laws of the
69   wars is not kept: if you would take the pains but to
70   examine the wars of Pompey the Great, you shall
71   find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle toddle
72   nor pibble pabble in Pompey's camp; I warrant you,
73   you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and the
74   cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety
75   of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise.
GOWER
76   Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all night.
FLUELLEN
77   If the enemy is an ass and a fool and a prating
78   coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also,
79   look you, be an ass and a fool and a prating
80   coxcomb? in your own conscience, now?
GOWER
81   I will speak lower.
FLUELLEN
82   I pray you and beseech you that you will.
Exeunt GOWER and FLUELLEN

KING HENRY V
83   Though it appear a little out of fashion,
84   There is much care and valour in this Welshman.
COURT
85   Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which
86   breaks yonder?
BATES
87   I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire
88   the approach of day.
WILLIAMS
89   We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think
90   we shall never see the end of it. Who goes there?
KING HENRY V
91   A friend.
WILLIAMS
92   Under what captain serve you?
KING HENRY V
93   Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.
WILLIAMS
94   A good old commander and a most kind gentleman: I
95   pray you, what thinks he of our estate?
KING HENRY V
96   Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be
97   washed off the next tide.
BATES
98   He hath not told his thought to the king?
KING HENRY V
99   No; nor it is not meet he should. For, though I
100  speak it to you, I think the king is but a man, as I
101  am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the
102  element shows to him as it doth to me; all his
103  senses have but human conditions: his ceremonies
104  laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man; and
105  though his affections are higher mounted than ours,
106  yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like
107  wing. Therefore when he sees reason of fears, as we
108  do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish
109  as ours are: yet, in reason, no man should possess
110  him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing
111  it, should dishearten his army.
BATES
112  He may show what outward courage he will; but I
113  believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish
114  himself in Thames up to the neck; and so I would he
115  were, and I by him, at all adventures, so we were quit here.
KING HENRY V
116  By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the king:
117  I think he would not wish himself any where but
118  where he is.
BATES
119  Then I would he were here alone; so should he be
120  sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved.
KING HENRY V
121  I dare say you love him not so ill, to wish him here
122  alone, howsoever you speak this to feel other men's
123  minds: methinks I could not die any where so
124  contented as in the king's company; his cause being
125  just and his quarrel honourable.
WILLIAMS
126  That's more than we know.
BATES
127  Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know
128  enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if
129  his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes
130  the crime of it out of us.
WILLIAMS
131  But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
132  a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
133  arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
134  together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at
135  such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a
136  surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind
137  them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their
138  children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die
139  well that die in a battle; for how can they
140  charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
141  argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
142  will be a black matter for the king that led them to
143  it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of
144  subjection.
KING HENRY V
145  So, if a son that is by his father sent about
146  merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the
147  imputation of his wickedness by your rule, should be
148  imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a
149  servant, under his master's command transporting a
150  sum of money, be assailed by robbers and die in
151  many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the
152  business of the master the author of the servant's
153  damnation: but this is not so: the king is not
154  bound to answer the particular endings of his
155  soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
156  his servant; for they purpose not their death, when
157  they purpose their services. Besides, there is no
158  king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to
159  the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all
160  unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them
161  the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder;
162  some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of
163  perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that
164  have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with
165  pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have
166  defeated the law and outrun native punishment,
167  though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to
168  fly from God: war is his beadle, war is vengeance;
169  so that here men are punished for before-breach of
170  the king's laws in now the king's quarrel: where
171  they feared the death, they have borne life away;
172  and where they would be safe, they perish: then if
173  they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of
174  their damnation than he was before guilty of those
175  impieties for the which they are now visited. Every
176  subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's
177  soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in
178  the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every
179  mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death
180  is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was
181  blessedly lost wherein such preparation was gained:
182  and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think
183  that, making God so free an offer, He let him
184  outlive that day to see His greatness and to teach
185  others how they should prepare.
WILLIAMS
186  'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon
187  his own head, the king is not to answer it.
BATES
188  But I do not desire he should answer for me; and
189  yet I determine to fight lustily for him.
KING HENRY V
190  I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed.
WILLIAMS
191  Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully: but
192  when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed, and we
193  ne'er the wiser.
KING HENRY V
194  If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.
WILLIAMS
195  You pay him then. That's a perilous shot out of an
196  elder-gun, that a poor and private displeasure can
197  do against a monarch! you may as well go about to
198  turn the sun to ice with fanning in his face with a
199  peacock's feather. You'll never trust his word
200  after! come, 'tis a foolish saying.
KING HENRY V
201  Your reproof is something too round: I should be
202  angry with you, if the time were convenient.
WILLIAMS
203  Let it be a quarrel between us, if you live.
KING HENRY V
204  I embrace it.
WILLIAMS
205  How shall I know thee again?
KING HENRY V
206  Give me any gage of thine, and I will wear it in my
207  bonnet: then, if ever thou darest acknowledge it, I
208  will make it my quarrel.
WILLIAMS
209  Here's my glove: give me another of thine.
KING HENRY V
210  There.
WILLIAMS
211  This will I also wear in my cap: if ever thou come
212  to me and say, after to-morrow, 'This is my glove,'
213  by this hand, I will take thee a box on the ear.
KING HENRY V
214  If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.
WILLIAMS
215  Thou darest as well be hanged.
KING HENRY V
216  Well. I will do it, though I take thee in the
217  king's company.
WILLIAMS
218  Keep thy word: fare thee well.
BATES
219  Be friends, you English fools, be friends: we have
220  French quarrels enow, if you could tell how to reckon.
KING HENRY V
221  Indeed, the French may lay twenty French crowns to
222  one, they will beat us; for they bear them on their
223  shoulders: but it is no English treason to cut
224  French crowns, and to-morrow the king himself will
225  be a clipper.
Exeunt soldiers
226  Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
227  Our debts, our careful wives,
228  Our children and our sins lay on the king!
229  We must bear all. O hard condition,
230  Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
231  Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
232  But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease
233  Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
234  And what have kings, that privates have not too,
235  Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
236  And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?
237  What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
238  Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
239  What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?
240  O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
241  What is thy soul of adoration?
242  Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,
243  Creating awe and fear in other men?
244  Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd
245  Than they in fearing.
246  What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
247  But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
248  And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
249  Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
250  With titles blown from adulation?
251  Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
252  Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
253  Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
254  That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
255  I am a king that find thee, and I know
256  'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
257  The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
258  The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
259  The farced title running 'fore the king,
260  The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
261  That beats upon the high shore of this world,
262  No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,
263  Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
264  Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
265  Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind
266  Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;
267  Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
268  But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
269  Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
270  Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
271  Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
272  And follows so the ever-running year,
273  With profitable labour, to his grave:
274  And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
275  Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
276  Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
277  The slave, a member of the country's peace,
278  Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
279  What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
280  Whose hours the peasant best advantages.
Enter ERPINGHAM

ERPINGHAM
281  My lord, your nobles, jealous of your absence,
282  Seek through your camp to find you.
KING HENRY V
283  Good old knight,
284  Collect them all together at my tent:
285  I'll be before thee.
ERPINGHAM
286  I shall do't, my lord.
Exit

KING HENRY V
287  O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts;
288  Possess them not with fear; take from them now
289  The sense of reckoning, if the opposed numbers
290  Pluck their hearts from them. Not to-day, O Lord,
291  O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
292  My father made in compassing the crown!
293  I Richard's body have interred anew;
294  And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears
295  Than from it issued forced drops of blood:
296  Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
297  Who twice a-day their wither'd hands hold up
298  Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
299  Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
300  Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;
301  Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
302  Since that my penitence comes after all,
303  Imploring pardon.
Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER
304  My liege!
KING HENRY V
305  My brother Gloucester's voice? Ay;
306  I know thy errand, I will go with thee:
307  The day, my friends and all things stay for me.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT IV, PROLOGUEACT IV, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT II
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT IV
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII
  • SCENE VIII


  • ACT V
  • PROLOGUE
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • EPILOGUE

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