Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


Enter the King and all his Traine before the Gates.
1260King. How yet resolues the Gouernour of the Towne?
This is the latest Parle we will admit:
Therefore to our best mercy giue your selues,
Or like to men prowd of destruction,
Defie vs to our worst: for as I am a Souldier,
1265A Name that in my thoughts becomes me best;
If I begin the batt'rie once againe,
I will not leaue the halfe-atchieued Harflew,
Till in her ashes she lye buryed.
The Gates of Mercy shall be all shut vp,
1270And the flesh'd Souldier, rough and hard of heart,
In libertie of bloody hand, shall raunge
With Conscience wide as Hell, mowing like Grasse
Your fresh faire Virgins, and your flowring Infants.
What is it then to me, if impious Warre,
1275Arrayed in flames like to the Prince of Fiends,
Doe with his smyrcht complexion all fell feats,
Enlynckt to wast and desolation?
What is't to me, when you your selues are cause,
If your pure Maydens fall into the hand
1280Of hot and forcing Violation?
What Reyne can hold licentious Wickednesse,
When downe the Hill he holds his fierce Carriere?
We may as bootlesse spend our vaine Command
Vpon th'enraged Souldiers in their spoyle,
1285As send Precepts to the Leuiathan, to come ashore.
Therefore, you men of Harflew,
Take pitty of your Towne and of your People,
Whiles yet my Souldiers are in my Command,
Whiles yet the coole and temperate Wind of Grace
1290O're-blowes the filthy and contagious Clouds
Of headly Murther, Spoyle, and Villany.
If not: why in a moment looke to see
The blind and bloody Souldier, with foule hand
Desire the Locks of your shrill-shriking Daughters:
1295Your Fathers taken by the siluer Beards,
And their most reuerend Heads dasht to the Walls:
Your naked Infants spitted vpon Pykes,
Whiles the mad Mothers, with their howles confus'd,
Doe breake the Clouds; as did the Wiues of Iewry,
1300At Herods bloody-hunting slaughter-men.
What say you? Will you yeeld, and this auoyd?
Or guiltie in defence, be thus destroy'd.
Enter Gouernour.
Gouer. Our expectation hath this day an end:
1305The Dolphin, whom of Succours we entreated,
Returnes vs, that his Powers are yet not ready,
To rayse so great a Siege: Therefore great King,
We yeeld our Towne and Liues to thy soft Mercy:
Enter our Gates, dispose of vs and ours,
1310For we no longer are defensible.
King. Open your Gates: Come Vnckle Exeter,
Goe you and enter Harflew; there remaine,
And fortifie it strongly 'gainst the French:
Vse mercy to them all for vs, deare Vnckle.
1315The Winter comming on, and Sicknesse growing
Vpon our Souldiers, we will retyre to Calis.
To night in Harflew will we be your Guest,
To morrow for the March are we addrest.
Flourish, and enter the Towne.