Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Modern, Folio)


1080.1

[3.1]

Enter the King, Exeter, Bedford, and Gloucester.
Alarum. [Enter soldiers with] scaling-ladders at Harfleur.
King Henry Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
1085Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility,
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
1090Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage.
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon. Let the brow o'erwhelm it
1095As fearfully as doth a gallèd rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
1100To his full height. On! On, you noble English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof,
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
1105Dishonor not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you called fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood
And teach them how to war. And you good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
1110The mettle of your pasture. Let us swear
That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not,
For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble luster in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
1115Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry "God for Harry, England, and Saint George!"
Alarum, and chambers go off. [Exeunt.]