Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Henry V (Modern, Folio)
  • Editor: James D. Mardock
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-409-7

    Copyright James D. Mardock. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: James D. Mardock
    Peer Reviewed

    Henry V (Modern, Folio)

    885Flourish. Enter the French King, the Dauphin, the Dukes of Berry and Brittany[, and the Constable of France].
    French King
    Thus comes the English with full power upon us,
    And more than carefully it us concerns
    890To answer royally in our defenses.
    Therefore the Dukes of Berry and of Brittany,
    Of Brabant and of Orléans shall make forth,
    And you, Prince Dauphin, with all swift dispatch
    To line and new repair our towns of war
    895With 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
    900Left 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,
    905Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,
    But that defenses, musters, preparations
    Should be maintained, assembled, and collected
    As were a war in expectation.
    Therefore I say 'tis meet we all go forth
    910To 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 kinged,
    915Her scepter so fantastically borne
    By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
    That fear attends her not.
    Oh, peace, Prince Dauphin.
    You are too much mistaken in this king.
    920Question your grace the late ambassadors --
    With what great state he heard their embassy,
    How well supplied with noble counselors,
    How modest in exception, and withal
    How terrible in constant resolution --
    925And 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 defense, 'tis best to weigh
    The enemy more mighty than he seems.
    So the proportions of defense are filled,
    935Which of a weak and niggardly projection
    Doth like a miser spoil his coat with scanting
    A little cloth.
    French King
    Think we King Harry strong,
    And princes, look you strongly arm to meet him.
    940The kindred of him hath been fleshed 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 Crécy battle fatally was struck,
    945And all our princes captived by the hand
    Of that black name, Edward, Black Prince of Wales,
    Whiles that his mountain sire on mountain standing
    Up in the air, crowned with the golden sun,
    Saw his heroical seed and smiled to see him
    950Mangle 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.
    955Enter a Messenger.
    Ambassadors from Harry, King of England,
    Do crave admittance to your majesty.
    French King
    We'll give them present audience; go and bring them.
    [Exit Messenger.]
    960You see this chase is hotly followed, 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
    965Of what a monarchy you are the head.
    Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin
    As self-neglecting.
    Enter Exeter.
    French King
    From our brother of 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 borrowed glories that by gift of heaven,
    By law of nature and of nations longs
    975To him and to his heirs, namely the crown
    And all wide-stretchèd honors 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
    980Picked from the wormholes of long-vanished days,
    Nor from the dust of old oblivion raked,
    He sends you this most memorable line,
    982.1[Gives the French King a paper]
    In every branch truly demonstrative,
    Willing you overlook this pedigree.
    985And when you find him evenly derived
    From his most famed of famous ancestors,
    Edward the Third, he bids you then resign
    Your crown and kingdom, indirectly held
    From him, the native and true challenger.
    990French King
    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,
    995That 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
    1000Turning the widows' tears, the orphans' cries,
    The dead men's blood, the privy maidens' groans
    For husbands, fathers, and betrothèd lovers
    That shall be swallowed in this controversy.
    This is his claim, his threat'ning, and my message,
    1005Unless the dauphin be in presence here,
    To whom expressly I bring greeting too.
    French King
    For us, we will consider of this further.
    Tomorrow shall you bear our full intent
    Back to our brother of 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.
    1015Thus 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
    1020Shall 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. 1025To 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 assured, you'll find a difference,
    1030As 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.
    1035French King
    Tomorrow 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.
    1040French King
    You shall be soon dispatched with fair conditions.
    A night is but small breath and little pause
    To answer matters of this consequence.