Internet Shakespeare Editions

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.