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  • 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)

    Enter the King [and Gloucester, meeting Bedford].
    1845King Henry
    Gloucester, 'tis true that we are in great danger;
    The greater therefore should our courage be.--
    Good morrow, brother Bedford. God almighty,
    There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
    Would men observingly distill it out.
    1850For our bad neighbor makes us early stirrers,
    Which is both healthful and good husbandry.
    Besides, they are our outward consciences
    And preachers to us all, admonishing
    That we should dress us fairly for our end.
    1855Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
    And make a moral of the devil himself.
    Enter Erpingham.
    Good morrow, old Sir Thomas Erpingham.
    A good soft pillow for that good white head
    1860Were better than a churlish turf of France.
    Not so, my liege. This lodging likes me better,
    Since I may say "Now lie I like a king."
    King Henry
    'Tis good for men to love their present pains.
    Upon example so, the spirit is eased,
    1865And when the mind is quickened, out of doubt
    The organs, though defunct and dead before,
    Break up their drowsy grave and newly move
    With casted slough, and fresh legerity.
    Lend me thy cloak, Sir Thomas. -- Brothers both,
    1870Commend me to the princes in our camp.
    Do my good morrow to them, and anon
    Desire them all to my pavilion.
    We shall, my liege.
    Shall I attend your grace?
    1875King Henry
    No, my good knight,
    Go with my brothers to my lords of England.
    I and my bosom must debate awhile,
    And then I would no other company.
    The lord in heaven bless thee, noble 1880Harry.
    Exeunt [all but King Henry, who disguises himself in Erpingham's cloak].
    King Henry
    God-a-mercy, old heart; thou speak'st cheerfully.
    Enter Pistol.
    Che vous la?
    King Henry
    A friend.
    Discuss unto me: art thou officer, or art thou base, common, and popular?
    King Henry
    I am a gentleman of a company.
    Trail'st thou the puissant pike?
    King Henry
    Even so. What are you?
    As good a gentleman as the emperor.
    King Henry
    Then you are a better than the king.
    The king's a bawcock and a heart of gold, a lad of life, an imp of fame, of parents good, of fist most valiant. I kiss his dirty shoe, and from 1895heartstring I love the lovely bully. What is thy name?
    King Henry
    Harry le Roy.
    Leroy? A Cornish name; art thou of Cornish crew?
    King Henry
    No, I am a Welshman.
    Know'st thou Fluellen?
    1900King Henry
    Tell him I'll knock his leek about his pate upon Saint Davy's day.
    King Henry
    Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.
    Art thou his friend?
    King Henry
    And his kinsman too.
    The fico for thee then.
    King Henry
    I thank you. God be with you.
    My name is Pistol called.
    Exit [Pistol].
    1910King Henry
    It sorts well with your fierceness.
    Enter Fluellen and Gower [separately].
    Captain Fluellen.
    'So! In the name of Jesu Christ speak fewer! It 1915is the greatest admiration in the universal world when the true and aunchient prerogatiffs and laws of the wars is not kept. If you would take the pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the Great, you shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle-taddle nor pibble-babble 1920in Pompey's camp. I warrant you, you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and the cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise.
    Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all 1925night.
    If the enemy is an ass and a fool and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass and a fool and a prating coxcomb, in your own conscience now?
    I will speak lower.
    I pray you and beseech you that you will.
    [Exeunt Gower and Fluellen.]
    King Henry
    Though it appear a little out of fashion,
    There is much care and valor in this Welshman.
    Enter three soldiers: John Bates, Alexander Court, 1935and Michael Williams.
    Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder?
    I think it be, but we have no great cause to desire the approach of day.
    We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think we shall never see the end of it. -- Who goes there?
    King Henry
    A friend.
    Under what captain serve you?
    1945King Henry
    Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.
    A good old commander and a most kind gentleman. I pray you, what thinks he of our estate?
    King Henry
    Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be washed off the next tide.
    He hath not told his thought to the king?
    King Henry
    No, nor it is not meet he should. For though I speak it to you, I think the king is but a man, as I am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me; the element shows to him as it doth to me; all his senses have but 1955human conditions. His ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man, and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing. Therefore when he sees reason of fears, as we do, his fears out of doubt be of 1960the same relish as ours are. Yet in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he by showing it should dishearten his army.
    He may show what outward courage he will, but I believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish 1965himself in Thames up to the neck. And so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so we were quit here.
    King Henry
    By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the king: I think he would not wish himself anywhere but where he is.
    Then I would he were here alone. So should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved.
    King Henry
    I dare say you love him not so ill to wish him here alone, howsoever you speak this to feel other men's minds. Methinks I could not die anywhere so 1975contented as in the king's company, his cause being just and his quarrel honorable.
    That's more than we know.
    Ay, or more than we should seek after. For we know enough if we know we are the king's subjects. 1980If his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.
    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads chopped off in a battle 1985shall join together at the latter day, and cry all, "We died at such a place," some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeared there are few die well that die 1990in a battle, for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument? Now if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it, who to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.
    1995King Henry
    So if a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him. Or if a servant, under his master's command transporting a sum of 2000money, be assailed by robbers and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant's damnation. But this is not so. The king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master 2005of his servant, for they purpose not their death when they purpose their services. Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrament of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers. Some, peradventure, have on them the guilt of 2010premeditated and contrived murder; some of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with pillage and robbery. Now if these men have defeated the law and 2015outrun native punishment, though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to fly from God. War is his beadle; war is his vengeance. So that here men are punished for before-breach of the king's laws in now the king's quarrel. Where they feared the death, 2020they have borne life away; and where they would be safe, they perish. Then if they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of their damnation than he was before guilty of those impieties for the which they are now visited. Every subject's duty is the king's, but 2025every subject's soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every mote out of his conscience. And dying so, death is to him advantage, or not dying, the time was blessedly lost wherein such preparation was 2030gained. And in him that escapes, it were not sin to think that, making God so free an offer, he let him outlive that day to see his greatness and to teach others how they should prepare.
    'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon 2035his own head; the king is not to answer it.
    I do not desire he should answer for me, and yet I determine to fight lustily for him.
    King Henry
    I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed.
    Ay, he said so to make us fight cheerfully, but when our throats are cut he may be ransomed and we ne'er the wiser.
    King Henry
    If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.
    You pay him, then! That's a perilous shot out of an elder-gun that a poor and a private displeasure can do against a monarch. You may as well go about to turn the sun to ice with fanning in his face with a peacock's feather. You'll never trust his word after! 2050Come, 'tis a foolish saying.
    King Henry
    Your reproof is something too round. I should be angry with you if the time were convenient.
    Let it be a quarrel between us if you live.
    2055King Henry
    I embrace it.
    How shall I know thee again?
    King Henry
    Give me any gage of thine and I will wear it in my bonnet. Then if ever thou darest acknowledge it, I will make it my quarrel.
    Here's my glove. Give me another of thine.
    King Henry
    [They exchange gloves.]
    This will I also wear in my cap. If ever thou come to me and say, after tomorrow, "This is my glove," 2065by this hand I will take thee a box on the ear.
    King Henry
    If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.
    Thou darest as well be hanged.
    King Henry
    Well, I will do it, though I take thee in the king's company.
    Keep thy word. Fare thee well.
    Be friends, you English fools, be friends! We have French quarrels enough, if you could tell how to reckon.
    [Exeunt] Soldiers.
    King Henry
    Indeed, the French may lay twenty French 2075crowns to one they will beat us, for they bear them on their shoulders. But it is no English treason to cut French crowns, and tomorrow the king himself will be a clipper. --
    Upon the king! "Let us our lives, our souls,
    2080Our debts, our careful wives, our children, and
    Our sins lay on the king." We must bear all.
    O hard condition, twin-born with greatness,
    Subject to the breath of every fool whose sense
    2085No more can feel but his own wringing.
    What infinite heart's-ease must kings neglect,
    That private men enjoy?
    And what have kings that privates have not too,
    Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
    2090And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?
    What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
    Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
    What are thy rents? What are thy comings in?
    O ceremony, show me but thy worth.
    2095What? Is thy soul of adoration?
    Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
    Creating awe and fear in other men,
    Wherein thou art less happy being feared
    Than they in fearing?
    2100What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
    But poisoned flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
    And bid thy ceremony give thee cure.
    Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
    With titles blown from adulation?
    2105Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
    Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
    Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream
    That play'st so subtly with a king's repose.
    I am a king that find thee, and I know
    2110'Tis not the balm, the scepter, and the ball,
    The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
    The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
    The farcèd title running 'fore the king,
    The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
    2115That beats upon the high shore of this world --
    No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,
    Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
    Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave
    Who, with a body filled and vacant mind,
    2120Gets him to rest, crammed with distressful bread;
    Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
    But like a lackey, from the rise to set,
    Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
    Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn
    2125Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
    And follows so the ever-running year
    With profitable labor to his grave.
    And but for ceremony, such a wretch,
    Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
    2130Had the forehand and vantage of a king.
    The slave, a member of the country's peace,
    Enjoys it, but in gross brain little wots
    What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
    Whose hours the peasant best advantages.
    2135Enter Erpingham.
    My lord, your nobles, jealous of your absence,
    Seek through your camp to find you.
    King Henry
    Good old knight,
    Collect them all together at my tent:
    I'll be before thee.
    I shall do't, my lord.
    King Henry
    [Kneeling] O God of battles, steel my soldiers' hearts.
    Possess them not with fear. Take from them now
    The sense of reck'ning, ere th'opposèd numbers
    Pluck their hearts from them. Not today, O Lord,
    2145Oh, not today -- think not upon the fault
    My father made in compassing the crown.
    I Richard's body have interrèd new,
    And on it have bestowed more contrite tears
    Than from it issued forcèd drops of blood.
    2150Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay
    Who twice a day their withered hands hold up
    Toward heaven to pardon blood, and I have built
    Two chantries where the sad and solemn priests
    Sing still 2155for Richard's soul. More will I do,
    Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
    Since that my penitence comes after all,
    Imploring pardon.
    Enter Gloucester.
    My liege.
    King Henry
    My brother Gloucester's voice? Ay,
    I know thy errand. I will go with thee.
    The day, my friend, and all things stay for me.