Internet Shakespeare Editions

Authors: Balthazar Ayala, Robert Barret, Richard Crompton, Stephen Gosson, Barnabe Rich
Editor: James D. Mardock
Not Peer Reviewed

The Sixteenth Century on War

Richard Crompton, The Mansion of Magnanimity: wherein is showed the most high and honorable acts of sundry English kings, 1599 (selection)

Chapter 6 [G2v-G3]

King Henry the fifth.

When King Henry the Fifth, not having above fifteen thousand men, gave a great overthrow to the French king at Agincourt in France, where he had assembled to the

Hol. 1181.

number of forty thousand of the flower of all his country, and had taken many prisoners of the French, both nobles and others, the French, as they are men of great courage and valor, so they assembled themselves again in battle array, meaning to have given a new battle to King Henry, which King Henry perceiving, gave special commandment by proclamation that every man should kill his prisoners, whereupon many were presently slain, whereof the French king having intelligence dispersed his army and so departed. Whereby you may see the miseries of war: that though they had yielded and thought themselves sure of their lives, paying their ransom according to the laws of arms, yet upon such necessary occasion to kill them was a thing by all reason allowed, for otherwise the king, having lost divers valiant captains and soldiers in this battle, and being also but a small number in comparison of the French king's army, and in a strong country where he could not supply his needs upon the sudden, it might have been much dangerous to have again joined with the enemy, and kept his prisoners alive, as in our chronicles largely appeareth.