1599 The Life Of King Henry V
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KING HENRY. If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.
WILLIAMS. 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! Come, 'tis a foolish saying.
KING HENRY. Your reproof is something too round; I should be angry
with you, if the time were convenient.
WILLIAMS. Let it be a quarrel between us if you live.
KING HENRY. I embrace it.
WILLIAMS. 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 dar'st acknowledge it, I will make it
WILLIAMS. Here's my glove; give me another of thine.
KING HENRY. There.
WILLIAMS. This will I also wear in my cap; if ever thou come to me
and say, after to-morrow, 'This is my glove,' by this hand I will
take thee a box on the ear.
KING HENRY. If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.
WILLIAMS. Thou dar'st as well be hang'd.
KING HENRY. Well, I will do it, though I take thee in the King's
WILLIAMS. Keep thy word. Fare thee well.
BATES. Be friends, you English fools, be friends; we have
French quarrels enow, if you could tell how to reckon.
KING HENRY. Indeed, the French may lay twenty French crowns to one
they will beat us, for they bear them on their shoulders; but it
is no English treason to cut French crowns, and to-morrow the
King himself will be a clipper.
Upon the King! Let us our lives, our souls,
Our 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 no 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?
And 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!
What 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 fear'd
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Thinks thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will 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
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced tide running fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That 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 fill'd and vacant mind,
Gets him to rest, cramm'd 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 Pheebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse;
And follows so the ever-running year
With profitable labour, to his grave.
And but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand 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.
ERPINGHAM. My lord, your nobles, jealous of your absence,
Seek through your camp to find you.
KING. Good old knight,
Collect them all together at my tent:
I'll be before thee.
ERPINGHAM. I shall do't, my lord. Exit
KING. O God of battles, steel my soldiers' hearts,
Possess them not with fear! Take from them now
The sense of reck'ning, if th' opposed numbers
Pluck their hearts from them! Not to-day, O Lord,
O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard's body have interred new,
And on it have bestowed more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood;
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a day their wither'd hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
GLOUCESTER. My liege!
KING HENRY. My brother Gloucester's voice? Ay;
I know thy errand, I will go with thee;
The day, my friends, and all things, stay for me. Exeunt
The French camp
Enter the DAUPHIN, ORLEANS, RAMBURES, and others
ORLEANS. The sun doth gild our armour; up, my lords!
DAUPHIN. Montez a cheval! My horse! Varlet, laquais! Ha!
ORLEANS. O brave spirit!
DAUPHIN. Via! Les eaux et la terre-
ORLEANS. Rien puis? L'air et le feu.
DAUPHIN. Ciel! cousin Orleans.
Now, my Lord Constable!
CONSTABLE. Hark how our steeds for present service neigh!
DAUPHIN. Mount them, and make incision in their hides,
That their hot blood may spin in English eyes,
And dout them with superfluous courage, ha!
RAMBURES. What, will you have them weep our horses' blood?
How shall we then behold their natural tears?
Enter a MESSENGER
MESSENGER. The English are embattl'd, you French peers.
CONSTABLE. To horse, you gallant Princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band,
And your fair show shall suck away their souls,
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men.
There is not work enough for all our hands;
Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins
To give each naked curtle-axe a stain
That our French gallants shall to-day draw out,
And sheathe for lack of sport. Let us but blow on them,
The vapour of our valour will o'erturn them.
'Tis positive 'gainst all exceptions, lords,
That our superfluous lackeys and our peasants-
Who in unnecessary action swarm
About our squares of battle- were enow
To purge this field of, such a hilding foe;
Though we upon this mountain's basis by
Took stand for idle speculation-
But that our honours must not. What's to say?
A very little little let us do,
And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.
GRANDPRE. Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?
Yond island carrions, desperate of their bones,
Ill-favouredly become the morning field;
Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,
And our air shakes them passing scornfully;
Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar'd host,
And faintly through a rusty beaver peeps.
The horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks
With torch-staves in their hand; and their poor jades
Lob down their heads, dropping the hides and hips,
The gum down-roping from their pale-dead eyes,
And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal'd bit
Lies foul with chaw'd grass, still and motionless;
And their executors, the knavish crows,
Fly o'er them, all impatient for their hour.
Description cannot suit itself in words
To demonstrate the life of such a battle
In life so lifeless as it shows itself.
CONSTABLE. They have said their prayers and they stay for death.
DAUPHIN. Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits,
And give their fasting horses provender,
And after fight with them?
CONSTABLE. I stay but for my guidon. To the field!
I will the banner from a trumpet take,
And use it for my haste. Come, come, away!
The sun is high, and we outwear the day. Exeunt