Document: All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry V > Act III, scene VII
[Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES,
ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with others]
Constable: Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!
ORLEANS: You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
Constable: It is the best horse of Europe.
ORLEANS: Will it never be morning?
DAUPHIN: My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you
talk of horse and armour?
ORLEANS: You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.
DAUPHIN: What a long night is this! I will not change my
horse with any that treads but on four pasterns.
Ca, ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his
entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus,
chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I
soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth
sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his
hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
ORLEANS: He's of the colour of the nutmeg.
DAUPHIN: And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for
Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull
elements of earth and water never appear in him, but
only in Patient stillness while his rider mounts
him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you
may call beasts.
Constable: Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
DAUPHIN: It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the
bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
ORLEANS: No more, cousin.
DAUPHIN: Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the
rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary
deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as
fluent as the sea: turn the sands into eloquent
tongues, and my horse is argument for them all:
'tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for
a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the
world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart
their particular functions and wonder at him. I
once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus:
'Wonder of nature,'--
ORLEANS: I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.
DAUPHIN: Then did they imitate that which I composed to my
courser, for my horse is my mistress.
ORLEANS: Your mistress bears well.
DAUPHIN: Me well; which is the prescript praise and
perfection of a good and particular mistress.
Constable: Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly
shook your back.
DAUPHIN: So perhaps did yours.
Constable: Mine was not bridled.
DAUPHIN: O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode,
like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in
your straight strossers.
Constable: You have good judgment in horsemanship.
DAUPHIN: Be warned by me, then: they that ride so and ride
not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have
my horse to my mistress.
Constable: I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
DAUPHIN: I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
Constable: I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow
to my mistress.
DAUPHIN: 'Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et
la truie lavee au bourbier;' thou makest use of any thing.
Constable: Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any
such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
RAMBURES: My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?
Constable: Stars, my lord.
DAUPHIN: Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.
Constable: And yet my sky shall not want.
DAUPHIN: That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and
'twere more honour some were away.
Constable: Even as your horse bears your praises; who would
trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
DAUPHIN: Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will
it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and
my way shall be paved with English faces.
Constable: I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out of
my way: but I would it were morning; for I would
fain be about the ears of the English.
RAMBURES: Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
Constable: You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.
DAUPHIN: 'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself.
ORLEANS: The Dauphin longs for morning.
RAMBURES: He longs to eat the English.
Constable: I think he will eat all he kills.
ORLEANS: By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.
Constable: Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.
ORLEANS: He is simply the most active gentleman of France.
Constable: Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.
ORLEANS: He never did harm, that I heard of.
Constable: Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still.
ORLEANS: I know him to be valiant.
Constable: I was told that by one that knows him better than
ORLEANS: What's he?
Constable: Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared
not who knew it
ORLEANS: He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.
Constable: By my faith, sir, but it is; never any body saw it
but his lackey: 'tis a hooded valour; and when it
appears, it will bate.
ORLEANS: Ill will never said well.
Constable: I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in friendship.'
ORLEANS: And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.'
Constable: Well placed: there stands your friend for the
devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with 'A
pox of the devil.'
ORLEANS: You are the better at proverbs, by how much 'A
fool's bolt is soon shot.'
Constable: You have shot over.
ORLEANS: 'Tis not the first time you were overshot.
[Enter a Messenger]
Messenger: My lord high constable, the English lie within
fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
Constable: Who hath measured the ground?
Messenger: The Lord Grandpre.
Constable: A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were
day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for
the dawning as we do.
ORLEANS: What a wretched and peevish fellow is this king of
England, to mope with his fat-brained followers so
far out of his knowledge!
Constable: If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.
ORLEANS: That they lack; for if their heads had any
intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy
RAMBURES: That island of England breeds very valiant
creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
ORLEANS: Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a
Russian bear and have their heads crushed like
rotten apples! You may as well say, that's a
valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
Constable: Just, just; and the men do sympathize with the
mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on, leaving
their wits with their wives: and then give them
great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will
eat like wolves and fight like devils.
ORLEANS: Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.
Constable: Then shall we find to-morrow they have only stomachs
to eat and none to fight. Now is it time to arm:
come, shall we about it?
ORLEANS: It is now two o'clock: but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.
KING HENRY V
Chorus: Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch:
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night's dull ear, and from the tents
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning's danger, and their gesture sad
Investing lank-lean; cheeks and war-worn coats
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry 'Praise and glory on his head!'
For forth he goes and visits all his host.
Bids them good morrow with a modest smile
And calls them brothers, friends and countrymen.
Upon his royal face there is no note
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night,
But freshly looks and over-bears attaint
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:
A largess universal like the sun
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all,
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where--O for pity!--we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill-disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see,
Minding true things by what their mockeries be.
KING HENRY V