Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry V > Act IV, scene I

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KING HENRY V: 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 distil it out.
	For our bad neighbour 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.
	Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
	And make a moral of the devil himself.


	Good morrow, old Sir Thomas Erpingham:
	A good soft pillow for that good white head
	Were better than a churlish turf of France.

ERPINGHAM: Not so, my liege: this lodging likes me better,
	Since I may say 'Now lie I like a king.'

KING HENRY V: 'Tis good for men to love their present pains
	Upon example; so the spirit is eased:
	And when the mind is quicken'd, 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,
	Commend me to the princes in our camp;
	Do my good morrow to them, and anon
	Desire them an to my pavilion.

GLOUCESTER: We shall, my liege.

ERPINGHAM: Shall I attend your grace?

KING HENRY V: 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.

ERPINGHAM: The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble Harry!

	[Exeunt all but KING HENRY]

KING HENRY V: God-a-mercy, old heart! thou speak'st cheerfully.

	[Enter PISTOL]

PISTOL: Qui va la?

KING HENRY V: A friend.

PISTOL: Discuss unto me; art thou officer?
	Or art thou base, common and popular?

KING HENRY V: I am a gentleman of a company.

PISTOL: Trail'st thou the puissant pike?

KING HENRY V: Even so. What are you?

PISTOL: As good a gentleman as the emperor.

KING HENRY V: Then you are a better than the king.

PISTOL: 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 heart-string
	I love the lovely bully. What is thy name?

KING HENRY V: Harry le Roy.

PISTOL: Le Roy! a Cornish name: art thou of Cornish crew?

KING HENRY V: No, I am a Welshman.

PISTOL: Know'st thou Fluellen?


PISTOL: Tell him, I'll knock his leek about his pate
	Upon Saint Davy's day.

KING HENRY V: Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day,
	lest he knock that about yours.

PISTOL: Art thou his friend?

KING HENRY V: And his kinsman too.

PISTOL: The figo for thee, then!

KING HENRY V: I thank you: God be with you!

PISTOL: My name is Pistol call'd.


KING HENRY V: It sorts well with your fierceness.


GOWER: Captain Fluellen!

FLUELLEN: So! in the name of Jesu Christ, speak lower. It is
	the greatest admiration of the universal world, when
	the true and aunchient prerogatifes 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 toddle
	nor pibble pabble in 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.

GOWER: Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all night.

FLUELLEN: 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?

GOWER: I will speak lower.

FLUELLEN: I pray you and beseech you that you will.

	[Exeunt GOWER and FLUELLEN]

KING HENRY V: Though it appear a little out of fashion,
	There is much care and valour in this Welshman.

	[Enter three soldiers, JOHN BATES, ALEXANDER COURT,

COURT: Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which
	breaks yonder?

BATES: I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire
	the approach of day.

WILLIAMS: We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think
	we shall never see the end of it. Who goes there?

KING HENRY V: A friend.

WILLIAMS: Under what captain serve you?

KING HENRY V: Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.

WILLIAMS: A good old commander and a most kind gentleman: I
	pray you, what thinks he of our estate?

KING HENRY V: Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be
	washed off the next tide.

BATES: He hath not told his thought to the king?

KING HENRY V: 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 human 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 the 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.

BATES: He may show what outward courage he will; but I
	believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish
	himself 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 V: By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the king:
	I think he would not wish himself any where but
	where he is.

BATES: 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 V: 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 any where so
	contented as in the king's company; his cause being
	just and his quarrel honourable.

WILLIAMS: That's more than we know.

BATES: Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know
	enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if
	his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes
	the crime of it out of us.

WILLIAMS: 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 battle, shall 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 afeard there are few die
	well that die in a battle; for how can they
	charitably dispose of any thing, 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; whom to disobey were against all proportion of

KING HENRY V: 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 money, 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 of
	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 arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all
	unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them
	the guilt of premeditated 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 outrun native punishment,
	though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to
	fly from God: war is his beadle, war is 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, they 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 every 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 gained:
	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.

WILLIAMS: 'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon
	his own head, the king is not to answer it.

BATES: But I do not desire he should answer for me; and
	yet I determine to fight lustily for him.

KING HENRY V: I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed.

WILLIAMS: 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 V: 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 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 V: 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 V: I embrace it.

WILLIAMS: How shall I know thee again?

KING HENRY V: 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.

WILLIAMS: Here's my glove: give me another of thine.


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 V: If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.

WILLIAMS: Thou darest as well be hanged.

KING HENRY V: Well. I will do it, though I take thee in the
	king's company.

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 V: 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.

	[Exeunt soldiers]

	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 idle 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!
	Think'st 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 title 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 Phoebus 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 HENRY V: Good old knight,
	Collect them all together at my tent:
	I'll be before thee.

ERPINGHAM: I shall do't, my lord.


KING HENRY V: O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts;
	Possess them not with fear; take from them now
	The sense of reckoning, if the 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 anew;
	And on it have bestow'd 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,
	Imploring pardon.



KING HENRY V: 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.



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