The Project Gutenberg EBook of King Henry the Fifth, by William Shakespeare

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Title: King Henry the Fifth
       Arranged for Representation at the Princess's Theatre

Author: William Shakespeare

Editor: Charles Kean

Release Date: September 28, 2007 [EBook #22791]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Louise Hope, David Starner, Curtis Weyant and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

This is not the text of Henry V as written by Shakespeare. It is an acting version produced by Charles Kean in 1859. Approximate scene correspondences are listed at the end of the e-text.

The original text had three types of notes. Footnotes, marked with asterisks or numbers, were printed at the bottom of the page. Longer notes, marked with letters, were printed at the end of each Act as “Historical Notes”. For this e-text the footnotes are collected at the end of the text; the Historical Notes remain in their original location, as does the Interlude between Acts IV and V (printed as a very long asterisked footnote). The original numbering has been retained, with added Act references to eliminate ambiguity.

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On MONDAY, MARCH 28th, 1859.



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“Mrs. Charles Kean” was otherwise known as Ellen Tree. Throughout the play, the Hostess is called by her Henry IV name, Mrs. Quickly.

King Henry the Fifth, Mr. CHARLES KEAN.

Duke of Bedford,

Duke of Gloucester,

(Brothers to the King)


Miss DALY.

Duke of Exeter (Uncle to the King) Mr. COOPER.
Duke of York (Cousin to the King) Mr. FLEMING.
Earl of Salisbury, Mr. WILSON.
Earl of Westmoreland, Mr. COLLETT.
Earl of Warwick, Mr. WARREN.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr. H. MELLON.
Bishop of Ely, Mr. F. COOKE.

Earl of Cambridge,

Lord Scroop,

Sir Thomas Grey,

(Conspirators against the King)




Sir Thomas Erpingham,



(Officers in King Henry’s Army)






(Soldiers in the same)






(formerly Servants to Falstaff, now Soldiers in the same)




Boy (Servant to them) Miss KATE TERRY.
English Herald, Mr. COLLIER.
Chorus, Mrs. CHARLES KEAN.
Charles the Sixth (King of France) Mr. TERRY.
Lewis (the Dauphin) Mr. J. F. CATHCART.
Duke of Burgundy, Mr. ROLLESTON.
Duke of Orleans, Mr. BRAZIER.
Duke of Bourbon, Mr. JAMES.
The Constable of France, Mr. RAYMOND.



(French Lords)



Governor of Harfleur, Mr. PAULO.
Montjoy (French Herald) Mr. BARSBY.
Isabel (Queen of France) Miss MURRAY.
Katharine (Daughter of Charles and Isabel) Miss CHAPMAN.
Quickly (Pistol’s Wife, a Hostess) Mrs. W. DALY.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, French and English Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants.

The SCENE, at the Beginning of the Play, lies in England; but afterwards in France.



R.H. means Right Hand; L.H. Left Hand; U.E. Upper Entrance. R.H.C. Enters through the centre from the Right Hand; L.H.C. Enters through the centre from the Left Hand.


R. means on the Right Side of the Stage; L. on the Left Side of the Stage; C. Centre of the Stage; R.C. Right Centre of the Stage; L.C. Left Centre of the Stage.

--> The reader is supposed to be on the Stage, facing the Audience.


The Scenery Painted by Mr. GRIEVE and Mr. TELBIN,

Assisted by Mr. W. GORDON, Mr. F. LLOYDS,

Mr. CUTHBERT, Mr. DAYES, Mr. MORRIS, &c., &c.

The Music under the direction of Mr. ISAACSON.

The Dance in the Episode by Mr. CORMACK.

The Decorations and Appointments by Mr. E. W. BRADWELL.

The Dresses by Mrs. and Miss HOGGINS.

The Machinery by Mr. G. HODSDON.

Perruquier, Mr. ASPLIN, of No. 13, New Bond Street.


--> For reference to Historical Authorities indicated by Letters, see end of each Act.



In the selection of my last Shakespearean revival at the Princess’s Theatre, I have been actuated by a desire to present some of the finest poetry of our great dramatic master, interwoven with a subject illustrating a most memorable era in English history. No play appears to be better adapted for this two-fold purpose than that which treats of Shakespeare’s favorite hero, and England’s favorite king—Henry the Fifth.

The period thus recalled is flattering to our national pride; and however much the general feeling of the present day may be opposed to the evils of war, there are few amongst us who can be reminded of the military renown achieved by our ancestors on the fields of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt, without a glow of patriotic enthusiasm.

The political motives which induced the invasion of France in the year 1415 must be sought for in the warlike spirit of the times, and in the martial character of the English sovereign. It is sufficient for dramatic purposes that a few thousands of our countrymen, in their march through a foreign land, enfeebled by sickness and encompassed by foes, were able to subdue and scatter to the winds the multitudinous hosts of France, on whose blood-stained soil ten thousand of her bravest sons lay slain, mingled with scarcely one hundred Englishmen!* Such a marvellous disparity might well draw forth the pious acknowledgment of King Henry,—

“O God, thy arm was here;—

And not to us, but to thy arm alone,

Ascribe we all.—When, without stratagem,

But in plain shock and even play of battle,

Was ever known so great and little loss

On one part and on the other?—Take it, God,

For it is only thine!”

Shakespeare in this, as in other of his dramatic histories, has closely followed Holinshed; but the light of his genius irradiates the dry pages of the chronicler. The play of Henry the Fifth is not only a poetical record of the past, but it is, as it were, “a song of triumph,” a lay of the minstrel pouring forth vi a pæan of victory. The gallant feats of our forefathers are brought vividly before our eyes, inspiring sentiments not to be excited by the mere perusal of books, reminding us of the prowess of Englishmen in earlier days, and conveying an assurance of what they will ever be in the hour of peril.

The descriptive poetry assigned to the “Chorus” between the acts is retained as a peculiar feature, connecting and explaining the action as it proceeds. This singular personage, so different from the Chorus of antiquity, I have endeavoured to render instrumental to the general effect of the play; the whole being planned with a view to realise, as far as the appliances of a theatre can be exercised, the events of the extraordinary campaign so decisively closed by the great conflict of Agincourt, which ultimately placed two crowns on the brow of the conqueror, and resulted in his marriage with Katharine, the daughter of Charles the Sixth, King of France. Shakespeare does not in this instance, as in Pericles and the Winter’s Tale, assign a distinct individuality to the Chorus. For the figure of Time, under the semblance of an aged man, which has been heretofore presented, will now be substituted Clio, the muse of History. Thus, without violating consistency, an opportunity is afforded to Mrs. Charles Kean, which the play does not otherwise supply, of participating in this, the concluding revival of her husband’s management.

Between the fourth and fifth acts I have ventured to introduce, as in the case of Richard the Second, a historical episode of action, exhibiting the reception of King Henry on returning to his capital, after the French expedition.

It would be impossible to include the manifold incidents of the royal progress in one scene: neither could all the sites on which they actually took place be successively exhibited. The most prominent are, therefore, selected, and thrown into one locality—the approach to old London bridge. Our audiences have previously witnessed the procession of Bolingbroke, followed in silence by his deposed and captive predecessor. An endeavor will now be made to exhibit the heroic son of that very Bolingbroke, in his own hour of more lawful triumph, returning to the same city; while thousands gazed upon him with mingled devotion and delight, many of whom, perhaps, participated in the earlier reception of his father, sixteen years before, under such different and painful circumstances. The Victor of Agincourt is hailed, not as a successful usurper, but as a conqueror; the adored sovereign of his people; the pride vii of the nation; and apparently the chosen instrument of heaven, crowned with imperishable glory. The portrait of this great man is drawn throughout the play with the pencil of a master-hand. The pleasantry of the prince occasionally peeps through the dignified reserve of the monarch, as instanced in his conversations with Fluellen, and in the exchange of gloves with the soldier Williams. His bearing is invariably gallant, chivalrous, and truly devout; surmounting every obstacle by his indomitable courage; and ever in the true feeling of a christian warrior, placing his trust in the one Supreme Power, the only Giver of victory! The introductions made throughout the play are presented less with a view to spectacular effect, than from a desire to render the stage a medium of historical knowledge, as well as an illustration of dramatic poetry. Accuracy, not show, has been my object; and where the two coalesce, it is because the one is inseparable from the other. The entire scene of the episode has been modelled upon the facts related by the late Sir Harris Nicholas, in his translated copy of a highly interesting Latin MS., accidentally discovered in the British Museum, written by a Priest, who accompanied the English army; and giving a detailed account of every incident, from the embarkation at Southampton to the return to London. The author tells us himself, that he was present at Agincourt, and “sat on horseback with the other priests, among the baggage, in the rear of the battle.” We have, therefore, the evidence of an eyewitness; and by that testimony I have regulated the general representation of this noble play, but more especially the introductory episode.

The music, under the direction of Mr. Isaacson, has been, in part, selected from such ancient airs as remain to us of, or anterior to, the date of Henry the Fifth, and, in part, composed to accord with the same period. The “Song on the Victory of Agincourt,” published at the end of Sir Harris Nicholas’s interesting narrative, and introduced in the admirable work entitled “Popular Music of the Olden Time,” by W. Chappell, F.S.A., is sung by the boy choristers in the Episode. The “Chanson Roland,” to be found in the above-named work, is also given by the entire chorus in the same scene. The Hymn of Thanksgiving, at the end of the fourth act, is supposed to be as old as A.D. 1310. To give effect to the music, fifty singers have been engaged.

As the term of my management is now drawing to a close, I may, perhaps, be permitted, in a few words, to express viii my thanks for the support and encouragement I have received. While endeavouring, to the best of my ability and judgment, to uphold the interests of the drama in its most exalted form, I may conscientiously assert, that I have been animated by no selfish or commercial spirit. An enthusiast in the art to which my life has been devoted, I have always entertained a deeply-rooted conviction that the plan I have pursued for many seasons, might, in due time, under fostering care, render the Stage productive of much benefit to society at large. Impressed with a belief that the genius of Shakespeare soars above all rivalry, that he is the most marvellous writer the world has ever known, and that his works contain stores of wisdom, intellectual and moral, I cannot but hope that one who has toiled for so many years, in admiring sincerity, to spread abroad amongst the multitude these invaluable gems, may, at least, be considered as an honest labourer, adding his mite to the great cause of civilisation and educational progress.

After nine years of unremitting exertion as actor and director, the constant strain of mind and body warns me to retreat from a combined duty which I find beyond my strength, and in the exercise of which, neither zeal, nor devotion, nor consequent success, can continue to beguile me into a belief that the end will compensate for the many attendant troubles and anxieties. It would have been impossible, on my part, to gratify my enthusiastic wishes, in the illustration of Shakespeare, had not my previous career as an actor placed me in a position of comparative independence with regard to speculative disappointment. Wonderful as have been the yearly receipts, yet the vast sums expended—sums, I have every reason to believe, not to be paralleled in any theatre of the same capability throughout the world—make it advisable that I should now retire from the self-imposed responsibility of management, involving such a perilous outlay; and the more especially, as a building so restricted in size as the Princess’s, renders any adequate return utterly hopeless.

My earnest aim has been to promote the well-being of my Profession; and if, in any degree, I have attained so desirable an object, I trust I may not be deemed presumptuous in cherishing the belief, that my arduous struggle has won for me the honourable reward of—Public Approval.




Enter Chorus.

O for a muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,1

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,

Assume the port of Mars;2 and, at his heels,

Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire,

Crouch for employment.(A) But pardon, gentles all,

The flat unraised spirit that hath dar’d

On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth

So great an object: Can this cockpit hold3

The vasty fields of France? or may we cram

Upon this little stage4 the very casques5


That did affright the air at Agincourt?

O, pardon! since a crooked figure may

Attest in little place, a million;

And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,

On your imaginary forces6 work.

Suppose within the girdle of these walls

Are now confined two mighty monarchies,

Whose high upreared and abutting fronts

The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:7

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;

Into a thousand parts divide one man,8

And make imaginary puissance;9

For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,

Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,

Turning the accomplishment of many years

Into an hour-glass: For the which supply,

Admit me Chorus to this history;

Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray,

Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.





[Frequent reference is made in the Chronicles to the Painted Chamber, as the room wherein Henry V. held his councils.]

Trumpets sound.

King Henry(B) discovered on his throne (centre)*, Bedford,(C) Gloster,(D) Exeter,(E) Warwick, Westmoreland, and others in attendance.

K. Hen. Where is my gracious Lord of Canterbury?

Exe. (L.) Not here in presence.

K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.

Exeter beckons to a Herald, who goes off, L.H.

West. (L.) Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege?

K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin: we would be resolv’d,

Before we hear him, of some things of weight,

That task1 our thoughts, concerning us and France.

Re-enter Herald with the Archbishop of Canterbury,(F)2 and Bishop of Ely,3 L.H. The Bishops cross to R.C.

Cant. (R.C.) Heaven and its angels guard your sacred throne,

And make you long become it!

K. Hen.

Sure, we thank you.

My learned lord, we pray you to proceed,


And justly and religiously unfold,

Why the law Salique,(G) that they have in France,

Or should, or should not, bar us in our claim:

And Heaven forbid, my dear and faithful lord,

That you should fashion, wrest,4 or bow your reading,5

Or nicely charge your understanding soul6

With opening titles miscreate,7 whose right

Suits not in native colours with the truth.

For Heaven doth know how many, now in health,

Shall drop their blood in approbation8

Of what your reverence shall incite us to.

Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,9

How you awake the sleeping sword of war:

We charge you, in the name of Heaven, take heed:

Under this conjuration, speak, my lord.

Cant. (R.C.) Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers,

That owe your lives, your faith, and services,

To this imperial throne.—There is no bar

To make against your highness’ claim to France

But this, which they produce from Pharamond,—

No woman shall succeed in Salique land:

Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze10

To be the realm of France, and Pharamond

The founder of this law and female bar.

Yet their own authors faithfully affirm

That the land Salique lies in Germany,

Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe;

Where Charles the Great, having subdued the Saxons,


There left behind and settled certain French:

Nor did the French possess the Salique land

Until four hundred one and twenty years

After defunction of King Pharamond,

Idly supposed the founder of this law.

Besides, their writers say,

King Pepin, which deposed Childerick,

Did hold in right and title of the female:

So do the kings of France unto this day;

Howbeit they would hold up this Salique law

To bar your highness claiming from the female;

And rather choose to hide them in a net

Than amply to imbare their crooked titles11

Usurp’d from you and your progenitors.

K. Hen. May I with right and conscience make this claim?

Cant. (R.C.) The sin upon my head, dread sovereign!

For in the book of Numbers is it writ,—

When the son dies, let the inheritance

Descend unto the daughter. Gracious lord,

Stand for your own; unwind your bloody flag;

Look back unto your mighty ancestors:

Go, my dread lord, to your great grandsire’s tomb,

From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit,

And your great uncle’s, Edward the black prince,

Who on the French ground play’d a tragedy,

Making defeat on the full power of France,

Whiles his most mighty father on a hill

Stood smiling to behold his lion’s whelp

Forage in blood of French nobility.12

Ely. (R.C.) Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,

And with your puissant arm renew their feats:

You are their heir; you sit upon their throne;

The blood and courage, that renowned them,

Runs in your veins; and my thrice-puissant liege

Is in the very May-morn of his youth,

Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.

Exe. (L.) Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth


Do all expect that you should rouse yourself,

As did the former lions of your blood.

West. (L.) They know your grace hath cause, and means and might:

So hath your highness;13 never king of England

Had nobles richer and more loyal subjects,

Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England,

And lie pavilion’d in the fields of France.

Cant. O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,

With blood, and sword, and fire to win your right:

In aid whereof we of the spiritualty

Will raise your highness such a mighty sum,

As never did the clergy at one time

Bring in to any of your ancestors.

K. Hen. We must not only arm to invade the French,

But lay down our proportions to defend

Against the Scot, who will make road upon us

With all advantages.

Cant. (R.C.) They of those marches,14 gracious sovereign,

Shall be a wall sufficient to defend

Our inland from the pilfering borderers.

Therefore to France, my liege.

Divide your happy England into four;

Whereof take you one quarter into France,

And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.

If we, with thrice that power left at home,

Cannot defend our own door from the dog,

Let us be worried, and our nation lose

The name of hardiness and policy.

K. Hen. Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.

Exit Herald with Lords, L.H.

Now are we well resolv’d; and by Heaven’s help,

And yours, the noble sinews of our power,—

France being ours, we’ll bend it to our awe,

Or break it all to pieces.


Re-enter Herald and Lords, L.H., with the Ambassador of France, French Bishops, Gentlemen, and Attendants carrying a treasure chest, L.H.

Now are we well prepar’d to know the pleasure

Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for we hear

Your greeting is from him, not from the king.

Amb. (L.C.) May it please your majesty to give us leave

Freely to render what we have in charge;

Or shall we sparingly show you far off

The Dauphin’s meaning and our embassy?

K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king;

Therefore with frank and with uncurbed plainness

Tell us the Dauphin’s mind.


Thus, then, in few.15

Your highness, lately sending into France,

Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right

Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third.

In answer of which claim, the prince our master

Says,—that you savour too much of your youth;

And bids you be advis’d, there’s nought in France

That can be with a nimble galliard won;16

You cannot revel into dukedoms there.

He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,

This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this,

Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim

Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.

K. Hen. What treasure, uncle?

Exe. Opening the chest. Tennis-balls, my liege.(H)

K. Hen. We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us;

His present and your pains we thank you for:

When we have match’d our rackets to these balls,

We will, in France, by Heaven’s grace, play a set

Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.

And we understand him well,

How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,

Not measuring what use we made of them.


But tell the Dauphin,—I will keep my state;

Be like a king, and show my soul of greatness,

When I do rouse me in my throne of France:

For I will rise there with so full a glory,

That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,

Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.

But this lies all within the will of Heaven,

To whom I do appeal; And in whose name,

Tell you the Dauphin, I am coming on,

To venge me as I may, and to put forth

My rightful hand in a well-hallow’d cause.

So, get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin,

His jest will savour but of shallow wit,

When thousands weep, more than did laugh at it.—

Convey them with safe conduct.—Fare you well.

Exeunt Ambassador, and Attendants, L.H.

Exe. This was a merry message.

K. Hen. We hope to make the sender blush at it.

The King rises.

Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour

That may give furtherance to our expedition;

For we have now no thought in us but France,

Save those to Heaven, that run before our business.

Therefore let our proportions for these wars

Be soon collected, and all things thought upon

That may with reasonable swiftness add

More feathers to our wings; for, Heaven before,

We’ll chide this Dauphin at his father’s door.

The characters group round the King.

Trumpets sound.


Enter Bardolph,(I) Nym, Pistol, Mrs. Quickly, and Boy, L. 2 E.

Quick. (L.C.) Pr’ythee, honey-sweet husband, let me bring thee to Staines.17


Pist. (C.) No; for my manly heart doth yearn.—

Bardolph, be blithe;—Nym, rouse thy vaunting veins;

Boy, bristle thy courage up; for Falstaff he is dead,

And we must yearn therefore.

Bard. (R.) ’Would I were with him, wheresome’er he is!

Quick. (C.) Sure, he’s in Arthur’s bosom,18 if ever man went to Arthur’s bosom. ’A made a finer end,19 and went away, an it had been any christom child;20 ’a parted even just between twelve and one, e’en at turning o’ the tide:21 for after I saw him fumble with the sheets,22 and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers’ ends, I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen, and a’ babbled of green fields. How now, Sir John! quoth I: what, man! be of good cheer. So a’ cried out—Heaven, Heaven, Heaven! three or four times. Now I, to comfort him, bid him ’a should not think of Heaven; I hoped, there was no need to trouble himself with any such thoughts yet. So ’a bade me lay more clothes on his feet: I put my hand into the bed and felt them, and they were as cold as any stone.

Nym. (R.C.) They say he cried out of sack.

Quick. Ay, that ’a did.

Bard. And of women.

Quick. Nay, that ’a did not.


Boy. (L.) Yes, that ’a did, and said they were devils incarnate.

Quick. crosses L.C. ’A could never abide carnation;23 ’twas a colour he never liked.

Boy. Do you not remember, ’a saw a flea stick upon Bardolph’s nose, and ’a said it was a black soul burning in hell-fire?

Bard. Well, the fuel is gone that maintained that fire: that’s all the riches I got in his service.

Nym. Shall we shog off?24 the king will be gone from Southampton.

Pist. Come, let’s away.—My love, give me thy lips.

Look to my chattels and my moveables:

Let senses rule;25 the word is, Pitch and pay;26

Trust none;

For oaths are straws, men’s faiths are wafer-cakes,

And hold-fast is the only dog,27 my duck:

Therefore, caveto be thy counsellor.28

Go, clear thy crystals.29—Yoke-fellows in arms,

Crosses L.H.

Let us to France; like horse-leeches, my boys,

To suck, to suck, the very blood to suck!

Crosses R.H.

Boy. And that is but unwholesome food, they say.

Pitt. Touch her soft mouth, and march.

Bard. Farewell, hostess.

Kissing her.

Nym. I cannot kiss, that is the humour of it; but adieu.


Pist. Let housewifery appear: keep close, I thee command.

Quick. Farewell; adieu.

Exeunt Bardolph, Pistol, Nym, R.H., and Dame Quickly, L.H.

Boy. As young as I am, I have observed these three swashers. I am boy to them all three: but all they three, though they would serve me, could not be a man to me; for, indeed, three such anticks do not amount to a man. For Bardolph,—he is white-livered and red-faced; by the means whereof ’a faces it out, but fights not. For Pistol,—he hath a killing tongue and a quiet sword; by the means whereof ’a breaks words, and keeps whole weapons. For Nym,—he hath heard that men of few words are the best men; and therefore he scorns to say his prayers, lest ’a should be thought a coward: but his few bad words are match’d with as few good deeds; for ’a never broke any man’s head but his own, and that was against a post when he was drunk. They will steal any thing, and call it—purchase. They would have me as familiar with men’s pockets as their gloves or their handkerchiefs: which makes much against my manhood, if I should take from another’s pocket to put into mine; for it is plain pocketing up of wrongs. I must leave them, and seek some better service: their villainy goes against my weak stomach, and therefore I must cast it up.

Distant March heard. Exit Boy, R.H.




——should famine, sword, and fire,

Crouch for employment.]

Holinshed states that when the people of Rouen petitioned Henry V., the king replied “that the goddess of battle, called Bellona, had three handmaidens, ever of necessity attending upon her, as blood, fire, and famine.” These are probably the dogs of war mentioned in Julius Cæsar.


(B) King Henry on his throne,] King Henry V. was born at Monmouth, August 9th, 1388, from which place he took his surname. He was the eldest son of Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, afterwards Duke of Hereford, who was banished by King Richard the Second, and, after that monarch’s deposition, was made king of England, A.D. 1399. At eleven years of age Henry V. was a student at Queen’s College, Oxford, under the tuition of his half-uncle, Henry Beaufort, Chancellor of that university. Richard II. took the young Henry with him in his expedition to Ireland, and caused him to be imprisoned in the castle of Trym, but, when his father, the Duke of Hereford, deposed the king and obtained the crown, he was created Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall.

In 1403 the Prince was engaged at the battle of Shrewsbury, where the famous Hotspur was slain, and there wounded in the face by an arrow. History states that Prince Henry became the companion of rioters and disorderly persons, and indulged in a course of life quite unworthy of his high station. There is a tradition that, under the influence of wine, he assisted his associates in robbing passengers on the highway. His being confined in prison for striking the Chief Justice, Sir William Gascoigne, is well known.

These excesses gave great uneasiness and annoyance to the king, his father, who dismissed the Prince from the office of President of his Privy Council, and appointed in his stead his second son, Thomas, Duke of Clarence. Henry was crowned King of England on the 9th April, 1413. We read in Stowe— “After his coronation King Henry called unto him all those young lords and gentlemen 21 who were the followers of his young acts, to every one of whom he gave rich gifts, and then commanded that as many as would change their manners, as he intended to do, should abide with him at court; and to all that would persevere in their former like conversation, he gave express commandment, upon pain of their heads, never after that day to come in his presence.”

This heroic king fought and won the celebrated battle of Agincourt, on the 25th October, 1415; married the Princess Katherine, daughter of Charles VI. of France and Isabella of Bavaria, his queen, in the year 1420; and died at Vincennes, near Paris, in the midst of his military glory, August 31st, 1422, in the thirty-fourth year of his age, and the tenth of his reign, leaving an infant son, who succeeded to the throne under the title of Henry VI.

The famous Whittington was for the third time Lord Mayor of London in this reign, A.D. 1419. Thomas Chaucer, son of the great poet, was speaker of the House of Commons, which granted the supplies to the king for his invasion of France.

(C) Bedford,] John, Duke of Bedford, was the third son of King Henry IV., and his brother, Henry V., left to him the Regency of France. He died in the year 1435. This duke was accounted one of the best generals of the royal race of Plantaganet.

King Lewis XI. being counselled by certain envious persons to deface his tomb, used these, indeed, princely words:— “What honor shall it be to us, or you, to break this monument, and to pull out of the ground the bones of him, whom, in his life time, neither my father nor your progenitors, with all their puissance, were once able to make fly a foot backward? Who by his strength, policy, and wit, kept them all out of the principal dominions of France, and out of this noble Dutchy of Normandy? Wherefore I say first, God save his soul, and let his body now lie in rest, which, when he was alive, would have disquieted the proudest of us all; and for his tomb, I assure you, it is not so worthy or convenient as his honor and acts have deserved.” —Vide Sandford’s History of the Kings of England.

(D) Gloster,] Humphrey, Duke of Gloster, was the fourth son of King Henry IV., and on the death of his brother, Henry V., became Regent of England. It is generally supposed he was strangled. His death took place in the year 1446.

(E) Exeter,] Shakespeare is a little too early in giving Thomas Beaufort the title of Duke of Exeter; for when Harfleur was taken, and he was appointed governor of the town, he was only Earl of Dorset. He was not made Duke of Exeter till the year after the battle of Agincourt, November 14, 1416. Exeter was half brother to King Henry IV., being one of the sons of John of Gaunt, by Catherine Swynford.

(F) Archbishop of Canterbury,] The Archbishop’s speech in this scene, explaining King Henry’s title to the crown of France, is closely copied from Holinshed’s chronicle, page 545.

“About the middle of the year 1414, Henry V., influenced by the persuasions of Chichely, Archbishop of Canterbury, by the 22 dying injunction of his royal father, not to allow the kingdom to remain long at peace, or more probably by those feelings of ambition, which were no less natural to his age and character, than consonant with the manners of the time in which he lived, resolved to assert that claim to the crown of France which his great grandfather, King Edward the Third, had urged with such confidence and success.” —Nicolas’s History of the Battle of Agincourt.

(G) ——the law Salique,] According to this law no woman was permitted to govern or be a Queen in her own right. The title only was allowed to the wife of the monarch. This law was imported from Germany by the warlike Franks.

(H) Tennis-balls, my liege.] Some contemporary historians affirm that the Dauphin sent Henry the contemptuous present, which has been imputed to him, intimating that such implements of play were better adapted to his dissolute character than the instruments of war, while others are silent on the subject. The circumstance of Henry’s offering to meet his enemy in single combat, affords some support to the statement that he was influenced by those personal feelings of revenge to which the Dauphin’s conduct would undoubtedly have given birth.

(I) Enter Bardolph, Nym, Pistol, Mrs. Quickly, and Boy.] These followers of Falstaff figured conspicuously through the two parts of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Pistol is a swaggering, pompous braggadocio; Nym a boaster and a coward; and Bardolph a liar, thief, and coward, who has no wit but in his nose.


Enter Chorus.

Cho. Now all the youth of England are on fire,

And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies:

Now thrive the armourers, and honour’s thought

Reigns solely in the breast of every man:

They sell the pasture now to buy the horse;

Following the mirror of all Christian kings,

With wingéd heels, as English Mercuries;

For now sits expectation in the air.

O England!—model to thy inward greatness,

Like little body with a mighty heart,—

What might’st thou do, that honour would thee do,

Were all thy children kind and natural!

But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out

A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills1

With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men,—

One, Richard earl of Cambridge;2 and the second,

Henry lord Scroop of Masham,3 and the third,

Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland,—

Have, for the gilt of France4 (O guilt, indeed!),

Confirm’d conspiracy with fearful France;(AA)

And by their hands this grace of kings5 must die,


(If hell and treason hold their promises,)

Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.

The back scene opens and discovers a tableau, representing the three conspirators receiving the bribe from the emissaries of France.

Linger your patience on; and well digest

The abuse of distance, while we force a play.6

The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed;

The king is set from London; and the scene

Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton,—

There is the playhouse now, there must you sit:

And thence to France shall we convey you safe,

And bring you back, charming the narrow seas

To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,

We’ll not offend one stomach7 with our play.

But, till the king come forth, and not till then,8

Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.





Exeter, Bedford, and Westmoreland, discovered.

Bed. ’Fore Heaven, his grace is bold, to trust these traitors.

Exe. They shall be apprehended by and by.

West. How smooth and even they do bear themselves!

As if allegiance in their bosoms sat,

Crowned with faith and constant loyalty.

Bed. The king hath note of all that they intend,

By interception which they dream not of.

Exe. Nay, but the man that was his bedfellow,(A)

Whom he hath cloy’d and grac’d with princely favours,—

That he should, for a foreign purse, so sell

His sovereign’s life to death and treachery!

Distant Trumpets sound. Enter King Henry, Scroop, Cambridge, Grey, Lords and Attendants, U.E.L.H.

K. Hen. Now sits the wind fair, and we will aboard.

My lord of Cambridge,—and my kind lord of Masham,—

And you, my gentle knight,—give me your thoughts:

Think you not, that the powers we bear with us

Will cut their passage through the force of France?

Scroop. No doubt, my liege, if each man do his best.

K. Hen. I doubt not that; since we are well persuaded

We carry not a heart with us from hence

That grows not in a fair consent with ours,1

Nor leave not one behind that doth not wish

Success and conquest to attend on us.

Cam. (R.) Never was monarch better fear’d and lov’d


Than is your majesty: there’s not, I think, a subject

That sits in heart-grief and uneasiness

Under the sweet shade of your government.

Grey. (R.) Even those that were your father’s enemies

Have steep’d their galls in honey, and do serve you

With hearts create2 of duty and of zeal.

K.Hen. (C.) We therefore have great cause of thankfulness;

And shall forget the office of our hand,

Sooner than quittance of desert and merit

According to the weight and worthiness.

Uncle of Exeter, R.

Enlarge the man committed yesterday,

That rail’d against our person: we consider

It was excess of wine that set him on;

And, on his more advice,3 we pardon him.

Scroop. (R.) That’s mercy, but too much security:

Let him be punish’d, sovereign; lest example

Breed, by his sufferance, more of such a kind.

K. Hen. O, let us yet be merciful.

Cam. So may your highness, and yet punish too.

Grey. Sir, you show great mercy, if you give him life,

After the taste of much correction.

K. Hen. Alas, your too much love and care of me

Are heavy orisons ’gainst this poor wretch!4

If little faults, proceeding on distemper,5

Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye6

When capital crimes, chew’d, swallow’d, and digested,

Appear before us?—We’ll yet enlarge that man,

Though Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey,—in their dear care

And tender preservation of our person,—


Would have him punish’d. And now to our French causes:

All take their places at Council table.

Who are the late Commissioners?7

Cam. R. of table. I one, my lord:

Your highness bade me ask for it to-day.

Scroop. R. of table. So did you me, my liege.

Grey. R. of table. And me, my royal sovereign.

K. Hen. Then, Richard earl of Cambridge, there is yours;—

There yours, lord Scroop of Masham;—and, sir knight,

Grey of Northumberland, this same is yours:—

Read them; and know, I know your worthiness.—

My lord of Westmoreland,—and uncle Exeter,—

L. of table.

We will aboard to-night. Conspirators start from their places.

Why, how now, gentlemen!

What see you in those papers, that you lose

So much complexion?—look ye, how they change!

Their cheeks are paper.—Why, what read you there,

That hath so cowarded and chas’d your blood

Out of appearance?


I do confess my fault;

And do submit me to your highness’ mercy.

Falling on his knees.



To which we all appeal. Kneeling.

K. Hen. rising; all the Lords rise with the King. The mercy that was quick8 in us but late,

By your own counsel is suppress’d and kill’d:

You must not dare, for shame, to talk of mercy.

See you, my princes and my noble peers,

These English monsters! My lord of Cambridge here,—

You know how apt our love was to accord

To furnish him with all appertinents

Belonging to his honour; and this man

Hath, for a few light crowns, lightly conspir’d,

And sworn unto the practises of France,

To kill us here in Hampton: to the which

This knight, no less for bounty bound to us

Than Cambridge is,—hath likewise sworn.—But, O,


What shall I say to thee, lord Scroop? thou cruel,

Ingrateful, savage, and inhuman creature!

Thou that did’st bear the key of all my counsels,

That knew’st the very bottom of my soul,

That almost might’st have coin’d me into gold,

May it be possible, that foreign hire

Could out of thee extract one spark of evil

That might annoy my finger? ’Tis so strange,

That, though the truth of it stands off as gross9

As black from white,10 my eye will scarcely see it;

For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like

Another fall of man.—Their faults are open:

Arrest them to the answer of the law;—

Exeter goes to door U.E.L.H, and calls on the Guard.

And Heaven acquit them of their practises!

Exe. comes down, R.C. I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Richard earl of Cambridge.

I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Henry lord Scroop of Masham.

I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland.

Scroop. R., kneeling. Our purposes Heaven justly hath discover’d;

And I repent my fault more than my death.

Cam. R., kneeling. For me,—the gold of France did not seduce;(B)

Although I did admit it as a motive

The sooner to effect what I intended:

But Heaven be thanked for prevention;

Which I in sufferance heartily will rejoice,11

Beseeching Heaven and you to pardon me.


Grey. R. kneeling. Never did faithful subject more rejoice

At the discovery of most dangerous treason

Than I do at this hour joy o’er myself,

Prevented from a damned enterprize:

My fault, but not my body, pardon, sovereign.

K. Hen. (C.) Heaven quit you in its mercy! Hear your sentence.

You have conspir’d against our royal person,

Join’d with an enemy proclaim’d, and from his coffers

Receiv’d the golden earnest of our death;

Wherein you would have sold your king to slaughter,

His princes and his peers to servitude,

His subjects to oppression and contempt,

And his whole kingdom into desolation.

Touching our person, seek we no revenge;(C)

But we our kingdom’s safety must so tender,12

Whose ruin you three sought, that to her laws

We do deliver you. Get you, therefore, hence,

Poor miserable wretches, to your death:

The taste whereof, Heaven of its mercy give you

Patience to endure, and true repentance

Of all your dear offences!13—Bear them hence.

Conspirators rise and exeunt guarded, with Exeter.

Now, Lords, for France; the enterprize whereof

Shall be to you, as us, like glorious.

We doubt not of a fair and lucky war,

Since Heaven so graciously hath brought to light

This dangerous treason, lurking in our way.

Then, forth, dear countrymen: let us deliver

Our puissance14 into the hand of Heaven,

Putting it straight in expedition.

Cheerly to sea; the signs of war advance:(D)

No king of England, if not king of France.

Exeunt, U.E.L.H.



Trumpets sound.

Enter the French King,15 attended; the Dauphin, the Duke of Burgundy, the Constable, and Others,(E) L.H.

Fr. King. (C.) Thus come the English with full power upon us;

And more than carefully it us concerns16

To answer royally in our defences.

Therefore the Dukes of Berry and of Bretagne,

Of Brabant and of Orleans, shall make forth,—

And you, Prince Dauphin,—with all swift despatch,

To line and new repair our towns of war

With men of courage and with means defendant.

Dau. (R.C.)

My most redoubted father,

It is most meet we arm us ’gainst the foe:

And let us do it with no show of fear;

No, with no more than if we heard that England

Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:

For, my good liege, she is so idly king’d,

Her sceptre so fantastically borne

By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,

That fear attends her not.

Con. (L.C.)

O peace, prince Dauphin

You are too much mistaken in this king:

With what great state he heard our embassy,

How well supplied with noble counsellors,

How modest in exception,17 and withal

How terrible in constant resolution,

And you shall find his vanities fore-spent

Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,

Covering discretion with a coat of folly.

Dau. Well, ’tis not so, my lord high constable;

But though we think it so, it is no matter:


In cases of defence ’tis best to weigh

The enemy more mighty than he seems:

So the proportions of defence are fill’d.

Fr. King. Think we King Harry strong;

And, princes, look you strongly arm to meet him.

The kindred of him hath been flesh’d upon us;

And he is bred out of that bloody strain18

That haunted us19 in our familiar paths:

Witness our too much memorable shame

When Cressy battle fatally was struck,

And all our princes captiv’d by the hand

Of that black name, Edward, black prince of Wales;

Whiles that his mountain sire,—on mountain standing,

Up in the air, crown’d with the golden sun,—20

Saw his heroical seed, and smil’d to see him

Mangle the work of nature, and deface

The patterns that by Heaven and by French fathers

Had twenty years been made. This is a stem

Of that victorious stock; and let us fear

The native mightiness and fate of him.21

Enter Montjoy,22 L.H., and kneels C. to the King.

Mont. Ambassadors from Henry King of England

Do crave admittance to your majesty.

Fr. King. We’ll give them present audience. Montjoy rises from his knee. Go, and bring them.

Exeunt Montjoy, and certain Lords, L.H.

You see this chase is hotly follow’d, friends.

Dau. Turn head, and stop pursuit; for coward dogs

Most spend their mouths,23 when what they seem to threaten

Runs far before them. Good my sovereign,


Take up the English short; and let them know

Of what a monarchy you are the head:

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin

As self-neglecting.

French King takes his seat on Throne, R.

Re-enter Montjoy, Lords, with Exeter and Train, L.H.

Fr. King.

From our brother England?

Exe. (L.C.) From him; and thus he greets your majesty.

He wills you, in the awful name of Heaven,

That you divest yourself, and lay apart

The borrow’d glories, that, by gift of heaven,

By law of nature and of nations, ’long

To him and to his heirs; namely, the crown,

And all wide-stretched honours that pertain,

By custom and the ordinance of times

Unto the crown of France. That you may know

’Tis no sinister nor no awkward claim,

Pick’d from the worm-holes of long-vanish’d days,

Nor from the dust of old oblivion rak’d,

He sends you this most memorable line,24

Gives a paper to Montjoy, who delivers it kneeling to the King.

In every branch truly demonstrative;

Willing you overlook this pedigree:

And when you find him evenly deriv’d

From his most fam’d of famous ancestors,

Edward the Third, he bids you then resign

Your crown and kingdom, indirectly held

From him the native and true challenger.

Fr. King. Or else what follows?

Exe. Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown

Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it:

Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,

In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove.

(That, if requiring fail, he will compel):

This is his claim, his threat’ning, and my message;

Unless the Dauphin be in presence here,

To whom expressly I bring greeting too.

Fr. King. For us, we will consider of this further:


To-morrow shall you bear our full intent

Back to our brother England.

Montjoy rises, and retires to R.

Dau. R. of throne. For the Dauphin,

I stand here for him: What to him from England?

Exe. Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt,

And any thing that may not misbecome

The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.

Thus says my king: an if your father’s highness

Do not, in grant of all demands at large,

Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,

He’ll call you to so hot an answer for it,

That caves and womby vaultages of France

Shall chide your trespass,25 and return your mock

In second accent of his ordnance.

Dau. Say, if my father render fair reply,

It is against my will; for I desire

Nothing but odds with England: to that end,

As matching to his youth and vanity,

I did present him with those Paris balls.

Exe. He’ll make your Paris Louvre shake for it:

And, be assur’d, you’ll find a difference

Between the promise of his greener days

And these he masters now: now he weighs time,

Even to the utmost grain: which you shall read26

In your own losses, if he stay in France.

Fr. King. To-morrow shall you know our mind at full.

Exe. Despatch us with all speed, lest that our king

Come here himself to question our delay;

For he is footed in this land already.

Fr. King. You shall be soon despatch’d with fair conditions:

Montjoy crosses to the English party.

A night is but small breath and little pause

To answer matters of this consequence.

English party exit, with Montjoy and others, L.H. French Lords group round the King.

Trumpets sound.




These corrupted men,——

One, Richard earl of Cambridge; and the second,

Henry lord Scroop of Masham; and the third,

Sir Thomas Grey knight of Northumberland,—

Have for the guilt of France (O, guilt, indeed!)

Confirm’d conspiracy with fearful France.

About the end of July, Henry’s ambitious designs received a momentary check from the discovery of a treasonable conspiracy against his person and government, by Richard, Earl of Cambridge, brother of the Duke of York; Henry, Lord Scroop of Masham, the Lord Treasurer; and Sir Thomas Grey, of Heton, knight. The king’s command for the investigation of the affair, was dated on the 21st of that month, and a writ was issued to the Sheriff of Southampton, to assemble a jury for their trial; and which on Friday, the 2nd of August, found that on the 20th of July, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and Thomas Grey, of Heton, in the County of Northumberland, knight, had falsely and traitorously conspired to collect a body of armed men, to conduct Edmund, Earl of March,* to the frontiers of Wales, and to proclaim him the rightful heir to the crown, in case Richard II. was actually dead; but they had solicited Thomas Frumpyngton, who personated King Richard, Henry Percy, and many others from Scotland to invade the realm, that they had intended to destroy the King, the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Gloucester, with other lords and great men; and that Henry, Lord Scroop, of Masham, consented to the said treasonable purposes, and concealed the knowledge of them from the king. On the same day the accused were reported by Sir John Popham, Constable of the Castle of Southampton, to whose custody they had been committed, to have confessed the justice of the charges brought against them, and that they threw themselves on the king’s mercy; but Scroop endeavoured to 35 extenuate his conduct, by asserting that his intentions were innocent, and that he appeared only to acquiesce in their designs to be enabled to defeat them. The Earl and Lord Scroop having claimed the privilege of being tried by the peers, were remanded to prison, but sentence of death in the usual manner was pronounced against Grey, and he was immediately executed; though, in consequence of Henry having dispensed with his being drawn and hung, he was allowed to walk from the Watergate to the Northgate of the town of Southampton, where he was beheaded. A commission was soon afterwards issued, addressed to the Duke of Clarence, for the trial of the Earl of Cambridge and Lord Scroop: this court unanimously declared the prisoners guilty, and sentence of death having been denounced against them, they paid the forfeit of their lives on Monday, the 5th of August. In consideration of the earl being of the blood royal, he was merely beheaded; but to mark the perfidy and ingratitude of Scroop, who had enjoyed the king’s utmost confidence and friendship, and had even shared his bed, he commanded that he should be drawn to the place of execution, and that his head should be affixed on one of the gates of the city of York. —Nicolas’s History of the Battle of Agincourt.


(A) ——the man that was his bedfellow,] So, Holinshed: “The said Lord Scroop was in such favour with the king, that he admitted him sometimes to be his bedfellow.” The familiar appellation, of bedfellow, which appears strange to us, was common among the ancient nobility. There is a letter from the sixth Earl of Northumberland (still preserved in the collection of the present duke), addressed “To his beloved cousin, Thomas Arundel,” &c., which begins “Bedfellow, after my most hasté recommendation.” —Steevens.

This unseemly custom continued common till the middle of the last century, if not later. Cromwell obtained much of his intelligence, during the civil wars, from the mean men with whom he slept. —Malone.

After the battle of Dreux, 1562, the Prince of Condé slept in the same bed with the Duke of Guise; an anecdote frequently 36 cited, to show the magnanimity of the latter, who slept soundly, though so near his greatest enemy, then his prisoner. —Nares.

(B) For me,—the gold of France did not seduce;] Holinshed observes, “that Richard, Earl of Cambridge, did not conspire with the Lord Scroop and Thomas Grey, for the murdering of King Henry to please the French king, but only to the intent to exalt to the crown his brother-in-law Edmund, Earl of March, as heir to Lionel, Duke of Clarence; after the death of which Earl of March, for divers secret impediments not able to have issue, the Earl of Cambridge was sure that the crown should come to him by his wife, and to his children of her begotten; and therefore (as was thought), he rather confessed himself for need of money to be corrupted by the French king, than he would declare his inward mind, &c., which if it were espied, he saw plainly that the Earl of March should have tasted of the same cup that he had drunk, and what should have come to his own children he merely doubted, &c.”

A million of gold is stated to have been given by France to the conspirators.

Historians have, however, generally expressed their utter inability to explain upon what grounds the conspirators built their expectation of success; and unless they had been promised powerful assistance from France, the design seems to have been one of the most absurd and hopeless upon record. The confession of the Earl of Cambridge, and his supplication for mercy in his own hand writing, is in the British Museum.

(C) Touching our person, seek we no revenge;] This speech is taken from Holinshed:—

“Revenge herein touching my person, though I seek not; yet for the safeguard of my dear friends, and for due preservation of all sorts, I am by office to cause example to be showed: Get ye hence, therefore, you poor miserable wretches, to the receiving of your just reward, wherein God’s majesty give you grace of his mercy, and repentance of your heinous offences.”

(D) Cheerly to sea; the signs of war advance:] “The king went from his castle of Porchester in a small vessel to the sea, and embarking on board his ship, called The Trinity, between the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, he immediately ordered that the sail should be set, to signify his readiness to depart.” “There were about fifteen hundred vessels, including about a hundred which were left behind. After having passed the Isle of Wight, swans were seen swimming in the midst of the fleet, which, in the opinion of all, were said to be happy auspices of the undertaking. On the next day, the king entered the mouth of the Seine, and cast anchor before a place called Kidecaus, about three miles from Harfleur, where he proposed landing.” —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

The departure of Henry’s army on this occasion, and the separation between those who composed it and their relatives and 37 friends, is thus described by Drayton, who was born in 1563, and died in 1631:—

There might a man have seen in every street,

The father bidding farewell to his son;

Small children kneeling at their father’s feet:

The wife with her dear husband ne’er had done:

Brother, his brother, with adieu to greet:

One friend to take leave of another, run;

The maiden with her best belov’d to part,

Gave him her hand who took away her heart.

The nobler youth the common rank above,

On their curveting coursers mounted fair:

One wore his mistress’ garter, one her glove;

And he a lock of his dear lady’s hair:

And he her colours, whom he did most love;

There was not one but did some favour wear:

And each one took it, on his happy speed,

To make it famous by some knightly deed.

(E) Enter the French King, the Dauphin, the Duke of Burgundy, the Constable, and others.] Charles VI., surnamed the Well Beloved, was King of France during the most disastrous period of its history. He ascended the throne in 1380, when only thirteen years of age. In 1385 he married Isabella of Bavaria, who was equally remarkable for her beauty and her depravity. The unfortunate king was subject to fits of insanity, which lasted for several months at a time. On the 21st October, 1422, seven years after the battle of Agincourt, Charles VI. ended his unhappy life at the age of 55, having reigned 42 years. Lewis the Dauphin was the eldest son of Charles VI. He was born 22nd January, 1396, and died before his father, December 18th, 1415, in his twentieth year. History says, “Shortly after the battle of Agincourt, either for melancholy that he had for the loss, or by some sudden disease, Lewis, Dovphin of Viennois, heir apparent to the French king, departed this life without issue.”

John, Duke of Burgundy, surnamed the Fearless, succeeded to the dukedom in 1403. He caused the Duke of Orleans to be assassinated in the streets of Paris, and was himself murdered August 28, 1419, on the bridge of Montereau, at an interview with the Dauphin, afterwards Charles VII. John was succeeded by his only son, who bore the title of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy.

The Constable, Charles D’Albret, commanded the French army at the Battle of Agincourt, and was slain on the field.


Enter Chorus.

Chor. Thus with imagin’d wing our swift scene flies,

In motion of no less celerity

Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen

The well-appointed king1 at Hampton pier

Embark his royalty;2 and his brave fleet

With silken streamers the young Phœbus fanning:

Play with your fancies; and in them behold

Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing;

Hear the shrill whistle, which doth order give

To sounds confus’d; behold the threaden sails,

Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,

Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow’d sea,

Breasting the lofty surge: O, do but think

You stand upon the rivage,3 and behold

A city on the inconstant billows dancing;

For so appears this fleet majestical,

Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow!

Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy;4

And leave your England, as dead midnight still,

Guarded with grandsires, babies, and old women,

Either past, or not arriv’d to, pith and puissance;

For who is he, whose chin is but enrich’d


With one appearing hair, that will not follow

These cull’d and choice-drawn cavaliers to France?

Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege;

Behold the ordnance on their carriages,

With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur.

Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back;

Tells Harry—that the king doth offer him

Katharine his daughter; and with her, to dowry,

Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.

The offer likes not: and the nimble gunner

With linstock5 now the devilish cannon touches,

Alarums, and cannon shot off.

And down goes all before them. Still be kind,

And eke out our performance with your mind.






Alarums. Enter King Henry, Exeter, Bedford, Gloster, and Soldiers, R.H.

K. Hen. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

Or close the wall up with our English dead!6

In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility:

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,


Then imitate the action of the tiger!

On, on, you noble English,

Whose blood is fet7 from fathers of war-proof!

And you, good yeomen,

Whose limbs were made in England, show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your breeding: which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,8

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge,

Cry—God for Harry! England! and Saint George!

The English charge upon the breach, headed by the King. Alarums. The Governor of the Town appears on the walls with a flag of truce.

K. Hen. How yet resolves the governour of the town?

This is the latest parle we will admit:

Therefore, to our best mercy give yourselves;

Or, like to men proud of destruction,

Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier

(A name that, in my thoughts, becomes me best,)

If I begin the battery once again,

I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur

Till in her ashes she lie buried.

The gates of mercy shall be all shut up.

What say you? will you yield, and this avoid?

Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy’d?

Gov. Our expectation hath this day an end:

The Dauphin, whom of succour we entreated,9

Returns us—that his powers are not yet ready

To raise so great a siege. Therefore, dread king,


We yield our town and lives to thy soft mercy.

Enter our town; dispose of us and ours;

For we no longer are defensible.

Soldiers shout.

The Governor and others come from the town, and kneeling, present to King Henry the keys of the city.

K. Hen. Come, uncle Exeter, R.

Go you and enter Harfleur; there remain,

And fortify it strongly ’gainst the French:

Use mercy to them all. For us, dear uncle,—

The winter coming on, and sickness growing

Upon our soldiers,—we’ll retire to Calais.

To-night in Harfleur* will we be your guest;

To-morrow for the march are we addrest.10

March. English army enter the town through the breach.




Trumpets sound.

Enter the French King, the Dauphin, Duke of Bourbon, the Constable of France, and others, L.H.

Fr. King. (C.) ’Tis certain he hath pass’d the river Somme.

Con. (R.C.) And if he be not fought withal, my lord,

Let us not live in France; let us quit all,

And give our vineyards to a barbarous people.

Dau. (R.) By faith and honour,

Our madams mock at us;

They bid us—to the English dancing-schools,

And teach lavoltas high1 and swift corantos;2

Saying our grace is only in our heels,

And that we are most lofty runaways.

Fr. King. Where is Montjoy the herald? speed him hence:

Let him greet England with our sharp defiance.—

Up, princes! and, with spirit of honour edg’d

More sharper than your swords, hie to the field:

Bar Harry England, that sweeps through our land

With pennons3 painted in the blood of Harfleur:

Go down upon him,—you have power enough,—

And in a captive chariot into Rouen

Bring him our prisoner.


This becomes the great.

Sorry am I his numbers are so few,

His soldiers sick, and famish’d in their march;

For, I am sure, when he shall see our army,

He’ll drop his heart into the sink of fear,


And, for achievement offer us his ransom.4

Fr. King. Therefore, lord constable, haste on Montjoy;

Constable crosses to L.

And let him say to England, that we send

To know what willing ransom he will give.—

Prince Dauphin, you shall stay with us in Rouen.

Dau. Not so, I do beseech your majesty.

Fr. King. Be patient; for you shall remain with us.—

Now, forth, lord constable (Exit Constable, L.H.), and princes all,

And quickly bring us word of England’s fall.

Exeunt L.H.

Trumpets sound.


Distant Battle heard.

Enter Gower, L.U.E., meeting Fluellen, R.H.

Gow. (C.) How now, Captain Fluellen! come you from the bridge?(A)

Flu. (R.C.) I assure you, there is very excellent service committed at the pridge.

Gow. Is the Duke of Exeter safe?

Flu. The Duke of Exeter is as magnanimous as Agamemnon; and a man that I love and honour with my soul, and my heart, and my duty, and my life, and my livings, and my uttermost powers: he is not (Heaven be praised and plessed!) any hurt in the ’orld; but keeps the pridge most valiantly, with excellent discipline. There is an ensign there at the pridge,—I think in my very conscience he is as valiant as Mark Antony; and he is a man of no estimation in the ’orld; but I did see him do gallant service.

Gow. What do you call him?

Flu. He is called—ancient Pistol.5

Gow. I know him not.

Enter Pistol, R.H.

Flu. Do you not know him? Here comes the man.


Pist. Captain, I thee beseech to do me favours:

The Duke of Exeter doth love thee well.

Flu. Ay, I praise Heaven; and I have merited some love at his hands.

Pist. Bardolph, a soldier, firm and sound of heart,

Of buxom valour,6 hath,—by cruel fate,

And giddy fortune’s furious fickle wheel,

That goddess blind.

That stands upon the rolling restless stone,—7

Flu. By your patience, ancient Pistol. Fortune is painted plind, with a muffler before her eyes,8 to signify to you that fortune is plind; And she is painted also with a wheel, to signify to you, which is the moral of it, that she is turning, and inconstant, and variations, and mutabilities: and her foot, look you, is fixed upon a spherical stone, which rolls, and rolls, and rolls:—In good truth, the poet makes a most excellent description of fortune: fortune, look you, is an excellent moral.

Pist. Fortune is Bardolph’s foe, and frowns on him;

For he has stolen a pix,9 and hang’d must ’a be.(B)

A damned death!

Let gallows gape for dog; let man go free,

Crosses to L.H.

But Exeter hath given the doom of death,

For pix of little price.

Therefore, go speak, the duke will hear thy voice;

And let not Bardolph’s vital thread be cut

With edge of penny cord and vile reproach:

Speak, captain, for his life, and I will thee requite.

Crosses to R.H.

Flu. Ancient Pistol, I do partly understand your meaning.

Pist. Why, then, rejoice therefore.

Flu. Certainly, ancient, it is not a thing to rejoice at: for if, look you, he were my prother, I would desire the 47 duke to use his goot pleasure, and put him to executions; for disciplines ought to be used.

Pist. Fico for thy friendship!10

Flu. It is well.

Pist. The fig of Spain!11

Exit Pistol, R.H.

Flu. Very goot.

Gow. Why, this is an arrant counterfeit rascal; a cut-purse; I remember him now.

Flu. I’ll assure you, ’a utter’d as prave ’ords at the pridge as you shall see in a summer’s day.

Gow. Why, ’tis a gull, a fool, a rogue, that now and then goes to the wars, to grace himself, at his return into London, under the form of a soldier. You must learn to know such slanders of the age,12 or else you may be marvellously mistook.

Flu. I tell you what, Captain Gower;—I do perceive, he is not the man that he would gladly make show to the ’orld he is: if I find a hole in his coat, I will tell him my mind.

March heard.

Hark you, the king is coming; and I must speak with him from the pridge.13

Enter King Henry, Bedford, Gloster, Westmoreland, Lords, and Soldiers, L.H.U.E.

Flu. (R.) Heaven pless your majesty!

K. Hen. (C.) How now, Fluellen! cam’st thou from the bridge?

Flu. Ay, so please your majesty. The duke of Exeter has very gallantly maintained the pridge: the French has gone off, look you; and there is gallant and most prave passages: Marry, th’athversary was have possession of the pridge; but he is enforced to retire, and the duke of Exeter is master of the pridge: I can tell your majesty, the duke is a prave man.


K. Hen. What men have you lost, Fluellen?

Flu. The perdition of th’athversary hath been very great, very reasonable great: marry, for my part, I think the duke hath lost never a man, but one that is like to be executed for robbing a church, one Bardolph, if your majesty knows the man: his face is all bubukles,14 and whelks,15 and knobs, and flames of fire: and his lips plows at his nose, and it is like a coal of fire, sometimes plue, and sometimes red; but his nose is executed, and his fire’s out.16

K. Hen. We would have all such offenders so cut off.

Trumpet sounds without, R.

Enter Montjoy and Attendants, R.H.

Mont. uncovers and kneels. You know me by my habit.17

K. Hen. Well, then, I know thee: What shall I know of thee?

Mont. My master’s mind.

K. Hen. Unfold it.

Mont. Thus says my king:—Say thou to Harry of England: Though we seemed dead, we did but sleep. Tell him, he shall repent his folly, see his weakness, and admire our sufferance.18 Bid him, therefore, consider of his ransom; which must proportion the losses we have borne, the subjects we have lost, the disgrace we have digested. For our losses, his exchequer is too poor; for the effusion of our blood, the muster of his kingdom too faint a number; and for our disgrace, his own person, kneeling at our feet, but a weak and worthless satisfaction. To this add—defiance: and tell him, for conclusion, he hath betrayed his followers, whose condemnation is pronounced. So far my king and master; so much my office.

K. Hen.What is thy name? I know thy quality.

Mont. Montjoy.


K. Hen. Thou dost thy office fairly. Turn thee back,

And tell thy king,—I do not seek him now;

But could be willing to march on to Calais

Without impeachment:19 for, to say the sooth

(Though ’tis no wisdom to confess so much

Unto an enemy of craft and vantage),

My people are with sickness much enfeebled;

My numbers lessen’d; and those few I have,

Almost no better than so many French;

Who, when they were in health, I tell thee, herald,

I thought, upon one pair of English legs,

Did march three Frenchmen.—Forgive me, Heaven,

That I do brag thus!—this your air of France

Hath blown that vice in me; I must repent.

Go, therefore, tell thy master here I am;

My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk;

My army but a weak and sickly guard:

Yet, Heaven before,20 tell him we will come on,

Though France himself,21 and such another neighbour,

Stand in our way. There’s for thy labour, Montjoy.

Go, bid thy master well advise himself:

If we may pass, we will; if we be hinder’d,

We shall your tawny ground with your red blood

Discolour:(C) and so, Montjoy, fare you well.

The sum of all our answer is but this:

We would not seek a battle, as we are;

Nor, as we are, we say, we will not shun it:

So tell your master.


I shall deliver so.

Montjoy rises from his knee.

Thanks to your highness.

Exit Montjoy with Attendants, R.H.

Glo. I hope they will not come upon us now.

K. Hen. We are in Heaven’s hand, brother, not in theirs.

March to the bridge; it now draws toward night:

Beyond the river we’ll encamp ourselves;

And on to-morrow bid them march away.

Exeunt, R.H.





(A) Come you from the bridge?] After Henry had passed the Somme, Titus Livius asserts, that the King having been informed of a river which must be crossed, over which was a bridge, and that his progress depended in a great degree upon securing possession of it, despatched some part of his forces to defend it from any attack, or from being destroyed. They found many of the enemy ready to receive them, to whom they gave battle, and after a severe conflict, they captured the bridge, and kept it.


Fortune is Bardolph’s foe, and frowns on him;

For he hath stol’n a pix, and hanged must ’a be.

It will be seen by the following extract from the anonymous Chronicler how minutely Shakespeare has adhered to history— “There was brought to the King in that plain a certain English robber, who, contrary to the laws of God and the Royal Proclamation, had stolen from a church a pix of copper gilt, found in his sleeve, which he happened to mistake for gold, in which the Lord’s body was kept; and in the next village where he passed the night, by decree of the King, he was put to death on the gallows.” Titus Livius relates that Henry commanded his army to halt until the sacrilege was expiated. He first caused the pix to be restored to the Church, and the offender was then led, bound as a thief, through the army, and afterwards hung upon a tree, that every man might behold him.


Go, bid thy master well advise himself:

If we may pass, we will; if we be hinder’d,

We shall your tawny ground with your red blood


My desire is, that none of you be so unadvised, as to be the occasion that I in my defence shall colour and make red your tawny ground with the effusion of Christian blood. When he (Henry) had thus answered the Herald, he gave him a great reward, and licensed him to depart. —Holinshed.


Enter Chorus.

Cho. 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,1

That the fix’d sentinels almost receive

The secret whispers of each other’s watch:2

Fire answers fire;3 and through their paly flames

Each battle sees the other’s umber’d face:4

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.

Proud of their numbers, and secure in soul,

The confident and over-lusty5 French


Do the low-rated English play at dice;6

And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night,

Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp

So tediously away.

Scene opens and discovers the interior of a French tent, with the Dauphin, the Constable, Orleans, and others, playing at dice.

Dau. Will it never be day?

Con. I would it were morning; for I would fain be about the ears of the English.

Dau. Who will go to hazard with me for twenty English prisoners?

Orl. The prince longs to eat the English.

Con. Would it were day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for the dawning, as we do.

Dau. If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.

Con. That island of England breeds very valiant creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.

Dau. 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.

Con. Just, just: give them great meals of beef, and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves, and fight like devils.

Orl. Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.

Con. Then we shall find to-morrow—they have only stomachs to eat, and none to fight. Now is it time to arm: Come, shall we about it?

Dau. It is now two o’clock: but, let me see,—by ten We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.


Cho. The poor condemned English,

Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires

Sit patiently, and inly ruminate

The morning’s danger; and their gestures sad,

Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats,

Presenteth them unto the gazing moon

So many horrid ghosts.

Scene re-opens, discovering the English camp, with group of soldiery praying. After a pause the scene closes.

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 overbears attaint

With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;

That every wretch, pining and pale before,

Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:

Then, 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;

The field of Agincourt. Yet, sit and see;

Minding true things7 by what their mockeries be.





Enter King Henry and Gloster, U.E.L.H.

K. Hen. Gloster, ’tis true that we are in great danger;

The greater therefore should our courage be.

Enter Bedford, R.H.

Good morrow, brother Bedford.—Gracious Heaven!

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.

Thus may we gather honey from the weed,

And make a moral of the devil himself.

Enter Erpingham.(B) L.H.

Good morrow, old Sir Thomas Erpingham:

A good soft pillow for that good white head

Were better than a churlish turf of France.

Erp. Not so, my liege: this lodging likes me better,

Since I may say—now lie I like a king.

K. Hen. 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 all to my pavilion.

Glo. We shall, my liege.

Exeunt Gloster and Bedford, R.H.

Erp. Shall I attend your grace?

K. Hen.

No, my good knight;

Go with my brothers to my lords of England:

Erpingham crosses to R.


I and my bosom must debate a while,

And then I would no other company.

Erp. Heaven bless thee, noble Harry!

Exit Erpingham, R.H.

K. Hen. Gad-a-mercy, old heart! thou speakest cheerfully.

Enter Pistol, L.H.

Pist. Qui va là?

K. Hen. A friend.

Pist. Discuss unto me; Art thou officer?

Or art thou base, common, and popular?1

K. Hen. I am a gentleman of a company.

Pist. Trail’st thou the puissant pike?

K. Hen. Even so. What are you?

Pist. As good a gentleman as the emperor.

K. Hen. Then you are a better than the king.2

Pist. The king’s a bawcock,3 and a heart of gold,

A lad of life, an imp of fame;4

Of parents good, of fist most valiant:

I kiss his dirty shoe, and from my heart-strings

I love the lovely bully. What’s thy name?

K. Hen. Harry le Roi.

Pist. Le Roi! a Cornish name: art thou of Cornish crew?

K. Hen. No, I am a Welshman.

Pist. Knowest thou Fluellen?

K. Hen. Yes.

Pist. Tell him, I’ll knock his leek about his pate,

Upon Saint Davy’s day.

Crosses to R.


K. Hen. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.

Pist. Art thou his friend?

K. Hen. And his kinsman too.

Pist. The figo for thee, then!

K. Hen. I thank you: Heaven be with you!

Pist. My name is Pistol call’d.

Exit, R.H.

K. Hen. It sorts5 well with your fierceness.

Enter Fluellen, L.H., and crosses to R., and Gower, U.E.R.H., following hastily.

Gow. Captain Fluellen!

Flu. (R.C.) So! in the name of Heaven, speak lower.6 It is the greatest admiration in the universal ’orld, when the true and auncient 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 taddle, or pibble pabble in Pompey’s camp.

Gow. (L.C.) Why, the enemy is loud; you heard him all night.

Flu. 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?

Gow. I will speak lower.

Flu. I pray you, and beseech you, that you will.

Exeunt Gower and Fluellen, R.H.

K. Hen. Though it appear a little out of fashion, there is much care and valour in this Welshman.

Enter Bates and Williams, L.H.

Will. 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.

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


K. Hen. A friend.

Comes down, R.

Will. Under what captain serve you?

K. Hen. Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.

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

K. Hen. Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be washed off the next tide.

Bates. (L.) He hath not told his thought to the king?

K. Hen. No; nor it is not meet he should. Crosses to centre. 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:7 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 the Thames up to the neck; and so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so we were quit here.

K. Hen. (C.) 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. (L.) Then ’would he were here alone; so should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men’s lives saved.

K. Hen. 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.8

Will. (R.) 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 king’s subjects: if 58 his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.

Will. But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy rekoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day,9 and cry all—We died at such 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.10 I am afeard there are few die well that die in 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 subjection.

K. Hen. 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:—But this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, nor the father of his son, for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. 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.

Will. ’Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill is upon his own head; the king is not to answer for it.

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

K. Hen. I myself heard the king say he would not be ransomed.

Will. 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.

K. Hen. If I live to see it, I will never trust his word after.


Will. 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.

K. Hen. Your reproof is something too round:11 I should be angry with you, if the time were convenient.

Will. Let it be a quarrel between us, if you live.

K. Hen. I embrace it.

Will. How shall I know thee again?

K. Hen. 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.

Will. Here’s my glove: give me another of thine.

K. Hen. There.

Will. 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.

K. Hen. If ever I live to see it, I will challenge it.

Will. Thou darest as well be hanged.

K. Hen. Well, I will do it, though I take thee in the king’s company.

Will. Keep thy word: fare thee well.

Bates. Be friends, you English fools, be friends: (Crosses to Williams, R.) we have French quarrels enough, if you could tell how to reckon.

Exeunt Soldiers, R.H.

K. Hen. Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,

Our sins, lay on the king!—we must bear all.

O hard condition, twin-born with greatness,

Subjected to the breath of every fool.

What infinite heart’s ease must king’s 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?

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!

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 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;

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.

Enter Erpingham, R.H.

Erp. My lord, your nobles, jealous of your absence,

Seek through your camp to find you.

K. Hen.

Good old knight,

Collect them all together at my tent:

I’ll be before thee.

Gives back the Cloak to Erpingham.


I shall do’t, my lord.

Exit, R.H.

K. Hen. O God of battles! steel my soldier’s hearts;

Possess them not with fear; take from them now

The sense of reckoning, lest 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 new;(C)

And on it have bestow’d more contrite tears,

Than from it issu’d 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:

More will I do—

Trumpet sounds without, R.

The day, my friends, and all things stay for me.

Exit, R.H.



Flourish of trumpets.

Enter Dauphin, Grandprè, Rambures,12 and Others.

Dau. The sun doth gild our armour; up, my lords!

My horse! varlet! lacquay! ha!

Servants exeunt hastily.

Grand. O brave spirit!

Dau. Cousin Orleans.—

Enter Constable, L.H.

Now, my lord Constable!

Con. Hark, how our steeds for present service neigh!

Dau. Mount them, and make incision in their hides,

That their hot blood may spin in English eyes,

And dout them13 with superfluous courage, Ha!

Con. What, will you have them weep our horses’ blood?

How shall we, then, behold their natural tears?

Enter Montjoy, R.H.

Mont. The English are embattled, you French peers.

Exit R.H.

Con. To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!

Do but behold yon poor and starved band.

There is not work enough for all our hands;

Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins,

To give each naked curtle-ax a stain.

’Tis positive ’gainst all exceptions, lords,

That our superfluous lackeys, are enough

To purge this field of such a hilding foe.14

A very little little let us do,

And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound:

For our approach shall so much dare the field,

That England shall couch down in fear, and yield.

Enter Orleans,(D) hastily, R.H.

Orl. Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?


Yon island carrions,15 desperate of their bones,

Ill-favour’dly become the morning field:

Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,16

And our air shakes them passing scornfully:

Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar’d host,

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.

Dau. Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits,

And give their fasting horses provender,

And after fight with them?


On, to the field!

Come, come, away!

The sun is high, and we outwear the day.

Exeunt, R.H.

Flourish of trumpets.


The English Army drawn up for battle;(E) Gloster, Bedford, Exeter, Salisbury, Erpingham, and Westmoreland.

Glo. (R.C.) Where is the king?

Bed. (L.C.) The king himself is rode to view their battle.17

West. (L.) Of fighting men they have full threescore thousand.

Exe. (L.C.) There’s five to one; besides, they all are fresh.

Erp. It is fearful odds.

If we no more meet till we meet in heaven,

Then, joyfully,—my noble lord of Bedford,—

Crosses to L.

My dear lord Gloster,—and my good lord Exeter,—

Warriors all, adieu!

Crosses back to R.


West. O that we now had here

But one ten thousand of those men in England

That do no work to-day!(F)

Enter King Henry, attended.(G) U.E.L.H.

K. Hen. (C.)

What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland?—No, my fair cousin:

If we are mark’d to die, we are enough

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

I pray thee, wish not one man more.

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he who hath no stomach to this fight.

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company,

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call’d—the feast of Crispian:(H)

He, that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,18

And say—to-morrow is Saint Crispian:

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say, those wounds I had on Crispin’s day.

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages19

What feats he did that day: Then shall our names,

Familiar in their mouths as household words,—

Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,—(I)

Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,


From this day to the ending20 of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:21

And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here;

And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Enter Gower, hastily, U.E.L.H.

Gow. (R.C.) My sovereign lord, bestow yourself with speed:

The French are bravely in their battles set,22

And will with all expedience charge on us.

K. Hen. (C.) All things are ready, if our minds be so.

West. Perish the man whose mind is backward now!

K. Hen. Thou dost not wish more help from England, cousin?

West. (L.) Would you and I alone, my liege,

Without more help, might fight this battle out!

Trumpet sounds without, L.H.

Enter Montjoy, and attendants, U.E.L.H.

Mont. uncovers and kneels. Once more I come to know of thee, King Harry,

If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound,

Before thy most assured overthrow.


K. Hen. (C.) Who hath sent thee now?


The Constable of France.

K. Hen. I pray thee, bear my former answer back:

Bid them achieve me,23 and then sell my bones.

Good Heaven! Why should they mock poor fellows thus?

The man, that once did sell the lion’s skin

While the beast liv’d, was kill’d with hunting him.

Let me speak proudly:—Tell the Constable,

We are but warriors for the working-day:24

Our gayness and our guilt25 are all besmirch’d

With rainy marching in the painful field,

And time hath worn us into slovenry.

But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;

And my poor soldiers tell me—yet ere night

They’ll be in fresher robes; or they will pluck

The gay new coats o’er the French soldiers’ heads,

And turn them out of service.

Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald:

They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints,

Which if they have as I will leave ’em to them,

Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.

Mont. I shall, King Harry. Rises from his knee. And so, fare thee well:

Thou never shalt hear herald any more.

Exit with Attendants, U.E.L.H.

K. Hen. Now, soldiers, march away:—

And how thou pleasest, Heaven, dispose the day!(K)

Trumpet March.

Exeunt L.H.


Alarums. Enter Dauphin, Orleans, Bourbon, Constable, Rambures, and Others, hastily, and in confusion, L.H.


Dau. (C.) All is confounded, all!

Reproach and everlasting shame

Sits mocking in our plumes.

Alarums, L.


Why, all our ranks are broke.

Dau. O perdurable shame!26—let’s stab ourselves.

Be these the wretches that we play’d at dice for?

Orl. (L.C.) Is this the king we sent to for his ransom?

Dau. Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but shame!

Let us die in honor: Once more back again.

Con. (C.) Disorder, that hath spoil’d us, friend us now!

Let us in heaps go offer up our lives

Unto these English, or else die with fame.

Dau. (R.C.) We are enough, yet living in the field,

To smother up the English in our throngs,

If any order might be thought upon.

Con. The devil take order now! I’ll to the throng:

Let life be short; else shame will be too long.


Exeunt L.H.


The bodies of the Duke of York(L) and Earl of Suffolk are borne across the stage by soldiers.

Trumpets sound.

Enter King Henry with a part of the English forces; Warwick, Bedford, Gloster, Exeter, and others, L.H.

K. Hen. (C.) I was not angry since I came to France,

Until this instant.—Take a trumpet, herald;

Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:(M)

If they will fight with us, bid them come down,

Or void the field;27 they do offend our sight:

If they’ll do neither, we will come to them;


And make them skirr away, as swift as stones

Enforced from the old Assyrian slings.

Go, and tell them so.

Exit Herald with Trumpeter, R.H.

Exe. The Duke of York commends him to your majesty.

K. Hen. Lives he, good uncle? thrice within this hour,

I saw him down; thrice up again and fighting;

From helmet to the spur, all blood he was.

Exe. In which array, (brave soldier), did he lie,

Larding the plain; and by his bloody side,

(Yoke fellow to his honour-owing wounds),

The noble Earl of Suffolk also lay.

Suffolk first died: and York, all haggled over,

Comes to him, where in gore he lay insteep’d,

And takes him by the hand; kisses the gashes,

That bloodily did yarn upon his face;

And cries aloud:—Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk!

My soul shall thine keep company to heaven:

Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast;

As in this glorious and well foughten field,

We keep together in our chivalry!

Upon these words I came, and cheer’d him up:

He smil’d me in the face, raught me his hand,28

And with a feeble gripe, says,—Dear, my lord,

Commend my service to my sovereign.

So did he turn, and over Suffolk’s neck

He threw his wounded arm, and kiss’d his lips;

And so espous’d to death, with blood he seal’d

A testament of noble-ending love.

The pretty and sweet manner of it forc’d

Those waters from me, which I would have stopp’d;

But I had not so much of man in me,

But all my mother came into mine eyes,

And gave me up to tears.

Re-enter English Herald and Trumpeter, R.H.

K. Hen.

I blame you not:

For, hearing this, I must perforce compound

With mistful eyes, or they will issue too.

Trumpet without, R.


Exe. Here comes the herald of the French, my liege.

Glo. His eyes are humbler than they us’d to be.

Enter Montjoy,(N) and attendants, R.H. Montjoy uncovers and kneels.

K. Hen. How now! what means this, herald?

Com’st thou again for ransom?


No, great king:

I come to thee for charitable licence,

That we may wander o’er this bloody field

To book our dead, and then to bury them;

To sort our nobles from our common men,

For many of our princes (woe the while!)

Lie drown’d and soak’d in mercenary blood;

(So do our vulgar drench their peasant limbs

In blood of princes;) and their wounded steeds

Fret fetlock deep in gore, and, with wild rage

Yerk out their armed heels at their dead masters,

Killing them twice. O, give us leave, great king,

To view the field in safety, and dispose

Of their dead bodies!

K. Hen.

I tell thee truly, herald,

I know not if the day be ours or no;

For yet a many of your horsemen peer

And gallop o’er the field.


The day is yours.

K. Hen. Praised be Heaven, and not our strength, for it!—

What is this castle call’d that stands hard by?

Mont. They call it—Agincourt.

K. Hen. Then call we this—the field of Agincourt,

Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.

Loud flourish of Trumpets, and shouts of the soldiers. Montjoy rises from his knee, and stands R.

Flu. (L.) Your grandfather of famous memory, an’t please your majesty, and your great uncle Edward the plack prince of Wales, as I have read in the chronicles, fought a most prave pattle here in France.

K. Hen. (C.) They did, Fluellen.

Flu. Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshman did goot service in a 69 garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps;29 which, your majesty knows, to this hour is an honourable padge of the service; and I do believe, your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day.

K. Hen. I wear it for a memorable honour;

For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.

Flu. All the water in Wye cannot wash your majesty’s Welsh plood out of your pody, I can tell you that: Heaven pless it, and preserve it, as long as it pleases his grace, and his majesty too!

K. Hen. Thanks, good my countryman.

Flu. I am your majesty’s countryman, I care not who know it: I will confess it to all the ’orld: I need not to be ashamed of your majesty, praised be Heaven, so long as your majesty is an honest man.

K. Hen. Heaven keep me so!—Our herald go with him:

Bring me just notice of the numbers dead

On both our parts.—

Exeunt Montjoy and attendants, with English Herald, R.H.

Call yonder fellow hither.

Points to Williams, who is standing in the ranks up the stage, L.

Exe. Soldier, you must come to the king.

K. Hen. (C.) Soldier, why wear’st thou that glove in thy cap?

Will. kneels R. An’t please your majesty, ’tis the gage of one that I should fight withal, if he be alive.

Rises from his knee.

K. Hen. An Englishman?

Will. An’t please your majesty, a rascal that swaggered with me last night; who, if ’a live, and ever dare to challenge this glove, I have sworn to take him a box o’ the ear: or, if I can see my glove in his cap (which he swore, as he was a soldier, he would wear, if alive,) I will strike it out soundly.


K. Hen. What think you, Captain Fluellen? is it fit this soldier keep his oath?

Flu. (L.) He is a craven and a villain else, an’t please your majesty, in my conscience.

K. Hen. It may be his enemy is a gentleman of great sort,30 quite from the answer of his degree.31

Flu. Though he be as goot a gentleman as the tevil is, as Lucifer and Belzebub himself, it is necessary, look your grace, that he keep his vow and his oath.

K. Hen. Then keep thy vow, sirrah, when thou meet’st the fellow.

Will. So I will, my liege, as I live.

K. Hen. Who servest thou under?

Will. Under Captain Gower, my liege.

Flu. Gower is a goot captain, and is good knowledge and literature in the wars.

K. Hen. Call him hither to me, soldier.

Will. I will, my liege.

Exit, R.H.

K. Hen. Here, Fluellen; wear thou this favour for me, and stick it in thy cap: When Alençon and myself were down together,(O) I plucked this glove from his helm: if any man challenge this, he is a friend to Alençon and an enemy to our person; if thou encounter any such, apprehend him, an thou dost love me.

Flu. Your grace does me as great honours as can be desired in the hearts of his subjects: I would fain see the man, that has but two legs, that shall find himself aggriefed at this glove, that is all.

K. Hen. Knowest thou Gower?

Flu. He is my dear friend, an please you.

K. Hen. Pray thee, go seek him, and bring him to my tent.

Flu. (L.) I will fetch him.

Crosses to R., and exit R.H.

K. Hen. (L.C.) My lord of Warwick,—and my brother Gloster,

Both advance to the King.

Follow Fluellen closely at the heels:


The glove which I have given him for a favour

May haply purchase him a box o’ the ear;

It is the soldier’s; I, by bargain, should

Wear it myself. Follow, good cousin Warwick:

Warwick crosses to R.

If that the soldier strike him (as, I judge,

By his blunt bearing, he will keep his word,)

Some sudden mischief may arise of it;

For I do know Fluellen valiant,

And, touch’d with choler, hot as gunpowder,

And quickly will return an injury:

Follow, Gloster crosses to R. and see there be no harm between them.—

Warwick and Gloster exeunt R.H.

Go you with me, Uncle of Exeter.

Exeunt Omnes, L.H.

Trumpets sound.


Enter Gower and Williams, R.H.

Will. I warrant it is to knight you, captain.

Enter Fluellen, R.H.

Flu. Heaven’s will and pleasure, captain, I peseech you now, come apace to the king: there is more goot toward you peradventure than is in your knowledge to dream of.

Will. Sir, know you this glove?

Flu. (C.) Know the glove! I know, the glove is a glove.

Will. (R.C.) I know this; and thus I challenge it.

Strikes him.

Flu. ’Sblud, an arrant traitor as any’s in the universal ’orld, or in France, or in England!

Gow. (L.C.) How now, sir! you villain!

Will. Do you think I’ll be forsworn?

Flu. Stand away, Captain Gower; I will give treason his payment in plows, I warrant you.

Will. I am no traitor.

Flu. That’s a lie in thy throat.—I charge you in his majesty’s name, apprehend him: he’s a friend of the duke Alençon’s.


Enter Warwick and Gloster,(P) R.H.

Glos. crosses to C. How now, how now! what’s the matter?

Flu. My lord of Gloster, here is (praised be Heaven for it!) a most contagious treason come to light, look you, as you shall desire in a summer’s day. Here is his majesty.

Enter King Henry, Exeter, and others, U.E.L.H.

K. Hen. coming down centre. How now! what’s the matter?

Flu. (L.H.) My liege, here is a villain and a traitor, that, look your grace, has struck the glove which your majesty is take out of the helmet of Alençon.

Will. (R.C.) My liege, this was my glove; here is the fellow of it; and he that I gave it to in change promised to wear it in his cap: I promised to strike him, if he did: I met this man with my glove in his cap, and I have been as good as my word.

Flu. Your majesty hear now (saving your majesty’s manhood) what an arrant, rascally, beggarly, lowsy knave it is: I hope, your majesty is pear me testimony, and witness, and avouchments, that this is the glove of Alençon, that your majesty is give me, in your conscience, now.

K. Hen. Give me thy glove, soldier: Look, here is the fellow of it. ’Twas I, indeed, thou promised’st to strike; and thou hast given me most bitter terms.

Williams falls on his knee.

Flu. An please your majesty, let his neck answer for it, if there is any martial law in the ’orld.

K. Hen. How can’st thou make me satisfaction?

Will. All offences, my liege, come from the heart: never came any from mine, that might offend your majesty.

K. Hen. It was ourself thou didst abuse.

Will. Your majesty came not like yourself: you appeared to me but as a common man; witness the night, your garments, your lowliness; and what your highness suffered under that shape, I beseech you, take it for your own fault, and not mine: for had you been as I took you for, I made no offence; therefore, I beseech your highness, pardon me.

K. Hen. Here, uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns,


And give it to this fellow.—(Williams rises.) Keep it, fellow;

And wear it for an honour in thy cap

Till I do challenge it.—Give him the crowns:—

And, captain, you must needs be friends with him.

The King goes up the stage with Exeter, Bedford, and Gloster.

Flu. By this day and this light, the fellow has mettle enough in his pelly.—Hold, there is twelve pence for you; and I pray you to serve Heaven, and keep you out of prawls, and prabbles, and quarrels, and dissensions, and, I warrant you, it is the petter for you.

Will. I will none of your money.

Flu. It is with a goot will; I can tell you, it will serve you to mend your shoes: Come, wherefore should you be so pashful? your shoes is not so goot: ’tis a goot silling, I warrant you, or I will change it.

Exit Williams, R.H.

Enter English Herald, R.H.

K. Hen. coming down C. Now, herald, are the dead number’d?

Herald uncovers, kneels, and delivers papers. The King gives one paper to Exeter.

K. Hen. (C.) What prisoners of good sort are taken, uncle?

Exe. (L.C.) Charles duke of Orleans, nephew to the king;

John duke of Bourbon, and lord Bouciqualt:

Of other lords and barons, knights and ’squires,

Full fifteen hundred, besides common men.

K. Hen. (C.) This note doth tell me of ten thousand French

That in the field lie slain: of princes, in this number,

And nobles bearing banners, there lie dead

One hundred twenty-six: added to these,

Of knights, esquires, and gallant gentlemen,

Eight thousand and four hundred; of the which,

Five hundred were but yesterday dubb’d knights:32

So that, in these ten thousand they have lost,


There are but sixteen hundred mercenaries:33

The rest are—princes, barons, lords, knights, ’squires,

And gentlemen of blood and quality.

Here was a royal fellowship of death!——(Q)

What is the number of our English dead?

Exe. (L.C.) Edward the duke of York, the earl of Suffolk,

Sir Richard Ketley, Davy Gam, esquire:

None else of name; and of all other men

But five and twenty.

K. Hen. O Heaven, thy arm was here;

And not to us, but to thy arm alone,

Ascribe we all! When, without stratagem,

But in plain shock and even play of battle,

Was ever known so great and little loss

On one part and on the other?—Take it, Heaven,

For it is only thine!

Returns papers to Herald, who rises and stands L.


’Tis wonderful!

K. Hen. Come, go we in procession to the village:

And be it death proclaimed through our host

To boast of this, or take that praise from Heaven

Which is his only.

Flu. (R.C.) Is it not lawful, and please your majesty, to tell how many is killed?

K. Hen. up the stage C. Yes, captain; but with this acknowledgment,

That Heaven fought for us.

Flu. Yes, my conscience, he did us great goot.

K. Hen. Do we all holy rites:(R)

The curtains of the Royal Pavilion are drawn aside, and discover an Altar and Priests.

Let there be sung Non nobis and Te Deum;

The dead with charity enclos’d in clay:

We’ll then to Calais; and to England then;

Where ne’er from France arriv’d more happy men.

Organ music; all kneel, and join in Song of Thanksgiving.




(A) The English Camp at Agincourt.] The French were about a quarter of a mile from them at Agincourt and Ruisseauville, and both armies proceeded to light their fires, and to make the usual arrangements for a bivouack. The night was very rainy, and much inconvenience is said to have been experienced in each camp from wet and cold, accompanied, among the English, by hunger and fatigue. It was passed in a manner strictly consistent with their relative situations. The French, confident in their numbers, occupied the hours not appropriated to sleep in calculating upon their success; and in full security of a complete victory, played at dice with each other for the disposal of their prisoners, an archer being valued at a blank, and the more important persons in proportion; whilst the English were engaged in preparing their weapons, and in the most solemn acts of religion.***The Chronicler in the text states, that from the great stillness which prevailed throughout the English camp, the enemy imagined they were panic-struck, and intended to decamp. Monstrelet relates that the English “were much fatigued and oppressed by cold, hunger, and other annoyances; that they made their peace with God, by confessing their sins with tears, and numbers of them taking the sacrament; for, as it was related by some prisoners, they looked for certain death on the morrow.”

(B) Enter Erpingham.] Sir Thomas Erpingham came over with Bolingbroke from Bretagne, and was one of the commissioners to receive King Richard’s abdication. In Henry the Fifth’s time Sir Thomas was warden of Dover Castle, and at the battle of Agincourt, was commander of the Archers. This venerable knight is described by Monstrelet to have grown grey with age and honour; and when orders were given for the English army to march toward the enemy, by Henry crying aloud, “Advance banners,” Sir Thomas threw his truncheon in the air as a signal to the whole field, exclaiming, “Now strike;” and loud and repeated shouts testified the readiness with which they obeyed the command.

(C) I Richard’s body have interred new;] Henry was anxious not only to repair his own misconduct, but also to make amends for 76 those iniquities into which policy or the necessity of affairs had betrayed his father. He expressed the deepest sorrow for the fate of the unhappy Richard, did justice to the memory of that unfortunate prince, even performed his funeral obsequies with pomp and solemnity, and cherished all those who had distinguished themselves by their loyalty and attachment towards him. —Hume’s History of England.

(D) Enter Orleans.] Charles Duke of Orleans was wounded and taken prisoner at Agincourt. Henry refused all ransom for him, and he remained in captivity twenty-three years.

This prince was a celebrated poet, and some of his most beautiful verses were composed during his confinement in the Tower of London. He married Isabella of Valois, daughter of Charles VI. and Isabeau of Bavaria, eldest sister to the Princess Katharine, Queen of Henry V.

Isabella was the widow of our Richard the Second when she married the Duke of Orleans.

After the victory of Agincourt, the following anecdote is related by Remy:— “During their journey to Calais, at a place where they rested, Henry caused bread and wine to be brought to him, which he sent to the Duke of Orleans; but the French Prince would neither eat nor drink. This being reported to the King, he imagined that it arose from dissatisfaction, and, therefore, went to the duke. ‘Noble cousin,’ said Henry, ‘how are you?’ ‘Well, my lord,’ answered the duke. ‘Why, then, is it,’ added the King, ‘that you will neither eat nor drink?’ To which Orleans replied, ‘that truly he had no inclination for food.’ ‘Noble cousin,’ rejoined Henry, ‘be of good heart. I know that God gave me the victory over the French, not that I deserved it, but I fully believe that he wished to punish them; and if what I have heard is true, it is not to be wondered at, for never were there greater disorder, sensuality, sins, and vices seen than now prevail in France; which it is horrible to hear described; and if God is provoked, it is not a subject of surprise, and no one can be astonished.’ Many more conversations are said to have passed between the King and the Duke of Orleans, and the commisseration and courtesy of the former to his prisoners is mentioned by every writer in terms of just praise.”

(E) The English army, drawn up for battle;] The victory gained at Agincourt, in the year 1415, is, in a great measure, ascribed to the English Archers, and that there might be no want of arrows, Henry V. ordered the sheriffs of several counties to procure feathers from the wings of geese, plucking six from each goose. An archer of this time was clad in a cuirass, or a hauberk of chain-mail, with a salade on his head, which was a kind of bacinet. Every man had a good bow, a sheaf of arrows, and a sword. Fabian describes the archer’s dress at the battle of Agincourt. “The yeomen had their limbs at liberty, for their hose was fastened with one point, and their jackets were easy to shoot 77 in, so that they might draw bows of great strength, and shoot arrows a yard long.” Some are described as without hats or caps, others with caps of boiled leather, or wicker work, crossed over with iron; some without shoes, and all in a very dilapidated condition. Each bore on his shoulder a long stake, sharpened at both extremities, which he was instructed to fix obliquely before him in the ground, and thus oppose a rampart of pikes to the charge of the French Cavalry.


O that we now had here

But one ten thousand of those men in England

That do no work to day!]

A certain lord Walter Hungerford, knight, was regretting in the king’s presence that he had not, in addition to the small retinue which he had there, ten thousand of the best English Archers, who would be desirous of being with him; when the King said, Thou speaketh foolishly, for, by the God of Heaven, on whose grace I have relied, and in whom I have a firm hope of victory, I would not, even if I could, increase my number by one; for those whom I have are the people of God, whom He thinks me worthy to have at this time. Dost thou not believe the Almighty, with these his humble few, is able to conquer the haughty opposition of the French, who pride themselves on their numbers, and their own strength, as if it might be said they would do as they liked? And in my opinion, God, of his true justice, would not bring any disaster upon one of so great confidence, as neither fell out to Judas Maccabeus until he became distrustful, and thence deservedly fell into ruin. —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

(G) Enter King Henry, attended.] Henry rose with the earliest dawn, and immediately heard three masses. He was habited in his “cote d’armes,” containing the arms of France and England quarterly, and wore on his bacinet a very rich crown of gold and jewels, circled like an imperial crown, that is, arched over. The earliest instance of an arched crown worn by an English monarch. —Vide Planché’s History of British Costume.

King Henry had at Agincourt for his person five banners; that is, the banner of the Trinity, the banner of St. George, the banner of St. Edward, the banner of St. Edmund, and the banner of his own arms. “When the King of England had drawn up his order of battle he made a fine address to his troops, exhorting them to act well; saying, that he was come into France to recover his lawful inheritance, and that he had good and just cause to claim it; that in that quarrel they might freely and surely fight; that they should remember that they were born in the kingdom where their fathers and mothers, wives and children, now dwelt, and therefore they ought to strive to return there with great glory and fame; that the kings of England, his predecessors, had gained many noble battles and successes over the French; that on that day every one should endeavour to preserve his own person and the honor of the crown of the King of England. He moreover 78 reminded them that the French boasted they would cut off three fingers from the right hand of every archer they should take, so that their shot should never again kill man nor horse. The army cried out loudly, saying, ‘Sir, we pray God give you a good life, and the victory over your enemies.’” —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

The banner of the Oriflamme is said to have been unfurled by the French for the last time at Agincourt.

(H) The feast of Crispian.] The battle of Agincourt was fought upon the 25th of October, 1415, St. Crispin’s day. The legend upon which this is founded, is as follows:— “Crispinus and Crispianus were brethren, born at Rome; from whence they travelled to Soissons in France, about the year 303, to propagate the Christian religion; but because they would not be chargeable to others for their maintenance, they exercised the trade of shoemakers; but the Governor of the town, discovering them to be Christians, ordered them to be beheaded about the year 303. From which time, the shoemakers made choice of them for their tutelar saints.” —See Hall’s Chronicle.

(I) Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster.] Although Shakespeare has adhered very closely to history in many parts of Henry V., he has deviated very much from it in the Dramatis Personæ. He makes the Duke of Bedford accompany Henry to Harfleur and Agincourt when he was Regent of England. The Earl of Exeter, or, more properly speaking, the Earl of Dorset, was left to command Harfleur; the Earl of Westmoreland, so far from quitting England, was appointed to defend the marches of Scotland, nor does it appear that the Earl of Salisbury was either at Harfleur or Agincourt. The Earl of Warwick* had returned to England ill from Harfleur. The characters introduced in the play who really were at Agincourt, are the Dukes of Gloucester and York, and Sir Thomas Erpingham.

Holinshed states that the English army consisted of 15,000, and the French of 60,000 horse and 40,000 infantry—in all, 100,000. Walsingham and Harding represent the English as but 9,000, and other authors say that the number of French amounted to 150,000. Fabian says the French were 40,000, and the English only 7,000. The battle lasted only three hours.

(K) How thou pleasest, Heaven, dispose the day.] At the battle of Agincourt, having chosen a convenient spot on which to martial his men, the king sent privately two hundred archers into a low meadow, which was on one of his flanks, where they were so well secured by a deep ditch and a marsh, that the enemy could not come near them. Then he divided his infantry into three squadrons, or battles; the van-warde, or avant-guard, composed entirely of archers; the middle-warde, of bill-men only; and the rerewarde, 79 of bill-men and archers mixed together; the horse-men, as wings, went on the flanks of each of the battles. He also caused stakes to be made of wood about five or six feet long, headed with sharp iron; these were fixed in the ground, and the archers so placed before them that they were entirely hid from the sight of the enemy. When, therefore, the heavy cavalry of the French charged, which was done with the utmost impetuosity, under the idea of cutting down and riding over the archers, they shrunk at once behind the stakes, and the Frenchmen, unable to stop their horses, rode full upon them, so that they overthrew their riders, and caused the utmost confusion. The infantry, who were to follow up and support this charge, were so struck with amazement that they hesitated, and by this were lost, for during the panic the English archers threw back their bows, and with axes, bills, glaives, and swords, slew the French, till they met the middle-warde. The king himself, according to Speed, rode in the main battle completely armed, his shield quartering the achievements of France and England; upon his helm he wore a coronet encircled with pearls and precious stones, and after the victory, although it had been cut and bruised, he would not suffer it to be ostentatiously exhibited to the people, but ordered all his men to give the glory to God alone. His horse was one of fierce courage, and had a bridle and furniture of goldsmiths’ work, and the caparisons were most richly embroidered with the victorious ensigns of the English monarchy. Thus is he represented on his great seal, with the substitution of a knights’ cap, and the crest, for the chaplet. Elmham’s account, from which this is amplified, is more particular in some of the details; he relates, that the king appeared on a palfrey, followed by a train of led horses, ornamented with the most gorgeous trappings; his helmet was of polished steel, surmounted with a coronet sparkling with jewels, and on his surcoat, or rather jupon, were emblazoned the arms of France and England, azure, three fleurs-de-lis or, and gules, three lion’s passant guardant or. The nobles, in like manner, were decorated with their proper armorial bearings. Before him was borne the royal standard, which was ornamented with gold and splendid colours. An account of the memorable battle of Azincourt, or Agincourt, fought on the 25th of October, 1415, is thus related by Mr. Turner:— “At dawn the King of England had matins and the mass chaunted in his army. He stationed all the horses and baggage in the village, under such small guard as he could spare, having resolved to fight the battle on foot. He sagaciously perceived that his only chance of victory rested in the superiority of the personal fortitude and activity of his countrymen, and to bring them face to face, and arm to arm, with their opponents, was the simple object of his tactical dispositions. He formed his troops into three divisions, with two wings. The centre, in which he stationed himself, he planted to act against the main body of the French, and he placed the right and left divisions, with their wings, at a small distance only from himself. He so chose his ground that the village protected his rear, and hedges and briars 80 defended his flanks. Determined to shun no danger, but to be a conspicuous example to his troops on a day when no individual exertions could be spared, he put on a neat and shining armour, with a large and brilliant helmet, and on this he placed a crown, radiant with its jewels, and he put over him a tunic adorned with the arms of France and England. He mounted his horse, and proceeded to address his troops. The French were commanded by the Constable of France, and with him were the Dukes of Orleans, Burgundy, Berry, and Alençon, the Marshal and Admiral of France, and a great assemblage of French nobility. Their force was divided into three great battalions, and continued formed till ten o’clock, not advancing to the attack. They were so numerous as to be able to draw up thirty deep, the English but four. A thousand speared horsemen skirmished from each of the horns of the enemy’s line, and it appeared crowded with balistae for the projection of stones of all sizes on Henry’s little army. Henry sent a part of his force behind the village of Agincourt, where the French had placed no men at arms. He moved from the rear of his army, unperceived, two hundred archers, to hide themselves in a meadow on the flank of the French advanced line. An old and experienced knight, Sir Thomas Erpingham, formed the rest into battle array for an attack, putting the archers in front, and the men at arms behind. The archers had each a sharp stake pointed at both ends, to use against the French horse. Sir Thomas having completed his formation, threw up his truncheon in the air, and dismounted. The English began the attack, which the French had awaited, not choosing to give the advantage as at Poictiers; but when they saw them advance, they put themselves in motion, and their cavalry charged; these were destroyed by the English archers. The French, frightened by the effect of the arrows, bent their heads to prevent them from entering the vizors of their helmets, and, pressing forward, became so wedged together as to be unable to strike. The archers threw back their bows, and, grasping their swords, battle-axes, and other weapons, cut their way to the second line. At this period the ambushed archers rushed out, and poured their impetuous and irresistable arrows into the centre of the assailed force, which fell in like manner with the first line. In short, every part successively gave way, and the English had only to kill and take prisoners.”

(L) The Duke of York commanded the van guard of the English army, and was slain in the battle.

This personage is the same who appears in Shakespeare’s play of King Richard the Second by the title of Duke of Aumerle. His Christian name was Edward. He was the eldest son of Edmund Langley, Duke of York, who is introduced in the same play, and who was the fifth son of King Edward III. Richard, Earl of Cambridge, who appears in the second act of this play, was younger brother to this Edward, Duke of York.

(M) Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:] After the battle, 81 “there were small bodies of the French on different parts of the plain, but they were soon routed, slain, or taken.”

(N) Enter Montjoy.] He (the king) asked Montjoye to whom the victory belonged, to him or to the King of France? Montjoye replied that the victory was his, and could not be claimed by the King of France. The king said to the French and English heralds, “It is not we who have made this great slaughter, but the omnipotent God, as we believe, for a punishment of the sins of the French. The king then asked the name of the castle he saw near him. He was told it was Agincourt. Well, then, said he, since all battles should bear the name of the fortress nearest to the spot where they were fought, this battle shall from henceforth bear the ever durable name of Agincourt.” —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

(O) When Alençon and myself were down together.] During the battle, the Duke of Alençon most valiantly broke through the English line, and advanced, fighting, near to the king, insomuch that he wounded and struck down the Duke of York. King Henry, seeing this, stepped forth to his aid, and as he was leaning down to raise him, the Duke of Alençon gave him a blow on the helmet that struck off part of his crown. The king’s guard on this surrounded him, when, seeing he could no way escape death but by surrendering, he lifted up his arm, and said to the king, “I am the Duke of Alençon, and yield myself to you;” but as the king was holding out his hand to receive his pledge, he was put to death by the guards. —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

(P) Enter Warwick and Gloster.] The noble Duke of Gloucester, the king’s brother, pushing himself too vigorously on his horse into the conflict, was grievously wounded, and cast down to the earth by the blows of the French, for whose protection the king being interested, he bravely leapt against his enemies in defence of his brother, defended him with his own body, and plucked and guarded him from the raging malice of the enemy’s, sustaining perils of war scarcely possible to be borne. —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

(Q) Here was a royal fellowship of death!—] There is not much difficulty in forming a correct estimate of the numbers of the French slain at Agincourt, for if those writers who only state that from three to five thousand were killed, merely meant the men-at-arms and persons of superior rank, and which is exceedingly probable, we may at once adopt the calculation of Monstrelet, Elmham, &c., and estimate the whole loss on the field at from ten to eleven thousand men. It is worthy of remark how very nearly the different statements on the subject approach to each other, and which can only be explained by the fact that the dead had been carefully numbered.

Among the most illustrious persons slain were the Dukes of Brabant, Barré, and Alençon, five counts, and a still greater proportion of distinguished knights; and the Duke of Orleans, the Count of Vendôsme, who was taken by Sir John Cornwall, 82 the Marshall Bouciqualt, and numerous other individuals of distinction, whose names are minutely recorded by Monstrelet, were made prisoners. The loss of the English army has been variously estimated. The discrepancies respecting the number slain on the part of the victors, form a striking contrast to the accuracy of the account of the loss of their enemies. The English writers vary in their statements from seventeen to one hundred, whilst the French chroniclers assert that from three hundred to sixteen hundred individuals fell on that occasion. St. Remy and Monstrelet assert that sixteen hundred were slain. —Nicolas’s History of Agincourt.

(R) Do we all holy rites:] Holinshed says, that when the king saw no appearance of enemies, he caused the retreat to be blown, and gathering his army together, gave thanks to Almighty God for so happy a victory, causing his prelates and chaplains to sing this psalm—In exitu Israel de Egypto; and commanding every man to kneel down on the ground at this verse—Non nobis domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam; which, done, he caused Te Deum and certain anthems to be sung, giving laud and praise to God, and not boasting of his own force, or any human power.


Enter Chorus.

Chor. Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story,

That I may prompt them.

Now we bear the king

Towards Calais: grant him there; there seen,

Heave him away upon your winged thoughts

Athwart the sea. Behold, the English beach

Pales in the flood with men, with wives, and boys,

Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep-mouth’d sea,

Which, like a mighty whiffler1 ’fore the king

Seems to prepare his way: so let him land;

And solemnly, see him set on to London.

So swift a pace hath thought, that even now

You may imagine him upon Blackheath.

How London doth pour out her citizens!

The mayor, and all his brethren, in best sort,—

Like to the senators of the antique Rome,

With the plebeians swarming at their heels,—

Go forth, and fetch their conquering Cæsar in.

Now in London place him. There must we bring him;

Show the occurrences, whatever chanc’d,

Till Harry’s back-return again to France.








* Extracts of King Henry’s reception into London, from the anonymous Chronicler, who was an eye-witness of the events he describes:—

“And when the wished-for Saturday dawned, the citizens went forth to meet the king.***viz., the Mayor and Aldermen in scarlet, and the rest of the inferior citizens in red suits, with party-coloured hoods, red and white.***When they had come to the Tower at the approach to the bridge, as it were at the entrance to the authorities to the city.***Banners of the Royal arms adorned the Tower, elevated on its turrets; and trumpets, clarions, and horns, sounded in various melody; and in front there was this elegant and suitable inscription upon the wall, ‘Civitas Regis justicie’—(‘The city to the King’s righteousness.’)***And behind the Tower were innumerable boys, representing angels, arrayed in white, and with countenances shining with gold, and glittering wings, and virgin locks set with precious sprigs of laurel, who, at the King’s approach, sang with melodious voices, and with organs, an English anthem.


“A company of Prophets, of venerable hoariness, dressed in golden coats and mantles, with their heads covered and wrapped 85 in gold and crimson, sang with sweet harmony, bowing to the ground, a psalm of thanksgiving.


“Beneath the covering were the twelve kings, martyrs and confessors of the succession of England, their loins girded with golden girdles, sceptres in their hands, and crowns on their heads, who chaunted with one accord at the King’s approach in a sweet tune.


“And they sent forth upon him round leaves of silver mixed with wafers, equally thin and round. And there proceeded out to meet the King a chorus of most beautiful virgin girls, elegantly attired in white, singing with timbrol and dance; and then innumerable boys, as it were an angelic multitude, decked with celestial gracefulness, white apparel, shining feathers, virgin locks, studded with gems and other resplendent and most elegant array, who sent forth upon the head of the King passing beneath minæ of gold, with bows of laurel; round about angels shone with celestial gracefulness, chaunting sweetly, and with all sorts of music.

“And besides the pressure in the standing places, and of men crowding through the streets, and the multitude of both sexes along the way from the bridge, from one end to the other, that scarcely the horsemen could ride through them. A greater assembly, or a nobler spectacle, was not recollected to have been ever before in London.”




Enter Fluellen and Gower, L.H.

Gow. Nay, that’s right; but why wear you your leek today? Saint Davy’s day is past.

Flu. There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things: I will tell you, as my friend, Captain Gower: the rascally, scald, beggarly, lowsy, pragging knave, Pistol,—he is come to me, and prings me pread and salt yesterday, look you, and pid me eat my leek: it was in a place where I could not preed no contentions with him; but I will be so pold as to wear it in my cap till I see him once again, and then I will tell him a little piece of my desires.

Enter Pistol, R.H.

Gow. Why, here he comes, swelling like a turkey-cock.

Flu. ’Tis no matter for his swellings nor his turkey-cocks.—Heaven pless you, ancient Pistol! you scurvy, lowsy knave, Heaven pless you!

Pist. Ha! art thou Bedlam? dost thou thirst, base Trojan,

To have me fold up Parca’s fatal web?1

Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.

Crosses to L.H.

Flu. I peseech you heartily, scurvy, lowsy knave, at my desires, and my requests, and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek: because, look you, you do not love it, nor your affections, and your appetites, and your digestions, does not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it.

Pist. crosses to R.H. Not for Cadwallader and all his goats.


Flu. There is one goat for you. Strikes him. Will you be so goot, scald knave, as eat it?

Pist. Base Trojan, thou shalt die.

Flu. You say very true, scald knave, when Heaven’s will is: I will desire you to live in the mean time, and eat your victuals: come, there is sauce for it. Striking him again. You called me yesterday mountain-squire; but I will make you to-day a squire of low degree.2 I pray you, fall to: if you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.

Gow. Enough, captain: you have astonished him.3

Flu. I say, I will make him eat some part of my leek, or I will peat his pate four days.—Pite, I pray you; it is goot for you.

Pist. Must I bite?

Flu. Yes, certainly, and out of doubt, and out of questions too, and ambiguities.

Pist. By this leek, I will most horribly revenge: I eat, and eke I swear——

Flu. Eat, I pray you: Will you have some more sauce to your leek? there is not enough leek to swear by.

Pist. Quiet thy cudgel; thou dost see I eat.

Flu. Much goot do you, scald knave, heartily. Nay, ’pray you, throw none away; the skin is goot for your proken coxcomb. When you take occasions to see leeks hereafter, I pray you, mock at them; that is all.

Pist. Good.

Flu. Ay, leeks is goot:—Hold you, there is a groat to heal your pate.

Pist. Me a groat!

Flu. Yes, verily and in truth, you shall take it; or I have another leek in my pocket, which you shall eat.

Pist. I take thy groat in earnest of revenge.

Flu. If I owe you any thing, I will pay you in cudgels. Heaven be wi’ you, and keep you, and heal your pate.

Exit L.H.

Pist. crosses to L.H. All hell shall stir for this.

Crosses to R.H.


Gow. Go, go; you are a counterfeit cowardly knave. Will you mock at an ancient tradition,—begun upon an honourable respect, and worn as a memorable trophy of predeceased valour,—and dare not avouch in your deeds any of your words? I have seen you gleeking4 and galling at this gentleman twice or thrice. You thought, because he could not speak English in the native garb, he could not therefore handle an English cudgel: you find it otherwise; and henceforth let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition.5 Fare ye well.

Exit, L.H.

Pist. Doth fortune play the huswife6 with me now?

Old I do wax; and from my weary limbs

Honour is cudgell’d.

To England will I steal:

And patches will I get unto these scars,

And swear, I got them in the Gallia wars.

Exit, R.H.


Trumpets sound. Enter, at one door, U.E.L.H., King Henry,(A) Bedford, Gloster, Exeter, Warwick, Westmoreland, and other Lords; at another, U.E.R.H., the French King, Queen Isabel, the Princess Katharine,7(B) Lords, Ladies, &c., the Duke of Burgundy, and his Train. The two parties, French and English, are divided by barriers.

K. Hen. (L.C.) Peace to this meeting, wherefore we are met!8

Unto our brother France,—and to our sister,


Health and fair time of day;—joy and good wishes

To our most fair and princely cousin Katharine;

And (as a branch and member of this royalty,

By whom this great assembly is contriv’d,)

We do salute you, duke of Burgundy;—

And, princes French, and peers, health to you all!

All the French party bow to King Henry.

Fr. King. (R.C.) Right joyous are we to behold your face,

Most worthy brother England; fairly met:—

So are you, princes English, every one.

Q. Isa. R. of F. King. So happy be the issue, brother England,

Of this good day, and of this gracious meeting,

As we are now glad to behold your eyes;

Your eyes, which hitherto have borne in them

Against the French, that met them in their bent,

The fatal balls of murdering basilisks:9

The venom of such looks, we fairly hope,

Have lost their quality; and that this day

Shall change all griefs and quarrels into love.

K. Hen. To cry amen to that, thus we appear.

Q.Isa. You English princes all, I do salute you.

All the English party bow to Queen Isabella.

Bur. (R.) My duty to you both, on equal love,

Great kings of France and England!

Let it not disgrace me,

If I demand, before this royal view,

What rub or what impediment there is,

Why that the naked, poor, and mangled peace

Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful births,

Should not, in this best garden of the world,

Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?

K. Hen. If, duke of Burgundy, you would the peace,

Which you have cited, you must buy that peace

With full accord to all our just demands;

Whose tenours and particular effects

You have, enschedul’d briefly, in your hands.


Fr. King. I have but with a cursorary eye

O’er-glanc’d the articles: pleaseth your grace

To appoint some of your council presently

To sit with us once more, with better heed

To re-survey them, we will suddenly

Pass our accept and peremptory answer.10

K. Hen. Brother, we shall.—Go, uncle Exeter,—

And brother Bedford,—and you, brother Gloster,—

Warwick,—and Huntingdon,—go with the king;

And take with you free power, to ratify,

Augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best

Shall see advantageable for our dignity,

And we’ll consign thereto.—

Barriers removed. The English Lords, Exeter, Bedford, Gloster, Warwick, and Huntingdon, cross to the King of France, and exeunt afterwards with him.

Will you, fair sister,

Go with the princes, or stay here with us?

Q. Isa. Our gracious brother, I will go with them:

Haply a woman’s voice may do some good,

When articles too nicely urg’d be stood on.

K. Hen. Yet leave our cousin Katharine here with us:

She is our capital demand, compris’d

Within the fore rank of our articles.

Q. Isa. She hath good leave.

Trumpets sound.

Exeunt all through gates, L.E.R. and L., but Henry, Katharine, and her Gentlewomen.

K. Hen. (L.C.)

Fair Katharine, and most fair!

Will you vouchsafe to teach a soldier terms,

Such as will enter at a lady’s ear,

And plead his love-suit to her gentle heart?

Kath. (R.C.) Votre majesté shall mock at me; I cannot speak votre Anglais.

K. Hen. O fair Katharine, if you will love me soundly with your French heart, I will be glad to hear you confess it brokenly with your English tongue. Do you like me, Kate?


Kath. Pardonnez moi, I cannot tell vat is—like me.

K. Hen. An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like an angel.

Kath. Que dit-il? que je suis semblable aux anges?

K. Hen. I said so, dear Katharine; and I must not blush to affirm it.

Kath. O bon Dieu! les langues des hommes sont pleines de tromperies.

K. Hen. What say you, fair one?

Kath. Dat de tongues of de mans is be full of deceits.

K. Hen. I’faith, Kate. I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say—I love you: then, if you urge me further than to say—Do you in faith? I wear out my suit. Give me your answer; i’faith, do; and so clap hands and a bargain: How say you, lady?

Kath. Me understand well.

K. Hen. Marry, if you would put me to verses or to dance for your sake, Kate, why you undid me. If I could win a lady at leap-frog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour on my back, under the correction of bragging, be it spoken, I should quickly leap into a wife. But, before Heaven, I cannot look greenly,11 nor gasp out my eloquence, nor I have no cunning in protestation; only downright oaths, which I never use till urged, nor never break for urging. If thou canst love a fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth sun-burning, that never looks in his glass for love of any thing he sees there, let thine eye be thy cook. I speak to thee plain soldier: If thou canst love me for this, take me; if not, to say to thee—that I shall die, is true, but—for thy love, by the lord, no; yet I love thee too. And while thou livest, dear Kate, take a fellow of plain and uncoined constancy;12 for a good leg will fall;13 a straight back will stoop; a black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax hollow: but a good heart,


Kate, is the sun and moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon, for it shines bright, and never changes, but keeps his course truly. If thou would have such a one, take me: And take me, take a soldier; take a soldier, take a king: And what sayest thou, then, to my love? speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.

Kath. Est il possible dat I should love de enemy de la France?

K. Hen. No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of France, Kate: but, in loving me, you should love the friend of France; for I love France so well, that I will not part with a village of it; I will have it all mine: and, Kate, when France is mine, and I am yours, then yours is France, and you are mine.

Kath. Vat is dat?

K. Hen. Kate, dost thou understand thus much English? Canst thou love me?

Kath. I cannot tell.

K. Hen. Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? I’ll ask them. Come, I know thou lovest me: and at night, when you come into your closet, you’ll question this gentlewoman about me; and I know, Kate, you will to her dispraise those parts in me that you love with your heart. If ever thou be’st mine, Kate, (as I have a saving faith within me, tells me,—thou shalt,) shall there not be a boy compounded between Saint Dennis and Saint George, half French, half English, that shall go to Constantinople14 and take the Turk by the beard? shall he not? what sayest thou, my fair flower-de-luce? How answer you, la plus belle Katharine du monde, mon très chère et divine déesse?

Kath. Votre majesté ’ave fausse French enough to deceive la plus sage damoiselle dat is en France.

K. Hen. Now, fie upon my false French! By mine honour, in true English, I love thee, Kate: by which honour I dare not swear thou lovest me; yet my blood begins to flatter me that thou dost, notwithstanding the poor and untempting 93 effect of my visage. But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax, the better I shall appear: my comfort is, that old age, that ill layer-up of beauty, can do no more spoil upon my face: thou hast me, if thou hast me, at the worst; and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and better: And therefore tell me, most fair Katharine, will you have me? Put off your maiden blushes; avouch the thoughts of your heart with the looks of an empress; take me by the hand, and say—Harry of England, I am thine: which word thou shalt no sooner bless mine ear withal, but I will tell thee aloud—England is thine, Ireland is thine, France is thine, and Henry Plantagenet is thine; who, though I speak it before his face, if he be not fellow with the best king, thou shalt find the best king of good fellows. Come, your answer in broken musick, for thy voice is musick, and thy English broken; therefore, queen of all, Katharine, break thy mind to me in broken English, Wilt thou have me?

Kath. Dat is as it shall please le roi mon père.

K. Hen. Nay, it will please him well, Kate; it shall please him, Kate.

Kath. Den it shall also content me.

K. Hen. Upon that I will kiss your hand, and I call you—my queen.

Kath. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez.

K. Hen. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.

Kath. Dat is not be de fashion pour les dames de la France.

K. Hen. O Kate, nice customs curt’sy to great kings. We are the makers of manners, Kate; therefore, patiently, and yielding. Kisses her. You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate: there is more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the tongues of the French council; and they should sooner persuade Harry of England than a general petition of monarchs. Trumpets sound. Here comes your father.

The centre gates are thrown open, and

Re-enter the French King and Queen, Burgundy, Bedford, Gloster, Exeter, Westmoreland. The other French and English Lords as before, U.E.R. and L.

Bur. (R.) My royal cousin, teach you our princess English?

K. Hen. (C.) I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I love her; and that is good English.


Bur. Is she not apt?

K. Hen. Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth;15 so that, having neither the voice nor the heart of flattery about me, I cannot so conjure up the spirit of love in her, that he will appear in his true likeness. Shall Kate be my wife?

Fr. King. (L.C.) So please you.

Exe. The king hath granted every article:

His daughter, first; and then, in sequel, all,

According to their firm proposèd natures.

Fr. King. Take her, fair son;

That the contending kingdoms

Of France and England, whose very shores look pale

With envy of each other’s happiness,

May cease their hatred; and this dear conjunction

Plant neighbourhood and christian-like accord

In their sweet bosoms, that never war advance

His bleeding sword ’twixt England and fair France.

K. Hen. Now, welcome, Kate:—and bear me witness all,

That here I take her as my sovereign queen.

The King places a ring on Katharine’s finger.

Prepare we for our marriage:—on which day,

My lord of Burgundy, we’ll take your oath,

And all the peers’, for surety of our leagues.—

Then shall I swear to Kate, and you to me;

And may our oaths well kept and prosp’rous be!(C)

Flourish of Trumpets. Curtain descends.




(A) Enter King Henry,] At this interview, which is described as taking place in the Church of Notre Dame, at Troyes, King Henry was attired in his armour, and accompanied by sixteen hundred warriors. Henry is related to have placed a ring of “inestimable value” on the finger of Katharine, “supposed to be the same worn by our English queen-consorts at their coronation,” at the moment when he received the promise of the princess.

(B) The Princess Katharine,] Katharine of Valois was the youngest child of Charles VI., King of France, and his Queen, Isabella of Bavaria. She was born in Paris, October 27th, 1401. Monstrelet relates, that on Trinity Sunday, June 3rd, the King of England wedded the lady Katharine in the church at Troyes, and that great pomp and magnificence were displayed by him and his princess, as if he had been king of the whole world. Katharine was crowned Queen of England February 24, 1421; and shortly after the death of her heroic husband, which event took place August 31st, 1422, the queen married a Welch gentleman of the name of Owen Tudor, by whom she had three sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Edmund, married Margaret Beaufort, the heiress of the house of Somerset. His half-brother, Henry VI., created him Earl of Richmond. He died before he reached twenty years of age, leaving an infant son, afterwards Henry VII., the first king of the Tudor line. Katharine died January 3rd, 1437, in the thirty-sixth year of her age, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

(C) ——may our oaths well kept and prosp’rous be;] The principal articles of the treaty were, that Henry should espouse the Princess Catherine: That King Charles, during his life time, should enjoy the title and dignity of King of France: That Henry should be declared and acknowledged heir of the monarchy, and be entrusted with the present administration of the government: That that kingdom should pass to his heirs general: That France and England should for ever be united under one king; but should still retain their several usages, customs, and privileges: That all the princes, peers, vassals, and communities of France, should swear, that they would both adhere to the future succession of 96 Henry, and pay him present obedience as regent: That this prince should unite his arms to those of King Charles and the Duke of Burgundy, in order to subdue the adherents of Charles, the pretended dauphin; and that these three princes should make no peace or truce with him but by common consent and agreement. Such was the tenour of this famous treaty; a treaty which, as nothing but the most violent animosity could dictate it, so nothing but the power of the sword could carry it into execution. It is hard to say whether its consequences, had it taken effect, would have proved more pernicious to England or France. It must have reduced the former kingdom to the rank of a province: It would have entirely disjointed the succession of the latter, and have brought on the destruction of the royal family; as the houses of Orleans, Anjou, Alençon, Britanny, Bourbon, and of Burgundy itself, whose titles were preferable to that of the English princes, would, on that account, have been exposed to perpetual jealousy and persecution from the sovereign. There was even a palpable deficiency in Henry’s claim, which no art could palliate. For, besides the insuperable objections to which Edward the Third’s pretensions were exposed, he was not heir to that monarch: If female succession were admitted, the right had devolved on the house of Mortimer: Allowing that Richard the Second was a tyrant, and that Henry the Fourth’s merits in deposing him were so great towards the English, as to justify that nation in placing him on the throne, Richard had nowise offended France, and his rival had merited nothing of that kingdom: It could not possibly be pretended that the crown of France was become an appendage to that of England; and that a prince who by any means got possession of the latter, was, without farther question, entitled to the former. So that, on the whole, it must be allowed that Henry’s claim to France was, if possible, still more unintelligible than the title by which his father had mounted the throne of England. —Hume’s History of England.




Page Notes

1* The English authorities vary in their statements from seventeen to one hundred killed. The French historian, Monstrelet, estimates the loss of his countrymen at ten thousand men.

2* The throne is powdered with the letter S. This decoration made its appearance in the reign of Henry IV., and has been differently accounted for. The late Sir Samuel Meyrick supposes it to be the initial letter of Henry’s motto, “Souveraine.” The King’s costume is copied from Strutt’s “Regal Antiquities.” The dresses of the English throughout the play are taken from the works of Strutt, Meyrick, Shaw, and Hamilton Smith. The heraldry has been kindly supplied by Thomas Willement, Esq., F.S.A. The Lord Great Chamberlain carrying the sword of state is De Vere, Earl of Oxford.

3* At that moment the Earl of March was the lawful heir to the crown, he being the heir general of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III, whilst Henry V. was but the heir of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, King Edward’s fourth son.

4* Extracts from the Account of the Siege of Harfleur, selected from the pages of the anonymous Chronicler who was an eyewitness of the event.

“Our King, who sought peace, not war, in order that he might further arm the cause in which he was engaged with the shield of justice offered peace to the besieged, if they would open the gates to him, and restore, as was their duty, freely, without compulsion, that town, the noble hereditary portion of his Crown of England, and of his Dukedom of Normandy.

“But as they, despising and setting at nought this offer, strove to keep possession of, and to defend the town against him, our King summoned to fight, as it were, against his will, called upon God to witness his just cause***he (King Henry) gave himself no rest by day or night, until having fitted and fixed his engines and guns under the walls, he had planted them within shot of the enemy, against the front of the town, and against the walls, gates, and towers, of the same***so that taking aim at the place to be battered, the guns from beneath blew forth stones by the force of ignited powers,***and in the mean time our King, with his guns and engines, so battered the said bulwark, and the walls and towers on every side, that within a few days, by the impetuosity and fury of the stones, the same bulwark was in a great part broken down; and the walls and towers from which the enemy had sent forth their weapons, the bastions falling in ruins, were 42 rendered defenceless; and very fine edifices, even in the middle of the city, either lay altogether in ruins, or threatened an inevitable fall; or at least were so shaken as to be exceedingly damaged.****And although our guns had disarmed the bulwark, walls, and towers during the day, the besieged by night, with logs, faggots, and tubs on vessels full of earth, mud, and sand or stones, piled up within the shattered walls, and with other barricadoes, refortified the streets.**The King had caused towers and wooden bulwarks to the height of the walls, and ladders and other instruments, besides those which he had brought with him for the assault.” —We are then told that the enemy contrived to set these engines on fire ’by means of powders, and combustibles prepared on the walls.’

The History then states that “a fire broke out where the strength of the French was greater, and the French themselves were overcome with resisting, and in endeavouring to extinguish the fire, until at length by force of arms, darts, and flames, their strength was destroyed. Leaving the place therefore to our party, they fled and retreated beneath the walls for protection; most carefully blocking up the entrance with timber, stones, earth, and mud, lest our people should rush in upon them through the same passage.”

“On the following day a conference was held with the Lord de Gaucort, who acted as Captain, and with the more powerful leaders, whether it was the determination of the inhabitants to surrender the town without suffering further rigour of death or war.****On that night they entered into a treaty with the King, that if the French King, or the Dauphin, his first-born, being informed, should not raise the seige, and deliver them by force of arms within the first hour after morn on the Sunday following, they would surrender to him the town, and themselves, and their property.”

“And neither at the aforesaid hour on the following Sunday, nor within the time, the French King, the Dauphin, nor any one else, coming forward to raise the siege.****The aforesaid Lord de Gaucort came from the town into the king’s presence, accompanied by those persons who before had sworn to keep the articles, and surrendering to him the keys of the Corporation, submitted themselves, together with the citizens, to his grace.****Then the banners of St. George and the King were fixed upon the gates of the town, and the King advanced his illustrious uncle, the Lord Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Dorset (afterwards Duke of Exeter) to be keeper and captain of the town, having delivered to him the keys.”

Thus, after a vigorous siege of about thirty-six days, one of the most important towns of Normandy fell into the hands of the invaders. The Chronicler in the text informs us, that the dysentery had carried off infinitely more of the English army than were slain in the siege; that about five thousand men were then so dreadfully debilitated by that disease, that they were unable to proceed, and were therefore sent to England; that three hundred 43 men-at-arms and nine hundred archers were left to garrison Harfleur; that great numbers had cowardly deserted the King, and returned home by stealth; and that after all these deductions, not more than nine hundred lances and five thousand archers remained fit for service.

Hume, in his History of England, relates that “King Henry landed near Harfleur, at the head of an army of 6,000 men-at-arms, and 24,000 foot, mostly archers. He immediately began the siege of that place, which was valiantly defended by d’Estoüleville, and under him by de Guitri, de Gaucourt, and others of the French nobility; but as the garrison was weak, and the fortifications in bad repair, the governor was at last obliged to capitulate, and he promised to surrender the place if he received no succour before the 18th of September. The day came, and there was no appearance of a French army to relieve him. Henry, taking possession of the town, placed a garrison in it, and expelled all the French inhabitants, with an intention of peopling it anew with English. The fatigues of this siege, and the unusual heat of the season, had so wasted the English army, that Henry could enter on no farther enterprise, and was obliged to think of returning to England. He had dismissed his transports, which could not anchor in an open road upon the enemy’s coasts, and he lay under a necessity of marching by land to Calais before he could reach a place of safety. A numerous French army of 14,000 men at-arms, and 40,000 foot, was by this time assembled in Normandy, under the constable d’Albret, a force which, if prudently conducted, was sufficient either to trample down the English in the open field, or to harass and reduce to nothing their small army before they could finish so long and difficult a march. Henry, therefore, cautiously offered to sacrifice his conquest of Harfleur for a safe passage to Calais; but his proposal being rejected, he determined to make his way by valour and conduct through all the opposition of the enemy.”

5* Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. He did not obtain that title till 1417, two years after the era of this play.

6† The Lord Mayor of London, A.D. 1415, was Nicholas Wotton.

Scene Notes

Act I Chorus

Ic.1 O, for a muse of fire, &c.] This goes, says Warburton, upon the notion of the Peripatetic system, which imagines several heavens one above another, the last and highest of which was one of fire. It alludes, likewise, to the aspiring nature of fire, which, by its levity, at the separation of the chaos, took the highest seat of all the elements.

Ic.2 Assume the port of Mars;] i.e., the demeanour, the carriage, air of Mars. From portée, French.

Ic.3 Can this cockpit hold] Shakespeare probably calls the stage a cockpit, as the most diminutive enclosure present to his mind.

Ic.4 Upon this little stage] The original text is “within this wooden O,” in allusion, probably, to the theatre where this history was exhibited, being, from its circular form, called The Globe.

Ic.5 ——the very casques] Even the helmets, much less the men by whom they were worn.

Ic.6 ——imaginary forces] Imaginary for imaginative, or your powers of fancy. Active and passive words are by Shakespeare frequently confounded.

Ic.7 The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder.] Perilous narrow means no more than very narrow. In old books this mode of expression frequently occurs.

Ic.8 Into a thousand parts divide one man,] i.e., suppose every man to represent a thousand.

Ic.9 ——make imaginary puissance:] i.e., imagine you see an enemy.

Act I

I.1 ——task] Keep busied with scruples and disquisitions.

I.2 Archbishop of Canterbury,] Henry Chichely, a Carthusian monk, recently promoted to the see of Canterbury.

I.3 Bishop of Ely.] John Fordham, consecrated 1388; died, 1426.

I.4 ——wrest,] i.e., distort.

I.5 ——or bow your reading,] i.e., bend your interpretation.

I.6 Or nicely charge your understanding soul] Take heed, lest by nice and subtle sophistry you burthen your knowing soul, or knowingly burthen your soul, with the guilt of advancing a false title, or of maintaining, by specious fallacies, a claim which, if shown in its native and true colours, would appear to be false. —Johnson.

I.7 ——miscreate,] Ill-begotten, illegitimate, spurious.

I.8 ——in approbation] i.e., in proving and supporting that title which shall be now set up.

I.9 ——impawn our person,] To engage and to pawn were in our author’s time synonymous.

I.10 ——gloze] Expound, explain.

I.11 ——imbare their crooked titles] i.e., to lay open, to display to view.

I.12 In allusion to the battle of Crecy, fought 25th August, 1346.

I.13 So hath your highness;] i.e., your highness hath indeed what they think and know you have.

I.14 They of those marches,] The marches are the borders, the confines. Hence the Lords Marchers, i.e., the lords presidents of the marches, &c.

I.15 ——in few.] i.e., in short, brief.

I.16 ——a nimble galliard won;] A galliard was an ancient dance. The word is now obsolete.

I.17 ——let me bring thee to Staines.] i.e., let me attend, or accompany thee.

I.18 ——Arthur’s bosom,] Dame Quickly, in her usual blundering way, mistakes Arthur for Abraham.

I.19 ’A made a finer end,] To make a fine end is not an uncommon expression for making a good end. The Hostess means that Falstaff died with becoming resignation and patient submission to the will of Heaven.

I.20 ——an it had been any christom child;] i.e., child that has wore the chrysom, or white cloth put on a new baptized child.

I.21 ——turning o’ the tide:] It has been a very old opinion, which Mead, de imperio solis, quotes, as if he believed it, that nobody dies but in the time of ebb: half the deaths in London confute the notion; but we find that it was common among the women of the poet’s time. —Johnson.

I.22 ——I saw him fumble with the sheets,] Pliny, in his chapter on the signs of death, makes mention of “a fumbling and pleiting of the bed-clothes.” The same indication of approaching death is enumerated by Celsus, Lommius, Hippocrates, and Galen.

I.23 ’A could never abide carnation;] Mrs. Quickly blunders, mistaking the word incarnate for a colour. In questions of Love, published 1566, we have “yelowe, pale, redde, blue, whyte, gray, and incarnate.

I.24 Shall we shog off?] i.e., shall we move off—jog off?

I.25 Let senses rule;] i.e., let prudence govern you—conduct yourself sensibly.

I.26 ——Pitch and pay;] A familiar expression, meaning pay down at once, pay ready money; probably throw down your money and pay.

I.27 ——hold-fast is the only dog,] Alluding to the proverbial saying— “Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better.”

I.28 ——caveto be thy counsellor.] i.e., let prudence be thy counsellor.

I.29 ——clear thy crystals.] Dry thine eyes.

Act II Chorus

IIc.1 ——which he fills] i.e., the King of France.

IIc.2 ——Richard, earl of Cambridge;] Was Richard de Coninsbury, younger son of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. He was father of Richard, Duke of York, father of Edward the Fourth.

IIc.3 Henry lord Scroop of Masham,] Was third husband of Joan Duchess of York (she had four), mother-in-law of Richard, Earl of Cambridge.

IIc.4 ——the gilt of France,] i.e., golden money.

IIc.5 ——this grace of kings] i.e., he who does the greatest honor to the title. By the same phraseology the usurper in Hamlet is called the vice of kings, i.e., the opprobrium of them.

IIc.6 ——while we force a play.] To force a play is to produce a play by compelling many circumstances into a narrow compass.

IIc.7 We’ll not offend one stomach] That is, you shall pass the sea without the qualms of sea-sickness.

IIc.8 But, till the king come forth, and not till then,] The meaning is, “We will not shift our scene unto Southampton till the king makes his appearance on the stage, and the scene will be at Southampton only for the short time while he does appear on the stage; for, soon after his appearance, it will change to France.” —Malone.

Act II

II.1 ——in a fair consent with ours,] i.e., in friendly concord; in unison with ours.

II.2 ——hearts create] Hearts compounded or made up of duty and zeal.

II.3 ——more advice,] On his return to more coolness of mind.

II.4 Are heavy orisons ’gainst, &c.] i.e., are weighty supplications against this poor wretch.

II.5 ——proceeding on distemper,] Distemper’d in liquor was a common expression. We read in Holinshed, vol. iii., page 626:— “gave him wine and strong drink in such excessive sort, that he was therewith distempered, and reeled as he went.”

II.6 ——how shall we stretch our eye] If we may not wink at small faults, how wide must we open our eyes at great.

II.7 Who are the late commissioners?] That is, who are the persons lately appointed commissioners.

II.8 ——quick] That is, living.

II.9 ——as gross] As palpable.


——though the truth of it stands off as gross

As black from white,]

Though the truth be as apparent and visible as black and white contiguous to each other. To stand off is être relevè, to be prominent to the eye, as the strong parts of a picture. —Johnson.

II.11 Which I in sufferance heartily will rejoice,] Cambridge means to say, at which prevention, or, which intended scheme that it was prevented, I shall rejoice. Shakespeare has many such elliptical expressions. The intended scheme that he alludes to was the taking off Henry, to make room for his brother-in-law. —Malone.

II.12 ——our kingdom’s safety must so tender,] i.e., must so regard.

II.13 ——dear offences!—] To dere, in ancient language, was to hurt; the meaning, therefore, is hurtful—pernicious offences.

II.14 Our puissance] i.e., our power, our force.

II.15 ——French King,] The costume of Charles VI. is copied from Willemin, Monuments Français. The dresses of the other Lords are selected from Montfaucon Monarchie Françoise.

II.16 ——more than carefully it us concerns,] More than carefully is with more than common care; a phrase of the same kind with better than well. —Johnson.

II.17 How modest in exception,] How diffident and decent in making objections.

II.18 ——strain] lineage.

II.19 That haunted us] To haunt is a word of the utmost horror, which shows that they dreaded the English as goblins and spirits.

II.20 ——crown’d with the golden sun,—] Shakespeare’s meaning (divested of its poetical fancy) probably is, that the king stood upon an eminence, with the sun shining over his head. —Steevens.

II.21 ——fate of him.] His fate is what is allotted him by destiny, or what he is fated to perform.

II.22 Montjoy,] Mont-joie is the title of the principal king-at-arms in France, as Garter is in our country.

II.23 ——spend their mouths,] That is, bark; the sportsman’s term.

II.24 ——memorable line,] This genealogy; this deduction of his lineage.

II.25 Shall chide your trespass,] To chide is to resound, to echo.

II.26 ——you shall read] i.e., shall find.

Act III Chorus

IIIc.1 The well-appointed king] i.e., well furnished with all the necessaries of war.

IIIc.2 Embark his royalty;] The place where Henry’s army was encamped, at Southampton, is now entirely covered with the sea, and called Westport.

IIIc.3 ——rivage,] The bank or shore.

IIIc.4 ——to sternage of this navy;] The stern being the hinder part of the ship, the meaning is, let your minds follow close after the navy. Stern, however, appears to have been anciently synonymous to rudder.

IIIc.5 ——linstock] The staff to which the match is fixed when ordnance is fired.

IIIc.6 Or close the wall up with our English dead!] i.e. re-enter the breach you have made, or fill it up with your own dead bodies.

IIIc.7 Whose blood is fet] To fet is an obsolete word meaning to fetch. That is, “whose blood is derived,” &c. The word is used by Spencer and Ben Jonson.

IIIc.8 ——like greyhounds in the slips,] Slips are a contrivance of leather, to start two dogs at the same time.

IIIc.9 ——whom of succour we entreated,] This phraseology was not uncommon in Shakespeare’s time.

IIIc.10 ——are we addrest.] i.e., prepared.


III.1 ——lavoltas high] A dance in which there was much turning, and much capering.

III.2 ——swift corantos;] A corant is a sprightly dance.

III.3 With pennons] Pennons armorial were small flags, on which the arms, device, and motto of a knight were painted.

III.4 And, for achievement, offer up his ransom.] i.e., instead of fighting, he will offer to pay ransom.

III.5 ——ancient Pistol.] Ancient, a standard or flag; also the ensign bearer, or officer, now called an ensign.

III.6 Of buxom valour,] i.e., valour under good command, obedient to its superiors. The word is used by Spencer.

III.7 ——upon the rolling restless stone,—] Fortune is described by several ancient authors in the same words.

III.8 ——with a muffler before her eyes,] A muffler was a sort of veil, or wrapper, worn by ladies in Shakespeare’s time, chiefly covering the chin and throat.

III.9 For he hath stolen a pix,] A pix, or little chest (from the Latin pixis, a box), in which the consecrated host was used to be kept.

III.10 Fico for thy friendship!] Fico is fig—it was a term of reproach.

III.11 The fig of Spain!] An expression of contempt or insult, which consisted in thrusting the thumb between two of the closed fingers, or into the mouth; whence Bite the thumb. The custom is generally regarded as being originally Spanish. —Nares.

III.12 ——such slanders of the age,] Cowardly braggarts were not uncommon characters with the old dramatic writers.

III.13 ——I must speak with him from the pridge.] From for about—concerning the fight that had taken place there.

III.14 ——bubukles,] A corrupt word for carbuncles, or something like them.

III.15 ——and whelks,] i.e., stripes, marks, discolorations.

III.16 ——his fire’s out.] This is the last time that any sport can be made with the red face of Bardolph.

III.17 ——by my habit,] That is, by his herald’s coat. The person of a herald being inviolable, was distinguished in those times of formality by a peculiar dress, which is likewise yet worn on particular occasions.

III.18 ——admire our sufferance.] i.e., our patience, moderation.

III.19 Without impeachment:] i.e., hindrance. Empechement, French.

III.20 Yet, Heaven before,] In the acting edition, the name of God is changed to Heaven. This was an expression in Shakespeare’s time for God being my guide.

III.21 Though France himself,] i.e., though the King of France himself.

Act IV Chorus

IVc.1 ——stilly sounds,] i.e., gently, lowly.

IVc.2 The secret whispers of each other’s watch:] Holinshed says, that the distance between the two armies was but 250 paces.

IVc.3 Fire answers fire;] This circumstance is also taken from Holinshed. “But at their coming into the village, fires were made by the English to give light on every side, as there likewise were in the French hoste.”

IVc.4 ——the other’s umber’d face:] Umber’d means here discoloured by the gleam of the fires. Umber is a dark yellow earth, brought from Umbria, in Italy, which, being mixed with water, produces such a dusky yellow colour as the gleam of fire by night gives to the countenance. Shakespeare’s theatrical profession probably furnished him with the epithet, as burnt umber is occasionally used by actors for colouring the face.

IVc.5 ——over-lusty] i.e., over-saucy.

IVc.6 Do the low-rated English play at dice;] i.e., do play them away at dice. Holinshed says— “The Frenchmen, in the meanwhile, as though they had been sure of victory, made great triumph; for the captains had determined before how to divide the spoil, and the soldiers the night before had played the Englishmen at dice.”

IVc.7 Minding true things] To mind is the same as to call to remembrance.

Act IV

IV.1 ——popular] i.e., one of the people.

IV.2 ——you are a better than the king.] i.e., a better man than the king.

IV.3 The king’s a bawcock,] A burlesque term of endearment, supposed to be derived from beau coq.

IV.4 ——an imp of fame;] An imp is a young shoot, but means a son in Shakespeare. In this sense the word has become obsolete, and is now only understood as a small or inferior devil.

In Holingshed, p. 951, the last words of Lord Cromwell are preserved, who says:— “——and after him, that his son Prince Edward, that goodly imp, may long reign over you.”]

IV.5 It sorts] i.e., it agrees.

IV.6 ——speak lower.] Shakespeare has here, as usual, followed Holinshead: “Order was taken by commandement from the king, after the army was first set in battle array, that no noise or clamor should be made in the host.”

IV.7 ——conditions:] i.e., qualities. The meaning is, that objects are represented by his senses to him, as to other men by theirs. What is danger to another is danger likewise to him; and, when he feels fear, it is like the fear of meaner mortals. —Johnson.

IV.8 ——his cause being just, and his quarrel honourable.] In his address to the army, King Henry called upon them all to remember the just cause and quarrel for which they fought. —Holinshed.

IV.9 ——the latter day,] i.e., the last day, the day of Judgment. Shakespeare frequently uses the comparative for the superlative.

IV.10 ——their children rawly left.] i.e., left young and helpless.

IV.11 ——too round:] i.e., too rough, too unceremonious.

IV.12 Rambures,] The Lord of Rambures was commander of the cross-bows in the French army at Agincourt.

IV.13 And dout them] Dout, is a word still used in Warwickshire, and signifies to do out, or extinguish.

IV.14 ——a hilding foe.] Hilding, or hinderling, is a low wretch.

IV.15 Yon island carrion,] This description of the English is founded on the melancholy account given by our historians of Henry’s army, immediately before the battle of Agincourt.

IV.16 Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,] By their ragged curtains, are meant their colours.

IV.17 The king himself is rode to view their battle.] The king is reported to have dismounted before the battle commenced, and to have fought on foot.

IV.18 ——on the vigil feast his friends,] i.e., the evening before the festival.

IV.19 ——with advantages,] Old men, notwithstanding the natural forgetfulness of age, shall remember their feats of this day, and remember to tell them with advantage. Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times. —Johnson.

IV.20 From this day to the ending] It may be observed that we are apt to promise to ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits. This prediction is not verified; the feast of Crispin passes by without any mention of Agincourt. Late events obliterate the former: the civil wars have left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more ancient history. —Johnson.

IV.21 ——gentle his condition:] This day shall advance him to the rank of a gentleman.

King Henry V. inhibited any person but such as had a right by inheritance, or grant, to assume coats of arms, except those who fought with him at the battle of Agincourt; and, I think, these last were allowed the chief seats of honour at all feasts and publick meetings. —Tollet.]

IV.22 ——bravely in their battles set.] Bravely, for gallantly.

IV.23 Bid them achieve me,] i.e., gain, or obtain me.

IV.24 ——warriors for the working-day:] We are soldiers but coarsely dressed; we have not on our holiday apparel.

IV.25 ——our guilt] i.e., golden show, superficial gilding. The word is obsolete.

IV.26 O perdurable shame!] Perdurable is lasting.

IV.27 Or void the field;] i.e., avoid, withdraw from the field.

IV.28 ——raught me his hand,] Raught is the old preterite of the verb to reach.

IV.29 ——Monmouth caps;] Monmouth caps were formerly much worn, and Fuller, in his “Worthies of Wales,” says the best caps were formerly made at Monmouth.

IV.30 ——great sort,] High rank.

IV.31 ——quite from the answer of his degree.] A man of such station as is not bound to hazard his person to answer to a challenge from one of the soldier’s low degree.

IV.32 Five hundred were but yesterday dubb’d knights:] In ancient times, the distribution of this honor appears to have been customary on the eve of a battle.

IV.33 Sixteen hundred mercenaries;] i.e., common soldiers, hired soldiers.

Act V Chorus

Vc.1 ——a mighty whiffler] An officer who walks first in processions, or before persons in high stations, on occasions of ceremony. The name is still retained in London, and there is an officer so called that walks before their companies at times of publick solemnity. It seems a corruption from the French word huissier. —Hanmer.

Act V

V.1 To have me fold up, &c.] Dost thou desire to have me put thee to death.

V.2 ——a squire of low degree.] That is, I will bring thee to the ground.

V.3 ——astonished him.] That is, you have stunned him with the blow.

V.4 ——gleeking] i.e., scoffing, sneering. Gleek was a game at cards.

V.5 ——English condition.] Condition is temper, disposition of mind.

V.6 ——Doth fortune play the huswife] That is, the jilt.

V.7 The dresses of Queen Isabella, her ladies, and the Princess Katharine, are taken from Montfaucon Monarchie Françoise.

V.8 ——wherefore we are met!] i.e., Peace, for which we are here met, be to this meeting.

V.9 The fatal balls of murdering basilisks:] It was anciently supposed that this serpent could destroy the object of its vengeance by merely looking at it.


——we will, suddenly,

Pass our accept, and peremptory answer.]

i.e., our answer shall be such as to leave no room for further questioning in the matter. “We will peremptorily make answer.

V.11 ——look greenly,] i.e., like a young lover, awkwardly.

V.12 ——take a good fellow of plain and uncoined constancy;] Uncoined constancy signifies real and true constancy, unrefined and unadorned.

V.13 ——a good leg will fall,] i.e., shrink—fall away.

V.14 ——shall go to Constantinople] Shakespeare has here committed an anachronism. The Turks were not possessed of Constantinople before the year 1463, when Henry the Fifth had been dead thirty-one years.

V.15 ——my condition is not smooth;] i.e., manners, appearance.

Scene Correspondences

Kean Shakespeare
I.1 I.1

II.3 with Boy’s speech from III.2

II.1 II.2
II.2 II.4

III (unnumbered scene after Chorus)


IV (unnumbered scene interrupting Chorus)

IV.1 IV.1
IV.2 IV.2
IV.3 IV.3
IV.4 IV.5

IV.6 and IV.7 (intermingled)

IV.6 IV.8
V.1 V.1
V.2 V.2
Epilogue (Chorus)

End of Project Gutenberg's King Henry the Fifth, by William Shakespeare


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