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ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus, chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
ORL. He's of the colour of the nutmeg.
Dau. And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for 20 Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you may call beasts.
Con. Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
Dau. It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance enforces homage.
ORL. No more, cousin.
Dau. Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as fluent as
13–14 as if his entrails were hairs] a reference to the elasticity of tennis
balls which were stuffed with hair. Cf. Much Ado, III, ii, 41-42,
“the old ornament of his cheek bath already stuffed tennis-balls." 17–18 the pipe of Hermes) According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, i, 677,
seq., Mercury (or Hermes) charms asleep the monster Argus by
the music of his pipe. 21 elements] Cf. Tw. Night, II, iii, 9, “Does not our life consist of
the four elements” [i.e., earth, air, fire, and water]? 24 jades] often used for horses without any suggestion of contempt. 32 lodging] lying down, resting.
the sea: turn the sands into eloquent tongues, and my horse is argument for them all: 't is a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the world, familiar to us and unknown, to lay apart their particular functions and wonder at him. I once writ a sonnet in his praise, and began thus : “ Wonder of nature,” – ORL. I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.
Dau. Then did they imitate that which I composed to my courser, for my horse is my mistress.
ORL. Your mistress bears well.
Dau. Me well; which is the prescript praise and perfection of a good and particular mistress.
Con. Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly shook your back.
Dau. So perhaps did yours.
Dau. O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode, like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in your strait strossers.
Con. You have good judgement in horsemanship.
37-38 for the world ... functions) for all the inhabitants of the world —
of the parts we know and of those we do not know — to forego
their individual or characteristic functions or duties. 45 prescript] prescribed, appropriate. 52 a kern of Ireland . . , strossers) An Irish kern was properly a light
armed and lightly clad foot-soldier, but here seems used in the sense of one half-naked. “French hose” were loose and wide breeches; “strait strossers" were tight breeches, “strossers” being an old form of “trousers.” The Dauphin suggests that the constable rode very lightly clad, or without wearing any clothes at all.
Dau. Be warned by me, then: they that ride so, and ride not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have my horse to my mistress.
Con. I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
Dau. I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
CON. I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow to my mistress.
Dau. “Le chien est retourné à son propre vomissement, et la truie lavée au bourbier:” thou makest use of any thing
Con. Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
RAM. My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent to-night, are those stars or suns upon it ?
Con. Stars, my lord.
Dau. That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and 't were more honour some were away.
Con. Even as your horse bears your praises; who would trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
Dau. Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and my way shall be paved with English faces.
Con. I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out 80 59–60 my mistress ... hair] a hit at the practice of wearing false hair. 63–64 " Le chien ... bourbier "] A verbatim quotation from the French
translation of the Bible (published at Geneva in 1588), from 2 Peter, ii, 22, “The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
of my way: but I would it were morning; for I would fain be about the ears of the English.
Ram. Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners ?
Con. You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.
Dau. 'T is midnight; I'll go arm myself. [Exit.
ORL. By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.
Con. Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.
ORL. He is simply the most active gentleman of France.
Con. Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.
Con. Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still. ORL. I know him to be valiant.
100 Con. I was told that by one that knows him better
ORL. What's he?
Con. Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared not who knew it.
ORL. He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.
93 tread out the oath] attest the oath by dancing. This suggestion is
that the prince's gallantry has more concern with dancing than with military prowess.
Con. By my faith, sir, but it is; never any body saw it but his lackey: 't is a hooded valour; and when it appears, it will bate.
ORL. Ill will never said well.
Con. I will cap that proverb with “There is flattery in friendship.”
ORL. And I will take up that with “Give the devil his due.”
Con. Well placed: there stands your friend for the devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with “A pox of the devil.”
ORL. You are the better at proverbs, by how much “A fool's bolt is soon shot." CON. You have shot over.
120 ORL. 'T is not the first time you were overshot.
Enter a Messenger Mess. My lord high constable, the English lie within fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
Con. Who hath measured the ground ?
Con. A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for the dawning as we do.
108-109 't is a hooded valour ... bate] The language belongs to the
sport of falconry. The falcon's head was covered with a hood, until it was let flying. To “bate” is to flutter the wings (instead of going after prey). The constable suggests that the Dauphin's
valour won't do much action when it comes to the test. 121 overshot] The word had the two meanings of “put to shame" and being “intoxicated ” or “ drunk.”