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131

ORL. What a wretched and peevish fellow is this King of England, to mope with his fat-brained followers so far out of his knowledge !

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

Orl. That they lack; for if their heads had any intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy head-pieces.

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

ORL. 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; and the men do sympathize with the mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on, leaving their wits with their wives: and then give them great meals of beef, and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves, and fight like devils.

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

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

142

151

ORL. It is now two o'clock: but, let me see, by ten We shall have each a hundred Englishmen. [Exeunt.

132 apprehension] sense, intelligence. 144 robustious) boisterous. Shakespeare only uses the word again in

Hamlet, III, ii, 9.

[graphic][merged small]

Enter Chorus CHORUS

OW ENTERTAIN CON

jecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the
poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the uni-

verse.
N From camp to camp through the

foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly
sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost
receive
The secret whispers of each

other's watch: Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames Each battle sees the other's umber'd face; Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs 10 2 poring darl] darkness in which the eye looks intently or gropes. 9umber'd) discoloured by the light of the flickering fires.

[graphic]

Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning's danger, and their gesture sad
Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry “Praise and glory on his head!”

30

12 accomplishing) equipping. 17 secure in soul] confident at heart. 18-19 The confident . . . dice] This detail is borrowed direct from

Holinshed who writes that “the (French) souldiers the night before had plaid the Englishmen at dice.” In their game at dice the Frenchmen had likened their despised adversaries to the stake for

which they were playing. 25-26 their gesture sad . . . coats] the sadness of their gesture, which

communicates itself to their lank-lean cheeks and to their ragged coats.

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
Unto the weary and all-watched night,
But freshly looks and over-bears attaint
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks :
A largess universal like the sun
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where — O for pity! — we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,

50
Right ill-disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see,
Minding true things by what their mockeries be.

[Exit.

39 over-bears attaint) conquers or represses the taint (of weariness). 46 as may unworthiness define] as far as their unworthy natures may

descry it.

SCENE I-THE ENGLISH CAMP AT AGINCOURT

Enter KING HENRY, BEDFORD, and GLOUCESTER
K. HEN. Gloucester, 't is true that we are in great

danger;
The greater therefore should our courage be.
Good morrow, brother Bedford. God Almighty !
There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out.
For our bad neighbour makes us early stirrers,
Which is both healthful and good husbandry:
Besides, they are our outward consciences,
And preachers to us all, admonishing
That we should dress us fairly for our end.

10 Thus may we gather honey from the weed, And make a moral of the devil himself.

Enter ERPINGHAM
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. 'Tis good for men to love their present

pains Upon example; so the spirit is eased: 3 brother Bedford] The Duke of Bedford was not present at the battle of

Agincourt. 10 dress us] address, prepare ourselves. Cf. III, iii, 58, supra.

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