William Shakespeare's The Life of King Henry the Fifth in the complete original text.
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The Life of King Henry the Fifth

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Act III. Scene VII.

Scene VII.—The French Camp, near
Agincourt.

Enter the CONSTABLE OF FRANCE, the
LORD RAMBURES, the DUKE OF
ORLEANS, the DAUPHIN,and Others.

Con. Tut! I have the best armour of the
world. Would it were day!
Orl. You have an excellent armour; but let
my horse have his due.
Con. It is the best horse of Europe.
Orl. Will it never be morning?
Dau. My Lord of Orleans, and my lord high
constable, you talk of horse and armour—
Orl. You are as well provided of both as any
prince in the world.
Dau. What a long night is this! I will not
change my horse with any that treads but on
four pasterns. Ça, ha! He bounds from the
earth as if his entrails were hairs: le cheval
volant, the Pegasus, qui a 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 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 counte-
nance 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
Iamb, vary deserved praise on my palfrey: it is
a theme as fluent as the sea; turn the sands into
eloquent tongues, and my horse is argument for
them all. 'Tis a subject for a sovereign to rea-
son on, and for a sovereign's sovereign to ride
on; and for the world—familiar to us, and
unknown—to lay apart their particular func-
tions and wonder at him. I once writ a son-
net 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 mis-
tress.
Con. Mafoi, methought yesterday your mis-
tress shrewdly shook your back.
Dau. So perhaps did yours. 56
Con. Mine was not bridled.
Dau. O! then belike she was old and gentle;
and you rode, like a kern of Ireland, your French
hose off and in your straight strossers.
Con. You have good judgment in horseman-
ship.
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 mis-
tress: 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. Some of them will fall to-morrow,
I hope.
Con. And yet my sky shall not want.
Dau. That may be, for you bear a many
superfluously, and 'twere 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-mor-
row a mile, and my way shall be paved with
English faces.
Con. I will not say so for fear I should be
faced out of my way. But I would it were
morning, for I would fain be about the ears of
the English.
Ram. Who will go to hazard with me for
twenty prisoners?
Con. You must first go yourself to hazard,
ere you have them.
Dau. 'Tis midnight: I'll go arm myself.
[Exit.
Orl. The Dauphin longs for morning.
Ram. He longs to eat the English.
Con. I think he will eat all he kills.
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.
Orl. He never did harm, that I heard of.
Con. Nor will do none to-morrow: he will
keep that good name still.
Orl, I know him to be valiant.
Con. I was told that by one that knows him
better than you.
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 not hidden virtue
in him.
Con. By my faith, sir, but it is: never any
body saw it but his lackey: 'tis a hooded valour;
and when it appears, it will bate.
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.
Orl. 'Tis 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?
Mess. The Lord Grandpre.
Con. A valiant and most expert gentleman.
Would it were day! Alas! poor Harry of Eng-
land, he longs not for the dawning as we do.
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 unmatch-
able 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 com-
ing 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?
Orl. It is now two o'clock: but, let me see,
by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.
[Exeunt.
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