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Let me speak proudly : tell the Constable
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirched
With rainy marching in the painful field ;
There's not a piece of feather in our host
(Good argument, I hope, we will not fly),


[The Soldiers laugh. 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, 110 And turn them out of service. [They cheer.] If they do this (As, if God please, they shall), my ransom then Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour ; Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald : They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints ; 115 Which, if they have as I will leave 'em them, Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.

Montjoy. I shall, King Harry: and so, fare thee well: Thou never shalt hear herald any more. [Exeunt.

Enter in utter rout the Constable of France, the Dukes of

Orleans and Bourbon, Lewis the Dauphin, and French
Dauphin. Be these the wretches that we played at

dice for ? Orleans. Is this the King we sent to for his ransom ? Bourbon. Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but

shame! Let us die in honour : once more back again ! Constable. Disorder, that hath spoiled us, friend us now !

5 Let us on heaps go offer up our lives.

Orleans. We are enow yet living in the field
To smother up the English in our throngs,
If any order might be thought upon.

Bourbon. The devil take order now! I'll to the throng: Let life be short; else shame will be too long. [They rush off in tumult. Some of the French rally

and take up their position on a hill near.


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Alarum. Enter King Henry with his Nobles and

King. I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald ;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yond hill :
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; 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 :
Besides, we'll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.



Enter Montjoy just as the English Herald turns to go. Exeter. Here comes the herald of the French, my liege. Gloucester. His eyes are humbler than they used to be. King. How now! what means this, herald ? know'st thou not

25 That I have fined these bones of mine for ransom ? Com'st thou again for ransom ? Montjoy.

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 drowned and soaked in mercenary blood ;
Their wounded steeds fret fetlock-deep in gore,
And with wild rage yerk out their armèd heels 35
At their dead masters. Give us leave, great king,
To view the field in safety and dispose
Of their dead bodies !

I tell thee truly, herald,
I know not if the day be ours or no ;
For yet a many of your horsemen peer

40 And gallop o'er the field.

Montjoy. The day is yours. [The English cheer. King. Praised be God, and not our strength, for it ! What is this castle called that stands hard by ?

Montjoy. They call it Agincourt.
King. Then call we this the field of Agincourt, 54


Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.
Our heralds go with him : on both our parts
Bring me just notice of the numbers dead.

[Exeunt Heralds with Montjoy.
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 God
Which is his only. Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung ‘Non nobis' and 'Te Deum';
The dead with charity enclosed in clay :
And then to Calais ; and to England then,

55 Where ne'er from France arrived more happy men.

Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story,
That I may prompt them: and of such as have,
I humbly pray them to admit the excuse
Of time, of numbers and due course of things,
Which cannot in their huge and proper life

Be here presented. Now we bear the King
Toward 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, 10
Whose shouts and claps outvoice the deep-mouthed sea,
Which, like a mighty whiffler '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 15
You may imagine him upon Blackheath ;
Where that his lords desire him to have borne
His bruised helmet and his bended sword
Before him through the city: he forbids it,
Being free from vainness and self-glorious pride ;
Giving full trophy, signal and ostent
Quite from himself to God. But now behold,
In the quick forge and working-house of thought,
How London doth pour out her citizens !
The mayor and all his brethren in best sort,- 25
Like to the senators of the antique Rome,
With the plebeians swarming at their heels,-
Go forth, and fetch their conquering Caesar in.





We learn from the play that this famous quarrel occurred

on the 29th of January, 1425. The scene was the Temple Garden. Richard Plantagenet, afterwards Duke of York, the father of King Edward IV, is the leader of the Yorkist or White Rose party ; he was killed at the battle of Wakefield. Onhis side are two nobles, Richard, Earl of Warwick, afterwards famous as 'the King-maker', and a lawyer named Vernon, a member of the Temple. The Lancastrian or Red Rose party is headed by Edmund Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, who is supported by William de la

Poole, Earl of Suffolk, and an unnamed lawyer. Enter the Earls of Somerset, Suffolk, and Warwick ;

Richard Plantagenet, Vernon, and another Lawyer. Plantagenet. Great lords and gentlemen, what means

this silence ? Dare no man answer in a case of truth ?

Suffolk. Within the Temple hall we were too loud ; The garden here is more convenient. Plantagenet. Then say at once if I maintained the truth;

5 Or else was wrangling Somerset in the error ?

Suffolk. Faith, I have been a truant in the law, And never yet could frame my will to it; And therefore frame the law unto my will. Somerset. Judge you, my Lord of Warwick, then,

between us. Warwick. Between two hawks, which flies the higher

pitch; Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth; Between two blades, which bears the better temper ; Between two horses, which doth bear him best; Between two girls, which hath the merriest eye; 15 I have, perhaps, some shallow spirit of judgement : But in these nice sharp quillets of the law,

IO 20

Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.

Plantagenet. Tut, tut ! here is a mannerly forbearance: The truth appears so naked on my side, That any purblind eye may find it out.

Somerset. And on my side it is so well apparelled, So clear, so shining, and so evident, That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye. Plantagenet. Since you are tongue-tied and so loth to speak,

25 In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts : Let him that is a true-born gentleman, And stands upon the honour of his birth, If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,

[He plucks a white rose. From off this briar pluck a white rose with me. 30 Somerset [plucking a red rose]. Let him that is no

coward nor no flatterer, But dare maintain the party of the truth, Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me. Warwick (plucking a white rose, and taking his place by Plantagenet]. I love no colours ; and without all

colour Of base insinuating flattery,

35 I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet. Suffolk [plucking a red rose and joining Somerset). I pluck this red rose with young

And say withal I think he held the right.
Vernon. Stay, lords and gentlemen, and pluck no

Till you conclude, that he, upon whose side
The fewest roses are cropped from the tree,
Shall yield the other in the right opinion.

Somerset. Good Master Vernon, it is well objected :
If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
Plantagenet. And I.

45 Vernon (plucking a white rose]. Then, for the truth and

plainness of the case, pluck this pale and maiden blossom here, Giving my verdict on the white rose side.

Somerset. Prick not your finger as you pluck it off, Lest, bleeding, you do paint the white rose red, 50 And fall on my side so, against your will.

Vernon. If I, my lord, for my opinion bleed,


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