History of Henry V

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Prologue

       
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[Enter Chorus]

  • Chorus. Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies
    In motion of no less celerity
    Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen 1055
    The well-appointed king at Hampton pier
    Embark his royalty; and his brave fleet
    With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning:
    Play with your fancies, and in them behold
    Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing; 1060
    Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
    To sounds confused; 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 1065
    You stand upon the ravage 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, 1070
    And leave your England, as dead midnight still,
    Guarded with grandsires, babies and old women,
    Either past or not arrived to pith and puissance;
    For who is he, whose chin is but enrich'd
    With one appearing hair, that will not follow 1075
    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; 1080
    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 linstock now the devilish cannon touches, 1085
    [Alarum, and chambers go off]
    And down goes all before them. Still be kind,
    And eke out our performance with your mind.

[Exit]

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