History of Henry V

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Prologue

       
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[Enter Chorus]

  • Chorus. Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story,
    That I may prompt them: and of such as have, 2840
    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, 2845
    Heave him away upon your winged thoughts
    Athwart the sea. Behold, the English beach
    Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys,
    Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth'd sea,
    Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king 2850
    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
    You may imagine him upon Blackheath;
    Where that his lords desire him to have borne 2855
    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, 2860
    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,
    Like to the senators of the antique Rome,
    With the plebeians swarming at their heels, 2865
    Go forth and fetch their conquering Caesar in:
    As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
    Were now the general of our gracious empress,
    As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
    Bringing rebellion broached on his sword, 2870
    How many would the peaceful city quit,
    To welcome him! much more, and much more cause,
    Did they this Harry. Now in London place him;
    As yet the lamentation of the French
    Invites the King of England's stay at home; 2875
    The emperor's coming in behalf of France,
    To order peace between them; and omit
    All the occurrences, whatever chanced,
    Till Harry's back-return again to France:
    There must we bring him; and myself have play'd 2880
    The interim, by remembering you 'tis past.
    Then brook abridgment, and your eyes advance,
    After your thoughts, straight back again to France.

[Exit]

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