Open Source Shakespeare

Speeches (Lines) for Constable of France
in "Henry V"

Total: 40

# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text



Lewis the Dauphin. My most redoubted father,
It is most meet we arm us 'gainst the foe;
For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom,
Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,
But that defences, musters, preparations,
Should be maintain'd, assembled and collected,
As were a war in expectation.
Therefore, I say 'tis meet we all go forth
To view the sick and feeble parts of France:
And let us do it with no show of fear;
No, with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:
For, my good liege, she is so idly king'd,
Her sceptre so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.

Constable of France. O peace, Prince Dauphin!
You are too much mistaken in this king:
Question your grace the late ambassadors,
With what great state he heard their embassy,
How well supplied with noble counsellors,
How modest in exception, and withal
How terrible in constant resolution,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;
As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
That shall first spring and be most delicate.



King of France. 'Tis certain he hath pass'd the river Somme.

Constable of France. And if he be not fought withal, my lord,
Let us not live in France; let us quit all
And give our vineyards to a barbarous people.



Duke of Bourbon. Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards!
Mort de ma vie! if they march along
Unfought withal, but I will sell my dukedom,
To buy a slobbery and a dirty farm
In that nook-shotten isle of Albion.

Constable of France. Dieu de batailles! where have they this mettle?
Is not their climate foggy, raw and dull,
On whom, as in despite, the sun looks pale,
Killing their fruit with frowns? Can sodden water,
A drench for sur-rein'd jades, their barley-broth,
Decoct their cold blood to such valiant heat?
And shall our quick blood, spirited with wine,
Seem frosty? O, for honour of our land,
Let us not hang like roping icicles
Upon our houses' thatch, whiles a more frosty people
Sweat drops of gallant youth in our rich fields!
Poor we may call them in their native lords.



King of France. Where is Montjoy the herald? speed him hence:
Let him greet England with our sharp defiance.
Up, princes! and, with spirit of honour edged
More sharper than your swords, hie to the field:
Charles Delabreth, high constable of France;
You Dukes of Orleans, Bourbon, and of Berri,
Alencon, Brabant, Bar, and Burgundy;
Jaques Chatillon, Rambures, Vaudemont,
Beaumont, Grandpre, Roussi, and Fauconberg,
Foix, Lestrale, Bouciqualt, and Charolois;
High dukes, great princes, barons, lords and knights,
For your great seats now quit you of great shames.
Bar Harry England, that sweeps through our land
With pennons painted in the blood of Harfleur:
Rush on his host, as doth the melted snow
Upon the valleys, whose low vassal seat
The Alps doth spit and void his rheum upon:
Go down upon him, you have power enough,
And in a captive chariot into Rouen
Bring him our prisoner.

Constable of France. This becomes the great.
Sorry am I his numbers are so few,
His soldiers sick and famish'd in their march,
For I am sure, when he shall see our army,
He'll drop his heart into the sink of fear
And for achievement offer us his ransom.



(stage directions). [Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES,]
ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with others]

Constable of France. Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!



Duke of Orleans. You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.

Constable of France. It is the best horse of Europe.



Lewis the Dauphin. 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.

Constable of France. Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.



Lewis the Dauphin. Me well; which is the prescript praise and
perfection of a good and particular mistress.

Constable of France. Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly
shook your back.



Lewis the Dauphin. So perhaps did yours.

Constable of France. Mine was not bridled.



Lewis the Dauphin. 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.

Constable of France. You have good judgment in horsemanship.



Lewis the Dauphin. 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.

Constable of France. I had as lief have my mistress a jade.



Lewis the Dauphin. I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.

Constable of France. I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow
to my mistress.



Lewis the Dauphin. 'Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et
la truie lavee au bourbier;' thou makest use of any thing.

Constable of France. Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any
such proverb so little kin to the purpose.



Rambures. My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?

Constable of France. Stars, my lord.



Lewis the Dauphin. Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.

Constable of France. And yet my sky shall not want.



Lewis the Dauphin. That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and
'twere more honour some were away.

Constable of France. Even as your horse bears your praises; who would
trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.



Lewis the Dauphin. Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will
it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and
my way shall be paved with English faces.

Constable of France. 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.



Rambures. Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?

Constable of France. You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.



Rambures. He longs to eat the English.

Constable of France. I think he will eat all he kills.



Duke of Orleans. By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.

Constable of France. Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.



Duke of Orleans. He is simply the most active gentleman of France.

Constable of France. Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.



Duke of Orleans. He never did harm, that I heard of.

Constable of France. Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still.



Duke of Orleans. I know him to be valiant.

Constable of France. I was told that by one that knows him better than



Duke of Orleans. What's he?

Constable of France. Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared
not who knew it



Duke of Orleans. He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.

Constable of France. 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.



Duke of Orleans. Ill will never said well.

Constable of France. I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in friendship.'



Duke of Orleans. And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.'

Constable of France. Well placed: there stands your friend for the
devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with 'A
pox of the devil.'



Duke of Orleans. You are the better at proverbs, by how much 'A
fool's bolt is soon shot.'

Constable of France. You have shot over.



Messenger. My lord high constable, the English lie within
fifteen hundred paces of your tents.

Constable of France. Who hath measured the ground?



Messenger. The Lord Grandpre.

Constable of France. A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were
day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for
the dawning as we do.



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

Constable of France. If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.



Duke of Orleans. 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.

Constable of France. 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.



Duke of Orleans. Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.

Constable of France. 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?



Lewis the Dauphin. Ciel, cousin Orleans.
[Enter Constable]
Now, my lord constable!

Constable of France. Hark, how our steeds for present service neigh!



Messenger. The English are embattled, you French peers.

Constable of France. To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band,
And your fair show shall suck away their souls,
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men.
There is not work enough for all our hands;
Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins
To give each naked curtle-axe a stain,
That our French gallants shall to-day draw out,
And sheathe for lack of sport: let us but blow on them,
The vapour of our valour will o'erturn them.
'Tis positive 'gainst all exceptions, lords,
That our superfluous lackeys and our peasants,
Who in unnecessary action swarm
About our squares of battle, were enow
To purge this field of such a hilding foe,
Though we upon this mountain's basis by
Took stand for idle speculation:
But that our honours must not. What's to say?
A very little little let us do.
And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.



Grandpre. Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?
Yon island carrions, desperate of their bones,
Ill-favouredly become the morning field:
Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,
And our air shakes them passing scornfully:
Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar'd host
And faintly through a rusty beaver peeps:
The horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks,
With torch-staves in their hand; and their poor jades
Lob down their heads, dropping the hides and hips,
The gum down-roping from their pale-dead eyes
And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal bit
Lies foul with chew'd grass, still and motionless;
And their executors, the knavish crows,
Fly o'er them, all impatient for their hour.
Description cannot suit itself in words
To demonstrate the life of such a battle
In life so lifeless as it shows itself.

Constable of France. They have said their prayers, and they stay for death.



Lewis the Dauphin. Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits
And give their fasting horses provender,
And after fight with them?

Constable of France. I stay but for my guidon: to the field!
I will the banner from a trumpet take,
And use it for my haste. Come, come, away!
The sun is high, and we outwear the day.



(stage directions). [Enter Constable, ORLEANS, BOURBON, DAUPHIN, and RAMBURES]

Constable of France. O diable!



(stage directions). [A short alarum]

Constable of France. Why, all our ranks are broke.



Duke of Bourbon. Shame and eternal shame, nothing but shame!
Let us die in honour: once more back again;
And he that will not follow Bourbon now,
Let him go hence, and with his cap in hand,
Like a base pander, hold the chamber-door
Whilst by a slave, no gentler than my dog,
His fairest daughter is contaminated.

Constable of France. Disorder, that hath spoil'd us, friend us now!
Let us on heaps go offer up our lives.