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History of Henry V

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[Enter Chorus]

  • Chorus. Now all the youth of England are on fire,
    And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies: 465
    Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought
    Reigns solely in the breast of every man:
    They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
    Following the mirror of all Christian kings,
    With winged heels, as English Mercuries. 470
    For now sits Expectation in the air,
    And hides a sword from hilts unto the point
    With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,
    Promised to Harry and his followers.
    The French, advised by good intelligence 475
    Of this most dreadful preparation,
    Shake in their fear and with pale policy
    Seek to divert the English purposes.
    O England! model to thy inward greatness,
    Like little body with a mighty heart, 480
    What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
    Were all thy children kind and natural!
    But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out
    A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
    With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men, 485
    One, Richard Earl of Cambridge, and the second,
    Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third,
    Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland,
    Have, for the gilt of France,—O guilt indeed!
    Confirm'd conspiracy with fearful France; 490
    And by their hands this grace of kings must die,
    If hell and treason hold their promises,
    Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.
    Linger your patience on; and we'll digest
    The abuse of distance; force a play: 495
    The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed;
    The king is set from London; and the scene
    Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton;
    There is the playhouse now, there must you sit:
    And thence to France shall we convey you safe, 500
    And bring you back, charming the narrow seas
    To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
    We'll not offend one stomach with our play.
    But, till the king come forth, and not till then,
    Unto Southampton do we shift our scene. 505