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History of Henry V

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Act III, Scene 7

The French camp, near Agincourt:


[Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES,] [p]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. 1645
  • Constable of France. It is the best horse of Europe.
  • Duke of Orleans. Will it never be morning?
  • Lewis the Dauphin. My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you
    talk of horse and armour?
  • Duke of Orleans. You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world. 1650
  • Lewis the Dauphin. What a long night is this! I will not change my
    horse with any that treads but on four pasterns.
    Ca, ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his
    entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus,
    chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I 1655
    soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth
    sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his
    hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
  • Duke of Orleans. He's of the colour of the nutmeg.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for 1660
    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. 1665
  • Constable of France. Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the
    bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
  • Duke of Orleans. No more, cousin.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the 1670
    rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary
    deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as
    fluent as the sea: turn the sands into eloquent
    tongues, and my horse is argument for them all:
    'tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for 1675
    a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the
    world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart
    their particular functions and wonder at him. I
    once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus:
    'Wonder of nature,'— 1680
  • Duke of Orleans. I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. Then did they imitate that which I composed to my
    courser, for my horse is my mistress.
  • Duke of Orleans. Your mistress bears well.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. Me well; which is the prescript praise and 1685
    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. 1690
  • 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 1695
    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 1700
    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. 1705
  • 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. 1710
  • 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 1715
    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. 1720
  • 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.
  • Lewis the Dauphin. 'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself.


  • Duke of Orleans. The Dauphin longs for morning. 1725
  • 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. 1730
  • 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 1735
  • 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. 1740
  • 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.' 1745
  • 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 1750
    fool's bolt is soon shot.'
  • Constable of France. You have shot over.
  • Duke of Orleans. 'Tis not the first time you were overshot.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord high constable, the English lie within 1755
    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 1760
    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. 1765
  • Duke of Orleans. That they lack; for if their heads had any
    intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy
  • Rambures. That island of England breeds very valiant
    creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage. 1770
  • 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 1775
    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. 1780
  • 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?
  • Duke of Orleans. It is now two o'clock: but, let me see, by ten
    We shall have each a hundred Englishmen. 1785