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Henry V :: Scenes :: Henry V: Act IV, Scene 2

Scene 2

The French camp.

(Dauphin; Duke of Orleance; Rambures; Constable; French Messenger; Grandpré)

The proud French lords mount for battle, scoffing at the wretched condition of the English, and regretting that they will not have better sport. ( line)

Enter the Dauphin, Orleance, and Rambures.

ORL.

The sun doth gild our armor, up, my lords!

DAU.

Montez à cheval! My horse, varlot lackey! Ha!

ORL.

O brave spirit!

DAU.

Via! Les eaux et terre.

ORL.

Rien puis? L’air et feu?

DAU.

Cieux! Cousin Orleance.

Enter Constable.

Now, my Lord Constable?

CON.

Hark how our steeds for present service neigh!

DAU.

Mount them, and make incision in their hides,

That their hot blood may spin in English eyes,

And dout them with superfluous courage, ha!

RAM.

What, will you have them weep our horses’ blood?

How shall we then behold their natural tears?

Enter French Messenger.

FR. MESS.

The English are embattled, you French peers.

CON.

To horse, you gallant princes! Straight to horse!

Do but behold yond 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 today draw out,

And sheathe for lack of sport. Let us but blow on them,

The vapor of our valor will o’erturn them.

’Tis positive against 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 honors 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 crouch down in fear, and yield.

Enter Grandpré.

GRAND.

Why do you stay so long, my lords of France?

Yond island carrions, desperate of their bones,

Ill-favoredly become the morning field.

Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,

And our air shakes them passing scornfully.

Big Mars seems bankrout 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’d bit

Lies foul with chaw’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 liveless as it shows itself.

CON.

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

DAU.

Shall we go send them dinners and fresh suits,

And give their fasting horses provender,

And after fight with them?

CON.

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.

Exeunt.

 
 
 
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