Henry V :: Scenes :: Henry V: Act II Prologue
PrologueChorusThe Chorus tells of the preparations made by both English and French. But all is not well in England: three English knights have agreed to betray the King.Flourish. Enter Chorus.CHORUS.CHORUS.Now all the youth of England are on fire,And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies;Now thrive the armorers, and honor’s thoughtReigns 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.For now sits Expectation in the air,And hides a sword, from hilts unto the point,With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,Promis’d to Harry and his followers.The French, advis’d by good intelligenceOf this most dreadful preparation,Shake in their fear, and with pale policySeek to divert the English purposes.O England! Model to thy inward greatness,Like little body with a mighty heart,What mightst thou do, that honor 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 fillsWith treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men,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,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 digestTh’ abuse of distance; force a play:The sum is paid, the traitors are agreed,The King is set from London, and the sceneIs now transported, gentles, to Southampton;There is the playhouse now, there must you sit,And thence to France shall we convey you safe,And bring you back, charming the Narrow SeasTo 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.Exit.


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