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Henry V Scenes



The Chorus asks the audience to use its imagination to supplement the inadequacies of the stage. (34 lines)

Enter Chorus. CHORUS.


O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention!

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,

Assume the port of Mars, and at his heels

(Leash’d in, like hounds) should famine, sword, and fire

Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,

The flat unraised spirits that hath dar’d

On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth

So great an object. Can this cockpit hold

The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram

Within this wooden O the very casques

That did affright the air at Agincourt?

O, pardon! Since a crooked figure may

Attest in little place a million,

And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,

On your imaginary forces work.

Suppose within the girdle of these walls

Are now confin’d two mighty monarchies,

Whose high, upreared, and abutting fronts

The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder.

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;

Into a thousand parts divide one man,

And make imaginary puissance;

Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them

Printing their proud hoofs i’ th’ receiving earth;

For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,

Carry them here and there, jumping o’er times,

Turning th’ accomplishment of many years

Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,

Admit me Chorus to this history;

Who, Prologue-like, your humble patience pray,

Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.



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