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Henry V

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ACT III SCENE III The same. Before the gates. 
 The Governor and some Citizens on the walls; the English forces below. Enter KING HENRY and his train. 
KING HENRY V How yet resolves the governor of the town? 
 This is the latest parle we will admit; 
 Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves; 
 Or like to men proud of destruction 5
 Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier, 
 A name that in my thoughts becomes me best, 
 If I begin the battery once again, 
 I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur 
 Till in her ashes she lie buried. 10
 The gates of mercy shall be all shut up, 
 And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart, 
 In liberty of bloody hand shall range 
 With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass 
 Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants. 15
 What is it then to me, if impious war, 
 Array'd in flames like to the prince of fiends, 
 Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats 
 Enlink'd to waste and desolation? 
 What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause, 20
 If your pure maidens fall into the hand 
 Of hot and forcing violation? 
 What rein can hold licentious wickedness 
 When down the hill he holds his fierce career? 
 We may as bootless spend our vain command 25
 Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil 
 As send precepts to the leviathan 
 To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur, 
 Take pity of your town and of your people, 
 Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command; 30
 Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace 
 O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds 
 Of heady murder, spoil and villany. 
 If not, why, in a moment look to see 
 The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand 35
 Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters; 
 Your fathers taken by the silver beards, 
 And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls, 
 Your naked infants spitted upon pikes, 
 Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused 40
 Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry 
 At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen. 
 What say you? will you yield, and this avoid, 
 Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd? 
GOVERNOR Our expectation hath this day an end: 45
 The Dauphin, whom of succors we entreated, 
 Returns us that his powers are yet not ready 
 To raise so great a siege. Therefore, great king, 
 We yield our town and lives to thy soft mercy. 
 Enter our gates; dispose of us and ours; 50
 For we no longer are defensible. 
KING HENRY V Open your gates. Come, uncle Exeter, 
 Go you and enter Harfleur; there remain, 
 And fortify it strongly 'gainst the French: 
 Use mercy to them all. For us, dear uncle, 55
 The winter coming on and sickness growing 
 Upon our soldiers, we will retire to Calais. 
 To-night in Harfleur we will be your guest; 
 To-morrow for the march are we addrest. 
 Flourish. The King and his train enter the town. 

Henry V, Act 3, Scene 4


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