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Henry V

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ACT III SCENE VII The French camp, near Agincourt 
 Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES, ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with others. 
Constable Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day! 
ORLEANS You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due. 
Constable It is the best horse of Europe. 
ORLEANS Will it never be morning? 5
DAUPHIN My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you 
 talk of horse and armour? 
ORLEANS You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world. 
DAUPHIN What a long night is this! I will not change my 
 horse with any that treads but on four pasterns. 10
 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 
 soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth 
 sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his 15
 hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. 
ORLEANS He's of the colour of the nutmeg. 
DAUPHIN And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for 
 Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull 
 elements of earth and water never appear in him, but 20
 only in Patient stillness while his rider mounts 
 him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you 
 may call beasts. 
Constable Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse. 
DAUPHIN It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the 25
 bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage. 
ORLEANS No more, cousin. 
DAUPHIN Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the 
 rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary 
 deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as 30
 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 
 a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the 
 world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart 35
 their particular functions and wonder at him. I 
 once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus: 
 'Wonder of nature,'-- 
ORLEANS I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress. 
DAUPHIN Then did they imitate that which I composed to my 40
 courser, for my horse is my mistress. 
ORLEANS Your mistress bears well. 
DAUPHIN Me well; which is the prescript praise and 
 perfection of a good and particular mistress. 
Constable Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly 45
 shook your back. 
DAUPHIN So perhaps did yours. 
Constable Mine was not bridled. 
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 You have good judgment in horsemanship. 
DAUPHIN Be warned by me, then: they that ride so and ride 
 not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have 
 my horse to my mistress. 55
Constable I had as lief have my mistress a jade. 
DAUPHIN I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair. 
Constable I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow 
 to my mistress. 
DAUPHIN 'Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et 60
 la truie lavee au bourbier;' thou makest use of any thing. 
Constable Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any 
 such proverb so little kin to the purpose. 
RAMBURES My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent 
 to-night, are those stars or suns upon it? 65
Constable Stars, my lord. 
DAUPHIN Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope. 
Constable And yet my sky shall not want. 
DAUPHIN That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and 
 'twere more honour some were away. 70
Constable Even as your horse bears your praises; who would 
 trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted. 
DAUPHIN Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will 
 it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and 
 my way shall be paved with English faces. 75
Constable 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. 
RAMBURES Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners? 
Constable You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them. 80
DAUPHIN 'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself. 
ORLEANS The Dauphin longs for morning. 
RAMBURES He longs to eat the English. 
Constable I think he will eat all he kills. 
ORLEANS By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince. 85
Constable Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath. 
ORLEANS He is simply the most active gentleman of France. 
Constable Doing is activity; and he will still be doing. 
ORLEANS He never did harm, that I heard of. 
Constable Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still. 90
ORLEANS I know him to be valiant. 
Constable I was told that by one that knows him better than 
ORLEANS What's he? 
Constable Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared 95
 not who knew it 
ORLEANS He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him. 
Constable 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. 100
ORLEANS Ill will never said well. 
Constable I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in friendship.' 
ORLEANS And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.' 
Constable Well placed: there stands your friend for the 
 devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with 'A 105
 pox of the devil.' 
ORLEANS You are the better at proverbs, by how much 'A 
 fool's bolt is soon shot.' 
Constable You have shot over. 
ORLEANS 'Tis not the first time you were overshot. 110
 Enter a Messenger 
Messenger My lord high constable, the English lie within 
 fifteen hundred paces of your tents. 
Constable Who hath measured the ground? 
Messenger The Lord Grandpre. 
Constable A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were 115
 day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for 
 the dawning as we do. 
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! 120
Constable If the English had any apprehension, they would run away. 
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 125
 creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage. 
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. 130
Constable Just, just; and the men do sympathize with the 
 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. 135
ORLEANS Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef. 
Constable 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? 
ORLEANS It is now two o'clock: but, let me see, by ten 140
 We shall have each a hundred Englishmen. 

Henry V, Act 4, Scene 1


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