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Navigate this workHenry V
Act 3, scene 6
Captains Fluellen and Gower meet Pistol, who pleads for Bardolph, sentenced to die for robbery. Fluellen refuses to intervene and Pistol insults him and leaves. Henry enters and learns about Bardolph’s sentence of death, which he upholds. Montjoy enters to urge that Henry propose a ransom. Henry offers only his body as ransom.Enter Captains, English and Welsh, Gower and Fluellen.
GOWER 1456 How now, Captain Fluellen? Come you from
1457 the bridge?
FLUELLEN 1458 I assure you there is very excellent services
1459 committed at the bridge.
GOWER 1460 5Is the Duke of Exeter safe?
FLUELLEN 1461 The Duke of Exeter is as magnanimous as
1462 Agamemnon, and a man that I love and honor with
1463 my soul and my heart and my duty and my life and
1464 my living and my uttermost power. He is not, God
1465 10 be praised and blessed, any hurt in the world, but
1466 keeps the bridge most valiantly, with excellent
1467 discipline. There is an aunchient lieutenant there at
1468 the pridge; I think in my very conscience he is as
1469 valiant a man as Mark Antony, and he is a man of no
1470 15 estimation in the world, but I did see him do as
1471 gallant service.
GOWER 1472 What do you call him?
p. 111FLUELLEN 1473 He is called Aunchient Pistol.
GOWER 1474 I know him not.
FLUELLEN 1475 20Here is the man.
PISTOL 1476 Captain, I thee beseech to do me favors. The
1477 Duke of Exeter doth love thee well.
FLUELLEN 1478 Ay, I praise God, and I have merited some
1479 love at his hands.
PISTOL 1480 25Bardolph, a soldier firm and sound of heart and
1481 of buxom valor, hath, by cruel Fate and giddy
1482 Fortune’s furious fickle wheel, that goddess blind,
1483 that stands upon the rolling restless stone—
FLUELLEN 1484 By your patience, Aunchient Pistol, Fortune
1485 30 is painted blind, with a muffler afore ⌜her⌝ eyes, to
1486 signify to you that Fortune is blind; and she is
1487 painted also with a wheel to signify to you, which is
1488 the moral of it, that she is turning and inconstant,
1489 and mutability and variation; and her foot, look you,
1490 35 is fixed upon a spherical stone, which rolls and rolls
1491 and rolls. In good truth, the poet makes a most
1492 excellent description of it. Fortune is an excellent
PISTOL 1494 Fortune is Bardolph’s foe and frowns on him,
1495 40 for he hath stolen a pax and hangèd must he be. A
1496 damnèd death! Let gallows gape for dog, let man go
1497 free, and let not hemp his windpipe suffocate. But
1498 Exeter hath given the doom of death for pax of little
1499 price. Therefore go speak; the Duke will hear thy
1500 45 voice, and let not Bardolph’s vital thread be cut
1501 with edge of penny cord and vile reproach. Speak,
1502 captain, for his life, and I will thee requite.
FLUELLEN 1503 Aunchient Pistol, I do partly understand
1504 your meaning.
PISTOL 1505 50Why then, rejoice therefore.
FLUELLEN 1506 Certainly, aunchient, it is not a thing to
p. 1131507 rejoice at, for if, look you, he were my brother, I
1508 would desire the Duke to use his good pleasure and
1509 put him to execution, for discipline ought to be
1510 55 used.
PISTOL 1511 Die and be damned, and figo for thy friendship!
FLUELLEN 1512 It is well.
PISTOL 1513 The fig of Spain!He exits.
FLUELLEN 1514 Very good.
GOWER 1515 60Why, this is an arrant counterfeit rascal. I
1516 remember him now, a bawd, a cutpurse.
FLUELLEN 1517 I’ll assure you he uttered as prave words at
1518 the pridge as you shall see in a summer’s day. But it
1519 is very well; what he has spoke to me, that is well, I
1520 65 warrant you, when time is serve.
GOWER 1521 Why, ’tis a gull, a fool, a rogue, that now and
1522 then goes to the wars to grace himself at his return
1523 into London under the form of a soldier; and such
1524 fellows are perfect in the great commanders’
1525 70 names, and they will learn you by rote where
1526 services were done—at such and such a sconce, at
1527 such a breach, at such a convoy; who came off
1528 bravely, who was shot, who disgraced, what terms
1529 the enemy stood on; and this they con perfectly in
1530 75 the phrase of war, which they trick up with new-tuned
1531 oaths; and what a beard of the general’s cut
1532 and a horrid suit of the camp will do among
1533 foaming bottles and ale-washed wits is wonderful to
1534 be thought on. But you must learn to know such
1535 80 slanders of the age, or else you may be marvelously
FLUELLEN 1537 I tell you what, Captain Gower. I do perceive
1538 he is not the man that he would gladly make
1539 show to the world he is. If I find a hole in his coat, I
1540 85 will tell him my mind.
p. 115Drum and Colors. Enter the King ⌜of England⌝ and his
poor Soldiers, ⌜and Gloucester.⌝
1541 Hark you, the King is coming, and I must speak
1542 with him from the pridge.—God pless your
KING HENRY 1544 How now, Fluellen, cam’st thou from the
1545 90 bridge?
FLUELLEN 1546 Ay, so please your Majesty. The Duke of
1547 Exeter has very gallantly maintained the pridge.
1548 The French is gone off, look you, and there is gallant
1549 and most prave passages. Marry, th’ athversary was
1550 95 have possession of the pridge, but he is enforced
1551 to retire, and the Duke of Exeter is master of the
1552 pridge. I can tell your Majesty, the Duke is a prave
KING HENRY 1554 What men have you lost, Fluellen?
FLUELLEN 1555 100The perdition of th’ athversary hath been
1556 very great, reasonable great. Marry, for my part, I
1557 think the Duke hath lost never a man but one that is
1558 like to be executed for robbing a church, one
1559 Bardolph, if your Majesty know the man. His face is
1560 105 all bubukles and whelks and knobs and flames o’
1561 fire; and his lips blows at his nose, and it is like a
1562 coal of fire, sometimes plue and sometimes red, but
1563 his nose is executed, and his fire’s out.
KING HENRY 1564 We would have all such offenders so cut
1565 110 off; and we give express charge that in our marches
1566 through the country there be nothing compelled
1567 from the villages, nothing taken but paid for,
1568 none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful
1569 language; for when ⌜lenity⌝ and cruelty play
1570 115 for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest
Tucket. Enter Montjoy.
p. 117MONTJOY 1572 You know me by my habit.
KING HENRY 1573 Well then, I know thee. What shall I know
1574 of thee?
MONTJOY 1575 120My master’s mind.
KING HENRY 1576 Unfold it.
MONTJOY 1577 Thus says my king: “Say thou to Harry of
1578 England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep.
1579 Advantage is a better soldier than rashness. Tell him
1580 125 we could have rebuked him at Harfleur, but that we
1581 thought not good to bruise an injury till it were full
1582 ripe. Now we speak upon our cue, and our voice is
1583 imperial. England shall repent his folly, see his
1584 weakness, and admire our sufferance. Bid him
1585 130 therefore consider of his ransom, which must proportion
1586 the losses we have borne, the subjects we
1587 have lost, the disgrace we have digested, which, in
1588 weight to reanswer, his pettiness would bow under.
1589 For our losses, his exchequer is too poor; for th’
1590 135 effusion of our blood, the muster of his kingdom
1591 too faint a number; and for our disgrace, his own
1592 person kneeling at our feet but a weak and worthless
1593 satisfaction. To this, add defiance, and tell him,
1594 for conclusion, he hath betrayed his followers,
1595 140 whose condemnation is pronounced.” So far my
1596 king and master; so much my office.
1597 What is thy name? I know thy quality.
MONTJOY 1598 Montjoy.
1599 Thou dost thy office fairly. Turn thee back,
1600 145 And tell thy king I do not seek him now
1601 But could be willing to march on to Calais
1602 Without impeachment, for, to say the sooth,
1603 Though ’tis no wisdom to confess so much
1604 Unto an enemy of craft and vantage,
1605 150 My people are with sickness much enfeebled,
p. 1191606 My numbers lessened, and those few I have
1607 Almost no better than so many French,
1608 Who when they were in health, I tell thee, herald,
1609 I thought upon one pair of English legs
1610 155 Did march three Frenchmen. Yet forgive me, God,
1611 That I do brag thus. This your air of France
1612 Hath blown that vice in me. I must repent.
1613 Go therefore, tell thy master: here I am.
1614 My ransom is this frail and worthless trunk,
1615 160 My army but a weak and sickly guard,
1616 Yet, God before, tell him we will come on
1617 Though France himself and such another neighbor
1618 Stand in our way. There’s for thy labor, Montjoy.
1619 Go bid thy master well advise himself:
1620 165 If we may pass, we will; if we be hindered,
1621 We shall your tawny ground with your red blood
1622 Discolor. And so, Montjoy, fare you well.
1623 The sum of all our answer is but this:
1624 We would not seek a battle as we are,
1625 170 Nor, as we are, we say we will not shun it.
1626 So tell your master.
1627 I shall deliver so. Thanks to your Highness.
1628 I hope they will not come upon us now.
1629 We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.
1630 175 March to the bridge. It now draws toward night.
1631 Beyond the river we’ll encamp ourselves,
1632 And on tomorrow bid them march away.