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Henry V - Act 3, scene 7
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Navigate this workHenry V - Act 3, scene 7
Act 3, scene 7
On the eve of battle, the French nobles, confident of their army’s superiority, engage in verbal competition.Enter the Constable of France, the Lord Rambures,
Orléans, Dauphin, with others.
CONSTABLE 1633 Tut, I have the best armor of the world.
1634 Would it were day!
ORLÉANS 1635 You have an excellent armor, but let my
1636 horse have his due.
CONSTABLE 1637 5It is the best horse of Europe.
ORLÉANS 1638 Will it never be morning?
DAUPHIN 1639 My Lord of Orléans and my Lord High Constable,
1640 you talk of horse and armor?
ORLÉANS 1641 You are as well provided of both as any
1642 10 prince in the world.
DAUPHIN 1643 What a long night is this! I will not change
1644 my horse with any that treads but on four ⌜pasterns.⌝
1645 Çà, ha! He bounds from the earth, as if his
1646 entrails were hairs, le cheval volant, the Pegasus, qui
1647 15 a les narines de feu. When I bestride him, I soar; I
1648 am a hawk; he trots the air. The earth sings when he
1649 touches it. The basest horn of his hoof is more
1650 musical than the pipe of Hermes.
ORLÉANS 1651 He’s of the color of the nutmeg.
DAUPHIN 1652 20And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for
1653 Perseus. He is pure air and fire, and the dull
1654 elements of earth and water never appear in him,
1655 but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts
1656 him. He is indeed a horse, and all other jades you
1657 25 may call beasts.
CONSTABLE 1658 Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and
1659 excellent horse.
DAUPHIN 1660 It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like
1661 the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance
1662 30 enforces homage.
ORLÉANS 1663 No more, cousin.
DAUPHIN 1664 Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from
p. 1231665 the rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb,
1666 vary deserved praise on my palfrey. It is a theme as
1667 35 fluent as the sea. Turn the sands into eloquent
1668 tongues, and my horse is argument for them all. ’Tis
1669 a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for a
1670 sovereign’s sovereign to ride on, and for the world,
1671 familiar to us and unknown, to lay apart their
1672 40 particular functions and wonder at him. I once writ
1673 a sonnet in his praise and began thus: “Wonder of
ORLÉANS 1675 I have heard a sonnet begin so to one’s
DAUPHIN 1677 45Then did they imitate that which I composed
1678 to my courser, for my horse is my mistress.
ORLÉANS 1679 Your mistress bears well.
DAUPHIN 1680 Me well—which is the prescript praise and
1681 perfection of a good and particular mistress.
CONSTABLE 1682 50Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress
1683 shrewdly shook your back.
DAUPHIN 1684 So perhaps did yours.
CONSTABLE 1685 Mine was not bridled.
DAUPHIN 1686 O, then belike she was old and gentle, and
1687 55 you rode like a kern of Ireland, your French hose
1688 off, and in your strait strossers.
CONSTABLE 1689 You have good judgment in horsemanship.
DAUPHIN 1690 Be warned by me, then: they that ride so, and
1691 ride not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have
1692 60 my horse to my mistress.
CONSTABLE 1693 I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
DAUPHIN 1694 I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his
1695 own hair.
CONSTABLE 1696 I could make as true a boast as that if I had
1697 65 a sow to my mistress.
DAUPHIN 1698 “Le chien est retourné à son propre vomissement,
1699 et la truie lavée au bourbier.” Thou mak’st use
1700 of anything.
p. 125CONSTABLE 1701 Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress,
1702 70 or any such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
RAMBURES 1703 My Lord Constable, the armor that I saw in
1704 your tent tonight, are those stars or suns upon it?
CONSTABLE 1705 Stars, my lord.
DAUPHIN 1706 Some of them will fall tomorrow, I hope.
CONSTABLE 1707 75And yet my sky shall not want.
DAUPHIN 1708 That may be, for you bear a many superfluously,
1709 and ’twere more honor some were away.
CONSTABLE 1710 Ev’n as your horse bears your praises—
1711 who would trot as well were some of your brags
1712 80 dismounted.
DAUPHIN 1713 Would I were able to load him with his
1714 desert! Will it never be day? I will trot tomorrow a
1715 mile, and my way shall be paved with English faces.
CONSTABLE 1716 I will not say so for fear I should be faced
1717 85 out of my way. But I would it were morning, for I
1718 would fain be about the ears of the English.
RAMBURES 1719 Who will go to hazard with me for twenty
CONSTABLE 1721 You must first go yourself to hazard ere you
1722 90 have them.
DAUPHIN 1723 ’Tis midnight. I’ll go arm myself.He exits.
ORLÉANS 1724 The Dauphin longs for morning.
RAMBURES 1725 He longs to eat the English.
CONSTABLE 1726 I think he will eat all he kills.
ORLÉANS 1727 95By the white hand of my lady, he’s a gallant
CONSTABLE 1729 Swear by her foot, that she may tread out
1730 the oath.
ORLÉANS 1731 He is simply the most active gentleman of
1732 100 France.
CONSTABLE 1733 Doing is activity, and he will still be doing.
ORLÉANS 1734 He never did harm, that I heard of.
CONSTABLE 1735 Nor will do none tomorrow. He will keep
1736 that good name still.
p. 127ORLÉANS 1737 105I know him to be valiant.
CONSTABLE 1738 I was told that by one that knows him
1739 better than you.
ORLÉANS 1740 What’s he?
CONSTABLE 1741 Marry, he told me so himself, and he said
1742 110 he cared not who knew it.
ORLÉANS 1743 He needs not. It is no hidden virtue in him.
CONSTABLE 1744 By my faith, sir, but it is; never anybody
1745 saw it but his lackey. ’Tis a hooded valor, and when
1746 it appears, it will bate.
ORLÉANS 1747 115Ill will never said well.
CONSTABLE 1748 I will cap that proverb with “There is
1749 flattery in friendship.”
ORLÉANS 1750 And I will take up that with “Give the devil
1751 his due.”
CONSTABLE 1752 120Well placed; there stands your friend for
1753 the devil. Have at the very eye of that proverb with
1754 “A pox of the devil.”
ORLÉANS 1755 You are the better at proverbs, by how much
1756 “A fool’s bolt is soon shot.”
CONSTABLE 1757 125You have shot over.
ORLÉANS 1758 ’Tis not the first time you were overshot.
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER 1759 My Lord High Constable, the English lie
1760 within fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
CONSTABLE 1761 Who hath measured the ground?
MESSENGER 1762 130The Lord Grandpré.
CONSTABLE 1763 A valiant and most expert gentleman.—
1764 Would it were day! Alas, poor Harry of England! He
1765 longs not for the dawning as we do.
ORLÉANS 1766 What a wretched and peevish fellow is this
1767 135 King of England to mope with his fat-brained
1768 followers so far out of his knowledge.
CONSTABLE 1769 If the English had any apprehension, they
1770 would run away.
p. 129ORLÉANS 1771 That they lack; for if their heads had any
1772 140 intellectual armor, they could never wear such
1773 heavy headpieces.
RAMBURES 1774 That island of England breeds very valiant
1775 creatures. Their mastiffs are of unmatchable
ORLÉANS 1777 145Foolish curs, that run winking into the
1778 mouth of a Russian bear and have their heads
1779 crushed like rotten apples. You may as well say
1780 that’s a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the
1781 lip of a lion.
CONSTABLE 1782 150Just, just; and the men do sympathize with
1783 the mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on,
1784 leaving their wits with their wives. And then give
1785 them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they
1786 will eat like wolves and fight like devils.
ORLÉANS 1787 155Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of
CONSTABLE 1789 Then shall we find tomorrow they have
1790 only stomachs to eat and none to fight. Now is it
1791 time to arm. Come, shall we about it?
1792 160 It is now two o’clock. But, let me see, by ten
1793 We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.