Henry V - Prologue
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Last updated: Tue, Jun 02, 2020
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The Chorus wishes for a far greater stage, actors, and audience. He apologizes for the scanty resources that are available and urges the audience to use its imagination to make up for them.
Enter ⌜Chorus as⌝ Prologue.
0001 O, for a muse of fire that would ascend
0002 The brightest heaven of invention!
0003 A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
0004 And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
0005 5 Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
0006 Assume the port of Mars, and at his heels,
0007 Leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and
0009 Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
0010 10 The flat unraisèd spirits that hath dared
0011 On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
0012 So great an object. Can this cockpit hold
0013 The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
0014 Within this wooden O the very casques
0015 15 That did affright the air at Agincourt?
0016 O pardon, since a crookèd figure may
0017 Attest in little place a million,
0018 And let us, ciphers to this great account,
0019 On your imaginary forces work.
0020 20 Suppose within the girdle of these walls
0021 Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
0022 Whose high uprearèd and abutting fronts
0024 Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.
0025 25 Into a thousand parts divide one man,
0026 And make imaginary puissance.
0027 Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
0028 Printing their proud hoofs i’ th’ receiving earth,
0029 For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our
0030 30 kings,
0031 Carry them here and there, jumping o’er times,
0032 Turning th’ accomplishment of many years
0033 Into an hourglass; for the which supply,
0034 Admit me chorus to this history,
0035 35 Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray
0036 Gently to hear, kindly to judge our play.