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Henry V

ACT III SCENE VIIThe French camp, near Agincourt
Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES, ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with others.
ConstableTut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!
ORLEANSYou have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
ConstableIt is the best horse of Europe.
ORLEANSWill it never be morning? 5
DAUPHINMy lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you
talk of horse and armour?
ORLEANSYou are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.
DAUPHINWhat 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.
ORLEANSHe’s of the colour of the nutmeg.
DAUPHINAnd 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.
ConstableIndeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
DAUPHINIt is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the 25
bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
ORLEANSNo more, cousin.
DAUPHINNay, 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,’–
ORLEANSI have heard a sonnet begin so to one’s mistress.
DAUPHINThen did they imitate that which I composed to my 40
courser, for my horse is my mistress.
ORLEANSYour mistress bears well.
DAUPHINMe well; which is the prescript praise and
perfection of a good and particular mistress.
ConstableNay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly 45
shook your back.
DAUPHINSo perhaps did yours.
ConstableMine was not bridled.
DAUPHINO then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode,
like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in 50
your straight strossers.
ConstableYou have good judgment in horsemanship.
DAUPHINBe 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
ConstableI had as lief have my mistress a jade.
DAUPHINI tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
ConstableI 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.
ConstableYet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any
such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
RAMBURESMy lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
to-night, are those stars or suns upon it? 65
ConstableStars, my lord.
DAUPHINSome of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.
ConstableAnd yet my sky shall not want.
DAUPHINThat may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and
’twere more honour some were away. 70
ConstableEven as your horse bears your praises; who would
trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
DAUPHINWould 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
ConstableI 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.
RAMBURESWho will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
ConstableYou must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them. 80
DAUPHIN‘Tis midnight; I’ll go arm myself.
ORLEANSThe Dauphin longs for morning.
RAMBURESHe longs to eat the English.
ConstableI think he will eat all he kills.
ORLEANSBy the white hand of my lady, he’s a gallant prince. 85
ConstableSwear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.
ORLEANSHe is simply the most active gentleman of France.
ConstableDoing is activity; and he will still be doing.
ORLEANSHe never did harm, that I heard of.
ConstableNor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still. 90
ORLEANSI know him to be valiant.
ConstableI was told that by one that knows him better than
ORLEANSWhat’s he?
ConstableMarry, he told me so himself; and he said he cared 95
not who knew it
ORLEANSHe needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.
ConstableBy 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
ORLEANSIll will never said well.
ConstableI will cap that proverb with ‘There is flattery in friendship.’
ORLEANSAnd I will take up that with ‘Give the devil his due.’
ConstableWell placed: there stands your friend for the
devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with ‘A 105
pox of the devil.’
ORLEANSYou are the better at proverbs, by how much ‘A
fool’s bolt is soon shot.’
ConstableYou have shot over.
ORLEANS‘Tis not the first time you were overshot. 110
Enter a Messenger
MessengerMy lord high constable, the English lie within
fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
ConstableWho hath measured the ground?
MessengerThe Lord Grandpre.
ConstableA valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were 115
day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for
the dawning as we do.
ORLEANSWhat a wretched and peevish fellow is this king of
England, to mope with his fat-brained followers so
far out of his knowledge! 120
ConstableIf the English had any apprehension, they would run away.
ORLEANSThat they lack; for if their heads had any
intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy
RAMBURESThat island of England breeds very valiant 125
creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
ORLEANSFoolish 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
ConstableJust, 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
ORLEANSAy, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.
ConstableThen 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?
ORLEANSIt 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