Page images

The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fix'd sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch:
Fire answers fire: and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face:7
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers, and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lustyø French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night,
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger; and their gesture sad,
Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats,
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O, now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin'd band,
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry—Praise and glory on his head!
For forth he goes, and visits all his host;
Bids them good-morrow, with a modest smile;



stilly sounds,] i. e. gently, lowly.

the other's umber'd face:) Umber'd means here discoloured by the gleam of the fires. Umber is a dark yellow earth, brought from Umbria in Italy, which, being mixed with water, produces such a dusky yellow colour as the gleam of fire by night gives to the countenance. sorer -- lusty -] j. e. over-saucy.

Do the low-rated English play at dice;] i. e. do play them away at dice.

[ocr errors]

And calls them-brothers, friends, and country


Upon his royal face there is no note,
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night:
But freshly looks, and over-bears attaint,
With cheerful semblance, and sweet majesty;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:
A largess universal, like the sun,
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear. Then, mean and gentle all,
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night:
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where, (O for pity!) we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill dispos’d, in brawl ridiculous,-
The name of Agincourt: Yet, sit and see;
Minding true things, by what their mockeries be.



The English Camp at Agincourt, Enter King Henry, BEDFORD, and GLOSTER. K. Hen. Gloster, 'tis true, that we are in great

danger; The greater therefore should our courage be.Good morrow, brother Bedford.God Almighty! There is some soul of goodness in things evil,


Minding true things,] To mind is the same as to call to remembrance.

Would men observingly distil it out;
For our bad neighbour makes us early stirrers,
Which is both healthful, and good husbandry:
Besides, they are our outward consciences,
And preachers to us all; admonishing,
That we should dress us fairly for our end.
Thus may we gather honey from the weed,
And make a moral of the devil himself.

Enter ERPINGHAM. Good morrow, old sir Thomas Erpingham: A good soft pillow for that good white head Were better than a churlish turf of France. Erp. Not so, my liege; this lodging likes me

better, Since I may say—now lie I like a king. K. Hen. 'Tis good for men to love their present

pains, Upon example; so the spirit is eased: And, when the mind is quicken'd, out of doubt, The organs, though defunct and dead before, Break up their drowsy grave, and newly move With casted slough and fresh legerity.” Lend me thy cloak, sir Thomas.—Brothers both, Commend me to the princes in our camp; Do my good morrow to them; and, anon, Desire them all to my pavilion. Glo. We shall, my liege.

[Exeunt GLOSTER and BedFORD. Erp. Shall I attend your grace? K. Hen.

No, my good knight; Go with my brothers to my lords of England:

* With casted slough, &c.] Slough is the skin which the serpent annually throws off, and by the change of which he is supposed to regain new vigour and fresh youth. Legerity is lightness, nimbleness. Johnson.

I and my bosom must debate a while,
And then I would no other company. .

The Lord in heaven bless thee, noble

[Exit ERPINGHAM. K. Hen. God-a-mercy, old heart! thou speakest



Pist. Qui va ?
K. Hen. A friend.

Pist. Discuss unto me; Art thou officer?
Or art thou base, common, and popular?

K. Hen. I am a gentleman of a company.
Pist. Trailest thou the puissant pike?
K. Hen. Even so: What are you?
Pist. As good a gentleman as the emperor.
K. Hen. Then you are a better than the king.

Pist. The king's a bawcock, and a heart of gold,
A lad of life, an imp of fame;
Of parents good, of fist most valiant:
I kiss his dirty shoe, and from my heart-strings
I love the lovely bully. What's thy name?

K. Hen. Harry le Roy.
Pist. Le Roy! a Cornish name: art thou of

Cornish crew?
K. Hen. No, I am a Welshman.
Pist. Knowest thou Fluellen.
K. Hen. Yes.

Pist. Tell him, I'll knock his leek about his pate, Upon Saint Davy's day.

K. Hen. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.

Pist. Art thou his friend?
K. Hen. And his kinsinan too.
Pist. The figo for thee then!
K. Hen. I thank you : God be with you !
Pist. My name is Pistol called.

[Exit. K. Hen. It sorts: well with your fierceness.

Enter Fluellen and Gower, severally. Gow. Captain Fluellen!

Flu. So! in the name of Cheshu Christ, speak lower. It is the greatest admiration in the universal 'orld, when the true and auncient prerogatifes and laws of the wars is not kept : if you would take the pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the Great, you shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle taddle, or pibble pabble, in Pompey's camp; I warrant you, you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and the cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise.

Gow. Why, the enemy is loud; you heard him all night.

Flu. If the enemy is an ass and a fool, and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb; in your own conscience now?

Gow. I will speak lower.
Flu. I pray you, and beseech you, that


will. [Exeunt Gower and Fluellen. K. Hen. Though it appear a little out of fashion, There is much care and valour in this Welshman.

Enter Bates, Court, and Williams. Court. Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder ?

Bates. I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire the approach of day.

Will. We see yonder the beginning of the day, but, I think, we shall never see the end of it.-Who

goes there?

It sorts-] i. e. it agrees.

« PreviousContinue »