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But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
I am a king, that find thee; and I know,
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown-imperial,
The inter-tissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who, with a body fill'd, and vacant mind,
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread :
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell ;
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set,
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus, and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day, after dawn,
Doth rise, and help Hyperion+ to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year
With profitable labour, to his grave :
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil, and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
*Farced is stuffed. The tumid puffy titles with which a
king's name is introduced.
Grandpré's description of the miserable State of the
Yon island carrions, desperate of their bones,
Ill-favour'dly become the morning field:
Their ragged curtains* poorly are let loose,
And our air shakes them passing scornfully.
Big Mars seems bankrupt in their beggar'd host,
And faintly through a rusty beaver peeps.
Their horsemen sit like fixed candlesticks,
With torch-staves in their hand: and their poor jades
Lob down their heads, dropping the hides and hips;
The gum down-roping from their pale-dead eyes;
And in their pale dull mouths the gimmalt bit
Lies foul with chew'd grass, still and motionless;
And their executors, the knavish crows,
Fly o'er them all, impatient for their hour.
King Henry's Speech before the Battle of Agincourt.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian,+
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
And say-to-morrow is saint Crispian :
Then will he strip his sleeve, and show his scars,
And say, these wounds I had on Crispin's day.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day; then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,-
Harry the king, Bedford, and Exeter,
St. Crispin's day, on which the battle was fought.
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,-
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son ;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he, to-day, that sheds his blood with me,
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition :
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accurs'd, they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap, while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
King Henry's Reply to the Herald sent by the Constable of France, summoning him to surrender.
pray thee, bear my former answer back,
Bid them achieve me, and then sell my bones.
Good God! why should they mock poor fellows thus? The man that once did sell the lion's skin
While the beast lived, was kill'd with hunting him.
A many of our bodies shall, no doubt,
Find native graves; upon the which I trust,
Shall witness live in brass of this day's work:
And those that leave their valiant bones in France,
Dying like men, though buried in your dunghills,
They shall be fam'd; for there the sun shall greet them,
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven;
Leaving their earthly parts to choke your clime,
The smell whereof shall breed a plague in France.
Mark then, abounding valour in our English;
That, being dead, like to the bullet's grazing,
* On monuments in brass.
Break out into a second course of mischief,
Killing in relapse of mortality.
Let me speak proudly:-Tell the constable,
We are but warriors for the working day;*
Our gayness and our gilt, are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host
(Good argument, I hope, we shall not fly),
And time hath worn us into slovenry :
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim:
And my poor soldiers tell me—
—yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes; or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads,
And turn them out of service. If they do this
(As, if God please, they shall), my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald;
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints:
Which if they have as I will leave 'em to them,
Shall yield them little, tell the constable.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies her hedges even-pleach'd
Like prisoners wildly over-grown with hair,
Put forth disorder'd twigs: her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory,
Doth root upon; while that the coulter† rusts,
That should deracinate ‡ such savagery :
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
* Indifferently clad. ↑ Ploughshare.
To deracinate is to force up by the roots.
The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness: and nothing teems,
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility;
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads, and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness;
Even so our houses, and ourselves, and children,
Have lost, or do not learn, for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country.
This play records the strife between the English and French, which is renewed on the death of Henry the Fifth, and the contract of marriage between Henry the Sixth and Margaret of Anjou. Joan of Arc, who is a prominent character in the play, after some successes against the English, is taken prisoner, and condemned to be burnt at the stake.
GLORY is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till, by broad spreading, it disperse to nought.