Henry V

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter the King, Gloucester, Bedford, Clarence,

Exeter, Warwick, Westmorland, and attendants


Where is my gracious Lord of Canterbury?


Not here in presence.
presence (n.) 6 attendance, state of being present


                         Send for him, good uncle.


Shall we call in th' ambassador, my liege?


Not yet, my cousin; we would be resolved,
resolve (v.) 2 satisfy, free from doubt

Before we hear him, of some things of weight

That task our thoughts, concerning us and France.

Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop

of Ely


God and His angels guard your sacred throne,
sacred (adj.) 1 consecrated, hallowed, sanctified

And make you long become it!
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count


                         Sure, we thank you.

My learned lord, we pray you to proceed,

And justly and religiously unfold

Why the law Salic that they have in France
Salic, Salique (adj.) name of a law stating that the French crown could be passed on only by males

Or should or should not bar us in our claim.

And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord,

That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading,
bow (v.) 1 make to bend, cause to bend
wrest (v.) 1 distort, twist, strain

Or nicely charge your understanding soul
charge (v.) 7 overload, overburden, weigh down
nicely (adv.) 2 subtly, triflingly, fancifully

With opening titles miscreate, whose right
miscreate (adj.) wrongly created, illegitimate
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

Suits not in native colours with the truth;
colour (n.) 3 semblance, outward appearance, character
suit (v.) 2 match, compare, equate

For God doth know how many now in health

Shall drop their blood in approbation
approbation (n.) 4 proving true, putting to the test, support

Of what your reverence shall incite us to.
incite (v.) urge, prompt, summon

Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
impawn (v.) 1 pledge as security, put in pawn, commit

How you awake our sleeping sword of war.

We charge you in the name of God, take heed;

For never two such kingdoms did contend
contend (v.) 1 fight, engage in combat, struggle

Without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops

Are every one a woe, a sore complaint
sore (adj.) 2 serious, grievous, grave

'Gainst him whose wrongs gives edge unto the swords
wrong (n.) 3 wrong-doing, wrongful gain, unjust claim

That makes such waste in brief mortality.

Under this conjuration speak, my lord,
conjuration (n.) 1 entreaty, injunction, solemn appeal

For we will hear, note, and believe in heart

That what you speak is in your conscience washed

As pure as sin with baptism.


Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers,

That owe yourselves, your lives, and services

To this imperial throne. There is no bar

To make against your highness' claim to France

But this, which they produce from Pharamond:

In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant ’ –
in terram... no woman shall succeed in Salic land See Topics: Latin

‘ No woman shall succeed in Salic land;’

Which Salic land the French unjustly gloze
gloze (v.) 2 gloss, interpret

To be the realm of France, and Pharamond

The founder of this law and female bar.

Yet their own authors faithfully affirm

That the land Salic is in Germany,

Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe;

Where Charles the Great, having subdued the Saxons,

There left behind and settled certain French,

Who, holding in disdain the German women

For some dishonest manners of their life,
dishonest (adj.) 3 indecent, unchaste, immodest, lewd

Established then this law: to wit, no female

Should be inheritrix in Salic land;
inheritrix (n.) female inheritor, heiress

Which Salic, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,

Is at this day in Germany called Meisen.

Then doth it well appear the Salic law

Was not devised for the realm of France;

Nor did the French possess the Salic land

Until four hundred one-and-twenty years

After defunction of King Pharamond,
defunction (n.) death, decease

Idly supposed the founder of this law,

Who died within the year of our redemption

Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great

Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French
seat (v.) settle, establish

Beyond the river Sala, in the year

Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,

King Pepin, which deposed Childeric,

Did, as heir general, being descended
heir general (n.) heir from either male or female lines

Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair,

Make claim and title to the crown of France.

Hugh Capet also – who usurped the crown

Of Charles the Duke of Lorraine, sole heir male

Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great –

To find his title with some shows of truth,
find (v.) 5 furnish, provide, supply
show (n.) 1 appearance, exhibition, display
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught,

Conveyed himself as th' heir to th' Lady Lingare,
convey (v.) 4 pass off, give out, pretend

Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son

To Lewis the Emperor, and Lewis the son

Of Charles the Great. Also King Lewis the Tenth,

Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,

Could not keep quiet in his conscience,

Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied

That fair Queen Isabel, his grandmother,

Was lineal of the Lady Ermengare,
lineal (adj.) lineally descended, in the direct line, hereditary

Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Lorraine:

By the which marriage the line of Charles the Great

Was re-united to the crown of France.

So that, as clear as is the summer's sun,

King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim,

King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
appear (v.) 1 be plain, become apparent

To hold in right and title of the female;

So do the kings of France unto this day,

Howbeit they would hold up this Salic law
Salic, Salique (adj.) name of a law stating that the French crown could be passed on only by males

To bar your highness claiming from the female,

And rather choose to hide them in a net

Than amply to imbare their crooked titles
crooked (adj.) 4 false, wrongful, illegal
imbar, imbare (v.) [unclear meaning] bar, exclude; reveal, demonstrate

Usurped from you and your progenitors.


May I with right and conscience make this claim?


The sin upon my head, dread sovereign!
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe

For in the book of Numbers is it writ,

When the man dies, let the inheritance

Descend unto the daughter. Gracious lord,

Stand for your own, unwind your bloody flag,
bloody (adj.) 4 portending bloodshed; or: blood-red, scarlet
stand for (v.) 1 defend, uphold, protect, support

Look back into your mighty ancestors.

Go, my dread lord, to your great-grandsire's tomb,
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe

From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit,

And your great-uncle's, Edward the Black Prince,

Who on the French ground played a tragedy,

Making defeat on the full power of France,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Whiles his most mighty father on a hill

Stood smiling to behold his lion's whelp

Forage in blood of French nobility.
forage (v.) 3 eat greedily, glut oneself [on]

O noble English, that could entertain
entertain (v.) 11 treat, deal with, handle

With half their forces the full pride of France,

And let another half stand laughing by,

All out of work and cold for action!


Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

And with your puissant arm renew their feats.
puissant (adj.) powerful, mighty, strong

You are their heir, you sit upon their throne,

The blood and courage that renowned them
renown (v.) bring renown to, make famous

Runs in your veins; and my thrice-puissant liege
puissant (adj.) powerful, mighty, strong

Is in the very May-morn of his youth,

Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.


Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth

Do all expect that you should rouse yourself,

As did the former lions of your blood.


They know your grace hath cause and means and might –

So hath your highness. Never King of England

Had nobles richer and more loyal subjects,

Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England

And lie pavilioned in the fields of France.
pavilioned (adj.) in ceremonial tents


O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,

With blood and sword and fire to win your right!

In aid whereof we of the spiritualty
spiritualty (n.) spiritual body, ecclesiastical estate

Will raise your highness such a mighty sum

As never did the clergy at one time

Bring in to any of your ancestors.


We must not only arm t' invade the French

But lay down our proportions to defend
lay down (v.) 2 formulate, work out, estimate
proportion (n.) 8 (plural) military material, forces and supplies needed for war

Against the Scot, who will make road upon us
road (n.) 3 inroad, raid, incursion

With all advantages.


They of those marches, gracious sovereign,
march (n.) 2 border region, frontier

Shall be a wall sufficient to defend

Our inland from the pilfering borderers.


We do not mean the coursing snatchers only,
coursing (adj.) [hare-coursing] chasing, pursuing
snatcher (n.) raider, thief, robber

But fear the main intendment of the Scot,
intendment (n.) intent, intention, purpose

Who hath been still a giddy neighbour to us;
giddy (adj.) 1 frivolous, flighty, fickle, irresponsible
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

For you shall read that my great-grandfather

Never went with his forces into France

But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom
unfurnished (adj.) 2 unprepared, unequipped, unprotected

Came pouring, like the tide into a breach,

With ample and brim fullness of his force,

Galling the gleaned land with hot assays,
assay (n.) 3 assault, attack, incursion
gall (v.) 3 injure, harm, wound
gleaned (adj.) stripped, depleted, emptied

Girding with grievous siege castles and towns;
gird (v.) 1 encircle, surround, ring

That England, being empty of defence,

Hath shook and trembled at th' ill neighbourhood.
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count
neighbourhood (n.) 1 neighbourly conduct, neighbourliness


She hath been then more feared than harmed, my liege;
feared (adj.) infused with fear, full of fear, frightened

For hear her but exampled by herself:
exampled (adj.) exemplified, illustrated, instantiated

When all her chivalry hath been in France,
chivalry (n.) 2 knights, men-at-arms

And she a mourning widow of her nobles,

She hath herself not only well defended

But taken and impounded as a stray
stray (n.) 1 stray animal

The King of Scots, whom she did send to France

To fill King Edward's fame with prisoner kings,

And make her chronicle as rich with praise

As is the ooze and bottom of the sea

With sunken wrack and sunless treasuries.
sumless (adj.) incalculable, immeasurable, beyond estimation
treasury (n.) 1 money, wealth, riches
wrack (n.) 2 wreck, loss, shipwreck


But there's a saying very old and true:

‘ If that you will France win,

Then with Scotland first begin.’

For once the eagle England being in prey,
prey, in in pursuit of prey

To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot

Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs,

Playing the mouse in absence of the cat,

To 'tame and havoc more than she can eat.
tame (v.) [= attame] break into, pierce, broach


It follows then the cat must stay at home;

Yet that is but a crushed necessity,
crushed (adj.) broken-down, subdued, forced out of shape

Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries,

And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
pretty (adj.) 1 clever, ingenious, artful

While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,

Th' advised head defends itself at home;
advised, avised (adj.) 3 judicious, wise, prudent

For government, though high, and low, and lower,

Put into parts, doth keep in one consent,
consent (n.) 1 agreement, accord, unanimity, compact

Congreeing in a full and natural close,
close (n.) 3 closing cadence, end of a musical theme
congree (v.) accord, come together in agreement

Like music.


                         True: therefore doth heaven divide

The state of man in divers functions,
divers (adj.) different, various, several

Setting endeavour in continual motion;

To which is fixed as an aim or butt,
butt (n.) 1 goal, aim, target [as in archery]

Obedience; for so work the honey-bees,

Creatures that by a rule in nature teach

The act of order to a peopled kingdom.

They have a king, and officers of sorts,
sort (n.) 1 class, level, social rank

Where some, like magistrates, correct at home;

Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad;

Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,

Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
boot (n.) 4 booty, plunder, spoils

Which pillage they with merry march bring home

To the tent-royal of their emperor;

Who, busied in his majesty, surveys

The singing masons building roofs of gold,

The civil citizens kneading up the honey,
civil (adj.) 2 seemly, decent, well-behaved

The poor mechanic porters crowding in
mechanic (adj.) 2 worker, labouring

Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,

The sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum,
surly (adj.) 1 imperious, haughty, arrogant

Delivering o'er to executors pale
executor (n.) 2 executioner

The lazy yawning drone. I this infer,

That many things, having full reference

To one consent, may work contrariously,
consent (n.) 1 agreement, accord, unanimity, compact
contrariously (adv.) in opposed ways, following their own inclination

As many arrows loosed several ways
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count
way (n.) 4 direction, route, path

Come to one mark,

As many several ways meet in one town,
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea,

As many lines close in the dial's centre;
close (v.) 3 join, unite, combine [again]
dial (n.) watch, timepiece, pocket sundial

So may a thousand actions, once afoot,

End in one purpose, and be all well borne
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 5 sustain, carry through, keep going
purpose (n.) 3 outcome, result, end

Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege!

Divide your happy England into four;

Whereof take you one quarter into France,

And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.

If we, with thrice such powers left at home,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Cannot defend our own doors from the dog,

Let us be worried, and our nation lose
worried (adj.) maltreated, harassed, savaged

The name of hardiness and policy.
hardiness (n.) boldness, daring, audacity, courage
policy (n.) 1 statecraft, statesmanship, diplomacy


Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.

Exeunt some attendants

Now are we well resolved, and, by God's help
resolved (adj.) 1 determined, settled, decided

And yours, the noble sinews of our power,
sinew (n.) 4 mainstay, support, main strength

France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,

Or break it all to pieces. Or there we'll sit,

Ruling in large and ample empery
empery (n.) 1 absolute dominion, sovereignty

O'er France and all her almost kingly dukedoms,

Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,

Tombless, with no remembrance over them.
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count
tombless (adj.) without a tombstone, lacking a memorial

Either our history shall with full mouth

Speak freely of our acts, or else our grave,

Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,

Not worshipped with a waxen epitaph.
waxen (adj.) written on wax, perishable, quickly worn away

Enter Ambassadors of France

Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure

Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for we hear

Your greeting is from him, not from the King.


May't please your majesty to give us leave

Freely to render what we have in charge,
charge (n.) 4 commission, responsibility, official duty
render (v.) 4 declare, state, give an account

Or shall we sparingly show you far off
sparingly (adv.) with restraint, discreetly, in a reserved way

The Dauphin's meaning and our embassy?
embassy (n.) 1 message [especially via an ambassador]
meaning (n.) design, intention, purpose


We are no tyrant, but a Christian king,

Unto whose grace our passion is as subject
grace (n.) 2 virtue, good quality
passion (n.) 4 fit of anger, feeling of rage

As is our wretches fettered in our prisons:

Therefore with frank and with uncurbed plainness
uncurbed (adj.) unrestrained, free, unchecked

Tell us the Dauphin's mind.
few, in (a) in few words, in short, in brief


                         Thus then, in few:

Your highness, lately sending into France,

Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right

Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third.

In answer of which claim, the Prince our master

Says that you savour too much of your youth,

And bids you be advised there's naught in France

That can be with a nimble galliard won;
galliard (n.) type of lively, high-spirited dance

You cannot revel into dukedoms there.

He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this,
tun (n.) 2 chest, box, case

Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim

Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.


What treasure, uncle?


                         Tennis-balls, my liege.


We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us.
dauphin, dolphin (n.) title of the eldest son of the King of France [between 1349 and 1830]
pleasant (adj.) 1 facetious, joking, droll

His present, and your pains, we thank you for.

When we have matched our rackets to these balls,

We will in France, by God's grace, play a set

Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard.
hazard (n.) 3 [royal tennis] opening in a court where a ball is unplayable [and thus a winning point is scored]

Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
wrangler (n.) quarreller, arguer; also: opponent, disputant

That all the courts of France will be disturbed

With chases. And we understand him well,
chase (n.) 4 [tennis] forfeited point; also: pursuit

How he comes o'er us with our wilder days,
come over (v.) 1 overshadow, overwhelm, exercise influence over

Not measuring what use we made of them.

We never valued this poor seat of England,
seat (n.) 1 throne

And therefore, living hence, did give ourself

To barbarous licence; as 'tis ever common

That men are merriest when they are from home.

But tell the Dauphin I will keep my state,
keep (v.) 4 keep up, maintain, carry on
state (n.) 6 kingship, majesty, sovereignty

Be like a king, and show my sail of greatness,
sail (n.) 4 surging power, full swell

When I do rouse me in my throne of France.
rouse (v.) 2 raise, lift up

For that I have laid by my majesty,

And plodded like a man for working-days;

But I will rise there with so full a glory

That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,

Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.

And tell the pleasant Prince this mock of his
mock (n.) 1 act of mockery, mocking remark, derisive action, scornful irony
pleasant (adj.) 1 facetious, joking, droll

Hath turned his balls to gun-stones, and his soul
gun-stone (n.) cannon-ball, bullet, projectile

Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
charged (adj.) 1 burdened, laden, oppressed

That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows

Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
mock (n.) 1 act of mockery, mocking remark, derisive action, scornful irony

Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;

And some are yet ungotten and unborn
ungotten (adj.) unbegotten, not yet conceived

That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin's scorn.
dauphin, dolphin (n.) title of the eldest son of the King of France [between 1349 and 1830]

But this lies all within the will of God,

To whom I do appeal, and in whose name,

Tell you the Dauphin, I am coming on,

To venge me as I may, and to put forth
venge (v.) avenge, revenge

My rightful hand in a well-hallowed cause.
well-hallowed (adj.) well-blessed, well-consecrated

So get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin

His jest will savour but of shallow wit

When thousands weep more than did laugh at it.

Convey them with safe conduct. Fare you well.

Exeunt Ambassadors


This was a merry message.


We hope to make the sender blush at it.

Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour

That may give furtherance to our expedition;

For we have now no thought in us but France,

Save those to God, that run before our business.

Therefore let our proportions for these wars
proportion (n.) 8 (plural) military material, forces and supplies needed for war

Be soon collected, and all things thought upon

That may with reasonable swiftness add

More feathers to our wings; for, God before,
before (adv.) 4 [in relation to God] in support, on one's side

We'll chide this Dauphin at his father's door.
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

Therefore let every man now task his thought

That this fair action may on foot be brought.


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