Henry V

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Flourish. Enter the French King, the Dauphin, the

Dukes of Berri and Britaine, the Constable and others


Thus comes the English with full power upon us,
constable (n.) 1 chief officer of the royal household [in England and France]

And more than carefully it us concerns

To answer royally in our defences.

Therefore the Dukes of Berri and of Britaine,

Of Brabant and of Orleans, shall make forth,

And you, Prince Dauphin, with all swift dispatch,
dispatch, despatch (n.) 4 sending off, going, departure

To line and new repair our towns of war
line (v.) 1 strengthen, support, fortify

With men of courage and with means defendant;
defendant (adj.) defensive, protective

For England his approaches makes as fierce
approach (n.) 3 advance, attack, offensive

As waters to the sucking of a gulf.
gulf (n.) 1 whirlpool

It fits us then to be as provident

As fear may teach us, out of late examples

Left by the fatal and neglected English
fatal (adj.) 3 death-dealing, death-boding
neglected (adj.) underrated, underestimated, undervalued

Upon our fields.
redoubted (adj.) feared, dreaded, revered


                         My most redoubted father,

It is most meet we arm us 'gainst the foe;
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom,
dull (v.) 3 stupefy, satisfy to the point of slothfulness

Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,

But that defences, musters, preparations,

Should be maintained, assembled, and collected,

As were a war in expectation.

Therefore, I say, 'tis meet we all go forth
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

To view the sick and feeble parts of France:

And let us do it with no show of fear –

No, with no more than if we heard that England

Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance;

For, my good liege, she is so idly kinged,

Her sceptre so fantastically borne
fantastically (adv.) fancifully, grotesquely, bizarrely

By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
giddy (adj.) 1 frivolous, flighty, fickle, irresponsible
humorous (adj.) 1 capricious, moody, temperamental

That fear attends her not.
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with


                         O peace, Prince Dauphin!

You are too much mistaken in this King.

Question your grace the late ambassadors,
late (adj.) 2 recently appointed

With what great state he heard their embassy,

How well supplied with noble counsellors,

How modest in exception, and withal
exception (n.) 1 (often plural) objection, dislike, disapproval

How terrible in constant resolution,

And you shall find his vanities forespent
forespent (adj.) previously shown, earlier displayed

Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,

Covering discretion with a coat of folly;

As gardeners do with ordure hide those roots
ordure (n.) filth, dirt, dung

That shall first spring and be most delicate.
delicate (adj.) 1 fine in quality, of exquisite nature, dainty


Well, 'tis not so, my Lord High Constable;

But though we think it so, it is no matter.

In cases of defence, 'tis best to weigh

The enemy more mighty than he seems.

So the proportions of defence are filled;
proportion (n.) 3 weighing up, appropriate measuring

Which of a weak and niggardly projection
niggardly (adj.) mean-minded, tight-fisted, miserly
projection (n.) scheme, plan, design

Doth like a miser spoil his coat with scanting
scant (v.) 1 neglect, stint, withhold

A little cloth.


                         Think we King Harry strong;

And, Princes, look you strongly arm to meet him.

The kindred of him hath been fleshed upon us,
flesh (v.) 1 [of a sword] use for the first time in battle

And he is bred out of that bloody strain
bloody (adj.) 1 blood-thirsty, warlike, ferocious
strain (n.) 1 quality, character, disposition

That haunted us in our familiar paths.
haunt (v.) 2 pursue, afflict, beset

Witness our too much memorable shame

When Crécy battle fatally was struck,
strike (v.), past form stroke 1 fight, engage in fighting

And all our princes captived by the hand
captive (v.) capture, take captive

Of that black name, Edward, Black Prince of Wales;

Whiles that his mountain sire, on mountain standing,
mountain (adj.) pre-eminent, larger than life

Up in the air, crowned with the golden sun,

Saw his heroical seed, and smiled to see him,

Mangle the work of nature, and deface

The patterns that by God and by French fathers

Had twenty years been made. This is a stem

Of that victorious stock; and let us fear

The native mightiness and fate of him.

Enter a Messenger


Ambassadors from Harry King of England

Do crave admittance to your majesty.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


We'll give them present audience. Go and bring them.

Exeunt Messenger and certain lords

You see this chase is hotly followed, friends.


Turn head, and stop pursuit, for coward dogs
turn head turn and face the enemy, make a bold front

Most spend their mouths when what they seem to threaten
spend one's mouth [hunting] bark, bay, give tongue

Runs far before them. Good my sovereign,

Take up the English short, and let them know

Of what a monarchy you are the head.

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin

As self-neglecting.

Enter lords, with Exeter and train


                         From our brother of England?


From him; and thus he greets your majesty:

He wills you, in the name of God Almighty,

That you divest yourself, and lay apart

The borrowed glories that by gift of heaven,
borrowed (adj.) assumed, pretended, feigned

By law of nature and of nations, 'longs
long (v.) 1 belong, pertain, relate

To him and to his heirs – namely, the crown,

And all wide-stretched honours that pertain
wide-stretched (adj.) widely extended, extensive, sweeping

By custom and the ordinance of times
ordinance (n.) 4 usage, practice, course
time (n.) 5 past time, history

Unto the crown of France. That you may know

'Tis no sinister nor no awkward claim
awkward (adj.) 2 perverse, inept, wrong-headed
sinister (adj.) 2 illegitimate, erroneous, irregular

Picked from the worm-holes of long-vanished days,

Nor from the dust of old oblivion raked,

He sends you this most memorable line,
line (n.) 2 line of descent, lineage, pedigree

In every branch truly demonstrative,

Willing you overlook this pedigree;
overlook (v.) 1 look over, peruse, read through

And when you find him evenly derived
evenly (adv.) 1 directly, in a straight line

From his most famed of famous ancestors,

Edward the Third, he bids you then resign

Your crown and kingdom, indirectly held
indirectly (adv.) 1 wrongfully, unjustly, illegitimately

From him, the native and true challenger.


Or else what follows?


Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown

Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it.

Therefore in fierce tempest is he coming,

In thunder and in earthquake, like a Jove,

That, if requiring fail, he will compel;
requiring (n.) demanding, requesting as a right

And bids you, in the bowels of the Lord,

Deliver up the crown, and to take mercy
deliver up (v.) surrender, yield, give up totally

On the poor souls for whom this hungry war

Opens his vasty jaws; and on your head
vasty (adj.) vast, immense, spacious

Turning the widows' tears, the orphans' cries,

The dead men's blood, the prived maidens' groans,
prived (adj.) bereaved, deprived of loved ones

For husbands, fathers and betrothed lovers

That shall be swallowed in this controversy.

This is his claim, his threatening, and my message –

Unless the Dauphin be in presence here,

To whom expressly I bring greeting too.


For us, we will consider of this further.

Tomorrow shall you bear our full intent
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

Back to our brother of England.


                         For the Dauphin,

I stand here for him. What to him from England?


Scorn and defiance, slight regard, contempt,
regard (n.) 3 respect, repute, esteem

And anything that may not misbecome
misbecome (v.) appear unbecoming to, be unseemly to

The mighty sender, doth he prize you at.

Thus says my King: an if your father's highness

Do not, in grant of all demands at large,

Sweeten the bitter mock you sent his majesty,
mock (n.) 1 act of mockery, mocking remark, derisive action, scornful irony

He'll call you to so hot an answer of it,

That caves and womby vaultages of France
vaultage (n.) vault, cavern, chamber
womby (adj.) womb-like, hollow, cavernous

Shall chide your trespass, and return your mock
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

In second accent of his ordinance.
accent, second echo, reverberation
ordnance, ordinance (n.) cannon, artillery


Say, if my father render fair return,

It is against my will, for I desire

Nothing but odds with England. To that end,

As matching to his youth and vanity,

I did present him with the Paris balls.


He'll make your Paris Louvre shake for it,

Were it the mistress court of mighty Europe:

And, be assured, you'll find a difference,

As we his subjects have in wonder found,

Between the promise of his greener days
green (adj.) 2 youthful, inexperienced, immature

And these he masters now. Now he weighs time

Even to the utmost grain; that you shall read

In your own losses, if he stay in France.


Tomorrow shall you know our mind at full.

dispatch, despatch (v.) 5 send away, send off


Dispatch us with all speed, lest that our King

Come here himself to question our delay,

For he is footed in this land already.
foot (v.) 2 gain a foothold, land


You shall be soon dispatched with fair conditions.

A night is but small breath and little pause

To answer matters of this consequence.


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