Henry V

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter, at one door, King Henry, Exeter, Bedford,

Gloucester, Clarence, Warwick, Westmorland, Huntingdon,

and other Lords; at another, the French King,

Queen Isabel, the Princess Katherine, Alice, and

other French; the Duke of Burgundy and his train


Peace to this meeting, wherefor we are met!

Unto our brother France, and to our sister,

Health and fair time of day. Joy and good wishes

To our most fair and princely cousin Katherine;

And, as a branch and member of this royalty,

By whom this great assembly is contrived,

We do salute you, Duke of Burgundy;

And, Princes French, and peers, health to you all!


Right joyous are we to behold your face,

Most worthy brother England: fairly met!

So are you, Princes English, every one.


So happy be the issue, brother England,
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count

Of this good day, and of this gracious meeting,

As we are now glad to behold your eyes –

Your eyes which hitherto have borne in them,

Against the French that met them in their bent,
bent (n.) 1 direction, turning, inclination

The fatal balls of murdering basilisks.
ball (n.) 2 eyeball; also: cannon-ball
basilisk (n.) 2 type of large cannon See Topics: Weapons

The venom of such looks, we fairly hope,

Have lost their quality, and that this day

Shall change all griefs and quarrels into love.


To cry ‘ Amen ’ to that, thus we appear.


You English Princes all, I do salute you.


My duty to you both, on equal love,

Great Kings of France and England! That I have laboured

With all my wits, my pains, and strong endeavours,
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

To bring your most imperial majesties

Unto this bar and royal interview,
bar (n.) 4 tribunal, judgement place

Your mightiness on both parts best can witness.

Since, then, my office hath so far prevailed
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

That face to face, and royal eye to eye,

You have congreeted, let it not disgrace me
congreet (v.) greet one another, exchange greetings

If I demand, before this royal view,

What rub or what impediment there is
rub (n.) 1 [bowls] obstacle, impediment, hindrance

Why that the naked, poor and, mangled peace,

Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful births,

Should not in this best garden of the world

Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Alas, she hath from France too long been chased,

And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps,

Corrupting in it own fertility.

Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,

Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleached,
even-pleached (adj.) with branches evenly layered

Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,

Put forth disordered twigs; her fallow leas
fallow (adj.) 1 unsown, uncultivated
lea (n.) meadow, field

The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory
darnel (n.) weeds, cockle, tares See Topics: Plants
fumitory (n.) variety of weed See Topics: Plants
hemlock (n.) variety of poisonous plant See Topics: Plants
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]

Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
coulter (n.) blade fixed in front of a ploughshare

That should deracinate such savagery.
deracinate (v.) uproot, pluck up, eradicate
savagery (n.) wilderness, wildness of growth

The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
erst (adv.) 1 formerly, once, before
even (adj.) 4 level, horizontal, flat
mead (n.) meadow

The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,

Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need

Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
teem (v.) 1 produce, bring forth

But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
bur, burr (n.) 1 prickly, clinging seedpod See Topics: Plants
dock (n.) variety of weedy herb See Topics: Plants
kecksie (n.) variety of hollow-stalked plant See Topics: Plants

Losing both beauty and utility;

And as our vineyards, fallows, meads, and hedges,
fallow (n.) area of arable land, ploughed field
mead (n.) meadow

Defective in their natures, grow to wildness,

Even so our houses and ourselves and children
house (n.) 2 household, family

Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,

The sciences that should become our country,
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

But grow like savages – as soldiers will

That nothing do but meditate on blood –

To swearing and stern looks, diffused attire,
diffused (adj.) 1 disorderly, mixed-up, jumbled

And everything that seems unnatural.

Which to reduce into our former favour
favour (n.) 1 [facial] appearance, countenance, features, looks
reduce (v.) restore, bring back, lead back

You are assembled; and my speech entreats

That I may know the let why gentle peace
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind
let (n.) hindrance, obstacle, snag

Should not expel these inconveniences,
inconvenience (n.) harm, troublesome disadvantage

And bless us with her former qualities.


If, Duke of Burgundy, you would the peace

Whose want gives growth to th' imperfections

Which you have cited, you must buy that peace

With full accord to all our just demands,

Whose tenors and particular effects
tenor, tenour (n.) 1 substance, content, matter, drift

You have, enscheduled briefly, in your hands.
enschedule (v.) put in a schedule, write down in a list


The King hath heard them, to the which as yet

There is no answer made.


                         Well then, the peace

Which you before so urged lies in his answer.


I have but with a cursitory eye
cursitory (adj.) cursory, hurried, superficial

O'erglanced the articles. Pleaseth your grace
article (n.) 1 clause, term, provision
overglance (v.) glance over, cast the eye over

To appoint some of your Council presently
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

To sit with us once more, with better heed
heed (n.) 1 consideration, care, attention
sit (v.) 2 sit in conference, meet for a discussion

To re-survey them, we will suddenly

Pass our accept and peremptory answer.
accept (adj.) decisive, approved, agreed
peremptory (adj.) 1 determined, resolved, absolutely decided


Brother, we shall. Go, uncle Exeter,

And brother Clarence, and you, brother Gloucester,

Warwick, and Huntingdon, go with the King;

And take with you free power to ratify,
power (n.) 5 exercise of power, authoritative action

Augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best

Shall see advantageable for our dignity,
advantageable (adj.) advantageous, profitable, beneficial

Anything in or out of our demands,

And we'll consign thereto. Will you, fair sister,
consign (v.) sign jointly, ratify, subscribe

Go with the Princes, or stay here with us?


Our gracious brother, I will go with them.

Haply a woman's voice may do some good,
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

When articles too nicely urged be stood on.
article (n.) 1 clause, term, provision
nicely (adv.) 1 scrupulously, punctiliously, meticulously, fastidiously
stand on (v.) 1 insist on, demand, call for
urge (v.) 1 press, insist on, state emphatically


Yet leave our cousin Katherine here with us;

She is our capital demand, comprised
capital (adj.) 1 main, chief, principal

Within the fore-rank of our articles.
fore-rank (n.) first section


She hath good leave.

Exeunt all but Henry, Katherine, and Alice


                         Fair Katherine, and most fair,

Will you vouchsafe to teach a soldier terms

Such as will enter at a lady's ear

And plead his love-suit to her gentle heart?
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind


Your majesty shall mock at me; I cannot

speak your England.


O fair Katherine, if you will love me soundly

with your French heart, I will be glad to hear you confess

it brokenly with your English tongue. Do you like me,



Pardonnez-moi, I cannot tell vat is ‘ like me.’


An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like

an angel.


Que dit-il? que je suis semblable à les anges?


Oui, vraiment, sauf votre grâce, ainsi dit-il.


I said so, dear Katherine, and I must not

blush to affirm it.


O bon Dieu! Les langues des hommes sont

pleines de tromperies.


What says she, fair one? that the tongues of

men are full of deceits?


Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of deceits –

dat is de Princesse.


The Princess is the better Englishwoman.

I'faith, Kate, my wooing is fit for thy understanding. I

am glad thou canst speak no better English; for, if thou

couldst, thou wouldst find me such a plain king that

thou wouldst think I had sold my farm to buy my crown.

I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say,

‘ I love you:’ then if you urge me farther than to say,

‘ Do you, in faith?’ I wear out my suit. Give me your
suit (n.) 2 wooing, courtship

answer, i'faith, do; and so clap hands, and a bargain.
clap (v.) 1 [of two people's hands] strike together, clasp [to seal a bargain]

How say you, lady?


Sauf votre honneur, me understand well.


Marry, if you would put me to verses, or to

dance for your sake, Kate, why, you undid me. For the
undo (v.) 1 ruin, destroy, wipe out

one, I have neither words nor measure; and for the
measure (n.) 10 metre, poetic skill

other, I have no strength in measure, yet a reasonable
measure (n.) 8 slow stately dance, graceful movement

measure in strength. If I could win a lady at leapfrog,
measure (n.) 1 extent, size, amount, quantity, mass

or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour on my

back, under the correction of bragging be it spoken, I

should quickly leap into a wife. Or if I might buffet for
buffet (v.) 2 fight, struggle, deal blows

my love, or bound my horse for her favours, I could lay
lay on / upon (v.) 1 set to, set about, undertake vigorously

on like a butcher, and sit like a jackanapes, never off.
jackanapes, jackanape, jack'nape (n.) upstart, buffoon, monkey

But, before God, Kate, I cannot look greenly, nor gasp
greenly (adv.) 1 like an inexperienced youth, timidly, sheepishly

out my eloquence, nor I have no cunning in protestation:
cunning (n.) 1 skill, ability, expertise

only downright oaths, which I never use till urged, nor
downright (adj.) 1 plain, ordinary, straightforward
urge (v.) 6 provoke, incite, impel

never break for urging. If thou canst love a fellow of this

temper, Kate, whose face is not worth sunburning, that
temper (n.) 1 frame of mind, temperament, disposition

never looks in his glass for love of anything he sees
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

there, let thine eye be thy cook. I speak to thee plain

soldier. If thou canst love me for this, take me; if not,

to say to thee that I shall die is true – but for thy love,

by the Lord, no – yet I love thee too. And while thou

liv'st, dear Kate, take a fellow of plain and uncoined
uncoined (adj.) unalloyed, genuine; also: not yet in circulation [among women]

constancy; for he perforce must do thee right, because
perforce (adv.) 2 of necessity, with no choice in the matter See Topics: Frequency count

he hath not the gift to woo in other places. For these

fellows of infinite tongue, that can rhyme themselves

into ladies' favours, they do always reason themselves

out again. What! A speaker is but a prater, a rhyme is
prater (n.) chatterer, idle talker

but a ballad. A good leg will fall; a straight back will

stoop; a black beard will turn white; a curled pate will
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count

grow bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax

hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon

– or rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it shines

bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.

If thou would have such a one, take me; and take me,

take a soldier; take a soldier, take a king. And what

say'st thou then to my love? Speak, my fair, and fairly,

I pray thee.


Is it possible dat I sould love de ennemi of



No, it is not possible you should love the

enemy of France, Kate; but in loving me you should

love the friend of France, for I love France so well that

I will not part with a village of it – I will have it all mine:

and, Kate, when France is mine, and I am yours, then

yours is France, and you are mine.


I cannot tell wat is dat.


No, Kate? I will tell thee in French, which

I am sure will hang upon my tongue like a new-married

wife about her husband's neck, hardly to be shook off.

Je – quand sur le possession de France, et quand vous avez

le possession de moi, – let me see, what then? Saint Denis

be my speed! – donc vôtre est France, et vous êtes mienne.

It is as easy for me, Kate, to conquer the kingdom as to

speak so much more French. I shall never move thee in

French, unless it be to laugh at me.


Sauf votre honneur, le français que vous

parlez, il est meilleur que l'anglais lequel je parle.


No, faith, is't not, Kate; but thy speaking

of my tongue, and I thine, most truly-falsly, must
truly-falsely with faithful heart but incorrect speech

needs be granted to be much at one. But Kate, dost

thou understand thus much English – canst thou love



I cannot tell.


Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate?

I'll ask them. Come, I know thou lovest me; and at

night, when you come into your closet, you'll question
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

this gentlewoman about me; and I know, Kate, you will

her dispraise those parts in me that you love with
dispraise (v.) disparage, belittle, denigrate

your heart. But, good Kate, mock me mercifully; the

rather, gentle Princess, because I love thee cuelly.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

If ever thou beest mine, Kate, as I have a saving faith

within me tells me thou shalt, I get thee with scambling,
scambling (n.) scuffling, struggling, fighting

and thou must therefore needs prove a good soldier-breeder.

Shall not thou and I, between Saint Denis and

Saint George, compound a boy, half French, half
compound (v.) 3 put together, construct, compose

English, that shall go to Constantinople and take the

Turk by the beard? Shall we not? What say'st thou,

my fair flower-de-luce?
fleur-de-lis, flower-de-luce (n.) heraldic lily [royal symbol of France]


I do not know dat.


No, 'tis hereafter to know, but now to

promise. Do but now promise, Kate, you will endeavour

for your French part of such a boy, and for my English

moiety take the word of a king and a bachelor. How
moiety (n.) 2 half, equal share

answer you, la plus belle Katherine du monde, mon

très cher et devin déesse?


Your majestee 'ave fausse French enough to

deceive de most sage demoiselle dat is en France.


Now fie upon my false French! By mine
false (adj.) 5 defective, weak, inadequate

honour, in true English, I love thee, Kate: by which

honour I dare not swear thou lovest me, yet my blood

begins to flatter me that thou dost, notwithstanding the

poor and untempering effect of my visage. Now beshrew
untempering (adj.) unsoftening, without fostering tenderness
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

my father's ambition! He was thinking of civil wars
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count

when he got me; therefore was I created with a stubborn

outside, with an aspect of iron, that when I come to woo

ladies I fright them. But in faith, Kate, the elder I wax,
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count
wax (v.) 1 grow, become, turn

the better I shall appear. My comfort is, that old age,

that ill layer-up of beauty, can do no more spoil upon
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count
layer-up (n.) preserver, storer, upholder
spoil (n.) 1 plundering, pillaging, despoiling

my face. Thou hast me, if thou hast me, at the worst;

and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and

better; and therefore tell me, most fair Katherine, will

you have me? Put off your maiden blushes, avouch the
avouch (v.) 1 declare, assert, affirm

thoughts of your heart with the looks of an empress,

take me by the hand, and say ‘ Harry of England, I am

thine:’ which word thou shalt no sooner bless mine ear

withal but I will tell thee aloud, ‘ England is thine,

Ireland is thine, France is thine, and Henry Plantagenet

is thine ’ – who, though I speak it before his face, if he

be not fellow with the best king, thou shalt find the best

king of good fellows. Come, your answer in broken
broken (adj.) 7 arranged for different groups of instruments

music – for thy voice is music, and thy English broken;

therefore, Queen of all, Katherine, break thy mind to
break (v.) 5 reveal, disclose, impart

me in broken English – wilt thou have me?
broken (adj.) 1 disjointed, fragmentary, disconnected


Dat is as it shall please de Roi mon père.


Nay, it will please him well, Kate – it shall

please him, Kate.


Den it sall also content me.
content (v.) 1 please, gratify, delight, satisfy


Upon that I kiss your hand, and I call you

my Queen.


Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez! Ma foi,

je ne veux point que vous abaissiez votre grandeur en

baisant la main d'une – notre Seigneur – indigne serviteur.

Excusez-moi, je vous supplie, mon très-puissant seigneur.


Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.


Les dames et demoiselles pour être baisées

devant leur noces, il n'est pas la coutume de France.


Madam my interpreter, what says she?


Dat it is not be de fashion pour les ladies of France

I cannot tell wat is baiser en Anglish.


To kiss.


Your majesty entendre bettre que moi.


It is not a fashion for the maids in France to

kiss before they are married, would she say?


Oui, vraiment.


O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings.
nice (adj.) 1 fastidious, particular, fussy, overscrupulous

Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the

weak list of a country's fashion. We are the makers of
list (n.) 3 boundary, limit, confines

manners, Kate, and the liberty that follows our places
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

stops the mouth of all find-faults – as I will do yours for

upholding the nice fashion of your country in denying
nice (adj.) 1 fastidious, particular, fussy, overscrupulous

me a kiss; therefore, patiently, and yielding. (He kisses

her) You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate: there is

more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the

tongues of the French Council, and they should sooner

persuade Harry of England than a general petition of

monarchs. Here comes your father.

Enter the French King and Queen, Burgundy, and

English and French Lords


God save your majesty! My royal cousin,

teach you our Princess English?


I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how

perfectly I love her, and that is good English.


Is she not apt?
apt (adj.) 5 yielding, compliant, submissive


Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition
condition (n.) 1 disposition, temper, mood, character

is not smooth; so that, having neither the voice nor the

heart of flattery about me, I cannot so conjure up the
conjure up (v.) bring about [as if by magic], cause to appear

spirit of love in her that he will appear in his true



Pardon the frankness of my mirth, if I answer

you for that. If you would conjure in her, you must
conjure (v.) 2 call up, bring out, produce

make a circle; if conjure up love in her in his true likeness,
circle (n.) 2 magical circle

he must appear naked and blind. Can you blame

her, then, being a maid yet rosed over with the virgin
rose over colour over like a rose, make rosy

crimson of modesty, if she deny the appearance of a
deny (v.) 6 refuse admittance to, keep out

naked blind boy in her naked seeing self? It were, my

lord, a hard condition for a maid to consign to.
consign to (v.) 1 agree with, accept, assent to, endorse


Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind
wink (v.) 1 shut one's eyes

and enforces.


They are then excused, my lord, when they

see not what they do.


Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to

consent winking.
winking (n.) shutting the eyes


I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you
wink on (v.) give someone a significant glance, invite with a look

will teach her to know my meaning: for maids, well

summered and warm kept, are like flies at Bartholomew-tide,
Bartholomew-tide (n.) St Bartholomew's day See Topics: Days and dates
summer (v.) nurture, care for, tend [during summer]

blind, though they have their eyes, and then they

will endure handling, which before would not abide

looking on.


This moral ties me over to time and a hot
tie over (v.) restrict, confine, limit

summer; and so I shall catch the fly, your cousin, in the

latter end, and she must be blind too.


As love is, my lord, before it loves.


It is so; and you may, some of you, thank

love for my blindness, who cannot see many a fair

French city for one fair French maid that stands in my



Yes, my lord, you see them perspectively,
perspectively (adv.) as if through an optical instrument

the cities turned into a maid; for they are all girdled

with maiden walls, that war hath never entered.


Shall Kate be my wife?


So please you.


I am content, so the maiden cities you talk
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count

of may wait on her: so the maid that stood in the way

for my wish shall show me the way to my will.


We have consented to all terms of reason.
reason (n.) 3 reasonable view, sensible judgement, right opinion


Is't so, my lords of England?


The King hath granted every article:
article (n.) 1 clause, term, provision

His daughter first, and then, in sequel, all,
sequel (n.) sequence, series, order of succession

According to their firm proposed natures.


Only he hath not yet subscribed this:
subscribe (v.) 2 sign, endorse, support

Where your majesty demands that the King of France,

having any occasion to write for matter of grant, shall
grant (n.) 3 granting of titles, conveyance of land

name your highness in this form and with this addition,

in French, Notre très cher fils Henri, Roi d'Angleterre,

Héritier de France: and thus in Latin, Praeclarissimus
praeclarissimus... Our most renowned son Henry, King of England and heir of France See Topics: Latin

filius noster Henricus, Rex Angliae et Haeres Franciae.


Nor this I have not, brother, so denied

But your request shall make me let it pass.


I pray you then, in love and dear alliance,

Let that one article rank with the rest,

And thereupon give me your daughter.


Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up

Issue to me, that the contending kingdoms
contending (adj.) struggling, antagonistic, opposed
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

Of France and England, whose very shores look pale
pale (adj.) wan, fearful, pale-hearted

With envy of each other's happiness,

May cease their hatred, and this dear conjunction
conjunction (n.) 1 union, uniting, joining together
dear (adj.) 2 important, major, significant

Plant neighbourhood and Christian-like accord
accord (n.) 1 harmony, agreement
neighbourhood (n.) 1 neighbourly conduct, neighbourliness

In their sweet bosoms, that never war advance
advance (v.) 1 raise, lift up, upraise
bosom (n.) 1 heart, inner person

His bleeding sword 'twixt England and fair France.




Now welcome, Kate; and bear me witness all

That here I kiss her as my sovereign Queen.



God, the best maker of all marriages,

Combine your hearts in one, your realms in one!

As man and wife, being two, are one in love,

So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousal
spousal (n.) married union, state of wedlock

That never may ill office, or fell jealousy,
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
office (n.) 4 performance, business, intrigue

Which troubles oft the bed of blessed marriage,
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

Thrust in between the paction of these kingdoms
paction (n.) compact, agreement, treaty

To make divorce of their incorporate league;
incorporate (adj.) united in one body, combined in one entity

That English may as French, French Englishmen,

Receive each other, God speak this ‘Amen'!




Prepare we for our marriage; on which day,

My Lord of Burgundy, we'll take your oath,

And all the peers', for surety of our leagues.
surety (n.) 1 guarantee, ratification, warrant

Then shall I swear to Kate, and you to me,

And may our oaths well kept and prosperous be!

Sennet. Exeunt

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