Imatges de pÓgina


Sleeps in Elysium. Such a wretch as this,
Winding up days with toil, and nights with ease,
Hath the forehand and vantage of a king.
Yet little knows he
What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace
Whose hours the peasant best advantages.

Sir Thomas Erpingham here re-enters : [Sir Thomas.] My liege, your nobles seek you through the

(camp. [K. Henry.] Good old knight,

Collect them all together at my tent :
I'll be before thee there.
O God of battles !
O not to-day think thou upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown,
But steel my soldiers' hearts, and from their minds

Take thou the sense of reckoning.– He enters the tent where his nobles are collected ; and, as he comes in, overhears Westmorland wishing for more

men :

What’s he that wishes for more men from England ?
My cousin Westmorland ?—No, my fair cousin !
If we are mark”d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
Heaven's will! I pray thee wish not one man more.
By Jove! I am not covetous of gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not that men my garments wear ;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires :
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, 'faith, my lord, wish not a man from England:
Heaven's peace! I would not lose so great an honour,
As one man more, methinks, would share from me,
For the best hopes I have. Don't wish one more :
Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host,

That he who hath no stomach to this fight
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian :
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tiptoe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Shall yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say,-10-morrow is Saint Crispian.
Then shall he strip his sleeve and show his scars :
Old men forget, yet shall not all forget,
But they 'll remember, with advantages,
The feats they did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in their as household words,-
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Sali’sbury 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 end 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


brother; be he e'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition :
And gentlemen in England now abed
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.
-But see, the French are for the battle set :
All things are ready, if our minds are so :
And perish he whose mind is backward now !
You know your places : heave'n be with you all!
—Here Montjoy comes. What would they with us now?

Who sends thee, Herald ?
[Montjoy.] The constable of France.

Once more I come to know of thee, king Harry,

If for thy ransom, thou wilt now compound,
Before thy most assured overthrow.
The constable in mercy would reprieve
The wretches, whose poor bodies on our fields
Must lie and fester.

fellows so? [K. Henry.) Good heaven! why should they mock poor

Bid them achieve us, and then sell our bones.
What, if we look less gay than is our foe;
We are but warriors for the working day:
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
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. Herald, farewell !
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle Herald ;
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints,
Which will yield little, tell the constable.
--Now all is ready :-soldiers, march away;

And how thou pleasest, Heaven, dispose the day. At this stage of the representation, our poet, speaking by the chorus, regrets that the players will be obliged to disgrace

“ With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill dispos'd in brawl ridiculous,

The name of Agincourt." The description of the battle in his own glowing language

would indeed have been far better than any such mockery,As he has not furnished such description, let the sober language of history for a moment take the place of poetry. “ The kiug,” says Hume, “ drew


army on a narrow ground between two woods which guarded each flank, and he patiently expected in that posture the attack of the enemy; in whom it would have been prudent to decline a combat till the English were obliged by necessity to advance, and relinquish the advantages of their situation. But the impetuous valour of the nobility, and a vain confidence in superior numbers, brought on the action. The French archers on horseback and their men-at-arms, crowded in their ranks, advanced upon the English archers, who had fixed palisadoes, from behind which they plied showers of arrows which nothing could resist. The clay-soil moistened by rain which had lately fallen, proved another obstacle to the force of the French cavalry. The wounded men and horses discomposed their ranks: the narrow compass in which they were pent hindered them from recovering any order: the whole army was a scene of confusion, terror, and dismay: and Henry, perceiving his advantage, ordered the English archers, who were light and unincumbered, to advance upon the enemy, and seize the moment of victory. They fell with their battle-axes on the French, and hewed them in pieces without resistance, being seconded by the men-at-arms, who also pushed on against the enemy. After all appearance of opposition was over, the English had leisure to make prisoners; and, having advanced with uninterrupted success to the open plain, they saw the remains of the French rearguard, which still maintained the appearance of battle. At the same time, they heard an alarm from behind : for some gentlemen of Picardy, having collected about six hundred peasants, had fallen upon the English baggage, and were doing execution on the unarmed followers of the camp, who fled before them. Henry, seeing the enemy on all sides of him, began to entertain apprehensions from his prisoners, and thought it necessary to issue general orders for putting them to death: but, on discovering the truth, he stopped the slaughter."

Returning to our poet, we have to imagine ourselves on the foughten field, when the victory, all but complete, is yet overclouded with those doubts which led the king to order the slaughter of the prisoners. Fluellen and Gower are in conversation : (Fluellen.] Kill the poys and the luggage! 'tis expressly

against the law of arms: ’tis as arrant a piece of

knavery, mark you now, as can be offered in the 'orld:

In your conscience now, is it not ? [Gover.] 'Tis certain there's not a boy left alive : besides,

they have burned and carried away all that was in the king's tent: wherefore the king, most worthily, hath caused every soldier to cut his prisoner's throat. O,

'tis a gallant king! [Fluellen] Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, captain Gower.

What call you the town's name where Alexander the

pig was porn ? [Gower.] Alexander the great. [Fluellen.] Why, I pray you, is not pig, great ? The pig, or

the great, or the mighty, or the huge, or the magnanimous, are all one reckonings, save the phrase is a little

variations. [Gower.] I think Alexander the great was born in Macedon;

his father was called Philip of Macedon, as I take it. Fluellen.] I think it is in Macedon where Alexander is

porn. I tell you captain,-if you look in the maps of
the 'orld, I warrant you shall find in the comparisons
between Macedon and Monmouth, that the situations,
look you, is both alike. There is a river in Macedon,
and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth: it is
called Wye at Monmouth, but it is out of my prains
what is the name of the other river ; but, 'tis all one;
'tis so like as my fingers is to my fingers, and there is
salmons in poth. If you mark Alexander's life wel!,
Harry of Monmouth's life is come after it indifferent
well; for there is figures in all things. Alexander, in
his and his furies, and his wraths, and his cholers,
and his moods, and his displeasures, and his indigna-
tions, and also being a little intoxicates in his prains,
did, in his ales and his angers,


kill his pest friend Clitus. [Gower.] Our king is not like him in that; he never killed

any of his friends.


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