Henry V is a historical dramatic play following the reign of Henry V of England and his conquest of France. The bulk of the action within the play takes place before and immediately after the era-defining Battle of Agincourt at which Henry's English forces triumph soundly over France's armies. Henry is shown as a mature ruler in the prime of his life, and the play shows him entering the world of statecraft and generalship.
Henry V is a play by William Shakespeare based on the life of King Henry V of England. It deals with the events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War. The play is thought to date from the first few months of 1599 and is the final part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II, Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II.
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars, and at his heels,
Leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
Crouch for employment.
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a charter'd libertine, is still.
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
When we have match'd 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.
In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
Cry— God for Harry! England and Saint George!
Or, like to men proud of destruction,
Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,
(A name, that, in my thoughts, becomes me best,)
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur,
Till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand, shall range
With conscience wide as hell; mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious War,
Array'd in flames, like to the prince of fiends,
Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats
Enlink'd to waste and desolation?
What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause,
If your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness,
When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as bootless spend our vain commandUpon the enraged soldiers in their spoil,
As send precepts to the Leviathan
To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
Take pity of your town, and of your people,
Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of deadly murder, spoil, and villainy.
If not, why, in a moment, look to see
The blind and bloody soldier, with foul hand,
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls;
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confus'd
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? Will you yield, and this avoid?
Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?
The secret whispers of each other’s watch.
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other’s umber'd face:
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation.
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread.
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I, who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not, if 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.
That he which 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.
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and sees 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 his mouth as household words,—
Harry the King, Bedford, and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
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, whiles any speaks,
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Ascribe we all.