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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene VII.

The Life of King Henry the Fifth

Another Part of the Field.

Alarums.Enter FLUELLEN and GOWER.

Flu.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 offer ’t: in your conscience now, is it not?

Gow.’Tis certain, there’s not a boy left alive; and the cowardly rascals that ran from the battle have done this slaughter: 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.

Flu.Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, Captain Gower. What call you the town’s name where Alexander the Pig was born?

Gow.Alexander the Great.

Flu.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.

Gow.I think Alexander the Great was born in Macedon: his father was called Philip of Macedon, as I take it.

Flu.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 sall 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 alike as my fingers is to my fingers, and there is salmons in both. If you mark Alexander’s life well, Harry of Monmouth’s life is come after it indifferent well; for there is figures in all things. Alexander,—God knows, and you know,—in his rages, and his furies, and his wraths, and his cholers, and his moods, and his displeasures, and his indignations, and also being a little intoxicates in his prains, did, in his ales and his angers, look you, kill his pest friend, Cleitus.

Gow.Our king is not like him in that: he never killed any of his friends.

Flu.It is not well done, mark you now, to take the tales out of my mouth, ere it is made and finished. I speak but in the figures and comparisons of it: as Alexander killed his friend Cleitus, being in his ales and his cups, so also Harry Monmouth, being in his right wits and his good judgments, turned away the fat knight with the great belly-doublet: he was full of jests, and gipes, and knaveries, and mocks; I have forgot his name.

Gow.Sir John Falstaff.

Flu.That is he. I’ll tell you, there is goot men porn at Monmouth.

Gow.Here comes his majesty.

Alarum.Enter KING HENRY, with a part of the English Forces; WARWICK, GLOUCESTER, EXETER, and Others.

K. Hen.I was not angry since I came to France

Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;

Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:

If they will fight with us, bid them come down,

Or void the field; they do offend our sight.

If they’ll do neither, we will come to them,

And make them skirr away, as swift as stones

Enforced from the old Assyrian slings.

Besides, we’ll cut the throats of those we have,

And not a man of them that we shall take

Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.


Exe.Here comes the herald of the French, my liege.

Glo.His eyes are humbler than they us’d to be.

K. Hen.How now! what means this, herald? know’st thou not

That I have fin’d these bones of mine for ransom?

Com’st thou again for ransom?

Mont.No, great king.

I come to thee for charitable licence,

That we may wander o’er this bloody field

To book our dead, and then to bury them;

To sort our nobles from our common men;

For many of our princes—woe the while!—

Lie drown’d and soak’d in mercenary blood;

So do our vulgar drench their peasant limbs

In blood of princes; and their wounded steeds

Fret fetlock-deep in gore, and with wild rage

Yerk out their armed heels at their dead masters,

Killing them twice. O! give us leave, great king,

To view the field in safety and dispose

Of their dead bodies.

K. Hen.I tell thee truly, herald,

I know not if the day be ours or no;

For yet a many of your horsemen peer

And gallop o’er the field.

Mont.The day is yours.

K. Hen.Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!

What is this castle call’d that stands hard by?

Mont.They call it Agincourt.

K. Hen.Then call we this the field of Agincourt,

Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.

Flu.Your grandfather of famous memory, an ’t please your majesty, and your great-uncle Edward the Plack Prince of Wales, as I have read in the chronicles, fought a most prave pattle here in France.

K. Hen.They did, Fluellen.

Flu.Your majesty says very true. If your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty know, to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do believe, your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day.

K. Hen.I wear it for a memorable honour; For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.

Flu.All the water in Wye cannot wash your majesty’s Welsh plood out of your pody, I can tell you that: Got pless it and preserve it, as long as it pleases his grace, and his majesty too!

K. Hen.Thanks, good my countryman.

Flu.By Jeshu, I am your majesty’s countryman, I care not who know it; I will confess it to all the ’orld: I need not be ashamed of your majesty, praised be God, so long as your majesty is an honest man.

K. Hen.God keep me so! Our heralds go with him:

Bring me just notice of the numbers dead

On both our parts. Call yonder fellow hither.[Points to WILLIAMS.Exeunt MONTJOY and Others.

Exe.Soldier, you must come to the king.

K. Hen.Soldier, why wear’st thou that glove in thy cap?

Will.An ’t please your majesty, ’tis the gage of one that I should fight withal, if he be alive.

K. Hen.An Englishman?

Will.An ’t please your majesty, a rascal that swaggered with me last night; who, if a’live and ever dare to challenge this glove, I have sworn to take him a box o’ the ear: or, if I can see my glove in his cap,—which he swore as he was a soldier he would wear if alive,—I will strike it out soundly.

K. Hen.What think you, Captain Fluellen? is it fit this soldier keep his oath?

Flu.He is a craven and a villain else, an ’t please your majesty, in my conscience.

K. Hen.It may be his enemy is a gentleman of great sort, quite from the answer of his degree.

Flu.Though he be as good a gentleman as the devil is, as Lucifer and Belzebub himself, it is necessary, look your Grace, that he keep his vow and his oath. If he be perjured, see you now, his reputation is as arrant a villain and a Jack-sauce as ever his black shoe trod upon God’s ground and his earth, in my conscience, la!

K. Hen.Then keep thy vow, sirrah, when thou meetest the fellow.

Will.So I will, my liege, as I live.

K. Hen.Who servest thou under?

Will.Under Captain Gower, my liege.

Flu.Gower is a goot captain, and is good knowledge and literatured in the wars.

K. Hen.Call him hither to me, soldier.

Will.I will, my liege.[Exit.

K. Hen.Here, Fluellen; wear thou this favour for me and stick it in thy cap. When Alençon and myself were down together I plucked this glove from his helm: if any man challenge this, he is a friend to Alençon, and an enemy to our person; if thou encounter any such, apprehend him, an thou dost me love.

Flu.Your Grace does me as great honours as can be desired in the hearts of his subjects: I would fain see the man that has but two legs that shall find himself aggriefed at this glove, that is all; but I would fain see it once, and please God of his grace that I might see.

K. Hen.Knowest thou Gower?

Flu.He is my dear friend, an ’t please you.

K. Hen.Pray thee, go seek him, and bring him to my tent.

Flu.I will fetch him.[Exit.

K. Hen.My Lord of Warwick, and my brother Gloucester,

Follow Fluellen closely at the heels.

The glove which I have given him for a favour,

May haply purchase him a box o’ the ear;

It is the soldier’s; I by bargain should

Wear it myself. Follow, good cousin Warwick:

If that the soldier strike him,—as, I judge

By his blunt bearing he will keep his word,—

Some sudden mischief may arise of it;

For I do know Fluellen valiant,

And touch’d with choler, hot as gunpowder,

And quickly will return an injury:

Follow and see there be no harm between them.

Go you with me, uncle of Exeter.[Exeunt.