|The Life of King Henry the Fifth|
| Henry V
| Act 3, Scene 7
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Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES, ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with othersConstable
Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!ORLEANS
You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.Constable
It is the best horse of Europe.ORLEANS
Will it never be morning?DAUPHIN
My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, youORLEANS
talk of horse and armour?
You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.DAUPHIN
What a long night is this! I will not change myORLEANS
horse with any that treads but on four pasterns.
Ca, ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his
entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus,
chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I
soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth
sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his
hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
He's of the colour of the nutmeg.DAUPHIN
And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast forConstable
Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull
elements of earth and water never appear in him, but
only in Patient stillness while his rider mounts
him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you
may call beasts.
Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.DAUPHIN
It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like theORLEANS
bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
No more, cousin.DAUPHIN
Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from theORLEANS
rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary
deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as
fluent as the sea: turn the sands into eloquent
tongues, and my horse is argument for them all:
'tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for
a sovereign's sovereign to ride on; and for the
world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart
their particular functions and wonder at him. I
once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus:
'Wonder of nature,'--
I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.DAUPHIN
Then did they imitate that which I composed to myORLEANS
courser, for my horse is my mistress.
Your mistress bears well.DAUPHIN
Me well; which is the prescript praise andConstable
perfection of a good and particular mistress.
Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdlyDAUPHIN
shook your back.
So perhaps did yours.Constable
Mine was not bridled.DAUPHIN
O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode,Constable
like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in
your straight strossers.
You have good judgment in horsemanship.DAUPHIN
Be warned by me, then: they that ride so and rideConstable
not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have
my horse to my mistress.
I had as lief have my mistress a jade.DAUPHIN
I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.Constable
I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sowDAUPHIN
to my mistress.
'Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, etConstable
la truie lavee au bourbier;' thou makest use of any thing.
Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or anyRAMBURES
such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tentConstable
to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?
Stars, my lord.DAUPHIN
Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.Constable
And yet my sky shall not want.DAUPHIN
That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, andConstable
'twere more honour some were away.
Even as your horse bears your praises; who wouldDAUPHIN
trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
Would I were able to load him with his desert! WillConstable
it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and
my way shall be paved with English faces.
I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out ofRAMBURES
my way: but I would it were morning; for I would
fain be about the ears of the English.
Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?Constable
You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.DAUPHIN
'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself.ORLEANS
The Dauphin longs for morning.RAMBURES
He longs to eat the English.Constable
I think he will eat all he kills.ORLEANS
By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.Constable
Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.ORLEANS
He is simply the most active gentleman of France.Constable
Doing is activity; and he will still be doing.ORLEANS
He never did harm, that I heard of.Constable
Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name still.ORLEANS
I know him to be valiant.Constable
I was told that by one that knows him better thanORLEANS
Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he caredORLEANS
not who knew it
He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.Constable
By my faith, sir, but it is; never any body saw itORLEANS
but his lackey: 'tis a hooded valour; and when it
appears, it will bate.
Ill will never said well.Constable
I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in friendship.'ORLEANS
And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.'Constable
Well placed: there stands your friend for theORLEANS
devil: have at the very eye of that proverb with 'A
pox of the devil.'
You are the better at proverbs, by how much 'AConstable
fool's bolt is soon shot.'
You have shot over.ORLEANS
'Tis not the first time you were overshot.Messenger
Enter a Messenger
My lord high constable, the English lie withinConstable
fifteen hundred paces of your tents.
Who hath measured the ground?Messenger
The Lord Grandpre.Constable
A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it wereORLEANS
day! Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for
the dawning as we do.
What a wretched and peevish fellow is this king ofConstable
England, to mope with his fat-brained followers so
far out of his knowledge!
If the English had any apprehension, they would run away.ORLEANS
That they lack; for if their heads had anyRAMBURES
intellectual armour, they could never wear such heavy
That island of England breeds very valiantORLEANS
creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.
Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of aConstable
Russian bear and have their heads crushed like
rotten apples! You may as well say, that's a
valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
Just, just; and the men do sympathize with theORLEANS
mastiffs in robustious and rough coming on, leaving
their wits with their wives: and then give them
great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will
eat like wolves and fight like devils.
Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.Constable
Then shall we find to-morrow they have only stomachsORLEANS
to eat and none to fight. Now is it time to arm:
come, shall we about it?
It is now two o'clock: but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.
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