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Act I, Scene 1

THE LIFE OF KING HENRY V

by William Shakespeare

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

KING HENRY V.
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, brother to the King.
DUKE OF BEDFORD, brother to the King.
DUKE OF EXETER, uncle to the King.
DUKE OF YORK, cousin to the King.
EARL OF SALISBURY.
EARL OF WESTMORELAND.
EARL OF WARWICK.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.
BISHOP OF ELY.
EARL OF CAMBRIDGE.
LORD SCROOP.
SIR THOMAS GREY.
SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, officer in King Henry's army.
GOWER, officer in King Henry's army.
FLUELLEN, officer in King Henry's army.
MACMORRIS, officer in King Henry's army.
JAMY, officer in King Henry's army.
BATES, soldier in the same.
COURT, soldier in the same.
WILLIAMS, soldier in the same.
PISTOL.
NYM.
BARDOLPH.
BOY.
A Herald.

CHARLES VI, king of France.
LEWIS, the Dauphin.
DUKE OF BURGUNDY.
DUKE OF ORLEANS.
DUKE OF BOURBON.
The Constable of France.
RAMBURES, French Lord.
GRANDPRE, French Lord.
Governor of Harfleur
MONTJOY, a French herald.
Ambassadors to the King of England.

ISABEL, queen of France.
KATHARINE, daughter to Charles and Isabel.
ALICE, a lady attending on her.
HOSTESS of a tavern in Eastcheap, formerly Mistress Quickly,
and now married to Pistol.

CHORUS.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, and
Attendants.

SCENE: England; afterwards France.

PROLOGUE.

[Enter CHORUS.]

CHORUS.

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
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,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that hath dar'd
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object. Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder;
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth.
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there, jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

[Exit.]

ACT FIRST.

SCENE I. London. An ante-chamber in the King's palace.

[Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely.]

CANTERBURY.
My lord, I'll tell you: that self bill is urg'd,
Which in the eleventh year of the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us pass'd,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of farther question.

ELY.
But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?

CANTERBURY.
It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession;
For all the temporal lands, which men devout
By testament have given to the Church,
Would they strip from us; being valu'd thus:
As much as would maintain, to the King's honour,
Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
And, to relief of lazars and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred almshouses right well suppli'd;
And to the coffers of the King beside,
A thousand pounds by the year. Thus runs the bill.

ELY.
This would drink deep.

CANTERBURY.
'Twould drink the cup and all.

ELY.
But what prevention?

CANTERBURY.
The King is full of grace and fair regard.

ELY.
And a true lover of the holy Church.

CANTERBURY.
The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortifi'd in him,
Seem'd to die too; yea, at that very moment
Consideration like an...

(The entire section is 3,715 words.)