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Act III, Prologue

PROLOGUE.

[Flourish. Enter Chorus.]

CHORUS.

Thus with imagin'd wing our swift scene flies,
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen
The well-appointed king at [Hampton] pier
Embark his royalty, and his brave fleet
With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning.
Play with your fancies; and in them behold
Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing;
Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
To sounds confus'd; behold the threaden sails,
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow'd sea,
Breasting the lofty surge. O, do but think
You stand upon the rivage and behold
A city on the inconstant billows dancing;
For so appears this fleet majestical,
Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow!
Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy,
And leave your England, as dead midnight still,
Guarded with grandsires, babies, and old women,
Either past or not arriv'd to pith and puissance.
For who is he, whose chin is but enrich'd
With one appearing hair, that will not follow
These cull'd and choice-drawn cavaliers to France?
Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege;
Behold the ordnance on their carriages,
With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur.
Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back,
Tells Harry that the King doth offer him
Katharine his daughter, and with her, to dowry,
Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.
The offer likes not; and the nimble gunner
With linstock now the devilish cannon touches,

[Alarum, and chambers go off.]

And down goes all before them. Still be kind,
And eke out our performance with your mind.

[Exit.]

Act III, Scene 1

SCENE I. France. Before Harfleur.

[Alarum. Enter King Henry, Exeter, Bedford, Gloucester,
[and Soldiers, with] scaling-ladders.]

KING HENRY.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
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,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as does a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheath'd their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot!
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry, "God for Harry! England and Saint George!"

[Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off.]

Act III, Scene 2

SCENE II. The same.

[Enter Nym, Bardolph, Pistol, and Boy.]

BARDOLPH.
On, on, on, on, on! To the breach, to the breach!

NYM.
Pray thee, corporal, stay. The knocks are too hot; and, for
mine own part, I have not a case of lives. The humour of it is
too hot; that is the very plain-song of it.

PISTOL.
The plain-song is most just, for humours do abound.
"Knocks go and come; God's vassals drop and die;
And sword and shield,
In bloody field,
Doth win immortal fame."

BOY.
Would I were in an alehouse in London! I would give all my
fame for a pot of ale and safety.

PISTOL.
And I.
"If wishes would prevail with me,
My purpose should not fail with me,
But thither would I hie."

BOY.
"As duly, but not as truly,
As bird doth sing on bough."

[Enter Fluellen.]

FLUELLEN.
Up to the breach, you dogs!...

(The entire section is 6,034 words.)