Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘France’

Henry V – ACT FIVE SCENE TWO

In France still but some time has jumped since the last scene. The two Kings face each other to negotiate.  The two councils go and debate the terms and conditions of the French surrender and leave Henry alone with Katherine with Alice as her interpreter. Henry woos her modestly

 Henry V

If thou canst love a
fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth
sun-burning, that never looks in his glass for love
of any thing he sees there, let thine eye be thy
cook

 You wouldn’t think of looking in the History plays for exquisite love poetry but here it is.

 Henry V

. for these fellows of infinite tongue, that
can rhyme themselves into ladies’ favours, they do
always reason themselves out again. What! a
speaker is but a prater; a rhyme is but a ballad. A
good leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a
black beard will turn white; a curled pate will grow
bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax
hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the
moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon; for it
shines bright and never changes, but keeps his
course truly.

 There is a lack of understanding of the different languages but Henry woos her and she is “content”   Henry speaks of her giving him a son as part of the condition and hopes that he will be a valiant soldier like himself. We shall see.

The Councils return and Henry has everything he has asked for, including being next in line to the throne. But he will die before that becomes reality, and what of his offspring, the mighty soldier? Let the Chorus have the final word on that.

Chorus

Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the world’s best garden be achieved,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown’d King
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing,
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

Exit

Read Full Post »

Henry V – ACT FIVE – Prologue & Scene 1

The Chorus fills in the blanks for us. He brings us back to England for the triumphant return of King Henry. Then back to France again for the final scenes

Chorus

Vouchsafe to those that have not read the story,
That I may prompt them: and of such as have,
I humbly pray them to admit the excuse
Of time, of numbers and due course of things,
Which cannot in their huge and proper life
Be here presented. Now we bear the king
Toward Calais: grant him there; there seen,
Heave him away upon your winged thoughts
Athwart the sea. Behold, the English beach
Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys,
Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth’d sea,
Which like a mighty whiffler ‘fore the king
Seems to prepare his way: so let him land,
And solemnly see him set on to London.
So swift a pace hath thought that even now
You may imagine him upon Blackheath;
Where that his lords desire him to have borne
His bruised helmet and his bended sword
Before him through the city: he forbids it,
Being free from vainness and self-glorious pride;
Giving full trophy, signal and ostent
Quite from himself to God. But now behold,
In the quick forge and working-house of thought,
How London doth pour out her citizens!
The mayor and all his brethren in best sort,
Like to the senators of the antique Rome,
With the plebeians swarming at their heels,
Go forth and fetch their conquering Caesar in:
As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
Were now the general of our gracious empress,
As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him! much more, and much more cause,
Did they this Harry. Now in London place him;
As yet the lamentation of the French
Invites the King of England’s stay at home;
The emperor’s coming in behalf of France,
To order peace between them; and omit
All the occurrences, whatever chanced,
Till Harry’s back-return again to France:
There must we bring him; and myself have play’d
The interim, by remembering you ’tis past.
Then brook abridgment, and your eyes advance,
After your thoughts, straight back again to France.

ACT FIVE SCENE ONE

We are in back in France. Fluellen and Pistol meet and argue. Fluellen forces Pistol to eat a leek that he keeps in his cap.

FLUELLEN

if you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.

Pistol is humiliated by Fluellen and Gower. Left alone he gives this warning

PISTOL

Doth Fortune play the huswife with me now?
News have I, that my Nell is dead i’ the spital
Of malady of France;
And there my rendezvous is quite cut off.
Old I do wax; and from my weary limbs
Honour is cudgelled. Well, bawd I’ll turn,
And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand.
To England will I steal, and there I’ll steal:
And patches will I get unto these cudgell’d scars,
And swear I got them in the Gallia wars

The end of a wonderful, if minor, character through the Henry IV plays and Merry wives of Windsor. I wonder what happens to him after this play has finished?

Read Full Post »

Henry V – Act Four – Scene Seven and Eight

As the battle draws to a close the English find a terrible site in their camp

FLUELLEN

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?

GOWER

‘Tis certain there’s not a boy left alive; and the
cowardly rascals that ran from the battle ha’ done
this slaughter:

Henry is furious at this slaughter of the boys.

KING HENRY V

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.

The French Herald returns in less confident mood

KING HENRY V

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.

MONTJOY

The day is yours.

KING HENRY V

Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!
What is this castle call’d that stands hard by?

MONTJOY

They call it Agincourt.

KING HENRY V

Then call we this the field of Agincourt,
Fought on the day of Crispin Crispianus.

The King sees the soldiers who challenged him the night before. He gives Fluellen the glove, claiming it’s a Frenchman’s and bids him to wear so if any man challenge him then he is a traitor. He then tells Warwick and Gloucester to watch them and make sure no harm comes to either from his prank.

SCENE 8

Fluellen and Williams meet and argue until Henry and other lords turn up and the jest is revealed, much to the embarrassment of Williams.

Then comes the sober news of the Battle.

KING HENRY V

This note doth tell me of ten thousand French
That in the field lie slain: of princes, in this number,
And nobles bearing banners, there lie dead
One hundred twenty six: added to these,
Of knights, esquires, and gallant gentlemen,
Eight thousand and four hundred; of the which,
Five hundred were but yesterday dubb’d knights:
So that, in these ten thousand they have lost,
There are but sixteen hundred mercenaries;
The rest are princes, barons, lords, knights, squires,
And gentlemen of blood and quality.

Here was a royal fellowship of death!
Where is the number of our English dead?

When told the number of the English casualties he can hardly believe it

Edward the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk,
Sir Richard Ketly, Davy Gam, esquire:
None else of name; and of all other men
But five and twenty.

Henry gives praise to God.

KING HENRY V

O God, thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all! When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!

Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum;’
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne’er from France arrived more happy men.

The battle of Agincourt is over and the English are victorious

Read Full Post »

Henry V – Act Four, Scenes 4, 5 & 6

 

Agincourt

 

SCENE FOUR

The Battle of Agincourt commences

Chorus – Act Four Prologue

   And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where–O for pity!–we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill-disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt.

Pistol challenges a French soldier. He bids the Boy to translate for him as he speaks no French

PISTOL

Say’st thou me so? is that a ton of moys?
Come hither, boy: ask me this slave in French
What is his name.

Boy

Ecoutez: comment etes-vous appele?

French Soldier

Monsieur le Fer.

Boy

He says his name is Master Fer.

PISTOL

Master Fer! I’ll fer him, and firk him, and ferret
him: discuss the same in French unto him.

Boy

I do not know the French for fer, and ferret, and firk

Pistol accepts money to save the French soldiers life. The Boy alone lamants the company he keeps.

BOY

I did never know so full a voice issue from so
empty a heart: but the saying is true ‘The empty
vessel makes the greatest sound.’ Bardolph and Nym
had ten times more valour than this roaring devil i’
the old play, that every one may pare his nails with
a wooden dagger; and they are both hanged; and so
would this be, if he durst steal any thing
adventurously. I must stay with the lackeys, with
the luggage of our camp: the French might have a
good prey of us, if he knew of it; for there is
none to guard it but boys.

SCENE FIVE

The French are defeated on the field and over-run by the smaller English army

BOURBON

The devil take order now! I’ll to the throng:
Let life be short; else shame will be too long

SCENE SIX

In the English camp the troops regroup where Exeter has sad news for Henry

EXETER

The Duke of York commends him to your majesty.

KING HENRY V

Lives he, good uncle? thrice within this hour
I saw him down; thrice up again and fighting;
From helmet to the spur all blood he was.

EXETER

In which array, brave soldier, doth he lie,
Larding the plain; and by his bloody side,
Yoke-fellow to his honour-owing wounds,
The noble Earl of Suffolk also lies.
Suffolk first died: and York, all haggled over,
Comes to him, where in gore he lay insteep’d,
And takes him by the beard; kisses the gashes
That bloodily did spawn upon his face;
And cries aloud ‘Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk!
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven;
Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast,
As in this glorious and well-foughten field
We kept together in our chivalry!’
Upon these words I came and cheer’d him up:
He smiled me in the face, raught me his hand,
And, with a feeble gripe, says ‘Dear my lord,
Commend my service to me sovereign.’
So did he turn and over Suffolk’s neck
He threw his wounded arm and kiss’d his lips;
And so espoused to death, with blood he seal’d
A testament of noble-ending love.
The pretty and sweet manner of it forced
Those waters from me which I would have stopp’d;
But I had not so much of man in me,
And all my mother came into mine eyes
And gave me up to tears.

KING HENRY V

I blame you not;
For, hearing this, I must perforce compound
With mistful eyes, or they will issue too.

 Truly heartbreaking

Read Full Post »

Henry V – Act Four Scene Two & Three

Scene Two

In the French camp the over confidence of the French is evident as they face the English

Constable

To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band,
And your fair show shall suck away their souls,
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men.
There is not work enough for all our hands;
Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins
To give each naked curtle-axe a stain,
That our French gallants shall to-day draw out,
And sheathe for lack of sport: let us but blow on them,
The vapour of our valour will o’erturn them.
‘Tis positive ‘gainst all exceptions, lords,
That our superfluous lackeys and our peasants,
Who in unnecessary action swarm
About our squares of battle, were enow
To purge this field of such a hilding foe,
Though we upon this mountain’s basis by
Took stand for idle speculation:
But that our honours must not. What’s to say?
A very little little let us do.
And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.

SCENE THREE

The English, more modestly and fearfully await the battle. Henry gives a stirring speech to his troops

WESTMORELAND

O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING HENRY V

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
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.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
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.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
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 accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

 Who isn’t stirred by this speech and I’m sure the effect in the theatre is electric. unfortunately I haven’t seen it live yet.

Read Full Post »

Henry V – Scene One

KING HENRY V

Gloucester, ’tis true that we are in great danger;
The greater therefore should our courage be.

The King, disguised in Sir Erpingham’s cloak meets some of his army. First he meets Pistol, his old drinking buddy. Next he overhears Fluellen and Gower

GOWER

Why, the enemy is loud; you hear him all night.

FLUELLEN

If the enemy is an ass and a fool and a prating
coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also,
look you, be an ass and a fool and a prating
coxcomb? in your own conscience, now?

GOWER

I will speak lower.

Next he meets three of the ordinary soldiers in the army.

COURT

Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which
breaks yonder?

BATES

I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire
the approach of day.

WILLIAMS

We see yonder the beginning of the day, but I think
we shall never see the end of it.

King Henry, still disguised, joins them and they discuss the battle to come

KING HENRY V

methinks I could not die any where so
contented as in the king’s company; his cause being
just and his quarrel honourable.

WILLIAMS

That’s more than we know.

BATES

Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know
enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if
his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes
the crime of it out of us.

WILLIAMS

But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at
such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a
surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind
them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their
children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die
well that die in a battle; for how can they
charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
will be a black matter for the king that led them to
it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of
subjection. 

Henry argues that the King is not to blame for his soldiers sins

KING HENRY V

Every
subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s
soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in
the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every
mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death
is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was
blessedly lost wherein such preparation was gained:
and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think
that, making God so free an offer, He let him
outlive that day to see His greatness and to teach
others how they should prepare.

 

Williams challenges Henry (not knowing it is the King he is speaking too) and they swap gloves so than can quarrel if they survive the day.

Henry left alone has a speech about what it means to be King (or any leader of a group)

KING HENRY V

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children and our sins lay on the king!
We must bear all. O hard condition,
Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing! What infinite heart’s-ease
Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer’st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?
O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of adoration?
Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear’d
Than they in fearing.
What drink’st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison’d flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Think’st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command’st the beggar’s knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play’st so subtly with a king’s repose;
I am a king that find thee, and I know
‘Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running ‘fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill’d and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm’d with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
The slave, a member of the country’s peace,
Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
Whose hours the peasant best advantages. 

Henry prays for success today, yet he is still full of guilt for his Father’s crime in usurping the crown from Richard II

KING HENRY V

O God of battles! steel my soldiers’ hearts;
Possess them not with fear; take from them now
The sense of reckoning, if the opposed numbers
Pluck their hearts from them. Not to-day, O Lord,
O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard’s body have interred anew;
And on it have bestow’d more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood:
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a-day their wither’d hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard’s soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.

 Everything is ready, the French await on the battlefield!

Read Full Post »

Henry V – ACT FOUR – Prologue

The Chorus in poetic mode describes the night before Agincourt. Shakespeare brings all the sounds, and sights to vivid life, the fear that is felt by the English and Henry trying to give confidence to his weary band.

Chorus

Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
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:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning’s danger, and their gesture sad
Investing lank-lean; cheeks and war-worn coats
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin’d band
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Let him cry ‘Praise and glory on his head!’
For forth he goes and visits all his host.
Bids them good morrow with a modest smile
And calls them brothers, friends and countrymen.
Upon his royal face there is no note
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour
Unto the weary and all-watched night,
But freshly looks and over-bears attaint
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:
A largess universal like the sun
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all,
Behold, as may unworthiness define,
A little touch of Harry in the night.
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
Where–O for pity!–we shall much disgrace
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill-disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt. Yet sit and see,
Minding true things by what their mockeries be

I particularly like the imagery of night

And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away.

Is this Shakespeare at his most Poetic?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »