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Henry V

Henry V Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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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-favored rage, Then lend the eye a terrible aspect, Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon, let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a gallèd rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swilled 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 sheathed their swords for lack of argument. Dishonor not your mothers. Now attest That those whom you called fathers did beget you. Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman, 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 luster 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!”

KING HENRY

Once more back into the gap in the wall, dear friends, once more, or let it be closed up with dead English soldiers! There's nothing more proper for a man in a time of peace as modest calm and humility, but when the trumpet of war blows in your ears, you should imitate the actions of a tiger. Stiffen your muscles, raise your heartbeat, disguise your natural kindness with ugly anger, then frown horribly, let your eyes shoot glares from your head like a brass cannon shooting out of a porthole. Let your forehead hang over them as frighteningly as a dislodged rock, jutting over a doomed piece of ground washed over by the wild and destructive ocean. Now grit your teeth and flare your nostrils, hold your breath and raise your spirits. On, on, you noblest Englishmen, who are descended from fathers whose worth was proved in war, fathers who, as though they were all Alexander the Great, fought in this country from morning until evening, then put away their swords because there was no-one left to fight. Don't dishonor your mothers. Now prove that the men you called your fathers conceived you. Be an example for less noble men and show them how to fight. And you, good commoner, whose bodies were made in England, show us the character you developed working the land. Convince us you were worth bringing up, which I don't doubt, because even the lowest and least important of you has a noble light in your eyes. I see you waiting like greyhounds on a leash, straining to start. Now the hunt has begun. Follow your instincts, and when we charge shout, "God help Harry, England, and Saint George!"

Alarum, and chambers go off. Exeunt

Henry v
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