List iconHenry V:
Act 1, scene 1
List icon

Henry V
Act 1, scene 1



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Henry V begins at the English court, where the young king is persuaded that he has a claim to the throne…


The Chorus wishes for a far greater stage, actors, and audience. He apologizes for the scanty resources that are available…

Act 1, scene 1

The Bishop of Canterbury informs the Bishop of Ely of a bill threatening Church revenues and of a plan to…

Act 1, scene 2

At the King’s request, Canterbury provides an extensive interpretation of French law to support Henry’s claim to the French throne….

Act 2, chorus

The Chorus announces the enthusiastic support of English youth for Henry’s French campaign, but also advises that the French have…

Act 2, scene 1

King Henry’s former tavern companion Bardolph prevents Pistol and Nym from fighting over Hostess Quickly, Pistol’s wife. They are interrupted…

Act 2, scene 2

Henry, informed of the treachery of three of his friends, confronts them with their crimes. They throw themselves on his…

Act 2, scene 3

The tavern crew—Bardolph, Pistol, Nym, and the Boy—join the Hostess in mourning the dead Falstaff and, saying good-bye to the…

Act 2, scene 4

The King of France and his court plan their defense against Henry’s invasion. Exeter arrives to present the King with…

Act 3, chorus

The Chorus describes the embarkation of Henry’s fleet for France, Henry’s preparations to besiege the town of Harfleur, and the…

Act 3, scene 1

Henry delivers an oration to inspire his troops to take Harfleur.

Act 3, scene 2

Bardolph, Pistol, Nym, and the Boy withdraw from the assault on Harfleur. They are driven back to it by Captain…

Act 3, scene 3

Henry threatens the men of Harfleur with the destruction of the town and its population if they do not yield…

Act 3, scene 4

An old gentlewoman, Alice, begins to teach English to Katherine, Princess of France.

Act 3, scene 5

The French nobles speak of their shame at the success of Henry’s invasion. The French King plans to block Henry’s…

Act 3, scene 6

Captains Fluellen and Gower meet Pistol, who pleads for Bardolph, sentenced to die for robbery. Fluellen refuses to intervene and…

Act 3, scene 7

On the eve of battle, the French nobles, confident of their army’s superiority, engage in verbal competition.

Act 4, chorus

The Chorus describes the confident French and anxious English armies on the night before the battle of Agincourt, and portrays…

Act 4, scene 1

Henry borrows Erpingham’s cloak and, in this disguise, passes through his camp, meeting Pistol, overhearing a conversation between Fluellen and…

Act 4, scene 2

The French nobles, about to fight, lament that the English are so few and so weak.

Act 4, scene 3

Henry delivers an oration to his troops urging them on to win glory in the battle. Montjoy again comes to…

Act 4, scene 4

A French soldier surrenders to Pistol, who threatens him with death until the soldier promises to pay a ransom of…

Act 4, scene 5

The French nobles, shamed in their defeat, decide to die fighting.

Act 4, scene 6

Henry, in doubt about the outcome of the battle, hears of York’s and Suffolk’s deaths, and then, when a French…

Act 4, scene 7

Fluellen, in conversation with Gower, compares Henry to the classical world-conqueror Alexander the Great. Montjoy arrives to concede the French…

Act 4, scene 8

Williams and Fluellen are prevented from fighting by Warwick and Gloucester. Henry arrives and accuses Williams of promising to strike…

Act 5, chorus

The Chorus describes the great welcome accorded the English army when it returns home, the visit by the Holy Roman…

Act 5, scene 1

Fluellen avenges Pistol’s insults by making Pistol eat a leek. Pistol, humiliated, plans to return to England in the guise…

Act 5, scene 2

The Duke of Burgundy has brought about a meeting between French and English to sign a peace treaty. Henry delegates…

Act 5, epilogue

The Chorus reminds the audience that Henry died very young, leaving the kingdom to his infant son, during whose reign…

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Scene 1
Enter the two Bishops of Canterbury and Ely.

 My lord, I’ll tell you that self bill is urged
 Which in th’ eleventh year of the last king’s reign
 Was like, and had indeed against us passed
 But that the scambling and unquiet time
5 Did push it out of farther question.
 But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
 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
10 By testament have given to the Church
 Would they strip from us, being valued thus:
 “As much as would maintain, to the King’s honor,
 Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
 Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
15 And, to relief of lazars and weak age
 Of indigent faint souls past corporal toil,
 A hundred almshouses right well supplied;
 And to the coffers of the King besides,
 A thousand pounds by th’ year.” Thus runs the bill.

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 1

20 This would drink deep.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY  ’Twould drink the cup and
BISHOP OF ELY But what prevention?
 The King is full of grace and fair regard.
25 And a true lover of the holy Church.
 The courses of his youth promised it not.
 The breath no sooner left his father’s body
 But that his wildness, mortified in him,
 Seemed to die too. Yea, at that very moment
30 Consideration like an angel came
 And whipped th’ offending Adam out of him,
 Leaving his body as a paradise
 T’ envelop and contain celestial spirits.
 Never was such a sudden scholar made,
35 Never came reformation in a flood
 With such a heady currance scouring faults,
 Nor never Hydra-headed willfulness
 So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
 As in this king.
BISHOP OF ELY 40 We are blessèd in the change.
 Hear him but reason in divinity
 And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
 You would desire the King were made a prelate;
 Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
45 You would say it hath been all in all his study;
 List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
 A fearful battle rendered you in music;
 Turn him to any cause of policy,
 The Gordian knot of it he will unloose
50 Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 1

 The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
 And the mute wonder lurketh in men’s ears
 To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences;
 So that the art and practic part of life
55 Must be the mistress to this theoric;
 Which is a wonder how his Grace should glean it,
 Since his addiction was to courses vain,
 His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow,
 His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,
60 And never noted in him any study,
 Any retirement, any sequestration
 From open haunts and popularity.
 The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
 And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
65 Neighbored by fruit of baser quality;
 And so the Prince obscured his contemplation
 Under the veil of wildness, which, no doubt,
 Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
 Unseen yet crescive in his faculty.
70 It must be so, for miracles are ceased,
 And therefore we must needs admit the means
 How things are perfected.
BISHOP OF ELY  But, my good lord,
 How now for mitigation of this bill
75 Urged by the Commons? Doth his Majesty
 Incline to it or no?
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY  He seems indifferent,
 Or rather swaying more upon our part
 Than cherishing th’ exhibitors against us;
80 For I have made an offer to his Majesty—
 Upon our spiritual convocation
 And in regard of causes now in hand,
 Which I have opened to his Grace at large,
 As touching France—to give a greater sum

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

85 Than ever at one time the clergy yet
 Did to his predecessors part withal.
 How did this offer seem received, my lord?
 With good acceptance of his Majesty—
 Save that there was not time enough to hear,
90 As I perceived his Grace would fain have done,
 The severals and unhidden passages
 Of his true titles to some certain dukedoms,
 And generally to the crown and seat of France,
 Derived from Edward, his great-grandfather.
95 What was th’ impediment that broke this off?
 The French ambassador upon that instant
 Craved audience. And the hour, I think, is come
 To give him hearing. Is it four o’clock?
100 Then go we in to know his embassy,
 Which I could with a ready guess declare
 Before the Frenchman speak a word of it.
 I’ll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.
They exit.