List iconHenry V:
Act 1, scene 2
List icon

Henry V
Act 1, scene 2



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…

Include links to:

Quill icon
Scene 2
Enter the King of England, Humphrey Duke of
Gloucester, Bedford, Clarence, Warwick, Westmoreland,
and Exeter, with other Attendants.

 Where is my gracious Lord of Canterbury?

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Not here in presence.
KING HENRY  Send for him, good uncle.
 Shall we call in th’ Ambassador, my liege?
5 Not yet, my cousin. We would be resolved,
 Before we hear him, of some things of weight
 That task our thoughts concerning us and France.

Enter the two Bishops of Canterbury and Ely.

 God and his angels guard your sacred throne
 And make you long become it.
KING HENRY 10 Sure we thank you.
 My learnèd lord, we pray you to proceed
 And justly and religiously unfold
 Why the law Salic that they have in France
 Or should or should not bar us in our claim.
15 And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord,
 That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your
 Or nicely charge your understanding soul
 With opening titles miscreate, whose right
20 Suits not in native colors with the truth;
 For God doth know how many now in health
 Shall drop their blood in approbation
 Of what your reverence shall incite us to.
 Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
25 How you awake our sleeping sword of war.
 We charge you in the name of God, take heed,
 For never two such kingdoms did contend
 Without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops
 Are every one a woe, a sore complaint
30 ’Gainst him whose wrongs gives edge unto the

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 That makes such waste in brief mortality.
 Under this conjuration, speak, my lord,
 For we will hear, note, and believe in heart
35 That what you speak is in your conscience washed
 As pure as sin with baptism.
 Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers
 That owe yourselves, your lives, and services
 To this imperial throne. There is no bar
40 To make against your Highness’ claim to France
 But this, which they produce from Pharamond:
 “In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant”
 (No woman shall succeed in Salic land),
 Which Salic land the French unjustly gloze
45 To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
 The founder of this law and female bar.
 Yet their own authors faithfully affirm
 That the land Salic is in Germany,
 Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe,
50 Where Charles the Great, having subdued the
 There left behind and settled certain French,
 Who, holding in disdain the German women
 For some dishonest manners of their life,
55 Established then this law: to wit, no female
 Should be inheritrix in Salic land,
 Which “Salic,” as I said, ’twixt Elbe and Sala
 Is at this day in Germany called Meissen.
 Then doth it well appear the Salic law
60 Was not devisèd for the realm of France,
 Nor did the French possess the Salic land
 Until four hundred one and twenty years
 After defunction of King Pharamond,
 Idly supposed the founder of this law,
65 Who died within the year of our redemption
 Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Subdued the Saxons and did seat the French
 Beyond the river Sala in the year
 Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,
70 King Pepin, which deposèd Childeric,
 Did, as heir general, being descended
 Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair,
 Make claim and title to the crown of France.
 Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown
75 Of Charles the Duke of Lorraine, sole heir male
 Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great,
 To find his title with some shows of truth,
 Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught,
 Conveyed himself as th’ heir to th’ Lady Lingare,
80 Daughter to Charlemagne, who was the son
 To Lewis the Emperor, and Lewis the son
 Of Charles the Great. Also King Lewis the Tenth,
 Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
 Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
85 Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied
 That fair Queen Isabel, his grandmother,
 Was lineal of the Lady Ermengare,
 Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Lorraine:
 By the which marriage the line of Charles the Great
90 Was reunited to the crown of France.
 So that, as clear as is the summer’s sun,
 King Pepin’s title and Hugh Capet’s claim,
 King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
 To hold in right and title of the female.
95 So do the kings of France unto this day,
 Howbeit they would hold up this Salic law
 To bar your Highness claiming from the female,
 And rather choose to hide them in a net
 Than amply to imbar their crooked titles
100 Usurped from you and your progenitors.
 May I with right and conscience make this claim?

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 The sin upon my head, dread sovereign,
 For in the Book of Numbers is it writ:
 “When the man dies, let the inheritance
105 Descend unto the daughter.” Gracious lord,
 Stand for your own, unwind your bloody flag,
 Look back into your mighty ancestors.
 Go, my dread lord, to your great-grandsire’s tomb,
 From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit
110 And your great-uncle’s, Edward the Black Prince,
 Who on the French ground played a tragedy,
 Making defeat on the full power of France
 Whiles his most mighty father on a hill
 Stood smiling to behold his lion’s whelp
115 Forage in blood of French nobility.
 O noble English, that could entertain
 With half their forces the full pride of France
 And let another half stand laughing by,
 All out of work and cold for action!
120 Awake remembrance of these valiant dead
 And with your puissant arm renew their feats.
 You are their heir, you sit upon their throne,
 The blood and courage that renownèd them
 Runs in your veins; and my thrice-puissant liege
125 Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
 Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.
 Your brother kings and monarchs of the Earth
 Do all expect that you should rouse yourself
 As did the former lions of your blood.
130 They know your Grace hath cause and means and
 So hath your Highness. Never king of England
 Had nobles richer, and more loyal subjects,

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England
135 And lie pavilioned in the fields of France.
 O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
 With blood and sword and fire to win your right,
 In aid whereof we of the spiritualty
 Will raise your Highness such a mighty sum
140 As never did the clergy at one time
 Bring in to any of your ancestors.
 We must not only arm t’ invade the French,
 But lay down our proportions to defend
 Against the Scot, who will make road upon us
145 With all advantages.
 They of those marches, gracious sovereign,
 Shall be a wall sufficient to defend
 Our inland from the pilfering borderers.
 We do not mean the coursing snatchers only,
150 But fear the main intendment of the Scot,
 Who hath been still a giddy neighbor to us.
 For you shall read that my great-grandfather
 Never went with his forces into France
 But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom
155 Came pouring like the tide into a breach
 With ample and brim fullness of his force,
 Galling the gleanèd land with hot assays,
 Girding with grievous siege castles and towns,
 That England, being empty of defense,
160 Hath shook and trembled at th’ ill neighborhood.
 She hath been then more feared than harmed, my
 For hear her but exampled by herself:
 When all her chivalry hath been in France

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

165 And she a mourning widow of her nobles,
 She hath herself not only well defended
 But taken and impounded as a stray
 The King of Scots, whom she did send to France
 To fill King Edward’s fame with prisoner kings
170 And make her chronicle as rich with praise
 As is the ooze and bottom of the sea
 With sunken wrack and sumless treasuries.
 But there’s a saying very old and true:
 “If that you will France win,
175 Then with Scotland first begin.”

 For once the eagle England being in prey,
 To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
 Comes sneaking and so sucks her princely eggs,
 Playing the mouse in absence of the cat,
180 To ’tame and havoc more than she can eat.
 It follows, then, the cat must stay at home.
 Yet that is but a crushed necessity,
 Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries
 And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
185 While that the armèd hand doth fight abroad,
 Th’ advisèd head defends itself at home.
 For government, though high and low and lower,
 Put into parts, doth keep in one consent,
 Congreeing in a full and natural close,
190 Like music.
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY  Therefore doth heaven divide
 The state of man in divers functions,
 Setting endeavor in continual motion,
 To which is fixèd as an aim or butt
195 Obedience; for so work the honeybees,
 Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
 The act of order to a peopled kingdom.

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 They have a king and officers of sorts,
 Where some like magistrates correct at home,
200 Others like merchants venture trade abroad,
 Others like soldiers armèd in their stings
 Make boot upon the summer’s velvet buds,
 Which pillage they with merry march bring home
 To the tent royal of their emperor,
205 Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
 The singing masons building roofs of gold,
 The civil citizens kneading up the honey,
 The poor mechanic porters crowding in
 Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,
210 The sad-eyed justice with his surly hum
 Delivering o’er to executors pale
 The lazy yawning drone. I this infer:
 That many things, having full reference
 To one consent, may work contrariously,
215 As many arrows loosèd several ways
 Come to one mark, as many ways meet in one town,
 As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea,
 As many lines close in the dial’s center,
 So may a thousand actions, once afoot,
220 End in one purpose and be all well borne
 Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege!
 Divide your happy England into four,
 Whereof take you one quarter into France,
 And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.
225 If we, with thrice such powers left at home,
 Cannot defend our own doors from the dog,
 Let us be worried, and our nation lose
 The name of hardiness and policy.
 Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.
Attendants exit.
230 Now are we well resolved, and by God’s help
 And yours, the noble sinews of our power,

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 France being ours, we’ll bend it to our awe
 Or break it all to pieces. Or there we’ll sit,
 Ruling in large and ample empery
235 O’er France and all her almost kingly dukedoms,
 Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
 Tombless, with no remembrance over them.
 Either our history shall with full mouth
 Speak freely of our acts, or else our grave,
240 Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
 Not worshiped with a waxen epitaph.

Enter Ambassadors of France, with Attendants.

 Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure
 Of our fair cousin Dauphin, for we hear
 Your greeting is from him, not from the King.
245 May ’t please your Majesty to give us leave
 Freely to render what we have in charge,
 Or shall we sparingly show you far off
 The Dauphin’s meaning and our embassy?
 We are no tyrant, but a Christian king,
250 Unto whose grace our passion is as subject
 As is our wretches fettered in our prisons.
 Therefore with frank and with uncurbèd plainness
 Tell us the Dauphin’s mind.
AMBASSADOR  Thus, then, in few:
255 Your Highness, lately sending into France,
 Did claim some certain dukedoms in the right
 Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third;
 In answer of which claim, the Prince our master
 Says that you savor too much of your youth
260 And bids you be advised there’s naught in France
 That can be with a nimble galliard won;
 You cannot revel into dukedoms there.
 He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 This tun of treasure and, in lieu of this,
265 Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim
 Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.
 What treasure, uncle?
EXETER  Tennis balls,
 my liege.
270 We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us.
 His present and your pains we thank you for.
 When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
 We will in France, by God’s grace, play a set
 Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.
275 Tell him he hath made a match with such a
 That all the courts of France will be disturbed
 With chases. And we understand him well,
 How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,
280 Not measuring what use we made of them.
 We never valued this poor seat of England,
 And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
 To barbarous license, as ’tis ever common
 That men are merriest when they are from home.
285 But tell the Dauphin I will keep my state,
 Be like a king, and show my sail of greatness
 When I do rouse me in my throne of France,
 For that I have laid by my majesty
 And plodded like a man for working days;
290 But I will rise there with so full a glory
 That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
 Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.
 And tell the pleasant prince this mock of his
 Hath turned his balls to gun-stones, and his soul
295 Shall stand sore chargèd for the wasteful vengeance
 That shall fly with them; for many a thousand
 Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands,

Henry V
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
300 And some are yet ungotten and unborn
 That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.
 But this lies all within the will of God,
 To whom I do appeal, and in whose name
 Tell you the Dauphin I am coming on,
305 To venge me as I may and to put forth
 My rightful hand in a well-hallowed cause.
 So get you hence in peace. And tell the Dauphin
 His jest will savor but of shallow wit
 When thousands weep more than did laugh at it.—
310 Convey them with safe conduct.—Fare you well.
Ambassadors exit, with Attendants.
EXETER This was a merry message.
 We hope to make the sender blush at it.
 Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour
 That may give furth’rance to our expedition;
315 For we have now no thought in us but France,
 Save those to God, that run before our business.
 Therefore let our proportions for these wars
 Be soon collected, and all things thought upon
 That may with reasonable swiftness add
320 More feathers to our wings. For, God before,
 We’ll chide this Dauphin at his father’s door.
 Therefore let every man now task his thought,
 That this fair action may on foot be brought.
Flourish. They exit.