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Henry V
Act 2, chorus

Synopsis:

Contents

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…

Prologue

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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Enter Chorus.

CHORUS 
 Now all the youth of England are on fire,
 And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies;
 Now thrive the armorers, and honor’s thought
 Reigns solely in the breast of every man.
5 They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
 Following the mirror of all Christian kings
 With wingèd heels, as English Mercurys.
 For now sits Expectation in the air
 And hides a sword, from hilts unto the point,
10 With crowns imperial, crowns, and coronets
 Promised to Harry and his followers.
 The French, advised by good intelligence
 Of this most dreadful preparation,
 Shake in their fear, and with pale policy
15 Seek to divert the English purposes.
 O England, model to thy inward greatness,
 Like little body with a mighty heart,
 What might’st thou do, that honor would thee do,
 Were all thy children kind and natural!
20 But see, thy fault France hath in thee found out,
 A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
 With treacherous crowns, and three corrupted men—
 One, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and the second,
41

43
Henry V
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Henry, Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third,
25 Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland—
 Have, for the gilt of France (O guilt indeed!),
 Confirmed conspiracy with fearful France,
 And by their hands this grace of kings must die,
 If hell and treason hold their promises,
30 Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.
 Linger your patience on, and we’ll digest
 Th’ abuse of distance, force a play.
 The sum is paid, the traitors are agreed,
 The King is set from London, and the scene
35 Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton.
 There is the playhouse now, there must you sit,
 And thence to France shall we convey you safe
 And bring you back, charming the narrow seas
 To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
40 We’ll not offend one stomach with our play.
 But, till the King come forth, and not till then,
 Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.
He exits.