List iconHenry VList icon

Henry V
Act 4, 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…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Enter Chorus.

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
5 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
10 Each battle sees the other’s umbered face;
 Steed threatens steed in high and boastful neighs
 Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents
 The armorers, accomplishing the knights,
 With busy hammers closing rivets up,
15 Give dreadful note of preparation.
 The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
 And, the third hour of drowsy morning named,
 Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
 The confident and overlusty French
20 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 condemnèd English,
133

135
Henry V
ACT 4. CHORUS

 Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
25 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
30 The royal captain of this ruined 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,
35 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 color
 Unto the weary and all-watchèd night,
40 But freshly looks and overbears attaint
 With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty,
 That every wretch, pining and pale before,
 Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks.
 A largesse universal, like the sun,
45 His liberal eye doth give to everyone,
 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,
50 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 mock’ries be.
He exits.