ACT III
Scene VII.
 

The French camp near Agincourt

Enter the CONSTABLE OF FRANCE, the LORD RAMBURES, the DUKE OF ORLEANS,
the DAUPHIN, with others

CONSTABLE
Tut! I have the best armour of the world.
Would it were day!

ORLEANS
You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his
due.

CONSTABLE
It is the best horse of Europe.

ORLEANS
Will it never be morning?

DAUPHIN
My Lord of Orleans and my Lord High Constable, you talk of
horse and armour?

ORLEANS
You are as well provided of both as any prince in the
world.

DAUPHIN
What a long night is this! I will not change my horse with
any that treads but on four pasterns. Ca, ha! he bounds from the
earth as if his entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the
Pegasus, chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him I soar, I
am a hawk. He trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it;
the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of
Hermes.

ORLEANS
He's of the colour of the nutmeg.

DAUPHIN
And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for Perseus:
he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water
never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his
rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you
may call beasts.

CONSTABLE
Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent
horse.

DAUPHIN
It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the
bidding of a monarch, and his countenance enforces homage.

ORLEANS
No more, cousin.

DAUPHIN
Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the rising of
the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary deserved praise on my
palfrey. It is a theme as fluent as the sea: turn the sands into
eloquent tongues, and my horse is argument for them all: 'tis a
subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for a sovereign's
sovereign to ride on; and for the world- familiar to us and
unknown- to lay apart their particular functions and wonder at
him. I once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus: 'Wonder
of nature'-

ORLEANS
I have heard a sonnet begin so to one's mistress.

DAUPHIN
Then did they imitate that which I compos'd to my courser;
for my horse is my mistress.

ORLEANS
Your mistress bears well.

DAUPHIN
Me well; which is the prescript praise and perfection of a
good and particular mistress.

CONSTABLE
Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly
shook your back.

DAUPHIN
So perhaps did yours.

CONSTABLE
Mine was not bridled.

DAUPHIN
O, then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode like a
kern of Ireland, your French hose off and in your strait
strossers.

CONSTABLE
You have good judgment in horsemanship.

DAUPHIN
Be warn'd by me, then: they that ride so, and ride not
warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have my horse to my
mistress.

CONSTABLE
I had as lief have my mistress a jade.

DAUPHIN
I tell thee, Constable, my mistress wears his own hair.

CONSTABLE
I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow to
my mistress.

DAUPHIN
'Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et la
truie lavee au bourbier.' Thou mak'st use of anything.

CONSTABLE
Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any such
proverb so little kin to the purpose.

RAMBURES
My Lord Constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
to-night- are those stars or suns upon it?

CONSTABLE
Stars, my lord.

DAUPHIN
Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.

CONSTABLE
And yet my sky shall not want.

DAUPHIN
That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and 'twere
more honour some were away.

CONSTABLE
Ev'n as your horse bears your praises, who would trot as
well were some of your brags dismounted.

DAUPHIN
Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will it
never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and my way shall be
paved with English faces.

CONSTABLE
I will not say so, for fear I should be fac'd out of my
way; but I would it were morning, for I would fain be about the
ears of the English.

RAMBURES
Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?

CONSTABLE
You must first go yourself to hazard ere you have them.

DAUPHIN
'Tis midnight; I'll go arm myself.

Exit

ORLEANS
The Dauphin longs for morning.

RAMBURES
He longs to eat the English.

CONSTABLE
I think he will eat all he kills.

ORLEANS
By the white hand of my lady, he's a gallant prince.

CONSTABLE
Swear by her foot, that she may tread out the oath.

ORLEANS
He is simply the most active gentleman of France.

CONSTABLE
Doing is activity, and he will still be doing.

ORLEANS
He never did harm that I heard of.

CONSTABLE
Nor will do none to-morrow: he will keep that good name
still.

ORLEANS
I know him to be valiant.

CONSTABLE
I was told that by one that knows him better than you.

ORLEANS
What's he?

CONSTABLE
Marry, he told me so himself; and he said he car'd not
who knew it.

ORLEANS
He needs not; it is no hidden virtue in him.

CONSTABLE
By my faith, sir, but it is; never anybody saw it but
his lackey.
'Tis a hooded valour, and when it appears it will bate.

ORLEANS
Ill-wind never said well.

CONSTABLE
I will cap that proverb with 'There is flattery in
friendship.'

ORLEANS
And I will take up that with 'Give the devil his due.'

CONSTABLE
Well plac'd! There stands your friend for the devil;
have at the very eye of that proverb with 'A pox of the devil!'

ORLEANS
You are the better at proverbs by how much 'A fool's bolt
is soon shot.'

CONSTABLE
You have shot over.

ORLEANS
'Tis not the first time you were overshot.

Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER
My Lord High Constable, the English lie within fifteen
hundred paces of your tents.

CONSTABLE
Who hath measur'd the ground?

MESSENGER
The Lord Grandpre.

CONSTABLE
A valiant and most expert gentleman. Would it were day!
Alas, poor Harry of England! he longs not for the dawning as we
do.

ORLEANS
What a wretched and peevish fellow is this King of
England, to mope with his fat-brain'd followers so far out of his
knowledge!

CONSTABLE
If the English had any apprehension, they would run
away.

ORLEANS
That they lack; for if their heads had any intellectual
armour, they could never wear such heavy head-pieces.

RAMBURES
That island of England breeds very valiant creatures;
their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.

ORLEANS
Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a Russian
bear, and have their heads crush'd like rotten apples! You may as
well say that's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the
lip of a lion.

CONSTABLE
Just, just! and the men do sympathise with the mastiffs
in robustious and rough coming on, leaving their wits with their
wives; and then give them great meals of beef and iron and steel;
they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.

ORLEANS
Ay, but these English are shrewdly out of beef.

CONSTABLE
Then shall we find to-morrow they have only stomachs to
eat, and none to fight. Now is it time to arm. Come, shall we
about it?

ORLEANS
It is now two o'clock; but let me see- by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.

Exeunt