Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Henry V.’s Audience of French Ambassadors
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(See full text.)

  Henry V.—Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.
[Exit an ATTENDANT. The KING ascends his throne.]
Now are we well resolved: and,—by God’s help,
And yours, the noble sinews of our power,—
France being ours, we’ll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces: or there we’ll sit,        5
Ruling in large and ample empery,
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,        10
Speak freely of our acts; or else our grave,
Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
Not worshipped with a waxen epitaph.
Enter AMBASSADORS OF FRANCE.
Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for we hear        15
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.
[And as the Dauphin sends us tennis-balls,]
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,        20
We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set,
Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard:
Tell him, he hath made a match with such a wrangler,
That all the courts of France will be disturbed
With chaces. And we understand him well,        25
How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,
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,        30
That men are merriest when they are from home.
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,        35
And plodded like a man for working-days;
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        40
Hath turned his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore chargèd for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands:
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;        45
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,        50
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.—        55
Convey them with safe conduct.—Fare you well.
 
 
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