Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

KING HENRY

We would have all such offenders so cut off, and we give express charge that in our marches through the country there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language; for when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.

KING HENRY

I want all such offenders to be dealt with that way, and I give precise orders that in our progress through the country there shall be nothing seized from the villages, nothing taken that is not paid for, none of the French harassed or abused in disrespectful language. For when mercy and cruelty compete for a kingdom, the gentler player is bound to win.
Tucket Enter MONTJOY
A trumpet plays. MONTJOY enters.

MONTJOY

You know me by my habit.

MONTJOY

You know from my clothing who I am.

KING HENRY

Well then, I know thee. What shall I know of thee?

KING HENRY

Well then, I know who you are. What do you have to tell me?

MONTJOY

My master’s mind.

MONTJOY

My master’s decision.

KING HENRY

105Unfold it.

KING HENRY

Go ahead.

MONTJOY

Thus says my king: “Say thou to Harry of England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep. Advantage is a better soldier than rashness. Tell him we could have rebuked him at Harfleur, but that we thought not good to bruise an injury till it were full ripe. Now we speak upon our cue, and our voice is imperial. England shall repent his folly, see his

MONTJOY

My king says this: “Tell Harry of England: though we appeared dead, we were only asleep. Strategy makes a better soldier than haste. Tell him we could have driven him back at Harfleur but thought it unwise to burst a pustule before it had fully ripened. Now the time is right for us to speak, and we do so with imperial authority. The king of England will regret his foolishness, discover his weakness, and marvel at our restraint. Tell him therefore to consider what ransom he can offer as a prisoner of war. It must be commensurate with the losses we have suffered, the subjects we