Flourish. Enter the KING OF FRANCE, the DAUPHIN, the Dukes of Berri and Brittany, the CONSTABLE, and others
Trumpets sound. The KING OF FRANCE, the DAUPHIN, the CONSTABLE, the dukes of Berri and Bretagne, and others enter.
KING OF FRANCE
Thus comes the English with full power upon us,
And more than carefully it us concerns
55To answer royally in our defenses.
Therefore the Dukes of Berri and of Brittany,
Of Brabant and of Orléans, shall make forth,
And you, Prince Dauphin, with all swift dispatch,
To line and new-repair our towns of war
60With men of courage and with means defendant.
For England his approaches makes as fierce
As waters to the sucking of a gulf.
It fits us then to be as provident
As fear may teach us out of late examples
65Left by the fatal and neglected English
Upon our fields.
KING OF FRANCE
The English army is advancing on us at full strength. It is more important that we respond majestically than that we respond carefully. Therefore the dukes of Berri, Bretagne, Brabant, and Orléans shall advance, and you, Prince Dauphin, will swiftly entrench and fortify our fortress towns with men of courage and the means to defend themselves. The king of England’s approach is as forceful as a whirlpool. It is right for us to prepare like people who are afraid, as we’ve been taught by the
The king of France is referring to French defeats at Crécy (in 1346) and Poitiers (in 1356).recent lessons given us by the deadly and underestimated English on our own soil.
To view the sick and feeble parts of France.
And let us do it with no show of fear,
No, with no more than if we heard that England
70Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance.
For, my good liege, she is so idly kinged,
Her scepter so fantastically borne
By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth,
That fear attends her not.
75My most redoubted father,
It is most meet we arm us 'gainst the foe,
For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom,
Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,
But that defenses, musters, preparations,
80Should be maintained, assembled, and collected,
As were a war in expectation.
Therefore I say ’tis meet we all go forth
My most feared father, it is certainly appropriate for us to arm ourselves against the enemy, because even in peace time, when no war or conflict is at hand, a kingdom should not lose its edge, but always be ready—with defenses, men, and training—as though it expected a war. Therefore, I agree that we should all go and inspect those French territories that are weak. Let’s do it with no show of anxiety—no, with no more fear than if we’d heard that the English were busying themselves with folk dancing. Because, my good king, England is so poorly led, her scepter so foolishly borne by a vain, silly, shallow, impulsive youth, that she’s hardly a threat.