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France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,
Enter Ambassadors of France.
Amb. May ’t please your majesty, to give us leave
K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king, Unto whose grace our passion is as subject, As are our wretches fetter'd in our prisons ; Therefore, with frank and with uncurbed plainness, Tell us the Dauphin's mind. Amb.
Thus then, in few. Your highness, lately sending into France, Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right Of your great predecessor, king Edward the third. In answer of which claim, the prince our master Says, that you savour too much of your youth, And bids you be advis'd, there's nought in France That can be with a nimble galliard won: You cannot revel into dukedoms there. Ile therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit, This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this, Desires you, let the dukedoms, that you claim,
, Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.
K. Hen. What treasure, uncle?
Tennis-balls, my liege'. K. Hen. We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant
with us. His present, and your pains, we thank you for : When we have match'd our rackets to these balls, 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 disturb'd With chases. And we understand him well, How he comes o'er us with our wilder days, Not measuring what use we made of them. We never valu'd this poor seat of England, And therefore, living hence, did give ourself To barbarous licence; as 'tis ever common, 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, 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 Hath turn’d his balls to gun-stones; and his soul Shall stand sore charged 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, And some are yet ungotten, and unborn, That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin's scorn,
9 Tennis-balls, my liege.] In the old play of “The Famous Victories,” this present consists of "a gilded tun of tennis-balls, and a carpet.”
10 With Chases.] A “ chase" at tennis is the duration of a contest between the players, in which the strife on each side is to keep up the ball. The other terms in the text belonging to the game are sufficiently intelligible.
But this lies all within the will of God,
you the Dauphin, I am coming on,
[Exeunt Ambassadors. Ere. This was a merry message.
K. IIen. We hope to make the sender blush at it. Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour, That may give furtherance to our expedition ; For we have now no thought in us but France, Save those to God, that run before our business. Therefore, let our proportions for these wars Be soon collected, and all things thought upon, That may with reasonable swiftness add More feathers to our wings; for, God before, We'll chide this Dauphin at his father's door. Therefore, let every man now task his thought, That this fair action may on foot be brought.
For now sits Expectation in the air ;
and well digest Th’abuse of distance : force a play.) This is the reading of the folio, 1623, excepting “well” for ue'll; and though the measure be defective, we have no warrant for an arbitrary correction of it, especially when sense may be extracted without any addition. The Chorus calls upon the audience to digest well the abuse to the scene, arising out of the distance of the various places, and to “ force a play,” or put constraint upon themselves in this respect, for the sake of the drama. Malone reads, with Pope, “ While we force a play.”
To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
Enter Ny and BARDOLPH. Bard. Well met, corporal Nym. Nym. Good morrow, lieutenant Bardolph. Bard. What, are ancient Pistol and you friends yet?
Nym. For my part, I care not: I say little; but when time shall serve, there shall be smiles ;-but that shall be as it may. I dare not fight; but I will wink, and hold out mine iron. It is a simple one; but what though ? it will toast cheese, and it will endure cold as another man's sword will; and there's an end'.
Bard. I will bestow a breakfast to make you friends, and we'll be all three sworn brothers to France: let it be so, good corporal Nym.
Nym. ’Faith, I will live so long as I may, that's the certain of it; and when I cannot live any longer, I will do as I may: that is my rest, that is the rendezvous of it.
Bard. It is certain, corporal, that he is married to Nell Quickly; and, certainly, she did you wrong, for you were troth-plight to her.
? But, till the king come forth, and not till then,
Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.] The meaning is clear, though obscurely expressed : the scene is not to be changed to Southampton until the king makes his appearance. No change is necessary, though various new readings have been recommended by Sir T. Hanmer, Edwards, Heath, and Malone.
- and there's AN END.] So the folio : the quartos, “ and there's the humour of it,” which was certainly a favourite phrase with Corporal Nym.