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Transcript “Henry V, Once More Unto the Breach (1989)”

Chorus: Work, work, your thoughts, and therein see a siege. Behold the ordinances on their carriages with fatal mouths, gaping on girded Harfleur. Suppose th’ Ambassador from the French comes back, tells Harry that the king doth offer him Katherine his daughter and with her, to dowry, some petty and unprofitable dukedoms. The offer likes not, and the nimble gunner with linstock now the devilish cannon touches, and down goes all before them.


Henry: Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more. Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger: stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage, then lend the eye a terrible aspect, let it pry through the portage of the head like the brass cannon, let the brow o’erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a gallèd rock o’erhang and jutty his confounded base, swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English! Dishonor not your mothers. Now attest that those whom you called fathers did beget you. And you, good yeoman, whose limbs were made in England, show us here the mettle of your pasture. Let us swear that you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not, for there is none of you so mean and base that hath not noble luster in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot. Follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”


All: “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”

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