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40
The Life of
 

 

Scene One

[France. Before Harfleur]

Enter the King, Exeter, Bedford, and Gloucester.

Alarum: scaling ladders.

 

K. Hen. Once more unto 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: 4
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-favour'd rage; 8
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 galled rock 12
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd 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! 17
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof;
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheath'd their swords for lack of argument. 21
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood, 24

8 hard-favour'd: ugly
10 portage: porthole
11 o'erwhelm: overhang
12 galled: undermined
13 jutty: project beyond
confounded: ruined
14 Swill'd with: gulped down by
18 fet: fetched
war-proof: valor proven in war
21 argument: subject of contention
24 copy: example