This is the latest
Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves;
Or like to men proud of destruction 4
Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,—
A name that in my thoughts becomes me best,—
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur 8
Till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range 12
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious war,
Array'd in flames like to the prince of fiends, 16
Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all
to waste and desolation?
What is 't to me, when you yourselves are cause,
If your pure maidens fall into the hand 20
Of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness
When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as spend our vain command
Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil 25
As send precepts to the leviathan
To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
Take pity of your town and of your people, 28
Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
the filthy and contagious clouds
Of murder, spoil, and villainy. 32
2 parle: parley
11 flesh'd: hardened by bloodshed
17 fell feats: savage practices
18 Enlink'd to: associated with
24 bootless: uselessly
31 O'erblows: blows away
32 heady: headstrong