Henry V (1918) Yale/Text/Prologue
O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention;
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene. 4
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat spirits that hath dar'd 9
On this unworthy to bring forth
So great an object: can this hold
The fields of France? or may we cram 12
Within this wooden O
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
in little place a million; 16
And let us, ciphers to this great ,
On your forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies, 20
Whose high upreared and fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Into a thousand parts divide one man, 24
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses that you see them
Footnotes to the Prologue
6 port: bearing
9 unraised: unaspiring
10 scaffold: stage
11 cockpit; cf. n.
12 vasty: vast
13 the very casques: even the helmets
16 Attest: stand for; cf. n.
17 accompt: account
18 imaginary: imaginative
21 abutting: adjacent
29 jumping o'er times; cf. n.
31 for . . . supply: for which service
32 Chorus; cf. n.