For the benefit of those who have not read the story allow me to tell you it. And those who have, I humbly beg them to make allowances for the time scales, the numbers of people involved, and the detail of events, which cannot, in their vastness and reality, be presented here. Now we take the King towards Calais. Assume he’s arrived there. Now that you’ve seen him there, whisk him away across the sea on the wings of your imagination. Look! The English beach fences off the waves with men, women and children. The sound of their shouting and clapping rises above the roar of the sea, which seems to be preparing the King’s path like a mighty escort. So let him land, and see him make for London in full ceremony. Thought is so quick that you can now imagine him at Blackheath Common, where his nobles want him to have his dented helmet and bent sword carried before him through the city. He forbids it, being free from vanity and vainglory, giving all credit, honour and glory to God rather than to himself. Now see, using the living forge and workshop of the imagination, how London pours out her citizens. The Mayor and all the councillors, in their finery, like the senators of ancient Rome, with the common folk swarming at their heels, go forth to escort their conquering Caesar (as they would for a lesser: if the general of our gracious Queen Elizabeth, the Earl of Essex, should return from Ireland, as one day he will, the rebellion crushed by his sword, how many would quit the peaceful city to welcome him! They welcomed this Harry more, much more, and with greater reason.) Now place him in London because the mourning of the French disposes the King of England to stay at home. The Emperor visits on behalf of France to order peace between England and France. We must ignore all the intervening events till we get to Harry’s return to France. We must bring him there. I have filled in the interim by reminding you of what has happened. Now leap the gap and look ahead: follow your imagination, straight back again to France.

 

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Read more scenes from Henry V:

Henry V in modern English | Henry V original text
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Modern Henry V Act 1, Prologue | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Prologue
Modern Henry V Act 1, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 1, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 1, Scene 2
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Modern Henry V Act 2, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 2, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 2, Scene 4
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Modern Henry V Act 3, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 4
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 5 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 5
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 6 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 6
Modern Henry V Act 3, Scene 7 | Original text of Henry V Act 3, Scene 7
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Modern Henry V Act 4, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 2
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 3 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 3
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 4 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 4
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 5 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 5
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 6 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 6
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 7 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 7
Modern Henry V Act 4, Scene 8 | Original text of Henry V Act 4, Scene 8
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Modern Henry V Act 5, Chorus | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Chorus
Modern Henry V Act 5, Scene 1 | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Scene 1
Modern Henry V Act 5, Scene 2 | Original text of Henry V Act 5, Scene 2
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Modern Henry V Epilogue | Original text of Henry V Epilogue

 

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