Read Shakespeare’s ‘To horse you gallant princes’ quote from Henry V below, along with a modern English translation:

Spoken by the Constable of France, Henry V, Act 4 Scene 2

To horse, you gallant princes! straight to horse!
Do but behold yon poor and starved band,
And your fair show shall suck away their souls,
Leaving them but the shales and husks of men.
There is not work enough for all our hands;
Scarce blood enough in all their sickly veins
To give each naked curtle-axe a stain,
That our French gallants shall to-day draw out,
And sheathe for lack of sport: let us but blow on them,
The vapour of our valour will o’erturn them.
‘Tis positive ‘gainst all exceptions, lords,
That our superfluous lackeys and our peasants,
Who in unnecessary action swarm
About our squares of battle, were enow
To purge this field of such a hilding foe,
Though we upon this mountain’s basis by
Took stand for idle speculation:
But that our honours must not. What’s to say?
A very little little let us do.
And all is done. Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.

Modern Translation of ‘To horse you gallant princes’

To your horses, gallant princes – straight to your horses. Just look at that poor and starving rabble. Your fine display will drain their souls away, leaving them no more than the shells and husks of men. There isn’t enough work for all of us – hardly enough blood in their sickly veins to stain every drawn cutlass, so our French youths will be drawing their swords and sheathing them again because of the lack of action. All we have to do is blow on them – the mere breath of our valour will knock them over. It is beyond all doubt, my lords, that the servants and peasants – the camp followers – who swarm around the points of action, would be enough to clear this field of such a pathetic foe, even if we just stood at the base of this hill and watched out of idle curiosity, except that we are prevented by honour.

What more can I say? Let’s do the minimum – we’ll still win. Then let the trumpets sound, the fanfares blow and the notes ring out, because our advance will so frighten them that the English king will crouch down in fear and surrender.

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Henry V, as played by Tom Hiddleston in the BBC’s Shakespeare adaptation The Hollow Crown

Henry V played by Tom Hiddleston in the BBC’s Shakespeare adaptation The Hollow Crown

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