• Enter CHORUS

    CHORUS

    Now entertain conjecture of a time
    When creeping murmur and the poring dark
    Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
    From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
    5The hum of either army stilly sounds,
    That the fixed sentinels almost receive
    The secret whispers of each other’s watch.
    Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
    Each battle sees the other’s umbered face.
    10Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
    Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents
    The armorers, accomplishing the knights,
    With busy hammers closing rivets up,
    Give dreadful note of preparation.
    15The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
    And, the third hour of drowsy morning named,
    Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
    The confident and overlusty French
    Do the low-rated English play at dice
    20And chide the cripple, tardy-gaited night,
    Who like a foul and ugly witch doth limp
    So tediously away. The poor condemnèd English,
    Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
    Sit patiently and inly ruminate
    25The morning’s danger; and their gesture sad,
    Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats,
    Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
    So many horrid ghosts. Oh, now, who will behold
    The royal captain of this ruined band
  • The CHORUS enters.

    CHORUS

    Now summon up the image of stealthy murmurs and engulfing darkness filling the wide vessel of the universe. From camp to camp through the dark cave of night, the noise from both armies grows so quiet that those standing watch almost think they can hear the whispered secrets of one another’s sentinels. One by one, fires are lit on both sides, and through their pale flames, each army thinks he sees the smoke-tinged faces of the other. The horses of each army answer one another’s proud, threatening neighs as they pierce the dull night, and from the tents the sound of the blacksmiths' hammers as they fit out the knights, closing rivets up, adds a note of fear to the preparations. The country cocks crow and the clocks toll, sounding a drowsy three o'clock in the morning. Proud of their army and secure in their numbers, the confident and overeager French play dice, betting on how many worthless Englishmen each will capture. They scold the limping, slowly moving night, which, like an ugly old woman, takes so long to pass. The poor doomed English, like sacrificial beasts, sit patiently, and privately contemplate the dangers that will arrive with morning. With their grave faces, emaciated cheeks, and war-torn coats, they seem to the gazing moon like so many horrifying ghosts. Now, whoever spots the royal captain of this ruined army walking from camp to camp, from tent to tent, let him cry “Praise and glory on his head!” For out he goes visiting all his troops. He bids them good morning with a modest smile and calls