The CHORUS enters.
Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen
The well-appointed king at Hampton pier
Embark his royalty, and his brave fleet
With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning.
Play with your fancies and in them behold,
Upon the hempen tackle, shipboys climbing.
Hear the shrill whistle, which doth order give
To sounds confused. Behold the threaden sails,
Borne with th' invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrowed sea,
Breasting the lofty surge. Oh, do but think
You stand upon the rivage and behold
A city on th' inconstant billows dancing,
For so appears this fleet majestical
Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow!
Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy
And leave your England, as dead midnight still,
Guarded with grandsires, babies, and old women,
Either past or not arrived to pith and puissance,
For who is he whose chin is but enriched
With one appearing hair that will not follow
These culled and choice-drawn cavaliers to France?
Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege.
Behold the ordnance on their carriages,
With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur.
Suppose th' Ambassador from the French comes back,
Tells Harry that the king doth offer him
And so, on the wings of imagination and at the speed of thought, our scene flies swiftly on. Imagine that you have seen the well-equipped king at Dover pier set sail in full royal regalia and his noble fleet fan the rising sun with its silken banners. Give your imagination free rein. Picture the cabin boys climbing around the rigging. Hear the shrill whistle that brings order to the hubbub. Picture the linen sails driven by the invisible and subtle wind as they pull the vast hulls through the wrinkled sea, breasting the high waves. Pretend that you’re standing on the shore, watching a city dance on the shifting waves, and you’ll have an idea of the look of this majestic fleet as it holds a straight course for Harfleur. Follow it, follow it! Hitch your minds to this navy’s sterns and leave your England, silent as midnight, guarded by grandfathers, babies, and old women. For what male subject is there old enough for his chin to be graced with even one hair who doesn’t want to follow this select band of hand-picked knights to France? Once there, make your thoughts work harder, and witness a siege. Take in the wheeled canons with their deadly gaping mouths trained on the walled city of Harfleur. Imagine the French ambassador returning to inform Harry that the king offers him