Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Agincourt (Azincourt)
Agincourt
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 

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,
The hum of either army stilly sounds,        5
That the fix’d 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 umber’d face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs        10
Piercing the Night’s dull ear; and from the tents,
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,        15
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers, and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited Night,        20
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently, and inly ruminate
The morning’s danger; and their gestures sad,        25
Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats,
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts. O, now, who will behold
The royal captain of this ruin’d band,
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,        30
Let him cry, Praise and glory on his head!
For forth he goes, and visits all his host;
Bids them good morrow, with a modest smile;
And calls them brothers, friends, and countrymen.
Upon his royal face there is no note        35
How dread an army hath enrounded him,
Nor doth he dedicate one jot of color
Unto the weary and all-watched night;
But freshly looks, and over-bears attaint
With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;        40
That every wretch, pining and pale before,
Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks.
A largess universal, like the sun,
His liberal eye doth give to every one,
Thawing cold fear.        45
 
 
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