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Henry V

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Henry V (Olivier)

King of England from 1413 to 1422, during which time he delivered one of the most famous shoeings the French had been handed for quite some time at Agincourt in 1415.

More info here.


ON the death of Henry IV Part II, his son, Prince Hal, who had won all English hearts by his youthful pranks -- (such as trying on the crown while his father lay dying, and hitting a very old man called Judge Gascoigne) determined to justify public expectation by becoming the Ideal English King. He therefore decided on an immediate appearĀ­ance in the Hundred Years War, making a declaration that all the treaties with France were to be regarded as dull and void. There were some hints that Hal was a bit nails by the way the 16 yeqr old Prince endured unanethetised surgery to extract an arrow head from 6 inches into his skull.,as written up by dentists.

Conditions in France were favourable to Henry since the French King, being mad, had entrusted the government of the country to a dolphin and the command of the army to an elderly constable. After capturing some breeches at Harfieur (more than once)by the original expedients of disguising his friends as imitation tigers, stiffening their sinews etc, Henry was held up on the road to Calais by the Constable, whom he defeated at the utterly memorable battle of AGINCOURT (French: POICTIERS). He then displaced the dolphin as ruler of Anjou, Menjou, Poilou, Maine, Touraine, Againe and Againe, and realizing that he was now too famous to live long expired at the ideal moment.

Extract from '1066 and All That' - W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman

It should be noted that he brought the french to their knees -- they had agreed that on the death of the current French King, Henry would ascend the French throne, and succeed where no englishman had ever quite managed before: to make the french have there arses handed to them in such a way that they would accept the English King as their ruler. As it was, Henry got over excited at the prospect and snuffed it. The next English King was still an infant at the time. Given that their next ruler was still in his nappies, the French dug their backbone out of the cupboard and renaged on the treaty they'd signed to the now late Henry V. England, lacking a strong leader, managed not to really carry out any repurcussions, and instead lost all French territories bar Calais, which would be lost by Mary I, when the English pretty much forgot to defend it whilst a French army marched past.

Also a play by Shakespeare, and made into a film on two notable occasions.

This one in 1944, with Loz Olivier


This one with Kenneth Branagh.

Quotes from the play:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us upon St. Crispin's day!

For there is none of you so mean and base, That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

The nimble Gunner, with linstock the dev'lish cannon touches, and down goes all before them

On, On! You noblest English

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage

See also