Henry V, Act III, Scene I [One more unto the breach, dear friends]

William Shakespeare

 
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, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers: now attest,
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture: let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
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!'
 

Poems by This Author

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene I [Over hill, over dale] by William Shakespeare
Over hill, over dale
Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, Scene II [The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne] by William Shakespeare
I will tell you
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world's a stage] by William Shakespeare
All the world's a stage
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [Blow, blow, thou winter wind] by William Shakespeare
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I [Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes] by William Shakespeare
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I [To be, or not to be] by William Shakespeare
To be, or not to be: that is the question
Hamlet, Act III, Scene III [Oh my offence is rank] by William Shakespeare
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven
Hamlet, Act IV, Scene IV [How all occasions do inform against me] by William Shakespeare
How all occasions do inform against me
Henry V, Act V, Scene III [What's he that wishes so?] by William Shakespeare
What's he that wishes so
King Lear, Act III, Scene II [Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!] by William Shakespeare
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
Love's Labour's Lost, Act V, Scene 2 [Winter] by William Shakespeare
When icicles hang by the wall
Macbeth, Act I, Scene II [The merciless Macdonwald] by William Shakespeare
The merciless Macdonwald
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [Round about the cauldron go] by William Shakespeare
Round about the cauldron go
Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene II by William Shakespeare
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds
Tempest, Act V, Scene I [Where the bee sucks, there suck I] by William Shakespeare
Where the bee sucks, there suck I
The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I [The quality of mercy is not strained] by William Shakespeare
The quality of mercy is not strained
The Winter's Tale Act IV, Scene II [When daffodils begin to peer] by William Shakespeare
When daffodils begin to peer
Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene III [O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?] by William Shakespeare
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming
Venus and Adonis [But, lo! from forth a copse] by William Shakespeare
But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by,
From you have I been absent in the spring... (Sonnet 98) by William Shakespeare
From you have I been absent in the spring,
How like a winter hath my absence been (Sonnet 97) by William Shakespeare
How like a winter hath my absence been
Let me not to the marriage of true minds (Sonnet 116) by William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130) by William Shakespeare
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck (Sonnet 14) by William Shakespeare
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck,
Not marble nor the guilded monuments (Sonnet 55) by William Shakespeare
Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Orpheus by William Shakespeare
Orpheus with his lute made trees
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (Sonnet 18) by William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea (Sonnet 65) by William Shakespeare
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73) by William Shakespeare
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame (Sonnet 129) by William Shakespeare
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
They that have power to hurt and will do none (Sonnet 94) by William Shakespeare
They that have power to hurt and will do none
Three Songs by William Shakespeare
Come unto these yellow sands,
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry (Sonnet 66) by William Shakespeare
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry
When I consider every thing that grows (Sonnet 15) by William Shakespeare
When I consider every thing that grows
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes (Sonnet 29) by William Shakespeare
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
When that I was and a little tiny boy by William Shakespeare
When that I was and a little tiny boy
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought (Sonnet 30) by William Shakespeare
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought


Further Reading

Poems About War
The Iliad, Book I, Lines 1-15
by Homer
War Music [Down on your knees, Achilles]
by Christopher Logue
A Wedding at Cana, Lebanon, 2007
by Tom Sleigh
April 27, 1937
by Timothy Steele
At Bay
by Carl Phillips
Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002
by Marvin Bell
Before the Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
Death Fugue
by Paul Celan
Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
Eighth Air Force
by Randall Jarrell
For the Fallen
by Laurence Binyon
For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell
Forms of Range and Loathing
by Ruth Ellen Kocher
Grass
by Carl Sandburg
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
by Alan Seeger
I Hear an Army
by James Joyce
i sing of Olaf glad and big
by E. E. Cummings
Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai
Mosul
by David Hernandez
My Father on His Shield
by Walt McDonald
Peace
by Henry Vaughan
Peace
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Phantom Noise
by Brian Turner
Poems about War
Romance
by Charles Reznikoff
Ships That Pass in the Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Spoken From the Hedgerows
by Jorie Graham
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
by Julia Ward Howe
The Coming of War: Actæon
by Ezra Pound
The Czar's Last Christmas Letter: A Barn in the Urals
by Norman Dubie
The Fall of Rome
by W. H. Auden
The Long Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
The Mask of Anarchy [Excerpt]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The War After the War
by Debora Greger
The War Works Hard
by Dunya Mikhail
The Wound-Dresser
by Walt Whitman
Untitled [1950 June 27]
by Don Mee Choi
Veterans of Foreign Wars
by Edward Hirsch
War and Hell, XVI [I am a great inventor]
by Ernest Crosby
War Is Kind [excerpt]
by Stephen Crane
War Rug
by Henri Cole
Web Prayer for Milosz
by David Wojahn