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As much as would maintain, to the king's honor,
Full fifteen earls, and fifteen hundred knights ■;
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
And, to relief of lazars, and weak age,
Of indigent, faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied;
And to the coffers of the king beside,
A thousand pounds by the year. Thus runs the bill.
Ely. This would drink deep.
Cant. 'Twould drink the cup and all
Ely. But what prevention?
Cant. The king is full of grace, and fair regard.
Ely. And a true lover of the holy church.
Cant. The courses of his youth promised it not. The breath no sooner left his father's body, But that his wildness, mortified in him, Seemed to die too;* yea, at that very moment, Consideration like an angel came, And whipped the offending Adam out of him; Leaving his body as a paradise, To envelop and contain celestial spirits. Never was such a sudden scholar made; Never came reformation in a flood, With such a heady current, scouring faults; Nor never hydra-headed wilfulness So soon did lose his seat, and all at once, As in this king.
Ely. We are blessed in the change.
Cant. Hear him but reason in divinity,
i The same thought occurs in the preceding play, where Mng Henry V. says:—
u My father is gone wild into his grave,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears,
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences;
So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to his theoric; *
Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain;
His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow;
His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports;
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
From open haunts and popularity.
Ely. The strawberry grows underneath the nettle, And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best, Neighbored by fruit of baser quality. And so the prince obscured his contemplation Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt, Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night, Unseen, yet crescive 2 in his faculty.
Cant. It must be so; for miracles are ceased; And therefore we must needs admit the means, How things are perfected.
Ely. But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Cant. He seems indifferent;
Or, rather, swaying more upon our part,
1 He discourses with so much skill on all subjects, "that his theory must have been taught by art and practice." Practic and theoric, or rather practique and theorique, was the old orthography of practice and theory.
2 This expressive word is used by Drant, in his Translation of Horace's Art of Poetry, 1567.
As touching France,—to give a greater sum
Ely. How did this offer seem received, my lord?
Cant. With good acceptance of his majesty;
Ely. What was the impediment that broke this off?
Cant. The French ambassador upon that instant
Ely. It is.
Cant.] Then-go we in, to know his embassy; Which I could, with a ready guess, declare, Before the Frenchman speak a lyord of it.
Ely. I'll wait upon you; and I long to hear it.
SCENE II. The same. A Room of State in the
Enter King Henry, Gloster, Bedford, Exeter, Warwick, Westmoreland, and Attendants.
K. Hen. Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?
Exe. Not here in presence.
K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.2
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege?
K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin; we would be resolved,
1 "The severals and unhidden passages" The particulars and clear, unconcealed circumstances of his true titles, &c. *
2 "Send for him, good uncle." The person here addressed was Thomas Beaufort, half brother to king Henry IV., being one of the sons of John of Gaunt by Katharine Swynford. He was not made duke of Exeter till the year after the battle of Agincourt, 1416. He was properly now only earl of Dorset. Shakspeare may have confounded this character with John Holland, duke of Exeter, who married Elizabeth, the king's aunt. He was executed at Plashey, in 1400. The old play began with the next speech.
VOL. IV. 16
Before we hear him, of some things of weight,
Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of
Cant. God, and his angels, guard your sacred throne, And make you long become it!
K. Hen. Sure, we thank you.
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed;
Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,—-and you peers, That owe your lives, your faith, and services,
1 Or burden your knowing or conscious soul with displaying false titles m a specious manner or opening pretensions, which, if shown in their native colors, would appear to be false.
To this imperial throne.—There is no bar*
To make against your highness' claim to France,
But this, which they produce from Pharamond,—
In terrain Salicam mulieres ne succedant,
No woman shall succeed in Salique land;
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze,
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
Yet their own authors faithfully affirm,
That the land Salique lies in Germany,
Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe;
Where Charles the Great, having subdued the Saxons
There left behind and settled certain French;
Who, holding in disdain the German women,
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Established there this law,—to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salique land;
Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany called—Meisen.
Thus doth it well appear, the Salique law
Was not devised for the realm of France;
Nor did the French possess the Salique land
Until four hundred one-and-twenty years
After defunction of king Pharamond,
Idly supposed the founder of this law;
Who died within the year of our redemption
Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great
Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French
Beyond the river Sala, in the year
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,
King Pepin, which deposed Childerick,
Did, as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was daughter to king Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also,—that usurped the crown
Of Charles the duke of Lorain, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great,—
i "There is no bar," &c. The whole speech is taken from Ho* linshed.