Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Edward Hall
Editor: James Mardock
Not Peer Reviewed

Hall's Chronicle (Selection)


Introduction

Edward Hall's history provided the primary source for the chronicle later assembled by Holinshed and his collaborators, although Shakespeare seems to have encountered it only indirectly through Holinshed and through The Famous Victories. Though Hall's account of Henry V's life -- titled in Hall's text "The victorious acts of King Henry the Fifth" -- is echoed, sometimes nearly verbatim, by Holinshed, there are intriguing points of divergence: Henry and Catherine are married before the treaty of Troyes in Hall, but only after the French swear fealty to Henry in Holinshed; the hungry soldier who robs a church is executed in Hall for irreverently eating the host, while the more reformed history of Holinshed has him killed for mere theft; Hall is less sure than Holinshed about the veracity of anecdotal tennis ball embassy.

Hall, as his title suggests, sees the history of the English monarchy as providentially-directed and culminating in the divinely sanctioned Tudor monarchy, but he also reads history as a series of instructive vignettes. Hall's narrative voice is unrelentingly didactic, and each of the speaking characters in the chronicle is himself a "chronographer," a studious interpreter of history. Hall assumes that later monarchs -- those he describes and those he intends as his reading audience -- have read history didactically and will continue to do so; thus Henry V, he argues, must have learned a moral lesson from the unfortunate reigns of Edward II and Richard II, and Agincourt becomes a "mirror to Christian princes" demonstrating proper humility before God's power.

The selections below provide some sense of these attributes of Hall's text, and are useful for comparison with Holinshed, particularly the accounts of the parliamentary speeches of Canterbury, Westmorland, and Exeter and the pre-battle orations by the Constable of France and King Henry, all fuller and substantially different from the records of the speeches in Holinshed.

The excerpts below have been modernized from the Huntington Library copy of the 1548 text, accessed via Early English Books Online.

1What kings should be

(fol. 33v)

This prince was almost the Arabical phoenix, and amongst his predecessors a very paragon. For that he amongst all governors chiefly did remember that a king ought to be a ruler with wit, gravity, circumspection, diligence, and constancy, and for that cause to have a rule to him committed not for an honor, but for an onerous charge and daily burden, and not to look so much on other men's livings as to consider and remember his own doings and proper acts. For which cause he, not too much trusting to the readiness of his own wit nor judgments of his own wavering will, called to his council such prudent and politic personages the which should not only help to ease his charge and pain in supporting the burden of his realm and empire, but also incense and instruct him with such good reasons and fruitful persuasions that he might show himself a singular mirror and manifest example of moral virtues and good qualities to his common people and loving subjects. For it is daily seen that a vicious prince doth much more hurt with his pernicious example to other than to himself by his own peculiar offence. For it is not so much evil, as Cicero sayeth, (although it be evil in itself) a prince to do evil, as he by his evil doings to corrupt other, because it is daily seen that as princes change the people altereth, and as kings go the subjects follow. For certainly he that is preferred to high authority is therefore much exalted and had in honor, that he should rule, oversee, and correct the manners and conditions of the people, and vigilantly to foresee and daily study how to acquire to himself laud and glory, and to other profit and commodity, and not to delight in worldly pleasures, which are common amongst the lowest sort of the vile and rustical people. And he that will do nothing nor can do nothing is more worthy to be called a servant than a ruler, and a subject rather than a governor. For what can be more shame or reproach to a prince than he which ought to govern and rule other shall by cowardness, sloth, and ignorance -- as a pupil not of eight or ten years of age, but being of twenty or thirty years and more -- shall be compelled to obey and follow the wills of other, and be ruled and bear no rule, like a ward and not like a guardian, like a servant and not like a master. Such a governor was King Richard the Second, which of himself being not of the most evil disposition, was not of so simple a mind, nor of such debility of wit, nor yet of so little heart and courage but he might have demanded and learned good and profitable counsel, and after advice taken, kept, retained, and followed the same. But howsoever it was, unprofitable counselors were his confusion and final perdition. Such another ruler was King Edward the Second, which two before-named kings fell from the high glory of Fortune's wheel to extreme misery and miserable calamity. By whose infortunate chance, as I think, this King Henry being admonished, expulsed from him his old playfellows, his privy sycophants and ungracious guard as authors and procurers of all mischiefs and riot, and assigned into their places men of gravity, persons of activity, and counselors of great wit and policy. . . .

2Canterbury's Salic Law argument

(fol. 35v-37v)

[O]n a day when the king was present in the parliament, Henry Chicheley Archbishop of Canterbury, thereto newly preferred, which beforetime had been a monk of the Carthusians, a man which had professed willful poverty in religion, and yet coming abroad much desired honor; and a man much regarding God's law, but more loving his own lucre. After low obeisance made to the king, he said after this manner in effect:

3"When I consider, our most entirely beloved and less dread sovereign lord and natural prince, the loving mind, the daily labor, and continual study which you incessantly implore both for the advancement of the honor of your realm and also profit of your people, I cannot, nor ought nor -- except I would be noted not only ingrate to your royal person, being my patron and preferrer, but also a neglecter of my duty, a secret mummer of such things which touch both the inheritance of your crown and the honor of your realm -- either hold my peace or keep silence. For all authors agree that the glory of kings consisteth not only in high blood and haut progeny, not in abundant riches and superfluous substance, nor in pleasant pastime and joyous solace. But the very type of the magnificence of a prince resteth in populous rich regions, subjects, and beautiful cities and towns: of the which, thanked be God, although you be conveniently furnished both within your realms of England and Ireland and principality of Wales, yet by lineal descent, by progeny of blood, and by very inheritance, not only the duchy of Normandy and Aquitaine with the counties of Anjou and Maine and the country of Gascony are to you as true and undubitate heir of the same, lawfully devoluted and lineally descended from the high and most noble prince of famous memory King Edward the Third your great-grandfather, but also the whole realm of France, with all his prerogatives and preeminences, to you as heir to your great-grandfather is of right belonging and appertaining. In which realm, to rehearse what noble persons, what beautiful cities, what fertile regions, what substantial merchants, and what plentiful rivers are contained and included, I assure you that time should rather fail than matter for should wax scant.

4"The fraudulent Frenchmen, to defraud and take away your right and title to the realm of France, in the time of your noble progenitor King Edward the Third alleged a law, untruly feigned, falsely glossed, and sophistically expounded, whereof the very words are these: In terram salicam mulieres ne succedant, which is to say, "let not women succeed in the land Salic." This land Salic the deceitful glossers name to be the realm of France. This law the logical interpreters assign to direct the crown and regality of the same region, as who would say that to that preeminence no woman were able to aspire, nor no heir female was worthy to inherit. The French writers affirm that Pharamond, king of the French Gauls, first instituted this law, which never was, should, or might be broken.

5"See now how an evil gloss confoundeth the text and a partial interpreter marreth the sentence: for first it is apparently known and by an hundred writers confirmed that Pharamond, whom they allege to be author of this law, was Duke of Franconia in Germany, and elected to be king of the Sicambres, which, calling themselves Frenchmen, had gotten a part of the Gaul Celtic between the rivers of Marne and Seine. This Pharamond deceased in the year of our lord four hundred and twenty-seven; long after whose death, Charles the Great being emperor and many years making war on the Saxons did in bloody battle disperse and confound the whole puissance of that nation in the year of our lord eight hundred and five, and brought them to the catholic faith and Christian conformity. After which victory certain soldiers, as the French chronographers affirm, passed over the water of Sala and there inhabited between the rivers of Elbe and Sala, and were commonly called Sali Frenchmen or Sali Gauls, which country now is the land of Meissen. This people had such displeasure at the unhonest fashions of the German women that they made a law that the females should not succeed to any inheritance within that land.

6"Now with indifferent ears if you will note these two points, you shall easily perceive that the law Salic was only feigned and invented to put your noble progenitors and you from your lawful right and true inheritance. For they say that Pharamond made the law for the land Salic, which the gloss calleth France. Then I demand of Master Glosser, or rather Master Doctor Commenter, if I may call a commenter an open liar, whether Pharamond, which died four hundred twenty-one years before the Frenchmen possessed the Gaul Salic and never saw or knew it, made a law of that thing which at that time was not his nor inhabited by his people? Beside this, the realm of France, which is your patrimony, is compact of three Gauls -- Belgic, Celtic, and Aquitaine -- and no part of Salic: then may the glosser expound as well that Gaul Belgic is the country of Britain as to gloss that the land Salic is the whole realm and dominion of the crown of France.

7"Wonder it is to see how the Frenchmen juggle with this fantastical law, following the crafty hazarders which use a play called 'Seest Thou Me or Seest Thou Me Not.' For when King Pepin -- which was Duke of Brabant by his mother Begga, and Master of the Palace of France -- coveted the crown and scepter of the realm, the French nation, not remembering this infrangible law, deposed Childeric the Third, the very heir male and undoubted child of the line of Pharamond and Clovis, kings of France, by the counsel of Zachary, then Bishop of Rome, and set up in throne this Pepin as next heir general, descended of lady Blithild, daughter to king Clothair the First. Hugh Capet also, which usurped the crown without right or reason on Charles Duke of Lorraine, the sole heir male of the line and stock of Charles the Great, after that he had shamefully murdered and in pitiful prison -- by the procurement of the Bishop of Orléans -- destroyed the said Charles, to make his title seem true and appear good, where indeed it was both evil and untrue, to blind the opinions of the common people and to set a glass before their eyes, conveyed himself as heir to the Lady Lingard, daughter to the King Charlemagne, son to Louis the Emperor, which was son to Charles the Great King of France.

8"King Louis also, the Ninth, whom the Frenchmen call Saint Louis, being very heir to the said usurper Hugh Capet, could never be satisfied in his conscience how he might justly keep and possess the crown and regality of the realm of France till he was persuaded and fully instructed that Queen Isabelle his grandmother was lineally descended of Lady Ermengarde, daughter and heir to the above named Charles Duke of Lorraine, by the foresaid Hugh Capet of life and realm wrongfully deprived. By the which marriage the blood and line of King Charles the Great was again united and restored to the crown and scepter of France.

9"So that it more clearer than the sun openly appeareth: the title of King Pepin, the claim of Hugh Capet, the possession of King Louis, yea, and of all the French kings to this day are derived, claimed, and conveyed from the heir female; and yet they would bar you as though your great-grandmother had been no woman nor heir female, but a painted image or feigned shadow. If so many examples, if such copy of precedents, collected out of your own histories and gathered out of your own writers, suffice not to confound your simple Salic law, invented by false fablers and crafty imaginers of you fabling Frenchmen, then hear what God sayeth in the book of Numeri: 'When a man dieth without a son, let the inheritance descend to the daughter.' If your princes call themselves most Christian kings, let them follow the law of God before the law of the Paynim Pharamond.

10"Are not all laws discrepant from God's laws evil, and to all Christian ears odious and noisome? Are French women descended of the blood royal no Christians, and not worthy to inherit in the realm of France? Is the realm of France more noble than the kingdom of Judah, of whom Christ descended by a woman? When God said to Abraham that in one of his seed all nations should be blessed, how came Christ of the seed of Abraham but only by that immaculate virgin, his glorious mother? Likewise, when the Prophet Micah said, 'Thou tribe of Judah art not the least of estimation amongst the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a captain which shall rule and direct my people of Israel,' how descended Christ from the root of Jesse, and how was he duke and captain of the Israelites, and how descended he of the line of David, but only by his mother, a pure virgin and a married wife?

11"Behold: by God's law, women shall inherit. Behold: in France, Frenchmen have inherited by the only line of the women. And yet Englishmen be prohibit to claim by the heir female, contrary to the law of God and man. Wherefore regard well, my sovereign lord, your just and true title to the realm of France, by God's law and man's law to you lawfully devoluted as very heir to Queen Isabelle your great-grandmother, daughter to king Philip the Fair and sister and heir to three kings deceasing without any issue. Which inheritance of the woman is declared to be just by the Mosaical law and used and approved by the Gallican descent, as I have before declared. Therefore for God's sake lose not your patrimony; disherit not your heirs; dishonor not yourself; diminish not your title, which your noble progenitors so highly have esteemed. Wherefore advance forth your banner; fight for your right; conquer your inheritance; spare not sword, blood, or fire. Your war is just, your cause is good, and your claim true, and therefore courageously set forward your war against your enemies. And to the intent that we, your loving chaplains and obedient subjects of the spiritualty, would show ourselves willing and desiring to aid you for the recovery of your ancient right and true title to the crown of France, we have in our spiritual convocation granted to your highness such a sum of money as never by no spiritual persons was to any prince before your days given or advanced, beside our daily prayers and continual precations to God and his Saints for prosperous success to ensue in your martial exploit and royal passage."

12Scotland, France, and the auld alliance

(fol. 37v-41)

When the archbishop had finished his prepared purpose, Ralph Earl of Westmorland, a man of no less gravity than experience and of no more experience than stomach, which was then high warden of the marches toward Scotland, and therefore thinking that if the king should pass over into France with his whole puissance that his power should be too weak to withstand the strength of Scotland if they should invade during the king's absence. Wherefore he rose up, and making his obeisance to the king, said: "Surely, sir, as my lord of Canterbury hath clerkly declared, the conquest of France is very honorable, and when it is gotten and obtained, very profitable and pleasant. But saving your grace's reformation, I say and affirm that to conquer Scotland is more necessary, more apparent easy, and more profitable to this realm than is the gain of France. For although I am not so well learned as my lord archbishop is, nor have not proceeded to degree in the university, yet I have read, and heard great clerks say, that strength knit and combined together is of more force and efficacy than when it is severed and dispersed. As for an example, sprinkle a vessel of water and it moisteth not, but cast it out wholly together and it both washeth and nourisheth. This notable saying before this time hath encouraged emperors, animated kings, and allured princes to conquer realms to them adjoining, to vanquish nations to their dominions adjacent, to subdue people either necessary for their purpose or being to them daily enemies or continual adversaries. For proof whereof, behold what was the chief cause and occasion why rulers and governors so sore labored, thirsted, and coveted to bring all regions to them adjoining into one rule or monarchy? Was it not done to this intent: that the conquerors might have the only power and entire gubernation of all the lands and people within their climate, and govern them in time of peace and also have their aid in time of war? Which monarchy was of that majesty and estimation in the world that no other foreign prince or exterior potentate either had audacity or was able to attempt any thing within the territory or region of the monarchial prince and adjourned king?

13"Let the kingdom of the Assyrians be your example, and if that suffice not, then look on the Persians, after on the Greeks, and lastly on the Romans, which ever desired and coveted more to have the little isle of Sicily, the territory of the Numidians and the mean city of the Samnites (being daily within their kenning and smell), rather than to obtain populous Gaul, plenteous Pannony, or manly Macedony (lying far from sight and out of their circle or compass). This desire seemeth to rise of a great prudent and vigilant policy, for as a prince is of more puissance when his countries join, so is he of more strength when his power is at hand. And as men lacking comfort be more relieved by friends which be present than by kinsfolk dwelling in foreign and regions far off, so princes have commonly coveted and ever desired to see and behold their dominions lying near about them, rather than to hear by report from the countries far distant from them.

14"If this hath been the policy of conquerors, the appetite of purchasers, and the study of governors, why doth your grace desire France before Scotland, or covet a country far from your sight before a realm under your nose? Do you not remember how the whole isle of Britain was one entire monarchy in the time of your noble ancestor King Brute, first king and ruler of your famous empire and glorious region? Which dividing his realm to his three sons gave to Locrine his eldest son that part of Britain that your highness now enjoyeth; and to Albanact his second son he gave the country of Albany, now called Scotland; and to Camber his third son he gave the country of Cambria, now called Wales; reserving always to him and his heirs homage, liege, and fealty loyal for the same countries and dominions. By this division, the glory of the monarchy of Britain was clearly defaced; by this separation the strength of the British kings was sore diminished; by this dispersion intestine war began and civil rebellion sprang first within this region. For while all was under one, no nation durst either once invade or attempt war against the Britons; but when the land was once divided and the monarchy undone, outward enmity or foreign hostility not half so much infested, grieved, or troubled the valiant Britons as their own neighbors descended of one parent, and come of one progeny.

15"For the Albanacts, otherwise called the false fraudulent Scots, and the Cambers, otherwise called the unstable Welshmen, did not alonely withdraw their fealty, deny their homage, and refuse their allegiance due to the kings of this realm, but also made continual war and destroyed their towns and slew the people of their neighbors and Britons. For which cause, divers of your noble progenitors have not only made war and subdued the Scots for the denying of their homage and stirring of rebellion, but also have deposed their kings and princes and erected and set up other in their estates and dignities. Scater king of Scots, for his rebellion, was by Dunwallo Molmutius, your noble predecessor, slain and extincted. King Arthur also, the glory of the Britons, erected Angosile to the scepter of Scotland and received of him homage and fealty. If I should rehearse how many kings of Scotland have done homage to your ancient predecessors, or rehearse how many Scottish kings they have corrected and punished for their disobedience and denying of homage, or declare what kings they, as superior lords and high emperors over the underkings of Scotland, have elected and made rulers -- to the intent that all people might manifestly perceive that it was more glorious, more honorable, and more famous to a king to make a king than to be a king by natural descent -- I assure you your ears would be more weary of hearing than my tongue would be fatigate with open truth-telling.

16"Your noble progenitor King Edward the First, coveting to be superior and to surmount in honor, or at the least to be equivalent in fame with his noble ancestors and famous progenitors, daily studied and hourly compassed how to bring the whole isle of Britain, which by Brute was divided into three parts, into one monarchy and one dominion. After long study and great consultation had, he subdued Wales and tamed the wild people and brought that unruly part to his old home and ancient degree, which thing done, he likewise invaded Scotland and conquered the country to the town of Perth, called Saint John's town, standing on the river of Tay, which he walled, ditched and fortified, ruling that part with English laws, English customs, and by English judges, and was almost at a point thereof to have made a perfect conquest and a complete monarchy. But O Lord, hasty death, which maketh an end of all mortal creatures, suddenly bereft him of his life and took away his spirit, and so all things which he had devised, which he had imagined and seriously pretended, the small moment of an hour turned upside down and suddenly subverted. Since whose death, your great-grandfather, ye, and your noble father have attempted to bring that renegade region into his ancient course and former line -- as a thing both necessary, convenient, and meet -- to be joined and united to this realm, and so not only to revive the old empire and famous monarchy, but also to unite and combine that virtue and strength, which from the time of Brute was dispersed and severed, in one body, in one head, and one corporation.

17"Wherefore, if to your high wisdom it seemeth not necessary -- taking this term necessary for needful -- to conquer the realm of Scotland, as a thing that needs must be done, yet will I not fly from my first saying, but prove it necessary, as the logical paraphrasian and philosophical interpreters do, by a distinction expound this term necessary to signify a thing convenient: that the conquest in Scotland before the invading of France is most expedient, for experience teacheth, and reason agreeth, that every person intending a purposed enterprise or a determinate voyage should [not] only provide and make preparation for all things requisite and needful for his purpose or exploit, but also ought vigilantly to foresee with lynx's eyes, and prevent and study with the serpentine policy how to avoid and refel all things which might either be an impediment to his progression and setting forward or occasion of his return and loss of his enterprise, lest he, leaving behind him an evil neighbor, a continual adversary, and a secret enemy, may as soon lese his own proper realm as conquer and gain the dominion of another; wherefore the trite and common adage saith, 'Leave not the certain for the uncertain.'

18"Wherefore it is necessary that I enucleate and open to you certain articles contained in the old league and amity between the realms of France and Scotland, whereof the words be these:

  1. The war or injury moved or done by the Englishmen to one of the said nations to be as a common wrong to both.
  2. If the Englishmen make war on the French nation, then the Scots, at the costs and charges of the French king, shall minister to their succors.
  3. Likewise, if the Scots be molested by the English wars, the French nation, having their costs allowed, shall be to them aiders and assisters.
  4. And that none of both the nations shall either contract or make peace with the realm of England without the consent and agreement of the other.

19And to the intent that this league and amity should be kept unviolate, Robert le Bruce, the usurper of Scotland, willed by his testament two things in especial to be observed: the one, never to break the treaty concluded with France; the second, never to keep peace or promise with Englishmen longer than the keeping thereof were to them either profitable or necessary. Yet John Mayer and other Scottish writers color this cause, saying that he would have no peace concluded with England above three years. But whatsoever writers write or talkers say, they be to him most faithful executors and have never yet broken his testament, but daily keep his precept and commandment.

20"And for the performance of this will and keeping of this league, none of your ancestors ever invaded France but incontinent the Scots troubled and vexed England. None of your progenitors ever passed the sea in just quarrel against the French nation but the Scottish people in their absence entered your realm, spoiled your houses, slew your people and took great preys innumerable, only to provoke your ancestors for to return from the invading of France. If I should declare to you their common breaking of leagues, their crafty and subtle dissimulation, their false fair promises often sworn and never kept, I doubt not but you would ten times more abhor their doing than I would be ashamed of the telling. Therefore I say still, and affirm it necessary and convenient to forsee that you leave no enemies behind at your back when you go to conquer adversaries before your face.

21"Beside this, if you consider the daily charges, the inconstant chances that may happen, I think, yea, and little doubt but Scotland shall be tamed before France shall be framed. For if you will invade France, account what number of ships must transport your army, reckon what charge of anchors, what a multitude of cables, and what innumerable things appertain to a navy. When you be there, if your men decay by sickness or by sword, if victual fail, or if money wax scant, if the wind turn contrary or an hideous tempest arise, you shall be destitute of aid, provision and treasure, which in a strange region are the confusion and defacing of an army. On the other side, if you invade Scotland, your men be at hand, your victual is near, your aid is ever at your back, so that in that voyage you shall have abundance in all things, and of nothing you shall have want. See what an occasion fortune hath offered unto you: is not their king your captive and prisoner? Is not the realm in great division for the cruelty of the Duke of Albany, rather desiring to have a foreign governor than a natural tyrant? Wherefore my counsel is first to invade Scotland, and by God's grace to conquer and join that region to your empire, and to restore the renowned monarchy of Britain to her old estate and preeminence; and so beautified with realms, and furnished with people, to enter into France for the recovering of your righteous title and true inheritance, in observing the old ancient proverb used by our forefathers, which sayeth, 'He that will France win must with Scotland first begin.'"

22"No!" quoth the Duke of Exeter, uncle to the king (which was well learned, and sent into Italy by his father, intending to have been a priest). "He that will Scotland win, let him with France first begin. For if you call to remembrance the common saying of the wise and expert physicians, which both write and teach that if you will heal a malady you must first remove the cause; if you will cure a lore, you must first take away the humor that feedeth the place; if you will destroy a plant, pluck away his sap which is his nourishing and life. Then if France be the nourisher or Scotland, if the French pensions be the sustainers of the Scottish nobility, if the education of Scots in France be the cause of practice and policy in Scotland, then pluck away France, and the courage of the nobles of Scotland shall be soon daunted and appalled. Take away France, and the hearts of the common people will soon decay and wax faint. Pluck away France, and never look that Scotland will resist or withstand your power. For when the head is gone, the body soon falleth, and when the sap faileth the tree soon withereth.

23"Let men read the chronicles and peruse our English chronographers, and you shall soon find that the Scots have seldom of their own notion invaded or vexed England, but only for the observing of the league in the which they be bound to France: For the Scots are the shaft and dart of the Frenchmen to shoot and cast at their pleasure against the English nation. And where they have invaded, as I cannot deny but they have done, what glory or what profit succeeded of their enterprise I report me to their peculiar histories. King Malcolm invaded England when king William the Second was making war in Normandy. David le Bruce also entered England, your great-grandfather King Edward the Third lying at the siege of Calais. Was not Malcolm slain beside Tynemouth and King David taken beside Durham? Let the governors of Scotland (for the king is sure enough) enter into England on that price and see what he shall gain thereby. What notable act were Scots ever able to do out of their own country and proper climate? Or when were they able to convey an army over the sea at their own costs and expenses? Read their own histories and you shall find few or none.

24"Their nature and condition is to tarry at home in idleness, ready to defend their country like brute beasts, thinking their rustical fashion to be high honesty and their beggarly living to be a welfare. Beside this, what ancient writer or authentic historiographer either writ of them honor, or once nameth them? -- except Saint Jerome, which sayeth that when he was young, he saw in France certain Scots of the isle of Britain eat the flesh of men, and when they came into the woods finding there great herds of beasts and flocks of sheep, left the beasts and cut of the buttocks of the herdmen and the paps and breasts of the shepherds' women, esteeming this meat to be the greatest dainties. And Sabellicus sayeth that Scots much delight and rejoice in lying.

25"You may now apparently perceive what puissance Scotland is of itself, little able to defend and less able to invade like a noun adjective that cannot stand without a substantive. If France be taken from them, of whom shall they seek aide? Denmark will them refuse because the king is your brother-in-law. Portugal and Castile will not them regard, both the kings being your cousins germane and aunts’ sons. Italy is too far; Germany and Hungary be with you in league. So that of necessity they, in conclusion, destitute of all aid, deprived of all succor, berefted of all friendship (if France be conquered) must without war or dint of sword come under your subjection and due obeisance.

26"And yet I would not in this your conquest France should be so much minded that Scotland should be forgotten, nor that your entire power should be sent into France and no defense left against the invasions of Scotland. For of that might ensue this mischief: that if your whole power were vanquished in France, the Scots, being elated by the victory of their friends, might do more displeasure to your realm in one year than you should recover again in five. But sith God hath sent you people, riches, munitions of war, and all things necessary either to invade both or to defend the one and penetrate the other, pass the sea yourself with an army royal, and leave my lord of Westmorland and other grave captains of the North with a convenient number to defend the Marches, if the subtle Scots, encouraged by the Frenchmen will any thing attempt during your voyage and absence.

27"And this is to be remembered: if you get Scotland, you have a country barren almost of all pleasure and goodness; you gain people savage, wavering, and [in]constant; of riches you shall have little and of poverty much. But if you get France, you shall have a country fertile, pleasant, and plentiful; you shall have people civil, witty, and of good order. You shall have rich cities, beautiful towns, innumerable castles, twenty-four puissant duchies, eighty and odd populous countries, and an hundred and three famous bishoprics, a thousand and more fat monasteries, and parish churches (as the French writers affirm) ninety thousand and moe. This conquest is honorable, this gain is profitable, this journey is pleasant, and therefore neither to be left nor forslowed. Victual you shall have sufficient from Flanders; aid of men you may have daily out of England, or else to leave a competent crew in the marches of Calais to refresh your army and to furnish still your number. Although the cost in transporting your men be great, yet your gain shall be greater, and therefore according to the trite adage, 'He must liberally spend that will plentifully gain.'

28"And because my lord of Westmorland hath alleged that the Romans desired the dominion of such as were under flight of their own eagle, or whose possessions were a mote to their eye, as the Numidians and other which he hath wisely rehearsed, behold the conditions of the counselors and the desire of the movers: what persons were they which coveted their poor neighbors rather than rich foreigns? Men effeminate, more meet for a carpet than a camp, men of a weak stomach desiring rather to walk in a pleasant garden than pass the seas in a tempestuous storm. What should I say? Men that would have somewhat and yet take little pain, men that coveted things nothing honorable nor yet greatly profitable. But I remember that the noble Cato the Censor, which, when it was alleged in the senate at Rome that Afric was far off, and the sea broad, and the journey perilous, caused certain new figs to be brought into the senate, which grew in the territory of Carthage, and demanded of the senators how they liked the figs? Some said they were new, some said they were sweet, and some said they were pleasant. 'Oh,' quoth Cato, 'If they be new gathered, then is not the region far off where they grew -- scant three days' sailing -- and if it be of no longer distance, then so near to us be our enemies. If the figs be sweet, then is the soil delicious and fertile. If the figs be pleasant, then is the country profitable. If you gain the Sicilians, you shall be rich men in corn. If you get the Samnites you shall have plenty of oil. If you vanquish the Numidians, you shall have copy of beasts. But subdue Carthage and conquer Afric, you shall have not only corn, oil, and beasts, but gold, purple, precious stones, elephants, and all things both necessary and pleasant. Therefore my counsel is rather to seek riches being far distant than poverty lying at hand, for pain is forgotten ever where gain foloweth.' This noble saying of sage Cato so encouraged and inflamed the haut hearts and lusty courages of the manly Romans that they never desisted to persecute the people of Afric till Carthage was utterly destroyed and the whole country subdued and brought under the Roman empire.

29"Julius Caesar also desired rather to conquer the Britons, divided from the continent, yea, and inhabiting almost in the end of the world, rather than to gain the Pannonians adjoining to Italy, saying 'Break the stronger and the weaker will bow; subdue the rich and the poor will yield; be lord of the lords and the vassals must needs be subject.' Vanquish the Frenchmen and the Scots be tamed. This counsel of Cato, and this saying of Caesar maketh me both to speak and think that if you get France, ye get two, and if you get Scotland you get but one."

30When the duke had said and sat down, his opinion was much noted and well digested with the king, but in especial with his three brethren and divers other lords, being young and lusty, desirous to win honor and profit in the realm of France, ensuing the courageous acts of their noble progenitors, which gat in that region both honor and renown. So that now all men cried "War, war! France, France!" and the bill put into the parliament for dissolving of religious houses was clearly forgotten and buried, and nothing thought on but only the recovering of France, according to the title by the archbishop declared and set forth. . . .

31Tennis balls?

(fol. 41v)

Here I overpass how some writers say that the dauphin, thinking King Henry to be given still to such plays and light follies as he exercised and used before the time that he was exalted to the crown, sent to him a tun of tennis balls to play with, as who said that he could better skill of tennis than of war, and was more expert in light games than martial policy. Whether he were moved with this unwise present, or, espying that the Frenchmen dallied and vainly delayed his purpose and demand, was moved and pricked forward, I cannot judge, but sure it is that after the return of his ambassadors, he being of a haut courage and bold stomach, living now in the pleasantest time of his age, much desiring to enlarge and dilate his empire and dominion, determined fully to make war in France, conceiving a good trust and a perfect hope in this point which he had before experimented, which is that victory for the most part foloweth where right leadeth, advanced forward by justice and set forth by equity.

32Before the battle of Agincourt

(fol. 47-49v)

The King of England, informed by his espials that the day of battle was nearer than he looked for, dislodged from Bonnières and rode in good array through the fair plain beside the town of Blangy, where, to the intent that his army should not be included in a strait or driven to a corner, he chose a place meet and convenient for two armies to deraign battle between the towns of Blangy and Agincourt, where he pight his field.

33The Constable of France, the Marshall, the Admiral, the Lord Rambures Master of the Crossbows, and divers lords and knights pitched their banners near to the banner royal of the Constable in the county of Saint Paul within the territory of Agincourt, by the which way the Englishmen must needs pass toward Calais. The Frenchmen made great fires about their banners, and they were in number had forty thousand horsemen, as their own historians and writers affirm, beside footmen, pages, and wagoners, and all that night made great cheer and were very merry. The Englishmen that night sounded their trumpets and divers instruments musical with great melody, and yet they were both hungry, weary, sore travailed, and much vexed with cold diseases; howbeit they made peace with God in confessing their sins, requiring him of help and receiving the holy sacrament, every man encouraging and determining clearly rather to die than either to yield or fly.

34Now approached the fortunate fair day to the Englishmen and the infest and unlucky day to the French nobility, which was the five-and-twenty day of October in the year of our Lord Jesu Christ a thousand four hundred and fifteen, being then Friday and the day of Crispin and Crispinian. On the which day in the morning, the Frenchmen made three battles. . . . When these battles were thus ordered, it was a glorious sight to behold them, and surely they were esteemed to be in number six times as many or more than was the whole company of the Englishmen, with wagoners, pages, and all. Thus the Frenchmen were, every man under his banner, only waiting for the bloody blast of the terrible trumpet, and in this order they continued resting themselves and reconciling every one to other for all old rancors and hatreds which had been between them, till the hour between nine and ten of the day. During which season, the Constable of France said openly to the captains in effect as foloweth:"Friends and companions in arms, I cannot but both rejoice and lament the chances and fortunes of these two armies which I openly see and behold with mine eyes here present. I rejoice for the victory which I see at hand for our part, and I lament and sorrow for the misery and calamity which I perceive to approach to the other side. For we cannot but be victors and triumphant conquerors, for who saw ever so flourishing an army within any Christian region, or such a multitude of valiant persons in one company? Is not here the flower of the French nation on barded horses with sharp spears and deadly weapons? Are not here the bold Bretons with fiery handguns and sharp swords? See you not present the practiced Picards with strong and weighty crossbows? Beside these, we have the fierce Brabanters and strong Almaines with long pikes and cutting slaughmesses.

35"And on the other side is a small handful of poor Englishmen which are entered into this region in hope of some gain or desire of profit, which by reason that their victual is consumed and spent, are by daily famine sore weakened, consumed, and almost without spirits; for their force is clearly abated and their strength utterly decayed, so that ere the battles shall join they shall be for very feebleness vanquished and overcome, and instead of men ye shall fight with shadows. For you must understand that, keep an Englishman one month from his warm bed, fat beef, and stale drink, and let him that season taste cold and suffer hunger, you then shall see his courage abated, his body wax lean and bare, and ever desirous to return into his own country. Experience now declareth this to be true, for if famine had not pinched them or cold weather had not nipped them, surely they would have made their progress farther into France and not by so many perilous passages retired toward Calais. Such courage is in Englishmen when fair weather and victual follow them, and such weakness they have when famine and cold vex and trouble them. Therefore now it is no mastery to vanquish and overthrow them, being both weary and weak, for by reason of feebleness and faintness their weapons shall fall out of their hands when they proffer to strike, so that ye may no easilier kill a poor sheep than destroy them, being already sick and hunger-starven.

36"But imagine that they were lusty, strong and courageous, and then ponder wisely the cause of their coming hither and the meaning of their enterprise: first, their king, a young stripling more meet for a tennis play than a warlike camp, claimeth the crown, scepter, and sovereignty of the very substance of the French nation by battle; then he and his intend to occupy this country, inhabit this land, destroy our wives and children, extinguish our blood, and put our names in the black book of oblivion. Wherefore remember well: in what quarrel can you better fight than for the tuition of your natural country, the honor of your prince, the surety of your children, and the safeguard of your land and lives? If these causes do not encourage you to fight, behold before your eyes the tents of your enemies, with treasure, plate, and jewels well stuffed and richly furnished, which prey is surely yours if every man strike but one stroke, beside the great ransoms which shall be paid for rich captains and wealthy prisoners, which as surely shall be yours as you now had them in your possession.

37"Yet this thing I charge you withal: that in no wise the king himself be killed, but by force or otherwise to be apprehended and taken, to the intent that with glory and triumph we may convey him openly through the noble city of Paris to our king and dauphin as a testimony of our victory and witness of our noble act. And of this thing you be sure: that fly they cannot, and to yield to our fight of necessity they shall be compelled. Therefore, good fellows, take courage to you! The victory is yours, the gain is yours, and the honor is yours, without great labor or much loss."

38King Henry also, like a leader and not like one led, like a sovereign and not like a soldier, ordered his men for his most advantage like an expert captain and a courageous warrior. . . . When he had ordered thus his battles, he left a small company to keep his camp and baggage, and then calling his captains and soldiers about him, he made to them an hearty oration in effect as foloweth, saying: "Well-beloved friends and countrymen, I exhort you heartily to think and conceive in yourselves that this day shall be to us all a day of joy, a day of good luck and a day of victory. For truly if you well note and wisely consider all things, almighty God, under whose protection we be come hither, hath appointed a place so meet and apt for our purpose as we ourselves could neither have devised nor wished, which as it is apt and convenient for our small number and little army, so is it unprofitable and unmeet for a great multitude to fight or give battle in, and in especial for such men in whom is neither constant faith nor security of promise, which persons be of God neither favored nor regarded, nor he is not accustomed to aid and succor such people which by force and strength contrary to right and reason detain and keep from other their just patrimony and lawful inheritance, with which blot and spot the French nation is apparently defiled and distained; so that God of his justice will scourge and afflict them for their manifest injuries and open wrongs to us and our realm daily committed and done.

39"Therefore putting your only trust in him, let not their multitude fear your hearts, nor their great number abate your courages; for surely old warlike fathers have both said and written that the more people that an army is, the less knowledge the multitude hath of material feats or politic practices, which rude rustical and ignorant persons shall be in the field unto hardy captains and lusty men of war a great let and sore impediment. And though they all were of like policy, like audacity, and of one uniform experience in martial affairs, yet we ought neither to fear them nor once to shrink for them, considering that we come in the right, which ever of God is favored, set forth, and advanced: in which good and just quarrel all good persons shall rather set both their feet forward than once to turn their one heel backward.

40"For if you adventure your lives in so just a battle and so good a cause, which way soever Fortune turn her wheel, you shall be sure of fame, glory, and renown. If you be victors and overcome your enemies, your strength and virtue shall be spread and dispersed through the whole world. If you, overpressed with so great a multitude, shall happen to be slain or taken, yet neither reproach can be to you ascribed either yet infamy of you reported, considering that Hercules alone was not equivalent unto two men, nor a small handful is not equal to a great number, for victory is the gift of God and consisteth not in the puissance of men. Wherefore manfully set on your enemies at their first encounter; strike with a hardy courage on the false-hearted Frenchmen, whom your noble ancestors have so often overcome and vanquished. For surely they be not so strong to give the onset upon you, but they be much weaker to abide your strength in a long fight and tired battle.

41"As for me, I assure you all that England for my person shall never pay ransom, nor never Frenchman shall triumph over me as his captain, for this day by famous death or glorious victory I will win honor and obtain fame. Therefore now joyously prepare yourselves to the battle and courageously fight with your enemies, for at this very time all the realm of England prayeth for our good luck and prosperous success."

42While the king was thus speaking, each army so maligned and grudged at the other, being in open fight and evident apparence, that every man cried "Forth, forth! Forward, forward!" The dukes of Clarence, Gloucester, and York were of the same opinion, thinking it most convenient to march toward their enemies with all speed and celerity, least in prolonging of time and arguing of opinions, the French army might more and more increase and hourly multiply. Howbeit the king tarried awhile lest any jeopardy were not foreseen or any hazard not prevented.

43The Frenchmen, in the mean season, little or nothing regarding the small number of the English nation, were of such haut courage and proud stomachs that they took no thought for the battle, as who say they were victors and overcomers before any stroke was stricken, and laughed at the Englishmen, and for very pride thought themselves lifted into heaven, jesting and boasting that they had the Englishmen enclosed in a strait, and had overcome and taken them without any resistance. The captains determined how to divide the spoil; the soldiers played the Englishmen at dice; the noblemen devised a chariot, how they might triumphantly convey King Henry, being captive, to the city of Paris, crying to their soldiers, "Haste yourselves to obtain spoil, glory, and honor, to the intent that we may study how to give you thanks for the great gifts and rewards which we hope to receive of your great liberality!" The foolish folly of this vain solace brake out so far that messengers were sent to the cities and towns adjoining willing them to make open plays and triumphs (as though that the victory were to them certain and no resistance could appear), and also to give God thanks for their prosperous act and notable deed, not remembering that the whirlwind shortly with a puff blew away all their foolish joy and fantastical bragging.