Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


69
The Life of Henry the Fift.

1
Enter Prologue.


O For a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
The brightest Heauen of Inuention:
A Kingdome for a Stage, Princes to Act,
5And Monarchs to behold the swelling Scene.
Then should the Warlike Harry, like himselfe,
Assume the Port of Mars, and at his heeles
( Leasht in, like Hounds) should Famine, Sword, and Fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, Gentles all:
10The flat vnraysed Spirits, that hath dar'd,
On this vnworthy Scaffold, to bring forth
So great an Obiect. Can this Cock-Pit hold
The vastie fields of France? Or may we cramme
Within this Woodden O. the very Caskes
15That did affright the Ayre at Agincourt?
O pardon: since a crooked Figure may
Attest in little place a Million,
And let vs, Cyphers to this great Accompt,


On your imaginarie Forces worke.
20Suppose within the Girdle of these Walls
Are now confin'd two mightie Monarchies,
Whose high, vp-reared, and abutting Fronts,
The perillous narrow Ocean parts asunder.
Peece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
25Into a thousand parts diuide one Man,
And make imaginarie Puissance.
Thinke when we talke of Horses, that you see them
Printing their prowd Hoofes i'th' receiuing Earth:
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings,
30Carry them here and there: Iumping o're Times;
Turning th'accomplishment of many yeeres
Into an Howre-glasse: for the which supplie,
Admit me Chorus to this Historie;
Who Prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
35Gently to heare, kindly to iudge our Play.
Exit.



Actus Primus. Scœna Prima.



Enter the two Bishops of Canterbury and Ely.

Bish. Cant.
MY Lord, Ile tell you, that selfe Bill is vrg'd,
40Which in th'eleuēth yere of ye last Kings reign
Was like, and had indeed against vs past,
But that the scambling and vnquiet time
Did push it out of farther question.
Bish. Ely. But how my Lord shall we resist it now?
45Bish. Cant. It must be thought on: if it passe against vs,
We loose the better halfe of our Possession:
For all the Temporall Lands, which men deuout
By Testament haue giuen to the Church,
Would they strip from vs; being valu'd thus,
50As much as would maintaine, to the Kings honor,
Full fifteene Earles, and fifteene hundred Knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good Esquires:
And to reliefe of Lazars, and weake age
Of indigent faint Soules, past corporall toyle,
55A hundred Almes-houses, right well supply'd:
And to the Coffers of the King beside,
A thousand pounds by th' yeere. Thus runs the Bill.
Bish. Ely. This would drinke deepe.
Bish. Cant. 'Twould drinke the Cup and all.
60Bish. Ely. But what preuention?


Bish. Cant. The King is full of grace, and faire re-
gard.
Bish. Ely. And a true louer of the holy Church.
Bish. Cant. The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
65The breath no sooner left his Fathers body,
But that his wildnesse, mortify'd in him,
Seem'd to dye too: yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an Angell came,
And whipt th'offending Adam out of him;
70Leauing his body as a Paradise,
T'inuelop and containe Celestiall Spirits.
Neuer was such a sodaine Scholler made:
Neuer came Reformation in a Flood,
With such a heady currance scowring faults:
75Nor neuer Hidra-headed Wilfulnesse
So soone did loose his Seat; and all at once;
As in this King.
Bish. Ely: We are blessed in the Change.
Bish. Cant. Heare him but reason in Diuinitie;
80And all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire the King were made a Prelate:
Heare him debate of Common-wealth Affaires;
You would say, it hath been all in all his study:
List his discourse of Warre; and you shall heare
85A fearefull Battaile rendred you in Musique.
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Turne