Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


70
The Life of Henry the Fift.
Turne him to any Cause of Pollicy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will vnloose,
Familiar as his Garter: that when he speakes,
The Ayre, a Charter'd Libertine, is still,
90And the mute Wonder lurketh in mens eares,
To steale his sweet and honyed Sentences:
So that the Art and Practique part of Life,
Must be the Mistresse to this Theorique.
Which is a wonder how his Grace should gleane it,
95Since his addiction was to Courses vaine,
His Companies vnletter'd, rude, and shallow,
His Houres fill'd vp with Ryots, Banquets, Sports;
And neuer noted in him any studie,
Any retyrement, any sequestration,
100From open Haunts and Popularitie.
B.Ely. The Strawberry growes vnderneath the Nettle,
And holesome Berryes thriue and ripen best,
Neighbour'd by Fruit of baser qualitie:
And so the Prince obscur'd his Contemplation
105Vnder the Veyle of Wildnesse, which (no doubt)
Grew like the Summer Grasse, fastest by Night,
Vnseene, yet cressiue in his facultie.
B.Cant. It must be so; for Miracles are ceast:
And therefore we must needes admit the meanes,
110How things are perfected.
B.Ely. But my good Lord:
How now for mittigation of this Bill,
Vrg'd by the Commons? doth his Maiestie
Incline to it, or no?
115B.Cant. He seemes indifferent:
Or rather swaying more vpon our part,
Then cherishing th'exhibiters against vs:
For I haue made an offer to his Maiestie,
Vpon our Spirituall Conuocation,
120And in regard of Causes now in hand,
Which I haue open'd to his Grace at large,
As touching France, to giue a greater Summe,
Then euer at one time the Clergie yet
Did to his Predecessors part withal.
125B.Ely. How did this offer seeme receiu'd, my Lord?
B.Cant. With good acceptance of his Maiestie:
Saue that there was not time enough to heare,
As I perceiu'd his Grace would faine haue done,
The seueralls and vnhidden passages
130Of his true Titles to some certaine Dukedomes,
And generally, to the Crowne and Seat of France,
Deriu'd from Edward his great Grandfather.
B.Ely. What was th'impediment that broke this off?
B.Cant. The French Embassador vpon that instant
135Crau'd audience; and the howre I thinke is come,
To giue him hearing: Is it foure a Clock?
B.Ely. It is.
B.Cant. Then goe we in, to know his Embassie:
Which I could with a ready guesse declare,
140Before the Frenchman speake a word of it.
B.Ely. Ile wait vpon you, and I long to heare it.
Exeunt.
Enter the King, Humfrey, Bedford, Clarence,
Warwick, Westmerland, and Exeter.
145King. Where is my gracious Lord of Canterbury?
Exeter. Not here in presence.
King. Send for him, good Vnckle.
Westm. Shall we call in th' Ambassador, my Liege?
King. Not yet, my Cousin: we would be resolu'd,
150Before we heare him, of some things of weight,
That taske our thoughts, concerning vs and France.


Enter two Bishops.
B.Cant. God and his Angels guard your sacred Throne,
And make you long become it.
155King. Sure we thanke you.
My learned Lord, we pray you to proceed,
And iustly and religiously vnfold,
Why the Law Salike, that they haue in France,
Or should or should not barre vs in our Clayme:
160And God forbid, my deare and faithfull Lord,
That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading,
Or nicely charge your vnderstanding Soule,
With opening Titles miscreate, whose right
Sutes not in natiue colours with the truth:
165For God doth know, how many now in health,
Shall drop their blood, in approbation
Of what your reuerence shall incite vs to.
Therefore take heed how you impawne our Person,
How you awake our sleeping Sword of Warre;
170We charge you in the Name of God take heed:
For neuer two such Kingdomes did contend,
Without much fall of blood, whose guiltlesse drops
Are euery one, a Woe, a sore Complaint,
'Gainst him, whose wrongs giues edge vnto the Swords,
175That makes such waste in briefe mortalitie.
Vnder this Coniuration, speake my Lord:
For we will heare, note, and beleeue in heart,
That what you speake, is in your Conscience washt,
As pure as sinne with Baptisme.
180B.Can. Then heare me gracious Soueraign, & you Peers,
That owe your selues, your liues, and seruices,
To this Imperiall Throne. There is no barre
To make against your Highnesse Clayme to France,
But this which they produce from Pharamond,
185In terram Salicam Mulieres ne succedaul,
No Woman shall succeed in Salike Land:
Which Salike Land, the French vniustly gloze
To be the Realme of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this Law, and Female Barre.
190Yet their owne Authors faithfully affirme,
That the Land Salike is in Germanie,
Betweene the Flouds of Sala and of Elue:
Where Charles the Great hauing subdu'd the Saxons,
There left behind and settled certaine French:
195Who holding in disdaine the German Women,
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Establisht then this Law; to wit, No Female
Should be Inheritrix in Salike Land:
Which Salike (as I said) 'twixt Elue and Sala,
200Is at this day in Germanie, call'd Meisen.
Then doth it well appeare, the Salike Law
Was not deuised for the Realme of France:
Nor did the French possesse the Salike Land,
Vntill foure hundred one and twentie yeeres
205After defunction of King Pharamond,
Idly suppos'd the founder of this Law,
Who died within the yeere of our Redemption,
Foure hundred twentie six: and Charles the Great
Subdu'd the Saxons, and did seat the French
210Beyond the Riuer Sala, in the yeere
Eight hundred fiue. Besides, their Writers say,
King Pepin, which deposed Childerike,
Did as Heire Generall, being descended
Of Blithild, which was Daughter to King Clothair,
215Make Clayme and Title to the Crowne of France.
Hugh Capet also, who vsurpt the Crowne
Of