Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


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.
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.