Internet Shakespeare Editions

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

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


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 Charles the Duke of Loraine, sole Heire male
Of the true Line and Stock of Charles the Great:
To find his Title with some shewes of truth,
220Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught,
Conuey'd himselfe as th'Heire to th'Lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemaine, who was the Sonne
To Lewes the Emperour, and Lewes the Sonne
Of Charles the Great: also King Lewes the Tenth,
225Who was sole Heire to the Vsurper Capet,
Could not keepe quiet in his conscience,
Wearing the Crowne of France, 'till satisfied,
That faire Queene Isabel, his Grandmother,
Was Lineall of the Lady Ermengare,
230Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Loraine:
By the which Marriage, the Lyne of Charles the Great
Was re-vnited to the Crowne of France.
So, that as cleare as is the Summers Sunne,
King Pepins Title, and Hugh Capets Clayme,
235King Lewes his satisfaction, all appeare
To hold in Right and Title of the Female:
So doe the Kings of France vnto this day.
Howbeit, they would hold vp this Salique Law,
To barre your Highnesse clayming from the Female,
240And rather chuse to hide them in a Net,
Then amply to imbarre their crooked Titles,
Vsurpt from you and your Progenitors.
King. May I with right and conscience make this claim?
Bish. Cant. The sinne vpon my head, dread Soueraigne:
245For in the Booke of Numbers is it writ,
When the man dyes, let the Inheritance
Descend vnto the Daughter. Gracious Lord,
Stand for your owne, vnwind your bloody Flagge,
Looke back into your mightie Ancestors:
250Goe my dread Lord, to your great Grandsires Tombe,
From whom you clayme; inuoke his Warlike Spirit,
And your Great Vnckles, Edward the Black Prince,
Who on the French ground play'd a Tragedie,
Making defeat on the full Power of France:
255Whiles his most mightie Father on a Hill
Stood smiling, to behold his Lyons Whelpe
Forrage in blood of French Nobilitie.
O Noble English, that could entertaine
With halfe their Forces, the full pride of France,
260And let another halfe stand laughing by,
All out of worke, and cold for action.
Bish. Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,
And with your puissant Arme renew their Feats;
You are their Heire, you sit vpon their Throne:
265The Blood and Courage that renowned them,
Runs in your Veines: and my thrice-puissant Liege
Is in the very May-Morne of his Youth,
Ripe for Exploits and mightie Enterprises.
Exe. Your Brother Kings and Monarchs of the Earth
270Doe all expect, that you should rowse your selfe,
As did the former Lyons of your Blood.
West. They know your Grace hath cause, and means, and
So hath your Highnesse: neuer King of England
Had Nobles richer, and more loyall Subiects,
275Whose hearts haue left their bodyes here in England,
And lye pauillion'd in the fields of France.
Bish. Can. O let their bodyes follow my deare Liege
With Bloods, and Sword and Fire, to win your Right:
In ayde whereof, we of the Spiritualtie
280Will rayse your Highnesse such a mightie Summe,
As neuer did the Clergie at one time
Bring in to any of your Ancestors.
King. We must not onely arme t'inuade the French,
But lay downe our proportions, to defend
285Against the Scot, who will make roade vpon vs,
With all aduantages.
Bish. Can. They of those Marches, gracious Soueraign,
Shall be a Wall sufficient to defend
Our in-land from the pilfering Borderers.
290King. We do not meane the coursing snatchers onely,
But feare the maine intendment of the Scot,
Who hath been still a giddy neighbour to vs:
For you shall reade, that my great Grandfather
Neuer went with his forces into France,
295But that the Scot, on his vnfurnisht Kingdome,
Came pouring like the Tyde into a breach,
With ample and brim fulnesse of his force,
Galling the gleaned Land with hot Assayes,
Girding with grieuous siege, Castles and Townes:
300That England being emptie of defence,
Hath shooke and trembled at th'ill neighbourhood.
B.Can. She hath bin thē more fear'd thē harm'd, my Liege:
For heare her but exampl'd by her selfe,
When all her Cheualrie hath been in France,
305And shee a mourning Widdow of her Nobles,
Shee hath her selfe not onely well defended,
But taken and impounded as a Stray,
The King of Scots: whom shee did send to France,
To fill King Edwards fame with prisoner Kings,
310And make their Chronicle as rich with prayse,
As is the Owse and bottome of the Sea
With sunken Wrack, and sum-lesse Treasuries.
Bish. Ely. But there's a saying very old and true,
If that you will France win, then with Scotland first begia.
315For once the Eagle (England) being in prey,
To her vnguarded Nest, the Weazell (Scot)
Comes sneaking, and so sucks her Princely Egges,
Playing the Mouse in absence of the Cat,
To tame and hauocke more then she can eate.
320Exet. It followes theu, the Cat must stay at home,
Yet that is but a crush'd necessity,
Since we haue lockes to safegard necessaries,
And pretty traps to catch the petty theeues.
While that the Armed hand doth fight abroad,
325Th'aduised head defends it selfe at home:
For Gouernment, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into parts, doth keepe in one consent,
Congreeing in a full and natural close,
Like Musicke.
330Cant. Therefore doth heauen diuide
The state of man in diuers functions,
Setting endeuour in continual motion:
To which is fixed as an ayme or butt,
Obedience: for so worke the Hony Bees,
335Creatures that by a rule in Nature teach
The Act of Order to a peopled Kingdome.
They haue a King, and Officers of sorts,
Where some like Magistrates correct at home:
Others, like Merchants venter Trade abroad:
340Others, like Souldiers armed in their stings,
Make boote vpon the Summers Veluet buddes:
Which pillage, they with merry march bring home
To the Tent-royal of their Emperor:
Who busied in his Maiesties surueyes
345The singing Masons building roofes of Gold,
The ciuil Citizens kneading vp the hony;
The poore Mechanicke Porters, crowding in
Their heauy burthens at his narrow gate:
The sad-ey'd Iustice with his surly humme,
350Deliuering ore to Executors pale
The lazie yawning Drone: I this inferre,
That many things hauing full reference
To one consent, may worke contrariously,
As many Arrowes loosed seuerall wayes
355Come to one marke: as many wayes meet in one towne,
As many fresh streames meet in one salt sea;
As many Lynes close in the Dials center:
So may a thousand actions once a foote,
And in one purpose, and be all well borne
360Without defeat. Therefore to France, my Liege,
Diuide your happy England into foure,
Whereof, take you one quarter into France,
And you withall shall make all Gallia shake.
If we with thrice such powers left at home,
365Cannot defend our owne doores from the dogge,
Let vs be worried, and our Nation lose
The name of hardinesse and policie.
King. Call in the Messengers sent from the Dolphin.
Now are we well resolu'd, and by Gods helpe
370And yours, the noble sinewes of our power,
France being ours, wee'l bend it to our Awe,
Or breake it all to peeces. Or there wee'l sit,
(Ruling in large and ample Emperie,
Ore France, and all her (almost) Kingly Dukedomes)
375Or lay these bones in an vnworthy Vrne,
Tomblesse, with no remembrance ouer them:
Either our History shall with full mouth
Speake freely of our Acts, or else our graue
Like Turkish mute, shall haue a tonguelesse mouth,
380Not worshipt with a waxen Epitaph.
Enter Ambassadors of France.
Now are we well prepar'd to know the pleasure
Of our faire Cosin Dolphin: for we heare,
Your greeting is from him, not from the King.
385Amb. May't please your Maiestie to giue vs leaue
Freely to render what we haue in charge:
Or shall we sparingly shew you farre off
The Dolphins meauing, and our Embassie.
King. We are no Tyrant, but a Christian King,
390Vnto whose grace our passion is as subiect
As is our wretches fettred in our prisons,
Therefore with franke and with vncurbed plainnesse,
Tell vs the Dolphins minde.
Amb. Thus than in few:
395Your Highnesse lately sending into France,
Did claime some certaine Dukedomes, in the right
Of your great Predecessor, King Edward the third.
In answer of which claime, the Prince our Master
Sayes, that you sauour too much of your youth,
400And bids you be aduis'd: There's nought in France,
That can be with a nimble Galliard wonne:
You cannot reuell into Dukedomes there.
He therefore sends you meeter for your spirit
This Tun of Treasure; and in lieu of this,
405Desires you let the dukedomes that you claime
Heare no more of you. This the Dolphin speakes.
King. What Treasure Vncle?
Exe. Tennis balles, my Liege.
Kin, We are glad the Dolphin is so pleasant with vs,
410His Present, and your paines we thanke you for:
When we haue matcht our Rackets to these Balles,
We will in France (by Gods grace) play a set,
Shall strike his fathers Crowne into the hazard.
Tell him, he hath made a match with such a Wrangler,
415That all the Courts of France will be disturb'd
With Chaces. And we vnderstand him well,
How he comes o're vs with our wilder dayes,
Not measuring what vse we made of them.
We neuer valew'd this poore seate of England,
420And therefore liuing hence, did giue our selfe
To barbarous license: As 'tis euer common,
That men are merriest, when they are from home.
But tell the Dolphin, I will keepe my State,
Be like a King, and shew my sayle of Greatnesse,
425When I do rowse me in my Throne of France.
For that I haue layd by my Maiestie,
And plodded like a man for working dayes:
But I will rise there with so full a glorie,
That I will dazle all the eyes of France,
430Yea strike the Dolphin blinde to looke on vs,
And tell the pleasant Prince, this Mocke of his
Hath turn'd his balles to Gun-stones, and his soule
Shall stand sore charged, for the wastefull vengeance
That shall flye with them: for many a thousand widows
435Shall this his Mocke, mocke out of their deer hnsbands;
Mocke mothers from their sonnes, mock Castles downe:
And some are yet vngotten and vnborne,
That shal haue cause to curse the Dolphins scorne.
But this lyes all within the wil of God,
440To whom I do appeale, and in whose name
Tel you the Dolphin, I am comming on,
To venge me as I may, and to put forth
My rightfull hand in a wel-hallow'd cause.
So get you hence in peace: And tell the Dolphin,
445His Iest will sauour but of shallow wit,
When thousands weepe more then did laugh at it.
Conuey them with safe conduct. Fare you well.
Exeunt Ambassadors.
Exe. This was a merry Message.
450King. We hope to make the Sender blush at it:
Therefore, my Lords, omit no happy howre,
That may giue furth'rance to our Expedition:
For we haue now no thought in vs but France,
Saue those to God, that runne before our businesse.
455Therefore let our proportions for these Warres
Be soone collected, and all things thought vpon,
That may with reasonable swiftnesse adde
More Feathers to our Wings: for God before,
Wee'le chide this Dolphin at his fathers doore.
460Therefore let euery man now taske his thought,
That this faire Action may on foot be brought.
Exeunt.