Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Modern, Folio)


142.1

[1.2]

Enter the King, Humphrey [Duke of Gloucester], Bedford, Clarence, Warwick, Westmorland, and Exeter[, with attendants].
145King Henry Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?
Exeter
Not here in presence.
King Henry
Send for him, good uncle.
[Exit attendant.]
Westmorland Shall we call in th'ambassador, my liege?
King Henry Not yet, my cousin. We would be resolved,
150Before we hear him, of some things of weight
That task our thoughts concerning us and France.
Enter [the] two Bishops[, Canterbury and Ely].
Canterbury God and his angels guard your sacred throne
And make you long become it.
155King Henry
Sure we thank you.
My learnèd lord, we pray you to proceed,
And justly and religiously unfold
Why the law Salic, that they have in France,
Or should or should not bar us in our claim.
160And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord,
That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading,
Or nicely charge your understanding soul
With opening titles miscreate, whose right
Suits not in native colors with the truth.
165For God doth know how many now in health
Shall drop their blood in approbation
Of what your reverence shall incite us to.
Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
How you awake our sleeping sword of war;
170We charge you in the name of God, take heed.
For never two such kingdoms did contend
Without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops
Are every one a woe, a sore complaint
'Gainst him whose wrongs gives edge unto the swords
175That makes such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration speak, my lord,
For we will hear, note, and believe in heart
That what you speak is in your conscience washed
As pure as sin with baptism.
180Canterbury Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers
That owe your selves, your lives and services
To this imperial throne. There is no bar
To make against your highness' claim to France
But this, which they produce from Pharamond:
185"In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant" --
"No woman shall succeed in Salic land" --
Which Salic land the French unjustly gloss
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
190Yet their own authors faithfully affirm
That the land Salic is in Germany,
Between the floods of Saale and of Elbe,
Where Charles the Great, having subdued the Saxons,
There left behind and settled certain French
195Who, holding in disdain the German women
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Established then this law: to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salic land,
Which Salic, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Saale,
200Is at this day in Germany, called Meissen.
Then doth it well appear the Salic law
Was not devisèd for the realm of France,
Nor did the French possess the Salic land
Until four hundred one-and-twenty years
205After defunction of King Pharamond,
Idly supposed the founder of this law,
Who died within the year of our redemption
Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great
Subdued the Saxons and did seat the French
210Beyond the river Saale in the year
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say
King Pepin, which deposèd Childeric,
Did as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Chlothar,
215Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown
Of Charles the Duke of Lorraine, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great,
To find his title with some shows of truth --
220Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught --
Conveyed himself as th'heir to th'lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemagne, who was the son
To Louis the emperor, and Louis the son
Of Charles the Great. Also King Louis the Tenth,
225Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience
Wearing the crown of France till satisfied
That fair Queen Isabelle, his grandmother,
Was lineal of the lady Ermengarde,
230Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Lorraine,
By the which marriage the line of Charles the Great
Was reunited to the crown of France.
So that, as clear as is the summer's sun,
King Pepin's title and Hugh Capet's claim,
235King Louis his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female;
So do the kings of France unto this day,
Howbeit they would hold up this Salic law
To bar your highness claiming from the female,
240And rather choose to hide them in a net
Than amply to embar their crooked titles
Usurped from you and your progenitors.
King Henry May I with right and conscience make this claim?
Canterbury The sin upon my head, dread sovereign.
245For in the book of Numbers is it writ:
"When the man dies, let the inheritance
Descend unto the daughter." Gracious lord,
Stand for your own. Unwind your bloody flag,
Look back into your mighty ancestors.
250Go, my dread lord, to your great-grandsire's tomb,
From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit,
And your great-uncle's, Edward the Black Prince,
Who on the French ground played a tragedy,
Making defeat on the full power of France
255Whiles his most mighty father on a hill
Stood smiling to behold his lion's whelp
Forage in blood of French nobility.
Oh, noble English, that could entertain
With half their forces the full pride of France
260And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work and cold for action!
Ely Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,
And with your puissant arm renew their feats.
You are their heir, you sit upon their throne,
265The blood and courage that renownèd them
Runs in your veins, and my thrice-puissant liege
Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.
Exeter Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth
270Do all expect that you should rouse yourself
As did the former lions of your blood.
Westmorland They know your grace hath cause, and means, and might;
So hath your highness. Never king of England
Had nobles richer and more loyal subjects,
275Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England
And lie pavilioned in the fields of France.
Canterbury Oh, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With bloods and sword and fire to win your right.
In aid whereof, we of the spiritualty
280Will raise your highness such a mighty sum
As never did the clergy at one time
Bring in to any of your ancestors.
King Henry We must not only arm t'invade the French,
But lay down our proportions to defend
285Against the Scot, who will make road upon us
With all advantages.
Canterbury They of those marches, gracious sovereign,
Shall be a wall sufficient to defend
Our inland from the pilfering borderers.
290King Henry We do not mean the coursing snatchers only,
But fear the main intendment of the Scot,
Who hath been still a giddy neighbor to us.
For you shall read that my great-grandfather
Never went with his forces into France
295But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom
Came pouring like the tide into a breach
With ample and brim fullness of his force,
Galling the gleanèd land with hot assays,
Girding with grievous siege castles and towns,
300That England, being empty of defense,
Hath shook and trembled at th'ill neighborhood.
Canterbury She hath been then more feared than harmed, my liege.
For hear her but exampled by herself:
When all her chivalry hath been in France
305And she a mourning widow of her nobles,
She hath herself not only well defended,
But taken and impounded as a stray
The king of Scots, whom she did send to France
To fill King Edward's fame with prisoner kings
310And make their chronicle as rich with praise
As is the ooze and bottom of the sea
With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries.
Ely But there's a saying very old and true:
"If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin."
315For once the eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs,
Playing the mouse in absence of the cat,
To 'tame and havoc more than she can eat.
320Exeter It follows then the cat must stay at home,
Yet that is but a crushed necessity,
Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries
And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
While that the armèd hand doth fight abroad,
325Th'advisèd head defends itself at home.
For government, though high and low and lower
Put into parts, doth keep in one consent,
Congreeing in a full and natural close
Like music.
330Canterbury
Therefore doth heaven divide
The state of man in divers functions,
Setting endeavor in continual motion,
To which is fixèd, as an aim or butt,
Obedience. For so work the honeybees,
335Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king, and officers of sorts,
Where some like magistrates correct at home;
Others like merchants venture trade abroad;
340Others, like soldiers armèd in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds,
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor,
Who, busied in his majesties, surveys
345The singing masons building roofs of gold,
The civil citizens kneading up the honey,
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate,
The sad-eyed justice with his surly hum
350Delivering o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone. I this infer:
That many things, having full reference
To one consent, may work contrariously.
As many arrows loosèd several ways
355Come to one mark, as many ways meet in one town,
As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea,
As many lines close in the dial's center,
So may a thousand actions once afoot
End in one purpose, and be all well borne
360Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege.
Divide your happy England into four,
Whereof take you one quarter into France,
And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.
If we, with thrice such powers left at home,
365Cannot defend our own doors from the dog,
Let us be worried, and our nation lose
The name of hardiness and policy.
King Henry Call in the messengers sent from the dauphin.
[Exit attendant.]
Now are we well resolved, and by God's help
370And yours, the noble sinews of our power,
France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces. Or there we'll sit,
Ruling in large and ample empery
O'er France and all her almost kingly dukedoms,
375Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
Tombless, with no remembrance over them.
Either our history shall with full mouth
Speak freely of our acts, or else our grave,
Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
380Not worshipped with a waxen epitaph. --
Enter Ambassadors of France.
Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin dauphin, for we hear
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.
385Ambassador May't please your majesty to give us leave
Freely to render what we have in charge,
Or shall we sparingly show you far off
The dauphin's meaning and our embassy?
King Henry We are no tyrant, but a Christian king,
390Unto whose grace our passion is as subject
As is our wretches fettered in our prisons.
Therefore with frank and with uncurbèd plainness
Tell us the dauphin's mind.
Ambassador
Thus, then, in few:
395Your highness, lately sending into France,
Did claim some certain dukedoms in the right
Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third.
In answer of which claim, the prince our master
Says that you savor too much of your youth,
400And bids you be advised, there's naught in France
That can be with a nimble galliard won;
You cannot revel into dukedoms there.
He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
This tun of treasure, and in lieu of this,
405Desires you let the dukedoms that you claim
Hear no more of you. This the dauphin speaks.
King Henry
What treasure, uncle?
Exeter
Tennis balls, my liege.
King Henry We are glad the dauphin is so pleasant with us.
410His present and your pains we thank you for.
When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
We will in France, by God's grace, play a set
Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard.
Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
415That all the courts of France will be disturbed
With chases. And we understand him well,
How he comes o'er us with our wilder days,
Not measuring what use we made of them.
We never valued this poor seat of England,
420And therefore living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous license, as 'tis ever common
That men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the dauphin I will keep my state,
Be like a king, and show my sail of greatness
425When I do rouse me in my throne of France.
For that I have laid by my majesty
And plodded like a man for working days,
But I will rise there with so full a glory
That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
430Yea, strike the dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell the pleasant prince this mock of his
Hath turned his balls to gunstones, and his soul
Shall stand sore chargèd for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
435Shall this, his mock, mock out of their dear husbands,
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down,
And some are yet ungotten and unborn
That shall have cause to curse the dauphin's scorn.
But this lies all within the will of God,
440To whom I do appeal, and in whose name
Tell you the dauphin I am coming on
To venge me as I may, and to put forth
My rightful hand in a well-hallowed cause.
So get you hence in peace, and tell the dauphin
445His jest will savor but of shallow wit
When thousands weep more than did laugh at it. --
Convey them with safe conduct. -- Fare you well.
Exeunt Ambassadors.
Exeter This was a merry message.
450King Henry We hope to make the sender blush at it.
Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour
That may give furtherance to our expedition,
For we have now no thought in us but France,
Save those to God, that run before our business.
455Therefore let our proportions for these wars
Be soon collected, and all things thought upon
That may with reasonable swiftness add
More feathers to our wings, for, God before,
We'll chide this dauphin at his father's door.
460Therefore let every man now task his thought
That this fair action may on foot be brought.
Exeunt.