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About this text

  • Title: Famous Victories of Henry V: Supplementary Materials
  • Author: Karen Sawyer Marsalek
  • General editor: Helen Ostovich
  • Coordinating editor:

  • Copyright Karen Sawyer Marsalek. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Karen Sawyer Marsalek
    Peer Reviewed

    Supplementary Materials

    1Sir Thomas Elyot, The Book of the Governor (excerpt)

    London: Thomas Berthelet, 1531

    The most renowned prince, King Henry the Fifth, late king of England, during the life of his father was noted to be fierce and of wanton courage. It happened that one of his servants, whom he well favored, for felony by him committed was arraigned at the King’s Bench, whereof he being advertised and incensed by light persons about him, in furious rage came hastily to the bar where his servant stood as a prisoner, and commanded him to be ungyved and set at liberty. Whereat all men were abashed, reserved the chief justice, who humbly exhorted the prince to be contented that his servant might be ordered according to the ancient laws of this realm; or if he would have him saved from the rigor of the laws that he should obtain if he might of the king his father his gracious pardon, whereby no law or justice may be derogate. With which answer the prince, nothing appeased but rather more inflamed, endeavored himself to take away his servant. The judge, considering the perilous example and inconvenience that might thereby ensue, with a valiant spirit and courage commanded the prince upon his allegiance to leave the prisoner and depart his way. With which commandment, the prince being set all in a fury, all chafed and in a terrible manner, came up to the place of judgment, men thinking that he would have slain the judge or have done to him some damage. But the judge, sitting still without moving, declaring the majesty of the king’s place of judgment and with an assured and bold countenance, bade to the prince these words following: “Sir, remember your self. I keep here the place of the King your sovereign lord and father, to whom ye owe double obedience, wherefore eftsoons in his name I charge you: desist of your willfulness and unlawful enterprise, and from henceforth give good example to those which hereafter shall be your proper subjects. And now, for your contempt and disobedience go you to the prison of the King’s Bench, whereunto I commit you, and remain ye there prisoner until the pleasure of the King your father be further known. With which words being abashed, and also wondering at the marvelous gravity of that worshipful Justice, the noble Prince, laying his weapon apart, doing reverence departed and went to the King’s Bench as he was commanded. Whereat his servants, disdaining, came and showed to the King all the whole affair. Whereat he a while, studying after as a man all ravished with gladness, holding his eyes and hands toward heaven, abraided, saying with a loud voice, “O merciful God, how much am I above all other men bound to your infinite goodness, specially for that ye have given me a judge who feareth not to minister justice. And also a son who can suffer semblably and obey justice!”

    Now here a man may behold three persons worthy [of] excellent memory. First a judge, who being a subject, feared not to execute justice on the eldest son of his sovereign lord, and, by the order of nature his successor. Also a prince and son and heir of the King, in the midst of his fury more considered his evil example and the judge’s constance in justice then his own estate or willful appetite. Thirdly, a noble king and wise father, who contrary to the custom of parents rejoiced to see his son and the heir of his crown to be for disobedience by his subject corrected. Wherefore I conclude that nothing is more honorable or to be desired in a prince or noble man than placability, as contrariwise, nothing is so detestable or to be feared in such one as wrath and cruel malignity. (fols 122r-123v)