Enter [the Archbishop of] Canterbury and [the Bishop of] Ely.
My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urged
40Which in th'eleventh year of the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us passed,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of further question.
But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession,
For all the temporal lands which men devout
By testament have given to the Church
Would they strip from us, being valued thus:
50As much as would maintain, to the king's honor,
Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires,
And to relief of lazars and weak age
Of indigent faint souls past corporal toil,
55A hundred almshouses, right well supplied;
And to the coffers of the king beside,
A thousand pounds by th'year. Thus runs the bill.
This would drink deep.
'Twould drink the cup and all.
But what prevention?
The king is full of grace and fair regard.
And a true lover of the holy Church.
The courses of his youth promised it not.
65The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Seemed to die too. Yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,
And whipped th'offending Adam out of him,
70Leaving his body as a paradise,
T'envelop and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made,
Never came reformation in a flood
With such a heady currence scouring faults,
75Nor never hydra-headed willfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king.
We are blessèd in the change.
Hear him but reason in divinity,
80And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire the king were made a prelate.
Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
You would say it hath been all in all his study.
List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
85A fearful battle rendered you in music.
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter; that when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
90And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences,
So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to this theoric.
Which is a wonder how his grace should glean it,
95Since his addiction was to courses vain,
His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow,
His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
100From open haunts and popularity.
The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbored by fruit of baser quality;
And so the prince obscured his contemplation
105Under the veil of wildness, which no doubt
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.
It must be so, for miracles are ceased,
And therefore we must needs admit the means
110How things are perfected.
But my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urged by the commons? Doth his majesty
Incline to it or no?
He seems indifferent,
Or rather swaying more upon our part,
Than cherishing th'exhibitors against us;
For I have made an offer to his majesty,
Upon our spiritual convocation,
120And in regard of causes now in hand,
Which I have opened to his grace at large,
As touching France, to give a greater sum
Than ever at one time the clergy yet
Did to his predecessors part withal.
How did this offer seem received, my lord?
With good acceptance of his majesty,
Save that there was not time enough to hear,
As I perceived his grace would fain have done,
The severals and unhidden passages
130Of his true titles to some certain dukedoms,
And generally to the crown and seat of France
Derived from Edward, his great-grandfather.
What was th'impediment that broke this off?
The French ambassador upon that instant
135Craved audience; and the hour, I think, is come
To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock?
It is.
Then go we in to know his embassy,
Which I could with a ready guess declare
140Before the Frenchman speak a word of it.
I'll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.