1.1

1.1

Location: the royal court.
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Enter [the Archbishop of] Canterbury and [the Bishop of] Ely.
Canterbury My lord, I'll tell you, that self bill is urged

self

Same.
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40Which in th'eleventh year of the last king's reign

th'eleventh year of the last king's reign

In Henry IV's reign, the year 1410, four years before the present action.
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Was like, and had indeed against us passed,

like,

Likely (to have "passed").
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against us

Against the interests of the clergy.
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But that the scambling and unquiet time

scambling

Turbulent, contentious (here, characterized by civil war).
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Did push it out of further question.

question.

Debate, discussion.
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Ely But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
45Canterbury It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession,

possession,

Wealth, property.
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For all the temporal lands which men devout

temporal lands . . . Church

Lands held by laymen and bequeathed to the Church in the owners' wills ("by testament").
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temporal

Secular.
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By testament have given to the Church
Would they strip from us, being valued thus:

they

The House of Commons.
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50As much as would maintain, to the king's honor,

As much as would maintain, . . . by th'year.

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maintain,

Bear the expenses of.
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to the king's honor,

To demonstrate the king's generosity.
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Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires,

esquires,

Gentry ranking immediately below knights.
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And to relief of lazars and weak age

lazars

Lepers.
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weak age

The elder years.
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Of indigent faint souls past corporal toil,

indigent faint souls past corporal toil,

Poor people too weak for physical work.
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55A hundred almshouses, right well supplied;

almshouses,

Houses for dispensing charity.
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And to the coffers of the king beside,

coffers

Treasury (literally, money boxes).
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beside,

Additionally.
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A thousand pounds by th'year. Thus runs the bill.

A thousand . . . year.

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bill.

Parliamentary act.
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drink deep.

Swallow up our wealth.
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Ely
This would drink deep.
Canterbury
'Twould drink the cup and all.
60Ely But what prevention?

what prevention?

How may the bill be prevented?
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Canterbury The king is full of grace and fair regard.

grace

Virtue, honor.
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fair regard.

1) Respect, consideration; 2) is highly esteemed.
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Ely And a true lover of the holy Church.
Canterbury The courses of his youth promised it not.

courses

Habits, behavior.
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65The breath no sooner left his father's body,

The breath no sooner . . . out of him,

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But that his wildness, mortified in him,

mortified

1) Killed; 2) suppressed by self-discipline.
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Seemed to die too. Yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,

Consideration

Reflection, contemplation.
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And whipped th'offending Adam out of him,

th'offending Adam

The sinful nature.
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70Leaving his body as a paradise,

paradise,

A place of sinless innocence, like Eden before the fall of man.
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T'envelop and contain celestial spirits.

celestial spirits.

1) Heavenly inclinations; 2) supernatural spirits, angels.
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Never was such a sudden scholar made,
Never came reformation in a flood

reformation

Moral improvement.
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flood

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With such a heady currence scouring faults,

heady

Headlong, violent.
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currence

Current.
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scouring

Flushing away.
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75Nor never hydra-headed willfulness

hydra-headed

Many headed like the Hydra of Greek myth, thus a difficult monster to kill.
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So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,

seat,

Throne, place of authority.
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We are

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As in this king.
Ely
We are blessèd in the change.
Canterbury Hear him but reason in divinity,

reason in divinity,

Argue matters of theology.
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80And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire the king were made a prelate.

prelate.

High-ranking clergyman.
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Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
You would say it hath been all in all his study.

all in all

Entirely.
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List his discourse of war, and you shall hear

List

Listen to.
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85A fearful battle rendered you in music.

rendered you in music.

Eloquently described.
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Turn him to any cause of policy,

cause of policy,

Political issue.
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The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,

Gordian knot

A knot proverbially impossible to untie.
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Familiar as his garter; that when he speaks,

Familiar as his garter;

As easily as he would his garter, a band tied around the leg to support the stockings.
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The air, a chartered libertine, is still,

chartered

Licensed.
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libertine,

One free from restraint, who follows his own inclination.
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90And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears

the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears

Wonder (at Henry's "sentences") makes men mute.
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To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences,
So that the art and practic part of life

practic part . . . this theoric.

Henry must have learned how to theorize from practical experience ("the practic part of life").
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Must be the mistress to this theoric.
Which is a wonder how his grace should glean it,

glean it,

Acquire this wisdom.
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95Since his addiction was to courses vain,

Since his addiction . . . and popularity.

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addiction

Inclination.
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His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow,

companies

Companions; different groups of followers.
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unlettered,

Uneducated, illiterate.
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rude,

Uncivilized, coarse.
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His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,

riots,

Revelry, debauchery.
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And never noted in him any study,

never noted

There was never seen.
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Any retirement, any sequestration

sequestration

Retirement, seclusion.
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100From open haunts and popularity.

open haunts

Public places, especially those frequented by lowlifes.
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popularity.

Ordinary, vulgar people.
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Ely The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,

strawberry grows underneath . . . baser quality

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And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbored by fruit of baser quality;

baser

Inferior.
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And so the prince obscured his contemplation

obscured

Hid, covered.
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contemplation

1) Thinking; 2) devout meditation.
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105Under the veil of wildness, which no doubt

veil

Disguise, mask.
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which

His "contemplation" (TLN 104), not his "wildness."
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Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.

crescive

Growing.
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in his faculty.

By its nature.
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Canterbury It must be so, for miracles are ceased,

It must be so, for miracles are ceased,

The king's transformation must be a natural phenomenon, since the supernatural events recorded in the Bible no longer occur.
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And therefore we must needs admit the means

needs

Necessarily.
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admit

Acknowledge, allow.
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means

Natural cause.
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perfected.

1) Accomplished; 2) made perfect.
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110How things are perfected.
Ely
But my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill

mitigation

Reducing the severity.
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Urged by the commons? Doth his majesty

commons?

House of Commons, the lower house of parliament.
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Incline to

Support, favor.
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Incline to it or no?
115Canterbury
He seems indifferent,
Or rather swaying more upon our part,

swaying more upon

Leaning toward.
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Than cherishing th'exhibitors against us;

exhibitors

Those proposing the bill.
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For I have made an offer to his majesty,

For I have made an offer . . . part withal

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Upon our spiritual convocation,

Upon

During, on the occasion of, as a result of.
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convocation,

Assembly, meeting.
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120And in regard of causes now in hand,

causes

Legal matters.
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Which I have opened to his grace at large,

opened

Disclosed.
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at large,

Either 1) fully, or 2) in general terms.
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As touching France, to give a greater sum

touching

Concerning.
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to give a greater sum

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Than ever at one time the clergy yet
Did to his predecessors part withal.

withal.

With.
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125Ely How did this offer seem received, my lord?
Canterbury With good acceptance of his majesty,

of his majesty,

By the king.
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Save that there was not time enough to hear,
As I perceived his grace would fain have done,

fain

Eagerly, willingly.
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The severals and unhidden passages

severals

Particulars.
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passages

Lines of inheritence.
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130Of his true titles to some certain dukedoms,

true titles to . . . dukedoms,

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And generally to the crown and seat of France
Derived from Edward, his great-grandfather.

Edward, his great-grandfather.

King Edward III (1312-77).
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Ely What was th'impediment that broke this off?
Canterbury The French ambassador upon that instant
135Craved audience; and the hour, I think, is come
To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock?
Ely It is.
Canterbury Then go we in to know his embassy,

embassy,

Message.
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Which I could with a ready guess declare
140Before the Frenchman speak a word of it.
Ely I'll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.
Exeunt.