Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Henry V (Modern, Folio)
  • Editor: James D. Mardock
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-409-7

    Copyright James D. Mardock. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: James D. Mardock
    Peer Reviewed

    Henry V (Modern, Folio)

    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.