Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Modern, Quarto)

The Chronicle History of Henry the Fifth, with his battle fought at Agincourt in France, together with Ancient Pistol
142.1[Scene 1]
Enter King Henry, Exeter, two Bishops, Clarence, and other 143.1attendants.
Shall I call in th'ambassadors, my liege?
King Henry
Not yet, my cousin, till we be resolved
150Of some serious matters touching us and France.
God and his angels guard your sacred throne,
And make you long become it.
155King Henry
Sure we thank you. And good my lord, proceed:
Why the law Salic which they have in France
Or should or should not stop us in our claim;
160And God forbid, my wise and learned lord,
That you should fashion, frame, or wrest the same.
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 the sleeping sword of war;
170We charge you in the name of God, take heed.
After this conjuration speak, my lord,
And we will judge, note, and believe in heart
That what you speak is washed as pure
As sin in baptism.
Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers,
Which owe your lives, your faith, and services
To this imperial throne.
There is no bar to stay your highness' claim to France
But one, which they produce from Pharamond:
"No female 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 writers faithfully affirm
That the land Salic lies in Germany,
Between the floods of Saale and of Elbe,
Where Charles the Fifth, having subdued the Saxons,
There left behind and settled certain French,
195Who, holding in disdain the German women
For some dishonest manners of their lives,
Established there this law: to wit,
No female shall succeed in Salic land.
Which Salic land, as I said before,
200Is at this time in Germany called Meissen.
Thus 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 the function of King Pharamond,
Godly supposed the founder of this law.
Hugh Capet also, that usurped the crown,
To fine his title with some show of truth --
220When in pure truth it was corrupt and naught --
Conveyed himself as heir to the Lady Inger,
230Daughter to Charles, the foresaid Duke of Lorraine.
So that as clear as is the summer's sun,
King Pepin's title and Hugh Capet's claim,
235King Charles his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female;
So do the lords of France until 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 embase their crooked causes,
Usurped from you and your progenitors.
King Henry
May we with right and conscience make this claim?
The sin upon my head, dread sovereign.
245For in the book of Numbers is it writ:
"When the son dies, let the inheritance
Descend unto the daughter." Noble lord,
Stand for your own. Unwind your bloody flag.
250Go, my dread lord, to your great-grandsire's grave,
From whom you claim,
And your great-uncle, Edward the Black Prince,
Who on the French ground played a tragedy,
Making defeat on the full power of France
255Whilst his most mighty father on a hill
Stood smiling to behold his lion's whelp
Foraging blood of French nobility.
Oh, noble English, that could entertain
With half their forces the full power of France
260And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work and cold for action!
King Henry
We must not only arm us against the French,
But lay down our proportion 285for the Scot,
Who will make road upon us with all advantages.
The Marches, gracious sovereign, shall be sufficient
To guard your England from the pilfering borderers.
290King Henry
We do not mean the coursing sneakers only,
But fear the main intendment of the Scot,
For you shall read, never my great-grandfather
Unmasked his power for France,
295But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom
Came pouring like the tide into a breach,
300That England, being empty of defenses,
Hath shook and trembled at the bruit hereof.
She hath been then more feared than hurt, my lord,
For hear her but exemplified 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 like a caitiff she did lead to France,
310Filling your chronicles as rich with praise
As is the ooze and bottom of the sea
With sunken wreck and shipless treasury.
There is a saying very old and true:
"If you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin."
315For once the eagle England being in prey,
To his unfurnished nest the weasel Scot
Would suck her eggs, playing the mouse in absence of the cat,
To spoil and havoc more than she can eat.
It follows then the cat must stay at home,
Yet that is but a cursed necessity,
Since we have traps to catch the petty thieves.
Whilst that the armèd hand doth fight abroad,
325The advisèd head controls at home:
For government, though high or low being put into parts,
Congrueth with a mutual content
Like music.
True: therefore doth heaven divide
The fate of man in divers functions,
Whereto is added as an aim or butt, obedience.
For so live the honey bees, 335creatures that by awe
Ordain an act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king and officers of sort,
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 bud,
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor,
Who, busied in his majesty, behold
345The singing masons building roofs of gold,
The civil citizens lading up the honey,
The sad-eyed justice with his surly hum
350Delivering up to executors pale the lazy caning drone.
This I infer: 351.1that twenty actions once afoot
May all end in one moment.
As many arrows loosèd several ways 355fly to one mark,
As many several ways meet in one town,
As many fresh streams run in one self sea,
As many lines close in the dial center,
So may a thousand actions once afoot
End in one moment, and be all well borne
360Without defect. Therefore my liege, to France.
Divide your happy England into four,
Of which take you one quarter into France,
And you withal shall make all Gallia shake.
If we, with thrice that power left at home,
365Cannot defend our own door from the dog,
Let us be beaten, and from henceforth lose
The name of policy and hardiness.
King Henry
Call in the messenger sent from the dauphin, --
[Exit attendant.]
370And by your aid, the noble sinews of our land,
France being ours, we'll bring it to our awe,
Or break it all in pieces.
Either our chronicles shall with full mouth speak
Freely of our acts,
Or else like tongueless mutes;
380Not worshipped with a paper epitaph.
Enter the ambassadors from France.
Now are we well prepared to know the dauphin's pleasure,
For we hear your coming is from him.
Pleaseth your majesty to give us leave
Freely to render what we have in charge,
Or shall I sparingly show, afar off,
The dauphin's pleasure and our embassage?
King Henry
We are no tyrant, but a Christian king,
390To whom our spirit is as subject,
As are our wretches fettered in our prisons.
Therefore freely and with uncurbed boldness
Tell us the dauphin's mind.
Then this in fine the dauphin saith:
Whereas you claim certain towns in France
From your predecessor King Edward the Third,
400This he returns: he saith there's naught in France
That can be with a nimble galliard won;
You cannot revel into dukedoms there.
Therefore he sendeth, meeter for your study,
This tun of treasure, and in lieu of this,
405Desires to let the dukedoms that you crave
Hear no more from you. This the dauphin saith.
King Henry
What treasure, uncle?
Tennis balls, my liege.
King Henry
We are glad the dauphin is so pleasant with us.
410Your message and his present we accept.
When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
We will, by God's grace, play such 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 shall 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 gave ourselves to barbarous license,
As 'tis common seen that men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the dauphin we will keep our state,
Be, like a king, mighty, and command
425When we do rouse us in throne of France.
For this have we laid by our majesty
And plodded like a man for working days,
But we will rise there with so full of glory,
That we will dazzle all the eyes of France,
430Ay, strike the dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell him this: his mock hath turned his balls to gunstones,
And his soul shall sit sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly from them: for this his mock
435Shall mock many a wife out of their dear husbands,
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down.
Ay, 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 we do appeal, and in whose name
Tell you the dauphin we are coming on
To venge us as we may, and to put forth our hand
In a rightful cause. So get you hence and tell your prince
445His jest will savor but of shallow wit,
When thousands weep more than did laugh at it. --
Convey them with safe conduct; see them hence.
[Exeunt ambassadors, attended.]
This was a merry message.
450King Henry
We hope to make the sender blush at it.
455Therefore let our collection for the wars
Be soon provided, for, God before,
We'll check the dauphin at his father's door.
460Therefore let every man now task his thought
That this fair action may on foot be brought.
Exeunt omnes.