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  • Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 (Selection)
  • Editor: James D. Mardock

  • Copyright James D. Mardock. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Raphael Holinshed
    Editor: James D. Mardock
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    Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 (Selection)


    Along with the anonymous play The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles provided Shakespeare his chief source for Henry V. The playwright followed the Chroniclesnearly verbatim in parts, as with Canterbury's "Salic law" speech, which Shakespeare changed little more than versifying it into pentameter lines, even preserving the source's error in arithmetic and its misidentification of Louis IX as Louis X. While Raphael Holinshed was the chief author, or arranger, of the 1577 edition of the Chronicles, and while for convenience's sake he is referred to as the author of the three-volume 1587 edition excerpted here, the work was the product of about a dozen authors and compiled after Holinshed's death from a wide range of sources, mostly meticulously cited in marginal notes. As a result of this multivocality, the Chronicles present a range of sometimes-conflicting interpretations of the events they describe -- most evident here in the presentation of the build to war and the discussion of Henry's order to kill the prisoners -- and this multivalence of voice may be one reason for the famously ambiguous nature of Shakespeare's play (Patterson, Reading Holinshed's Chronicles, 3-31); see the discussion of Holinshed's treatment of the killing of the French prisoners at TLN 2520-22.

    The following modernized selections are based on facsimiles of the Huntington copy of the 1587 edition (vol. 3, pp. 543-85) provided by Early English Books Online. For the sake of easy comparison with Shakespeare's play, numbers of analogous lines from the play appear in the text; unless otherwise specified, Through Line Numbers refer to Henry V.

    1Henry's accession and reformation (p. 543)

    Henry, prince of Wales, son and heir to King Henry the Fourth, born in Wales at Monmouth on the river of Wye, after his father was departed, took upon him the regiment of this realm of England, the twentieth of March; the morrow after proclaimed king by the name of Henry the Fifth, in the year of the world 5375; after the birth of our savior by

    Anno reg. 1

    our account 1413; the third of the emperor Sigismund; the three-and-thirtieth of Charles the sixth French king . . . .

    Such great hope and good expectation was had of this man's fortunate success to follow, that within three days after his father's decease, divers noble

    Homage done [to] King Henry before his coronation.

    men and honorable personages did to him homage, and sware to him due obedience, which had not been seen done to any of his predecessors kings of this realm till they had been possessed of the crown.

    The day of King Henry's coronation a very temp[es]tuous day.

    He was crowned the ninth of April, being Passion Sunday, which was a sore, ruggy, and tempestuous day, with wind, snow and sleet, that men greatly marveled thereat, making divers interpretations what the same might signify. But this king even at first appointing with himself to show that in his person princely honors should change public manners, he determined to put on him the shape of a new man. [TLN 65-93]. For whereas aforetime he had made himself a companion unto misruly mates of dissolute order and life, he now banished them all from his presence

    A notable example of a worthy prince.

    -- but not unrewarded or else unpreferred -- inhibiting them upon a great pain not once to approach, lodge, or sojourn within ten miles of his court or presence [TLN 94-100; 2H4 TLN 3275-77]. And in their places he chose men of gravity, wit, and high policy, by whose wise counsel he might at all times rule to his honor and dignity, calling to mind how once to high offense of the king his father he had with his fist stricken the chief justice for sending one of his minions (upon desert) to prison, when the justice stoutly commanded himself also straight to ward, and he (then prince) obeyed [2H4 TLN 329-30]. The king after expelled him out of his privy council, banished him the court, and made the Duke of Clarence, his younger brother, president of council in his stead. . . .

    But now that the king was once placed in the royal seat of the realm, he virtuously considering in his mind that all goodness cometh of God, determined to begin with something acceptable to his divine majesty, and therefore commanded the clergy sincerely and truly to preach the word of God, and to live accordingly, that they might be the lanterns of light to the temporalty, as their profession required. The laymen he willed to serve God, and obey their prince, prohibiting them above all things breach of matrimony, custom in swearing, and namely willful perjury. Beside this, he elected the best-learned men in the laws of the realm to the offices of justice, and men of good living he preferred to high

    A parliament.

    degrees and authority. Immediately after Easter he called a parliament, in which divers good statutes and wholesome ordinances for the preservation and advancement of the commonwealth were devised and established.

    Thom. Walsin. The funerals of King Henry the Fourth kept at Canterbury.

    On Trinity Sunday were the solemn exequies done at Canterbury for his father, the king himself being present thereat.

    The reinterment of Richard II and the elevation of Saint George's day (pp. 543-44)

    About the same time, at the special instance of the king, in a convocation of the clergy holden at Paul's in London, it was ordained that Saint George

    S. George's day made a double feast.

    his day should be celebrate and kept as a double feast. The archbishop of Canterbury meant to have honored Saint Dunstan's day with like reverence, but it took not effect. When the king had settled things much to his purpose, he caused the body of King Richard to be removed, with all funeral dignity convenient for his estate, from Langley to Westminster, where he was honorably interred with Queen Anne, his first wife, in a solemn tomb erected and set up at the charges of this king [TLN 2147-49].

    Abr. Pl. out Polychron.

    Polychronicon saith, that after the body of the dead king was taken up out of the earth, this new king, happily tendering the magnificence of a prince and abhorring obscure burial, caused the same to be conveyed to Westminster in a royal seat, or chair of estate, covered all over with black velvet and adorned with banners of divers arms round about. All the horses likewise, saith this author, were appareled with black, and bare sundry suits of arms. Many other solemnities were had at his interment, according to the quality of the age wherein he lived and died.

    5The Oldcastle rebellion (p. 544)

    Also in this first year of this king's reign, Sir John Oldcastle, which by his wife was called Lord Cobham, a valiant captain and a hardy gentleman, was accused to the Archbishop of Canterbury of certain points of heresy, who, knowing him to be highly in the king's favor, declared to his highness the whole accusation. The king, first having compassion of the noble man, required the prelates that if he were a strayed sheep, rather by gentleness than by rigor to reduce him to the fold. And after this he himself sent for him and right earnestly exhorted him and lovingly admonished him to reconcile himself to God and to his laws. The Lord Cobham not only thanked him for his most favorable clemency, but also declared, first to him by mouth and afterwards by writing, the foundation of his faith and the ground of his belief, affirming his grace to be his supreme head and competent judge, and none other person, offering an hundred knights and esquires to come to his purgation, or else to fight in open lists in defense of his just cause.

    The king, understanding and persuaded by his council that by order of the laws of his realm, such accusations touching matters of faith ought to be tried by his spiritual prelates, sent him to the Tower of London, there to abide the determination of the clergy, according to the statutes in that case provided, after which time a solemn session was appointed in the cathedral church of Saint Paul, upon the three-and-twentieth day of September, and another the five-and-twentieth day of the same month, in the hall of the Blackfriars at London, in which places the said lord was examined, apposed, and fully heard, and in conclusion by the Archbishop of Canterbury denounced an heretic and remitted again

    Sir John Oldcastle escaped out of the Tower

    to the Tower of London, from which place, either by help of friends, or favor of keepers, he privily escaped and came into Wales, where he remained for a season.

    Titus Livius.

    After this, the king, keeping his Christmas at his


    manor of Eltham, was advertised that Sir Roger Acton, knight, a man of great wit and possessions,


    John Browne, esquire, John Beverly, priest, and a

    A commotion raised by Sir Roger Acton and Others.

    great number of other were assembled in armor against the king, his brethren, the clergy and realm. These news came to the king on the twelfth day in

    Titus Livius.

    Christmas, whereupon understanding that they were in a place called Fickett Field beside London, on the back side of Saint Giles, he straight got him to his palace at Westminster in as secret wise as he might, and there calling to him certain bands of

    The rebels surprised.

    armed men, he repaired into Saint Giles fields, near to the said place (where he understood they should fully meet about midnight) and so handled the matter that he took some and slew some, even as stood with his pleasure. The captains of them aforementioned, being apprehended, were brought to the kings presence

    Thom. Walsin.

    and to him declared the causes of their commotion and rising, accusing a great number of their complices.

    The king used one policy which much served to the discomfiting of the adversaries (as Thomas Walsingham saith), which was this: he gave order that all the gates of London should be straitly kept and guarded, so as none should come in or out but such as were known to go to the king. Hereby came it to pass that the chiefest succor appointed to come to the captains of the rebels was by that means cut off, where otherwise surely, had it not been thus prevented and stayed, there had issued forth of London

    By this excessive number it may appear that Walsingham reporteth the matter according to the common fame, and not as one that searcheth out an exquisite truth

    to have joined with them to the number (as it was thought) of fifty thousand persons, one and other, servants, prentices, and citizens, confederate with them that were thus assembled in Fickett Field. Divers also that came from sundry parts of the realm hasting towards the place to be there at their appointed time chanced to light among the king's men, who being taken and demanded whither they went with such speed, answered they came to meet with their captain the Lord Cobham.

    But whether he came thither at all, or made shift for himself to get away, it doth not appear; for he could not be heard of at that time (as Thomas Walsingham confesseth) although the king by proclamation promised a thousand marks to him that could bring him forth, with great liberties to the cities or towns that would discover where he was. By this it may appear how greatly he was beloved, that there could not one be found that for so great a reward would bring him to light. Among other that were taken was one William Murley, who dwelt in

    William Murley

    Dunstable, a man of great wealth and by his occupation a brewer, an earnest maintainer of the lord Cobham始s opinions and, as the bruit ran, in hope to be highly advanced by him if their purposed device had taken place, apparent by this: that he had two horses trapped with gilt harness led after him, and in his bosom a pair of gilt spurs, as it was deemed, prepared for himself to wear, looking to be made knight by the Lord Cobham's hands at that present time. But when he saw how their purpose quailed, he withdrew into the city with great fear to hide himself; howbeit he was perceived, taken, and finally executed among others.

    10To conclude, so many persons hereupon were apprehended that all the prisons in and about London were full. The chief of them were condemned by

    Sir Roger Acton and his complices condemned of treason and heresy.

    the clergy of heresy and attainted of high treason in the Guildhall of London, and adjudged for that offense to be drawn and hanged, and for heresy to be consumed with fire, gallows and all, which judgment was executed the same month on the said Sir Roger Acton and eight-and-twenty others. Some say that the occasion of their death was only for the conveying of the Lord Cobham out of prison. Others write that it was both for treason and heresy, and so it appeareth by the record. Certain affirm that it was for feigned causes surmised by the spiritualty, more upon displeasure than truth, and that they were assembled to hear their preacher (the foresaid Beverly) in that place there, out of the way from resort of people, sith they might not come together openly about any such matter without danger to be apprehended -- as the manner is, and hath been ever of the persecuted flock, when they are prohibited publicly the exercise of their religion. But howsoever the matter went with these men, apprehended they were, and divers of them executed, as before ye have heard, whether for rebellion or heresy, or for both (as the form of the indictment importeth) I need not to spend many words, sith others have so largely treated thereof; and therefore I refer those that wish to be more fully satisfied herein unto their reports.

    The tennis-ball embassy (p. 545)

    Whilst in the Lent season the king lay at


    Killingworth, there came to him from Charles, Dauphin

    A scornful embassage

    of France certain ambassadors that brought with them a barrel of Paris balls, which from their master they presented to him for a token that was taken in very ill part, as sent in scorn to signify that it was more meet for the king to pass the time with such childish exercise than to attempt any worthy exploit [TLN 403-8]. Wherefore the king wrote to him, that ere ought long, he would toss him some London balls that perchance should shake the walls of the best court in France [TLN 409-38].

    The "bill urged by the commons" (p. 545)

    In the second year of his reign, King Henry

    Anno Reg. 2. 1414

    called his high court of parliament, the last day of April in the town of Leicester, in which parliament many profitable laws were concluded, and many petitions moved were for that time deferred. Amongst which one was that a bill exhibited in the parliament holden at Westminster in the eleventh year of King Henry the Fourth, which by reason the king was then troubled with civil discord came to none effect, might now with good deliberation be pondered and brought to some good conclusion. The

    A bill exhibited to the parliament against the clergy.

    effect of which supplication was that the temporal lands devoutly given and inordinately spent by religious and other spiritual persons should be seized into the kings hands, sith the same might suffice to maintain, to the honor of the king and defense of the realm, fifteen earls, fifteen hundred knights, six thousand and two hundred esquires, and a hundred alms-houses for relief only of the poor, impotent, and needy persons, and the king to have clearly to his coffers twenty thousand pounds, with many other provisions and values of religious houses, which I pass over [TLN 39-57].

    This bill was much noted and more feared among the religious sort, whom surely it touched very near, and therefore to find remedy against it they determined to assay all ways to put by and overthrow this bill, wherein they thought best to try if they might move the king's mood with some sharp invention, that he should not regard the importunate petitions of the commons [TLN 58-63]. Whereupon, on a day in the parliament, Henry Chichely, Archbishop of Canterbury,

    The Archbishop of Canterbury's oration in the parliament house.

    made a pithy oration wherein he declared how not only the duchies of Normandy and Aquitaine, with the counties of Anjou and Maine and the country of Gascony, were by undoubted title appertaining to the king, as to the lawful and only heir of the same, but also the whole realm of France, as heir to his great-grandfather king Edward the Third.

    The Salic Law oration and the build to war (pp. 545-46)

    Herein did he much inveigh against the surmised

    The Salic law.

    and false feigned law Salic, which the Frenchmen allege ever against the kings of England in bar of their just title to the crown of France:

    15The very words of that supposed law are these: In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant, that is to say, "Into the Salic land let not women succeed," which the French glossers expound to be the realm of France, and that this law was made by King Pharamond, whereas yet their own authors affirm that the land Salic is in Germany, between the rivers of Elbe and Saale; and that when Charles the Great had overcome the Saxons, he placed there certain Frenchmen which, having in disdain the dishonest manners of the German women, made a law that the females should not succeed to any inheritance within that land, which at this day is called Meissen. So that


    if this be true, this law was not made for the realm of France, nor the Frenchmen possessed the land Salic till four hundred and one-and-twenty years after the death of Pharamond, the supposed maker of this Salic law, for this Pharamond deceased in the year 426, and Charles the Great subdued the Saxons and placed the Frenchmen in those parts beyond the river of Saale in the year 805.Moreover, it appeareth by their own writers that King Pepin, which deposed Childeric, claimed the crown of France as heir general for that he was descended of Blithild, daughter to king Clothair the First. Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown upon Charles Duke of Lorraine, the sole heir male of the line and stock of Charles the Great, to make his title seem true and appear good, though in deed it was stark naught, conveyed himself as heir to the Lady Lingard, daughter to King Charlemagne, son to Louis the emperor, that was son to Charles the Great. King Louis also, the Tenth, otherwise called Saint Louis, being very heir to the said usurper Hugh Capet, could never be satisfied in his conscience how he might justly keep and possess the crown of France till he was persuaded and fully instructed that Queen Isabelle his grandmother was lineally descended of the Lady Ermengard, daughter and heir to the above named Charles Duke of Lorraine, by the which marriage the blood and line of Charles the Great was again united and restored to the crown and scepter of France. So that more clear than the sun it openly appeareth that the title of King Pepin, the claim of Hugh Capet, the possession of Louis, yea and the French kings to this day are derived and conveyed from the heir female, though they would under the color of such a feigned law bar the kings and princes of this realm of England of their right and lawful inheritance [TLN 182-242].

    The archbishop further alleged out of the Book of Numbers this saying: "When a man dieth without a son, let the inheritance descend to his daughter" [TLN 245-247]. At length, having said sufficiently for the proof of the king's just and lawful title to the crown of France, he exhorted him to advance forth his banner to fight for his right, to conquer his inheritance, to spare neither blood, sword, nor fire, sith his war was just, his cause good, and his claim true [TLN 247-49, 272-76]. And to the intent his loving chaplains and obedient subjects of the spiritualty might show themselves willing and desirous to aid his majesty, for the recovery of his ancient right and true inheritance, the archbishop declared that in their spiritual convocation, they had granted to his highness such a sum of money as never by no spiritual persons was to any prince before those days given or advanced [TLN 277-82].

    The Earl of Westmorland persuadeth the king to the conquest of Scotland.

    When the archbishop had ended his prepared tale, Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland, and as then Lord Warden of the Marches against Scotland, understanding that the king, upon a courageous desire to recover his right in France, would surely take the wars in hand, thought good to move the king to begin first with Scotland, and thereupon declared how easy a matter it should be to make a conquest there, and how greatly the same should further his wished purpose for the subduing of the Frenchmen, concluding the sum of his tale with this old saying: that Whoso will France win, must with Scotland first begin. Many matters he touched, as well to show how necessary the conquest of Scotland should be as also to prove how just a cause the king had to attempt it, trusting to persuade the king and all other to be of his opinion [TLN 313-19].

    But after he had made an end, the Duke of Exeter, uncle to the king, a man well learned and wise --

    The Duke of Exeter his wise and pithy answer to the Earl of Westmorland's saying.

    who had been sent into Italy by his father, intending that he should have been a priest -- replied against the Earl of Westmorland始s oration, affirming rather that he which would Scotland win, he with France must first begin. For if the king might once compass the conquest of France, Scotland could not long resist; so that conquer France, and Scotland

    A true saying.

    would soon obey. For where should the Scots learn policy and skill to defend themselves if they had not their bringing up and training in France? If the French pensions maintained not the Scottish nobility, in what case should they be? Then take away France, and the Scots will soon be tamed, France being to Scotland the same that the sap is to the tree, which being taken away the tree must needs die and wither [TLN 320-23].

    20To be brief, the Duke of Exeter used such earnest and pithy persuasions to induce the king and the whole assembly of the parliament to credit his words that immediately after he had made an end, all the company began to cry, "War, war! France, France!" Hereby the bill for dissolving of religious houses was clearly set aside, and nothing thought on but only the recovering of France, according as the archbishop had moved. And upon this point, after a few acts besides for the wealth of the realm established, the parliament was prorogued unto Westminster. . . .

    Exeter's embassy (p. 546-47)

    Immediately after, the king sent over into France his uncle the Duke of Exeter, the Lord Grey, Admiral of England, the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Bishop of Norwich, ambassadors unto the French king, with five hundred horse, which were lodged in the temple house in Paris, keeping such triumphant cheer in their lodging and such a solemn estate in their riding through the city, that the Parisians and all the Frenchmen had no small marvel at their honorable port.

    The French king received them very honorable, and banqueted them right sumptuously, showing to them jousts and martial pastimes, by the space of three days together, in the which jousts the king himself, to show his courage and activity to the Englishmen, manfully brake spears and lustily tourneyed. When the triumph was ended, the English ambassadors, having a time appointed them to declare their message, admitted to the French king's presence, required of him to deliver unto the King of England the realm and crown of France, with the entire duchies of Aquitaine, Normandy, and Anjou, with the countries of Poitou and Maine. Many other requests they made, and this offered withal: that if the French king would, without war and effusion of Christian blood, render to the king their master his very right and lawful inheritance, that he would be content to take in marriage the Lady Catherine, daughter to the French king, and to endow her with all the duchies and countries before rehearsed; and if he would not so do, then the King of England did express and signify to him that with the aid of God and help of his people, he would recover his right and inheritance wrongfully withholden from him, with mortal war, and dint of sword. . . .

    The Frenchmen, being not a little abashed at these demands, thought not to make any absolute answer in so weighty a cause till they had further breathed, and therefore prayed the English ambassadors to say to the king their master that they now having no opportunity to conclude in so high a matter, would shortly send ambassadors into England, which should certify and declare to the king their whole mind, purpose, and intent. The English ambassadors returned with this answer, making relation of every thing that was said or done. King Henry, after the return of his ambassadors, determined fully to make war in France, conceiving a good and perfect hope to have fortunate success, sith victory for the most part followeth where right leadeth, being advanced forward by justice, and set forth by equity.

    The French response / "the offer likes not" (p. 547-48)

    The Frenchmen having knowledge hereof, the dauphin, who had the governance of the realm because his father was fallen into his old disease of frenzy, sent for the dukes of Berry and Alençon, and all the other lords of the council of France, by whose advice it was determined that they should not only prepare a sufficient army to resist the King of England whensoever he arrived to invade France, but also to stuff and furnish the towns on the frontiers and sea coasts with convenient garrisons of men, and further to send to the king of England a solemn embassage to make to him some offers according to the demands before rehearsed. . . .

    25At time prefixed, before the king's presence, sitting in his throne imperial, the Archbishop of Bourges made an eloquent and a long oration dissuading war and praising peace, offering to the king of England a great sum of money, with divers counties -- being in very deed but base and poor -- as a dowry with the Lady Catherine in marriage, so that he would dissolve his army and dismiss his soldiers, which he had gathered and put in a readiness [TLN 1072-75].

    When his oration was ended, the king caused the ambassadors to be highly feasted, and set them at his own table. And after a day assigned in the foresaid hall, the Archbishop of Canterbury to their oration made a notable answer, the effect whereof was that if the French king would not give with his daughter in marriage the duchies of Aquitaine, Anjou, and all other seigniories and dominions sometimes appertaining to the noble progenitors of the King of England, he would in no wise retire his army, nor break his journey, but would with all diligence enter into France and destroy the people, waste the country, and subvert the towns with blood, sword, and fire [TLN 278], and never cease till he had recovered his ancient right and lawful patrimony. The king avowed the archbishop's saying, and in the word of a prince promised to perform it to the uttermost.

    The Archbishop of Bourges, much grieved that his

    A proud presumptuous priest.

    embassage was no more regarded, after certain brags blustered out with impatience, as more presuming upon his prelacy than respecting his duty of considerance to whom he spake and what became him to say. He prayed safe conduct to depart, which the king gently granted, and added withal to this effect:

    I little esteem your French brags, and less set by your

    The wise answer of the King to the bishop.

    power and strength. I know perfectly my right to my region, which you usurp, and except you deny the apparent truth, so do yourselves also. If you neither do nor will know it, yet God and the world knoweth it. The power of your master you see, but my puissance ye have not yet tasted. If he have loving subjects, I am, I thank God, not unstored of the same; and I say this unto you: that before one year pass I trust to make the highest crown of your country to stoop, and the proudest miter to learn his humiliatedo. In the meantime, tell this to the usurper your master: that within three months I will enter into France as into mine own true and lawful patrimony, appointing to acquire the same not with brag of words, but with deeds of men and dint of sword, by the aid of God, in whom is my whole trust and confidence. Further matter at this present I impart not unto you, saving that with warrant you may depart surely and safely into your country, where I trust sooner to visit you than you shall have cause to bid me welcome.

    With this answer the ambassadors, sore displeased in their minds (although they were highly entertained and liberally rewarded), departed into their country, reporting to the dauphin how they had sped.

    30A repeated demand "in the bowels of the Lord" (p. 548)

    When the king had all provisions ready, and ordered all things for the defense of his realm, he, leaving

    The queen mother governor of the realm.

    behind him for governor of the realm the queen his mother-in-law, departed to Southampton to take ship into France. And first princely appointing to advertise the French king of his coming, therefor dispatched Antelope, his pursuivant-at-arms, with letters to him for restitution of that which he wrongfully withheld, contrary to the laws of God and man, the king further declaring how sorry he was that he should be thus compelled for repeating of his right and just title of inheritance, to make war to the destruction of Christian people, but sithens he had offered peace which could not be received, now for fault of justice he was forced to take arms. Nevertheless exhorted the French king in the bowels of Jesu Christ to render him that which was his own, whereby effusion of Christian blood might be avoided [TLN 996-1003]. These letters, chiefly to this effect and purpose, were written and dated from Hampton the fifth of August. When the same were presented to the French king, and by his council well perused, answer was made that he would take advice and provide therein as time and place should be convenient, so the messenger licensed to depart at his pleasure.

    The Southhampton treason (pp. 548-49)

    When King Henry had fully furnished his navy with men, munition, and other provisions, perceiving that his captains misliked nothing so much as delay, determined his soldiers to go a-shipboard and away. But see the hap [TLN 482]: the night before the day appointed for their departure, he was credibly informed that Richard Earl of Cambridge, brother to Edward Duke of York, and Henry Lord Scrope of Masham, lord treasurer, with Thomas Gray, a knight of Northumberland, being confederate

    The Earl of Cambridge and other lords apprehended for treason.

    together, had conspired his death; wherefore he caused them to be apprehended [TLN 485-87]. The said Lord Scrope was in such favor with the king that he admitted him sometime to be his bedfellow [TLN 635], in whose fidelity the

    Thom. Wals.

    king reposed such trust that when any private or public council was in hand, this lord had much in the determination of it. For he represented so great gravity in his countenance, such modesty in behavior, and so virtuous zeal to all godliness in his talk, that whatsoever he said was thought for the most part necessary to be done and followed [TLN 756-66]. Also the said Sir Thomas Gray (as some write) was of the king's privy council.

    These prisoners upon their examination confessed that for a great sum of money which they had received of the French king they intended verily either to have delivered the king alive into the hands of his enemies, or else to have murdered him before he should arrive in the duchy of Normandy. When King Henry had heard all things opened which he desired to know, he caused all his nobility to come before his presence, before whom he caused to be brought the offenders also, and to them said:

    Having thus conspired the death and destruction of me, which

    King Henry's words to the traitors.

    am the head of the realm and governor of the people, it may be no doubt but that you likewise have sworn the confusion of all that are here with me, and also the desolation of your own country. To what horror -- O Lord! -- for any true English heart to consider, that such an execrable iniquity should ever so bewrap you as for pleasing of a foreign enemy to imbrue your hands in your blood and to ruin your own native soil. Revenge herein touching my person though I seek not, yet for the safeguard of you my dear friends, and for due preservation of all sorts, I am by office to cause example to be showed. Get ye hence therefore, ye poor miserable wretches, to the receiving of your just reward, wherein God's majesty give you grace of his mercy and repentance of your heinous offenses [TLN 795-810].

    And so immediately they were had to execution.

    35This done, the king, calling his lords again afore

    The Earl of Cambridge and the other traitors executed.

    him, said in words few and with good grace: of his enterprises he recounted the honor and glory, whereof they with him were to be partakers; the great confidence he had in their noble minds, which could not but remember them of the famous feats that their ancestors aforetime in France had achieved, whereof the due report, forever recorded, remained yet in register [TLN 1100-4]; the great mercy of God that had so graciously revealed unto him the treason at hand, whereby the true hearts of those afore him made so eminent and apparent in his eye as they might be right sure he would never forget it; the doubt of danger to be nothing in respect of the certainty of honor that they should acquire, wherein himself (as they saw) in person would be lord and leader through God's grace. To whose majesty as chiefly was known the equity of his demand, even so to his mercy did he only recommend the success of his travels. When the king had said, all the noblemen kneeled down and promised faithfully to serve him, duly to obey him, and rather to die than to suffer him to fall into the hands of his enemies.

    This done, the king thought that surely all treason and conspiracy had been utterly extinct: not suspecting the fire which was newly kindled and ceased not to increase till at length it burst out into such a flame that catching the beams of his house and family, his line and stock was clean consumed to ashes. Divers write that Richard Earl of Cambridge did not conspire with the Lord Scrope and Thomas Gray for the murdering of King Henry to please the French king withal, but only to the intent to exalt to the crown his brother-in-law Edmund Earl of March as heir to Lionel Duke of Clarence, after the death of which Earl of March, for divers secret impediments not able to have issue, the Earl of Cambridge was sure that the crown should come to him by his wife, and to his children of her begotten [TLN 784-86]. And therefore, as was thought, he rather confessed himself for need of money to be corrupted by the French king than he would declare his inward mind and open his very intent and secret purpose, which if it were espied, he saw plainly that the Earl of March should have tasted of the same cup that he had drunken, and what should have come to his own children he much doubted. Therefore destitute of comfort and in despair of life to save his children, he feigned that tale, desiring rather to save his succession than himself, which he did indeed: for his son Richard Duke of York not privily but openly claimed the crown, and Edward his son both claimed it and gained it, as after it shall appear. Which thing, if king Henry had at this time either doubted or foreseen, had never been like to have come to pass, as Hall saith.

    The campaign in France

    Henry's "express charge" to the army (p. 549)

    But now to proceed with king Henry's doings. After this, when the wind came about prosperous to

    Titus Livius.

    his purpose, he caused the mariners to weigh up anchors and hoist up sails, and to set forward with a

    The king saileth over into France with his host.

    thousand ships on the vigil of Our Lady Day the Assumption, and took land at Caux, commonly called Kidcaux, where the river of Seine runneth into the sea, without resistance. At his first coming on land,

    Titus Livius. A charitable proclamation.

    he caused proclamation to be made, that no person should be so hardy on pain of death either to take any thing out of any church that belonged to the same, or to hurt or do any violence either to priests, women, or any such as should be found without weapon or armor, and not ready to make resistance; also that no man should renew any quarrel or strife,

    Princely and wisely

    whereby any fray might arise to the disquieting of the army [TLN 1556-61].

    The siege of Harfleur (p. 549-51)

    The next day after his landing, he marched toward the town of Harfleur, standing on the river of Seine between two hills; he besieged it on every side,


    raising bulwarks and a bastille, in which the two earls of Kent and Huntington were placed, with Cornwall, Gray, Steward, and Porter. On that side towards the sea the king lodged with his field, and the Duke of Clarence on the further side towards Rouen. There were within the town the lords de Touteville and Gaucourt, with divers other that valiantly defended the siege, doing what damage they could to their adversaries and damming up the river that hath his course through the town. The water rose so high betwixt the king's camp and the Duke of Clarence's camp (divided by the same river) that the Englishmen were constrained to withdraw their artillery from one side, where they had planted the same.

    The French king being advertised that king Henry was arrived on that coast, sent in all hast the Lord d'Albret, Constable of France, the Seneschal of France, the Lord Boucicault Marshal of France, the Seneschal of Hainault, the Lord Ligne, with other, which fortified towns with men, victuals, and artillery on all those frontiers towards the sea. And hearing that Harfleur was besieged, they came

    The king besieged Harfleur.

    to the castle of Caudebec, being not far from Harfleur, to the intent they might succor their friends which were besieged by some policy or means; but the Englishmen, notwithstanding all the damage that the Frenchmen could work against them, foraged the country, spoiled the villages, bringing many a rich prey to the camp before Harfleur. And daily was the town assaulted, for the Duke of Gloucester, to whom the order of the siege was committed, made three mines under the ground, and approaching to the walls with his engines and ordnance, would not suffer them within to take any rest [TLN 1183-84].

    40For although they with their countermining somewhat disappointed the Englishmen [TLN 1179-80] and came to fight with them hand to hand within the mines, so that

    Titus Livius.

    they went no further forward with that work, yet they were so enclosed on each side as well by water as land, that succor they saw could none come to them: for the king lying with his battle on the hill side on the one party, and the Duke of Clarence beyond the river that passeth by the town and runneth into Seine on the other party, beside other lords and captains that were lodged with their retinues for their most advantage, none could be suffered to go in or come forth without their license, insomuch that such powder as was sent to have been conveyed into the town by water was taken by the English ships that watched the river.

    The captains within the town, perceiving that they were not able long to resist the continual assaults of the Englishmen, knowing that their walls were undermined, and like to be overthrown (as


    one of their bulwarks was already, where the earls

    Thom. Walsi.

    of Huntington and Kent had set up their banners) sent an officer at arms forth about midnight after

    The seventeenth of September they within Harfleur pray parley.

    the feast day of Saint Lambert, which fell that year upon the Tuesday, to beseech the King of England to appoint some certain persons as commissioners from him, with whom they within might treat about some agreement. The Duke of Clarence, to whom this messenger first declared his errand, advertised the king of their request, who granting thereto, appointed the Duke of Exeter, with the Lord Fitzhugh and Sir Thomas Erpingham, to understand their minds, who at the first requested a truce until Sunday next following the feast of Saint Michael, in which mean time if no succor came to remove the siege, they would undertake to deliver the town into the king's hands, their lives and goods saved.

    The king advertised hereof sent them word that except they would surrender the town to him the morrow next ensuing, without any condition, they should spend no more time in talk about the matter. But yet at length through the earnest suit of the French lords, the king was contented to grant them truce until nine of the clock the next Sunday, being

    A five days' respite.

    the two-and-twentieth of September; with condition that if in the meantime no rescue came, they should yield the town at that hour, with their bodies and goods to stand at the king's pleasure. And for assurance thereof, they delivered into the king's hands thirty of their best captains and merchants within that town as pledges. . . .

    The king nevertheless was after content to grant a respite upon certain conditions: that the captains within might have time to send to the French king for succor (as before ye have heard) lest he, intending greater exploits, might lose time in such small matters. When this composition was agreed upon, the Lord Bacquevill was sent unto the French king, to declare in what point the town stood. To whom the dauphin answered that the king's power was not yet assembled in such number as was convenient to raise so great a siege [TLN 1304-7]. This answer being brought unto the captains within the town, they rendered it up to the King of England after that the third day was expired, which was on the day of Saint Maurice, being the seven-and-thirtieth

    Harfleur yielded and sacked.

    day after the siege was first laid. The soldiers were ransomed and the town sacked, to the great gain of the Englishmen. Some writing of this yielding

    Abr. Fl. Out of Angl. prae. subHen. 5. and Polychron.

    up of Harfleur do in like sort make mention of the distress whereto the people, then expelled out of their habitations, were driven: insomuch as parents with their children, young maids, and old folk went out of the town gates with heavy hearts (God wot) as put to their present shifts to seek them a new abode. Besides that, King Henry caused proclamation to be made within his own dominions of England that whosoever (either handicraftsman, merchantman, gentleman, or plowman) would inhabit in Harfleur should have his dwelling given him gratis, and his heir after him also enjoy the like grace and favor; insomuch that great multitudes flocked to the seacoasts, waiting wind and weather for their transportage into Harfleur, where being arrived, wonderful it is to tell, within how short a time the town was peopled. . . .

    All this done, the king ordained captain to the town his uncle the Duke of Exeter [TLN 1311-14], who established his lieutenant there one Sir John Fastolf, with fifteen hundred men . . . . And because many of his nobles whilst this siege lay before Harfleur fell sick of the flux and other diseases, divers also dead . . . the king licensed his brother the Duke of Clarence, John Earl Marshal, and John Earl of Arundel, being infected with that disease, to return into England.

    45King Henry, after the winning of Harfleur, determined to have proceeded further in the winning of other towns and fortresses, but because the dead time of the winter approached, it was determined by advice of his council that he should in all convenient speed set forward and march through the country towards Calais by land, lest his return as then homewards should of slanderous tongues be named a running away [TLN 1315-18]. And yet that journey was adjudged

    Great death in the host by the flux.

    perilous, by reason that the number of his people was much minished by the flux and other fevers, which sore vexed and brought to death above fifteen hundred persons of the army; and this was the cause that his return was the sooner appointed and concluded. . . .

    The march to Calais (p. 551-52)

    When the king had repaired the walls, bulwarks and rampires about the town and furnished it with victuals and artillery, he removed from Harfleur toward Pontoise, intending to pass the river of Somme with his army before the bridges were either withdrawn or broken. Such victuals and other necessaries as were to be carried with the army he appointed to be laid on horses, leaving the carts and wagons behind for less encumber.

    The French king, hearing that the town of Harfleur was gotten, and that the King of England was marching forward into the bowels of the realm of France, sent out proclamations and assembled people on every side, committing the whole charge of his army to his son the dauphin and Duke of Aquitaine, who incontinently caused the bridges to

    Corn and victuals destroyed where the Englishmen should pass.

    be broken, and the passages to be kept. Also they caused all the corn and victuals to be conveyed away or destroyed in all places where it was conjectured that the Englishmen would pass. The King of England, nothing dismayed herewith, kept his journey in spite of his enemies, constraining them within divers towns and holds to furnish him with victuals. . . .

    At length the king approached the river of Somme, and finding all the bridges broken, he came to the passage

    Blanche Tâche.

    of Blanche Tâche, where his great-grandfather King Edward the Third a little before had stricken the battle of Crècy, but the passage was now so impeached with stakes in the bottom of the ford that he could not pass, his enemies besides thereaway so swarming on all sides. He therefore marched forwards to Arry, marching with his army and passing with his carriage in so martial a manner that he appeared so terrible to his enemies as they durst not offer him battle. And yet the Lord d'Albret, Constable of France, the Marshal Boucicault, the Earl of Vendôme, Great Master of France, the Duke of Alençon, and the Earl of Richmond, with all the puissance of the dauphin, lay at Abbeville, but ever kept the passages and coasted aloof, like a hawk: though eager, yet not hardy on her prey. The King of England kept on his journey till he came to the bridge of Saint Marence, where he found above thirty thousand Frenchmen, and there pitched his field, looking surely to be fought withal. . . .

    [After a skirmish with the garrison at the town of Corbie,]

    King Henry passeth the river of Somme with his host.

    the king the same day found a shallow, between Corbie and Peron, which never was espied before, at which he with his army and carriages the night ensuing, passed the water of Somme without let or danger [TLN 1380], and therewith determined to make haste towards Calais, and not to seek for battle,

    The king's army but of 15,000.

    except he were thereto constrained, because that his army by sickness was sore diminished, insomuch that he had but only two thousand horsemen and thirteen thousand archers, billmen, and of all sorts of other footmen [TLN 1595-96].

    50An English soldier robs a church (p. 552)

    The English army sore afflicted.

    The Englishmen were brought into some distress in this journey by reason of their victuals in manner spent and no hope to get more, for the enemies had destroyed all the corn before they came. Rest could they none take, for their enemies with alarms did ever so infest them; daily it rained, and nightly it freezed; of fuel there was great scarcity, of fluxes plenty; money enough, but wares for their relief to bestow it on had they none. Yet in this great necessity the poor people of the country were not spoiled, nor any thing taken of them without payment, nor any outrage or offense done by the Englishmen, except one, which was that a soldier took a pix out of a church [TLN 1488-92], for which he was apprehended and

    Justice in war.

    the king not once removed till the box was restored, and the offender strangled [TLN 1553-54]. The people of the countries

    Note the force of justice.

    thereabout, hearing of such zeal in him to the maintenance of justice, ministered to his army victuals, and other necessaries, although by open proclamation


    so to do they were prohibited [TLN 1560-61].

    The French send a herald (p. 552)

    The French king being at Rouen, and hearing

    The French king consulteth how to deal with the Englishmen.

    that King Henry was passed the river of Somme, was much displeased therewith, and assembling his council to the number of five-and-thirty, asked their advice what was to be done. There was amongst these five-and-thirty his son the dauphin, calling

    Dauphin King of Sicily.

    himself King of Sicily; the dukes of Berry and Brittany; the Earl of Pontieu, the king's youngest son; and other high estates. At length thirty of them agreed that the Englishmen should not depart unfought withal [TLN 1390-91], and five were of a contrary opinion,

    The French king sendeth defiance to King Henry.

    but the greater number ruled the matter; and so Montjoy king-at-arms was sent to the King of England to defy him as the enemy of France [TLN 1415-16, 1568-85], and to tell him that he should shortly have battle. King

    King Henry's answer to the defiance.

    Henry advisedly answered:

    Mine intent is to do as it pleaseth God. I will not seek your master at this time, but if he or his seek me, I will meet with them, God willing. If any of your nation attempt once to stop me in my journey now towards Calais, at their jeopardy be it; and yet wish I not any of you so unadvised as to be the occasion that I dye your tawny ground with your red blood [TLN 1589-1612].

    When he had thus answered the herald, he gave him a princely reward and license to depart [TLN 1608]. Upon whose return with this answer, it was incontinently on the French side proclaimed that all men of war should resort to the constable to fight with the King of England. Whereupon all men apt for armor and desirous of honor drew them toward the field. The dauphin sore desired to have been at the battle, but he was prohibited by his father. . . .

    The action at the bridge (p. 552)

    The King of England, hearing that the Frenchmen approached, and that there was another river for him to pass with his army by a bridge, and doubting lest if the same bridge should be broken it would be greatly to his hindrance, appointed certain captains with their hands to go thither with all speed before him, and to take possession thereof, and so to keep it till his coming thither.

    55Those that were sent, finding the Frenchmen busy to break down their bridge, assailed them so vigorously that they discomfited them and took and slew them; and so the bridge was preserved till the king came and passed the river by the same with his whole army [TLN 1451-62, 1537-48]. This was on the two-and-twentieth day of October.


    Before Agincourt (p. 552)

    The Duke of York that led the vanguard (after the army was passed the river) mounted up to the height of an hill with his people and sent out scouts to discover the country, the which upon their return advertised him that a great army of Frenchmen was at hand, approaching towards them. The duke declared to the king what he had heard,

    King Henry rideth forth to take view of the French army.

    and the king thereupon, without all fear or trouble of mind, caused the battle which he led himself to stay, and incontinently rode forth to view his adversaries [TLN 2241-42], and that done, returned to his people, and with cheerful countenance [TLN 1824-29] caused them to be put in order of battle, assigning to every captain such room and place as he thought convenient, and so kept them still in that order till night was come, and then determined to seek a place to encamp and lodge his army in for that night.

    There was not one amongst them that knew any certain place whither to go in that unknown country, but by chance they happened upon a beaten way, white in sight, by the which they were brought unto a little village where they were refreshed with meat and drink somewhat more plenteously than they had been divers days before. Order was taken by commandment from the king, after the army was first set in battle array, that no noise or clamor should be made in the host [TLN 1914-31], so that in marching forth to this village, every man kept himself quiet. But at their coming into the village, fires were made to give light on every side, as there likewise were in the French host [TLN 1797-98], which was encamped not past two hundred and fifty paces distant from the English [TLN 1753]. The chief leaders of the French host were these: the Constable of France, the marshal, the admiral, the Lord Rambures, Master of the Crossbows, and other of the French nobility, which came and pitched down their standards and banners

    The number of the French men three score thousand. Enguerant.

    in the county of Saint Paul, within the territory of Agincourt, having in their army (as some write) to the number of threescore thousand horsemen, besides footmen, wagoners, and other [TLN 2443-44].

    They were lodged even in the way by the which the Englishmen must needs pass towards Calais, and all that night after their coming thither made great cheer and were very merry, pleasant, and full of game. The Englishmen also for their parts were of good comfort, and nothing abashed of the matter, and yet they were both hungry, weary, sore-traveled, and vexed with many cold diseases [TLN 1806-17]. Howbeit reconciling themselves with God by housel and shrift, requiring assistance at his hands that is the only giver of victory, they determined rather to die, than to yield, or flee [TLN 2025-23]. The day following was the five-and-twentieth of October in the year 1415, being

    The battle of Agincourt, the 25 of October 1415.

    then Friday, and the feast of Crispin and Crispinian [TLN 2284], a day fair and fortunate to the English, but most sorrowful and unlucky to the French.

    The morning of battle (pp. 553).

    In the morning, the French captains made three battles. . . .

    The French esteemed six to one English.

    The Frenchmen being ordered under their standards and banners made a great show, for surely they were esteemed in number six times as many or more than was the whole company of the Englishmen, with wagoners, pages and all [TLN 2245]. They rested themselves, waiting for the bloody blast of the terrible trumpet, till the hour between nine and ten of the clock of the same day, during which season, the constable made unto the captains and other men of war a pithy oration, exhorting and encouraging them to do valiantly, with many comfortable words and sensible reasons [TLN 2186-2208]. King Henry also, like a leader and not as one led, like a sovereign and not an inferior, perceiving a plot of ground very strong and meet for his purpose, which on the back half was fenced with the village wherein he had lodged the night before, and on both sides defended with hedges and bushes, thought good there to embattle his host, and so ordered his men in the same place, as he saw occasion, and as stood for his most advantage.


    The order of the English army and archers.

    First, he sent privily two hundred archers into a low meadow, which was near to the vanguard of his enemies but separated with a great ditch, commanding them there to keep themselves close till they had a token to them given to let drive at their adversaries; beside this, he appointed a vanguard, of the which he made captain Edward Duke of York, who of an haughty courage had desired that office [TLN 2280], and with him were the lords Beaumont, Willoughby,

    The vanguard all of archers.

    and Fanhope, and this battle was all of archers. The middle ward was governed by the king himself, with his brother the Duke of Gloucester, and the earls of Marshall, Oxford, and Suffolk, in the which were all the strong billmen. The Duke of Exeter, uncle to the king, led the rearward, which was mixed both with billmen and archers. The horsemen like wings went on every side of the battle.

    Archers the greatest force of the English army.

    Thus the king, having ordered his battles, feared not the puissance of his enemies, but yet to provide that they should not with the multitude of horsemen break the order of his archers, in whom the force of

    Abr. Fl. Out of Fabian pag. 392 and Polychron.

    his army consisted -- for in those days the yeomen had their limbs at liberty, sith their hosen were then fastened with one point, and their jacks long and easy to shoot in, so that they might draw bows of great strength, and shoot arrows of a yard long, beside the head -- he caused stakes, bound with iron

    A politic invention.

    sharp at both ends, of the length of five or six foot, to be pitched before the archers and of each side the footmen like an hedge, to the intent that if the barded horses ran rashly upon them, they might shortly be gored and destroyed. Certain persons also were appointed to remove the stakes, as by the moving of the archers occasion and time should require, so that the footmen were hedged about with stakes, and the horsemen stood like a bulwark between them and their enemies, without the stakes. This device


    of fortifying an army was at this time first invented, but since that time they have devised caltrops, harrows, and other new engines against the force of horsemen, so that if the enemies run hastily upon the same, either are their horses wounded with the stakes, or their feet hurt with the other engines, so as thereby the beasts are gored, or else made unable to maintain their course.

    King Henry, by reason of his small number of people to fill up his battles, placed his vanguard so on the right hand of the main battle, which himself led, that the distance betwixt them might scarce be perceived, and so in like case was the rearward joined on the left hand, that the one might the more readily succor another in time of need. When he had thus ordered his battles, he left a small company to keep his camp and carriage, which remained still in the village [TLN 2453-56], and then calling his captains and soldiers about him, he made to them a right grave oration,

    King Henry's oration to his men.

    moving them to play the men, whereby to obtain a glorious victory, as there was hope certain they should, the rather if they would but remember the just cause for which they fought and whom they should encounter, such faint-hearted people as their ancestors had so often overcome [TLN 1102-4]. To conclude, many words of courage he uttered to stir them to do manfully, assuring them that England should never be charged with his ransom, nor any Frenchmen triumph over him as a captive, for either by famous death or glorious victory would he (by God's grace) win honor and fame [TLN 1604, 2337-41].

    It is said, that as he heard one of the host utter his wish to another thus: "I would

    A wish.

    to God there were with us now so many good soldiers as are at this hour within England!" [TLN 2259-61] The king answered:

    I would not wish a man more here than I have. We are indeed

    A noble courage of a valiant prince.

    in comparison to the enemies but a few, but if God of his clemency do favor us and our just cause, as I trust he will, we shall speed well enough [TLN 2262-67]. But let no man ascribe victory to our own strength and might, but only to God's assistance, to whom I have no doubt we shall worthily have cause to give thanks therefor. And if so be that for our offenses' sakes we shall be delivered into the hands of our enemies, the less number we be, the less damage shall the realm of England sustain. But if we should fight in trust of multitude of men, and so get the victory (our minds being prone to pride), we should thereupon peradventure ascribe the victory not so much to the gift of God as to our own puissance, and thereby provoke his high indignation and displeasure against us. And if the enemy get the upper hand, then should our realm and country suffer more damage and stand in further danger. But be you of good comfort, and show yourselves valiant. God and our just quarrel shall defend us, and deliver these our proud adversaries, with all the multitude of them which you see (or at the least the most of them), into our hands.

    65The French before the battle (pp. 553-54)

    Whilst the king was yet thus in speech, either army so maligned the other, being as then in open sight, that every man cried, "Forward! Forward!" The dukes of Clarence, Gloucester, and York were of the same opinion, yet the king stayed awhile lest any jeopardy were not foreseen, or any hazard not prevented. The Frenchmen, in the meanwhile, as though they had been sure of victory, made great triumph, for the captains had determined before how to divide the spoil [TLN 1786-87], and the soldiers the night before had played the Englishmen at dice [TLN 1807-8]. The noblemen had devised a chariot wherein they might triumphantly convey the king captive to the city of Paris, crying to their soldiers, "Haste you to the spoil! Glory and honor!" -- little weening, God wot, how soon their brags should be blown away.

    Another call for Henry's ransom (p. 554)


    Here we may not forget how the French thus in their jollity sent an herald to King Henry to inquire what ransom he would offer [TLN 2325-27]. Whereunto he answered that within two or three hours he hoped it would so happen that the Frenchmen should be glad to common rather with the Englishmen for their ransoms than the English to take thought for their deliverance, promising for his own part that his dead carcass should rather be a prize to the Frenchmen than that his living body should pay any ransom [TLN 2370-73].

    The battle begins (p. 554)

    When the messenger was come back to the French host, the men of war put on their helmets, and caused their trumpets to blow to the battle. They thought themselves so sure of victory that divers of the noblemen made such haste towards the battle that they left many of their servants and men of war behind them, and some of them would not once stay for their standards; as amongst other the Duke of Brabant, when his standard was not come, caused a banner to be taken from a trumpet and fastened to a spear, the which he commanded to be borne before him instead of his standard [TLN 2233-35].

    But when both these armies, coming within danger either of other, set in full order of battle on both sides, they stood still at the first, beholding either other's demeanor, being not distant in sunder past three bowshots. And when they had on both parts thus stayed a good while without doing anything -- except that certain of the French horsemen, advancing forwards betwixt both the hosts, were by the English archers constrained to return back -- advice was taken amongst the Englishmen what was best for them to do. Thereupon, all things considered, it was determined that sith the Frenchmen would not come forward, the king with his army embattled (as ye have heard) should march towards them, and so leaving their truss and baggage in the village where they lodged the night before, only with their weapons, armor, and stakes prepared for the purpose, as ye have heard.

    These made somewhat forward, before whom there went an old knight, Sir Thomas Erpingham,

    The English gave the onset.

    a man of great experience in the war, with a warder in his hand; and when he cast up his warder, all the army shouted, but that was a sign to the archers in the meadow, which therewith shot wholly altogether at the vanguard of the Frenchmen, who when

    The two armies join battle.

    they perceived the archers in the meadow and saw they could not come at them for a ditch that was betwixt them, with all haste set upon the foreward of King Henry, but ere they could join, the archers in the forefront and the archers on that side which stood in the meadow so wounded the footmen, galled the horses, and cumbered the men of arms that the footmen durst not go forward, the horsemen ran together upon plumps without order, some overthrew such as were next them, and the horses overthrew their masters, and so at the first joining the Frenchmen were foully discomforted and the Englishmen highly encouraged.

    70When the French vanguard was thus brought to confusion, the English archers cast away their bows and took into their hands axes, mauls, swords,

    The vanguard of the French discomforted.

    bills, and other hand weapons, and with the same slew the Frenchmen until they came to the middle ward. Then approached the king, and so encouraged his people, that shortly the second battle of the Frenchmen

    Their battle beaten.

    was overthrown, and dispersed, not without great slaughter of men; howbeit divers were relieved by their varlets and conveyed out of the field. The Englishmen were so busied in fighting and taking of the prisoners at hand that they followed not in chase of their enemies, nor would once break out of their array of battle. Yet sundry of the Frenchmen strongly withstood the fierceness of the English when they came to handy strokes, so that the fight sometime was doubtful and perilous. Yet as part of the French horsemen set their course to have entered upon the king's battle, with the stakes overthrown, they were either taken or slain. Thus this battle continued three long hours.

    The king that day showed himself a valiant knight, albeit almost felled by the Duke of Alençon [TLN 2684-85]; yet with plain strength he slew two of the duke's company, and felled the duke himself, whom when he would have yielded, the king's guard (contrary to his mind) slew out of hand. In conclusion, the king, minding to make an end of that day's journey, caused his horsemen to fetch a compass about, and to join with him against the rearward of the Frenchmen, in the which was the greatest number of people.

    The attack on Henry's camp and the killing of the prisoners (p. 554)

    When the Frenchmen perceived his intent, they

    The French rearward discomfited.

    were suddenly amazed and ran away like sheep, without order or array [TLN 2464-65]. Which when the king perceived, he encouraged his men and followed so quickly upon the enemies that they ran hither and thither, casting away their armor; many on their knees desired to have their lives saved [TLN 2435].

    In the mean season, while the battle thus continued and that the Englishmen had taken a great number of prisoners, certain Frenchmen on horseback, whereof were captains Robinet of Bourneville, Rifflart of Clamas, Isambert of Agincourt, and other men of arms to the number of six hundred horsemen, which were the first that fled, hearing that the English tents and pavilions were a good way distant from the army without any sufficient guard to defend the same, either upon a covetous meaning to gain by the spoil or upon a desire to be revenged, entered upon the king's camp and there spoiled

    The king's camp robbed.

    the hales, robbed the tents, brake up chests, and carried away baskets, and slew such servants as they found to make any resistance [TLN 2526-33]. For which treason and haskardy in thus leaving their camp at the very point of fight, for winning of spoil where none to defend it, very many were after committed to prison, and had lost their lives if the dauphin had longer lived.

    But when the outcry of the lackeys and boys which ran away for fear of the Frenchmen thus spoiling the camp came to the king's ears, he, doubting lest his enemies should gather together again and begin a new field [TLN 2521], and mistrusting further that the prisoners would be an aid to his enemies or the very enemies to their takers indeed if they were suffered to live, contrary to his accustomed gentleness commanded by sound of trumpet that every man, upon pain of death, should incontinently slay his prisoner [TLN 2522-23]. When this dolorous decree and pitiful proclamation

    All the prisoners slain.

    was pronounced, pity it was to see how some Frenchmen were suddenly sticked with daggers, some were brained with poleaxes, some slain with mauls, other had their throats cut, and some their bellies paunched, so that in effect, having respect to the great number, few prisoners were saved.

    75The end of the battle and its aftermath (4.7-4.8), 1415 (pp. 554-55)

    When this lamentable slaughter was ended, the Englishmen disposed themselves in order of battle, ready to abide a new field, and also to invade and newly set on their enemies. . . . Some write that the king, perceiving his enemies in one part to assemble together as though they meant to give a new battle for preservation of the prisoners, sent to them an herald, commanding them either to depart out of his sight, or else to come forward at

    A right wise and valiant challenge of the king.

    once and give battle, promising herewith that if they did offer to fight again, not only those prisoners which his people already had taken, but also so many of them as in this new conflict which they thus attempted should fall into his hands, should die the death without redemption [TLN 2581-90].

    The Frenchmen, fearing the sentence of so terrible a decree, without further delay parted out of the field. And so about four of the clock in the afternoon, the king, when he saw no appearance of enemies, caused the retreat to be blown, and gathering his army

    Thanks given to God for the victory.

    together, gave thanks to almighty God for so happy a victory, causing his prelates and chaplains to sing this psalm: In exitu Israel de Aegypto, and commanded every man to kneel down on the ground at

    A worthy example of a godly prince.

    this verse: Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. Which done, he caused Te Deum, with certain anthems to be sung, giving laud and praise to God without boasting of his own force or any

    Titus Livius

    human power [TLN 2835-44]. That night he and his people took rest and refreshed themselves with such victuals as they found in the French camp, but lodged in the same village where he lay the night before [TLN 2834].

    In the morning, Montjoy king-at-arms and four other French heralds came to the king to know the number of prisoners, and to desire burial for the dead [TLN 2598-2611]. Before he made them answer (to understand what they would say), he demanded of them why they made to him that request, considering that he knew not whether the victory was his or theirs [TLN 2612-15]. When Montjoy by true and just confession had cleared that doubt to the high praise of the king, he desired of Montjoy to understand the name of the castle near adjoining. When they had told him that it was called

    The battle of Agincourt.

    Agincourt, he said "Then shall this conflict be called the battle of Agincourt" [TLN 2618-20]. He feasted the French officers of arms that day, and granted them their request, which busily sought through the field for such as were slain. But the Englishmen suffered them not to go alone, for they searched with them [TLN 2647-49], and found many hurt, but not in jeopardy of their lives, whom they took prisoners and brought them to their tents. When the King of England had well refreshed himself and his soldiers that had taken the spoil of such as were slain, he with his prisoners in good order returned to his town of Calais [TLN 2846-47]. . . .

    There were taken prisoners Charles Duke of

    Noble men prisoners.

    Orl茅ans, nephew to the French king, John Duke of Bourbon, the Lord Boucicault, one of the marshals of France (he after died in England), with a number of other lords, knights, and esquires, at the least fifteen hundred, besides the common people [TLN 2793-98]. There were

    The number slain on the French part. Englishmen slain.

    slain in all of the French part to the number of ten thousand men, whereof were princes and noblemen bearing banners one hundred twenty and six; to these, of knights, esquires, and gentlemen, so many as made up the number of eight thousand and four hundred (of the which five hundred were dubbed knights the night before the battle), so as of the meaner sort, not past sixteen hundred [2799-2807]. Amongst those of the nobility that were slain, these were the chiefest: Charles Lord d始Albret, High Constable of France; Jacques of Châtillon Lord of Dampier, Admiral of France; the Lord Rambures, Master of the Crossbows; Sir Guichard Dauphin, Great Master of France; John Duke of Alençon; Antony Duke of Brabant, brother to the Duke of Burgundy, Edward Duke of Bar, the Earl of Nevers, another brother to the Duke of Burgundy; with the earls of Marle, Vaud茅mont, Beaumont, Granpr茅, Roucy, Fauquemberge, Foix, and Lestrelles, beside a great number of lords and barons of name [TLN 2810-19].

    Of Englishmen there died at this battle Edward

    Englishmen slain.

    Duke York, the Earl of Suffolk, Sir Richard Kyghley, and Davey Gam, Esquire, and of all other not above five-and-twenty persons [TLN 2821-23], as some do report; but other writers of greater credit affirm that there were slain above five or six hundred persons.

    Rich. Grafton.

    Titus Livius saith that there were slain of Englishmen,

    Titus Livius.

    beside the Duke of York and the Earl of Suffolk, an hundred persons at the first encounter. The Duke of Gloucester, the king's brother, was sore wounded about the hips and borne down to the ground so that he fell backwards with his feet towards his enemies, whom the king bestrid and like a brother valiantly rescued from his enemies, and so saving his life, caused him to be conveyed out of the fight, into a place of more safety. . . .

    80Henry returns to England

    Henry's triumphal entry into London (p. 556)

    The mayor of London and the aldermen, appareled in orient grained scarlet, and four hundred commoners clad in beautiful murrey, well mounted and trimly horsed, with rich collars and great chains, met the king on Blackheath, rejoicing at his return; and the clergy of London, with rich crosses, sumptuous copes, and massy censers, received him at Saint Thomas of Waterings with solemn procession [TLN 2872-85].

    Titus Livius.

    The king, like a grave and sober personage, and as one remembering from whom all victories are sent, seemed little to regard such vain pomp and shows as were in triumphant sort devised for his welcoming

    The great modesty of the king.

    home from so prosperous a journey, insomuch that he would not suffer his helmet to be carried with him, whereby might have appeared to the people the blows and dints that were to be seen in the same; neither would he suffer any ditties to be made and sung by minstrels of his glorious victory, for that he would wholly have the praise and thanks altogether given to God [TLN 2867-72]. . . .

    "The emperor's coming" (p. 556-57)

    In this fourth year of King Henry始s reign, the

    Anno Reg. 4. The Emperor Sigismund cometh to England.

    Emperor Sigismund, cousin-german to King Henry, came into England to the intent that he might make an atonement between King Henry and the French king, with whom he had been before, bringing with him the Archbishop of Rheims, as ambassador for the French king. . . .

    But their evil hap, as they that were appointed by God始s providence to suffer more damage at the Englishmen's hands, would not permit his persuasions to take place: for whereas peace was even almost entering in at the gates, the [French] king was suddenly stirred to displeasure upon a new occasion, for he, being advertised of the loss of his men at the late conflict in the territory of Rouen (as ye have heard), refused to

    The emperor an earnest mediator for peace.

    hear this word peace once named. The emperor, like a wise prince, passed over that time till another season, that some favorable aspect of the planets should seem to further his purpose. . . .

    When the emperor perceived that it was in vain to move further for peace, he left off that treaty, and entered himself into a league with king Henry. . . . This done, the emperor returned homewards, to pass into

    Titus Livius.

    Germany . . .

    85The Treaty of Troyes, 1420 (p. 572-73)

    [Four more years of war saw Henry's army capture Caen in 1417 and Rouen in 1419, giving the English control over Normandy, and an English alliance with the Duke of Burgundy, who controlled Paris, brought the French to the point of surrender.] Whilst these victorious exploits were thus happily achieved by the Englishmen, and that the king lay still at Rouen in giving thanks to almighty God for the same, there came to him eftsoons ambassadors from the French king and the Duke of Burgundy to move him to peace [TLN 3011-15]. The king, minding not to be reputed for a destroyer of the country

    King Henry condescendeth to a treaty of peace.

    which he coveted to preserve, or for a causer of Christian blood still to be spilt in his quarrel, began so to incline and give ear unto their suit and humble request, that at length, after often sending to and fro, and that the Bishop of Arras and other men of honor had been with him, and likewise the Earl of Warwick and the Bishop of Rochester had been with the Duke of Burgundy, they both finally agreed upon certain articles, so that the French king and his commons would thereto assent.

    Now was the French king and the queen with their daughter Catherine at Troyes in Champagne, governed and ordered by them which so much favored the Duke of Burgundy that they would not for any earthly good once hinder or pull back one jot of such articles as the same duke should seek to prefer. And therefore -- what needeth many words? -- a

    A truce tripartite.

    truce tripartite was accorded between the two kings and the duke, and their countries, and order taken that the King of England should send in the company of the Duke of Burgundy his ambassadors unto Troyes in Champagne, sufficiently authorized to treat and conclude of so great matter. The King of England, being in good hope that all his affairs should take good success as he could wish or desire,

    Ambassadors from King Henry to the French king.

    sent to the Duke of Burgundy his uncle the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of Salisbury, the Bishop of Ely, the Lord Fanhope, the Lord Fitzhugh, Sir John Robsert, and Sir Philip Hall, with divers doctors, to the number of five hundred horse, which in the company of the Duke of Burgundy came to the city of Troyes the eleventh of March [TLN 3071-78]. The king, the queen, and the Lady Catherine them received, and heartily welcomed, showing great signs and tokens of love and amity.

    The articles of the peace concluded between King Henry and the French king.

    After a few days they fell to council, in which at length it was concluded that King Henry of England should come to Troyes and marry the lady Catherine, and the king her father after his death should make him heir of his realm, crown and dignity. It was also agreed that King Henry, during his father-in-law's life, should in his stead have the whole government of the realm of France as regent thereof, with many other covenants and articles, as after shall appear [TLN 3323-34]. To the performance whereof it was accorded that all the nobles and estates of the realm of France, as well spiritual as temporal, and also the cities and commonalties, citizens and burgesses of towns that were obeisant at that time to the French king, should take a corporal oath. These articles were not at the first in all points brought to a perfect conclusion, but after the effect and meaning of them was agreed upon by the commissioners, the Englishmen departed towards the king their master, and left Sir John Robsert behind to give his attendance on the lady Catherine.

    King Henry being informed by them of that which they had done, was well content with the agreement and with all diligence prepared to go unto Troyes. . . .

    The Duke of Burgundy, accompanied with many noblemen, received him two leagues without the town and conveyed him to his lodging. All his army was lodged in small villages thereabout. And

    King Henry cometh to Troyes to the French king.

    after that he had reposed himself a little, he went to visit the French king, the queen, and the Lady Catherine, whom he found in Saint Peter's church, where was a very joyous meeting betwixt them [TLN 2988-98] (and this was on the twentieth day of May) and there the

    King Henry affieth the French king's daughter.

    King of England and the Lady Catherine were affianced [TLN 3338]. After this, the two kings and their council assembled together divers days, wherein the first concluded agreement was in divers points altered and brought to a certainty according to the effect above mentioned. When this great matter was finished, the kings sware for their parts to observe all the covenants of this league and agreement. Likewise the Duke of Burgundy and a great number of other princes and nobles which were present received an oath [TLN 3362-65]. . .

    90The like oath a great number of the princes and nobles both spiritual and temporal which were present received at the same time. This done, the morrow after Trinity Sunday, being the third of June, the marriage was solemnized and fully consummate betwixt the King of England and the said Lady Catherine. Herewith was the King of England named and proclaimed heir and regent of France. And as the French king sent the copy of this treaty to every town in France, so the King of England sent the same in English unto every city and market town within his realm to be proclaimed and published. . . .

    Holinshed's summary of Henry V's life and character (p. 583-84)

    This Henry was a king of life without spot; a prince whom all men loved and of

    The commendation of King Henry the Fifth as is expressed by Mast. Hall.

    none disdained; a captain against whom fortune never frowned nor mischance once spurned, whose people him -- so severe a justice -- both loved and obeyed, and so humane withal that he left no offense unpunished, nor friendship unrewarded; a terror to rebels and suppressor of sedition; his virtues notable, his qualities most praiseworthy.

    In strength and nimbleness of body from his youth few to him comparable, for in wrestling, leaping, and running, no man well able to compare. In casting of great iron bars and heavy stones he excelled commonly all men, never shrinking at cold nor slothful for heat; and when he most labored, his head commonly uncovered; no more weary of harness than a light cloak, very valiantly abiding at needs both hunger and thirst; so manful of mind as never seen to quinch at a wound or to smart at the pain; not to turn his nose from evil savor nor close his eyes from smoke or dust. No man more moderate in eating and drinking, with diet not delicate, but rather more meet for men of war than for princes of tender stomachs. Every honest person was permitted to come to him, sitting at meal, where either secretly or openly to declare his mind. High and weighty causes as well between men of war and other he would gladly hear, and either determined them himself or else for end committed them to others. He slept very little, but that very soundly [cf. TLN 2116-34], insomuch that when his soldiers sung at nights or minstrels played, he then slept fastest; of courage invincible, of purpose unmutable; so wise-hardy always as fear was banished from him; at every alarum he first in armor and foremost in ordering. In time of war such was his providence, bounty, and hap, as he had true intelligence not only what his enemies did, but what they said and intended; of his devices and purposes, few, before the thing was at the point to be done, should be made privy.

    He had such knowledge in ordering and guiding an army, with such a gift to encourage his people, that the Frenchmen had constant opinion he could never be vanquished in battle. Such wit, such prudence, and such policy withal, that he never enterprised anything before he had fully debated and forecast all the main chances that might happen, which done, with all diligence and courage he set his purpose forward. What policy he had in finding present remedies for sudden mischiefs, and what engines in saving himself and his people in sharp distresses, were it not that by his acts they did plainly appear, hard were it by words to make them credible. Wantonness of life and thirst in avarice had he quite quenched in him -- virtues indeed in such an estate of sovereignty, youth, and power as very rare, so right commendable in the highest degree. So staid of mind and countenance beside that never jolly or triumphant for victory nor sad or damped for loss or misfortune. For bountifulness and liberality, no man more free, gentle, and frank in bestowing rewards to all persons according to their deserts, for his saying was, that he never desired money to keep, but to give and spend [TLN 2268-71].

    Although that story properly serves not for theme of praise or dispraise, yet what in brevity may well be remembered, in truth would not be forgotten by sloth, were it but only to remain as a spectacle for magnanimity to have always in eye, and for encouragement to nobles in honorable enterprises. Known be it therefore, of person and form was this prince rightly representing his heroical affects: of stature and proportion tall and manly, rather lean than gross; somewhat long-necked and black-haired, of countenance amiable; eloquent and grave was his speech, and of great grace and power to persuade [TLN 79-91]. For conclusion, a majesty was he that both lived and died a pattern in princehood, a lodestar in honor, and mirror of magnificence [TLN 468]: the more highly exalted in his life, the more deeply lamented at his death, and famous to the world alway. . . .

    95Thus ended this puissant prince his most noble and fortunate reign, whose life (saith Hall) though cruel Atropos abbreviated, yet neither fire, malice, nor fretting time shall appall his honor or blot out the glory of him that in so small time [TLN 3372] had done so many


    and royal acts.