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O, for a muse of fire, that would ascend On your imaginary forces work. The brightest heaven of invention !
Suppose, within the girdle of these walls A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
Are now confin’d two mighty monarchies, And monarchs to behold the swelling scene ! Whose high-upreared and abutting fronts Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, The perilous, narrow ocean parts asunder. Assume the port of Mars; and, at his heels, Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts ; Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and Into a thousand parts divide one man, fire,
And make imaginary puissance : Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them The flat unraised spirits, that havet dar'd, Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth : On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our So great an object. Can this cock-pit hold
kings ; The vasty fields of France ? or may we cram, Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times ; Within this wooden O, the very casques,"
Turning the accomplishment of many years That did affright the air at Agincourt ?
Into an hour-glass ; for the which supply, 0, pardon ! since a crooked figure may
Admit me Chorus to this history; Attest, in little place, a million ;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray, And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
*) First folio, Enter Prologue,
(1) First folio, hath.
* The very casques,–] The mere helmets.
Cant. My lord, I'll tell you—that self bill is
urg'd Which in the eleventh year oʻthe last king's reign
a Scambling-] See note (C), p. 319, Vol. I.; to which may be added another example of the word, from Florio, who explains Ruffare, to rifle, to scamble.
If it pass
Ely. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now? So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to this theoric:
Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it, We lose the better half of our possession :
Since his addiction was to courses vain; For all the temporal lands, which men devout His companies unletter'd, rude, and shallow; By testament have given to the church,
His hours fill'd up with riots, banquets, sports ; Would they strip from us; being valued thus,- And never noted in him any study, As much as would maintain, to the king's honour, Any retirement, any sequestration Full fifteen earls, and fifteen hundred knights ; From open haunts and popularity. Six thousand and two hundred good esquires ; ELY. The strawberry grows underneath the And, to relief of lazars and weak age,
nettle, Of indigent faint souls past corporal toil,
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best, A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied ; Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality: And to the coffers of the king beside,
And so the prince obscur'd his contemplation A thousand pounds by the year. Thus runs the Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt, bill.
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night, Ely. This would drink deep.
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty. CANT.
’T would drink the cup and all. CANT. It must be so: for miracles are ceas'd Ely. But what prevention ?
And therefore we must needs admit the means, Cant. The king is full of grace and fair regard, How things are perfected. Ely. And a true lover of the holy church.
But, my good lord, Cant. The courses of his youth promis’d it not. How now for mitigation of this bill The breath no sooner left his father's body, Urg'd by the commons ? Doth his majesty But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Incline to it, or no? Seem'd to die too : yea, at that very moment,
He seems indifferent; Consideration, like an angel, came,
Or, rather, swaying more upon our part, And whipp'd the offending Adam out of him; Than cherishing the exhibiters against us : Leaving his body as a paradise,
For I have made an offer to his majesty,To envelop and contain celestial spirits.
Upon our spiritual convocation, Never was such a sudden scholar made;
And in regard of causes now in hand, Never came reformation in a flood,
Which I have open’d to his grace at large, With such a heady currance, scouring faults ; As touching France,-to give a greater sum Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
Than ever at one time the clergy yet So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
Did to his predecessors part withal. As in this king
Ely. How did this offer seem receiv'd, my lord ? Ely. We are blessed in the change. CANT. With good acceptance of his majesty ; CANT. Hear him but reason in divinity,
Save, that there was not time enough to hear And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
(As I perceiv'd his grace would fain have done,) You would desire, the king were made a prelate: The severals, and unhidden passages, Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs, Of his true titles to some certain dukedoms, You would say,--it hath been all-in-all his study: And, generally, to the crown and seat of France, List his discourse of war, and you shall hear Deriv'd from Edward, his great-grandfather. A fearful battle render'd you in music:
Ely. What was the impediment that broke this Turn him to any cause of policy,
off ? The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Cant. The French ambassador, upon that inFamiliar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
stant, The air, a charter'd libertine, is still,
Cray'd audience :- and the hour, I think, is come, And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears, To give him hearing, Is it four o'clock ? To steal his sweet and honey'd sentences ;
. And all at once,-) This was a trite phrase in Shakespeare's day, though not one of his editors has noticed it. In “As you Like It," Act III. Sc. 5, where it again occurs,
Who might be your mother 1
It is frequently met with in the old writers. Thus, in “The
“She wept, she cride, she sob'd, and all at once.”
“Does love turn fool, run mad, and all at once?" b Companies-) That is, Companions.
c The severals, and unhidden passages,-) “This line I suspect of corruption, though it may be fairly enough explained. The passages of his titles are the lines of succession by which his claims descend. Unhidden is open, clear."-JOHNSON,
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, and the
Bishop of Ely. SCENE II.—The same. A Room of State in
Cant. God and his angels guard your sacred
throne, Enter KING HENRY, GLOUCESTER, BEDFORD, And make you long become it! EXETER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and K. HEN.
Sure, we thank you. Attendants.
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed,
And justly and religiously unfold, K. Hen. Where is my gracious lord of Canter- Why the law Salique, that they have in France, bury ?
Or should, or should not, bar us in our claim. Exe. Not here in presence.
And God forbid, my dear and faithful lord, K. HEN. Send for him, good uncle.
That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my
reading, liege ? *
Or nicely charge your understanding soul
With opening titles miscreate, whose right a In the quartos the play begins with this speech.
Suits not in native colours with the truth ;
For God doth know, how many, now in health, Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French Shall drop their blood in approbation
Beyond the river Sala, in the year Of what your reverence shall incite us to:
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say, Therefore take heed how you impawn our person, King Pepin, which deposed Childeric, How you awake our sleeping sword of war; Did, as heir general, being descended We charge you in the name of God, take heed: Of Blithild, which was daughter to king Clothair, For never two such kingdoms did contend,
Make claim and title to the crown of France. Without much fall of blood, whose guiltless drops Hugh Capet also,—who usurp'd the crown Are every one a woe, a sore complaint
Of Charles the duke of Lorraine, sole heir male 'Gainst him, whose wrongs give edge unto the Of the true line and stock of Charles the great,swords
To fine his title with some show* of truth, That make such waste in brief mortality.
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,) Under this conjuration, speak, my lord:
Convey'd a himself as heir to the lady Lingare,(2) For we will hear, note, and believe in heart, Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son That what you speak is in your conscience wash'd To Lewis the emperor, and Lewis the son As pure as sin with baptism.
Of Charles the great. Also king Lewis the tenth,o Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,—and Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet, you peers,(1)
Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim, Yet their own authors faithfully affirm,
King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear That the land Salique is in Germany,
To hold in right and title of the female: Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe:
So do the kings of France unto this day ; Where Charles the great, having subdued the Howbeit they would hold up this Salique law, Saxons,
To bar your highness claiming from the female, There left behind and settled certain French; And rather choose to hide them in a net, Who, holding in disdain the German women, Than amply to imbare their crooked titles For some dishonest manners of their life,
Usurp'd from you and your progenitors. Establish'd then this law,—to wit, no female
K. Hen. May I with right and conscience Should be inheritrix in Salique land ;
make this claim ? Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala, Cant. The sin upon my head, dread sovereign! Is at this day, in Germany callid Meisen.
For in the Book of Numbers is it writ,Then doth it well appear, the Salique law
When the sont dies, let the inheritance Was not devised for the realm of France;
Descend unto the daughter. Gracious lord, Nor did the French possess the Salique land Stand for your own; unwind your bloody flag; Until four hundred one and twenty years
Look back into your mighty ancestors; After defunction of king Pharamond,
Go, my dread lord, to your great-grandsire's tomb, Idly suppos’d the founder of this law;
claim; invoke his warlike spirit, Who died within the year of our redemption And your great-uncle's, Edward the black prince; Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the great Who on the French ground play'd a tragedy,
(*) First folio, shewcs.
(+) First folio, man.
That owe your lives, your faith, and services,-) The folio reading is——" your selves, your lives," &c.
b Gloze-) That is, misinterpret, put a false construction on ; and not, we believe, as the commentators say, expound, or explair.
. To fine his lille-] The first folio reads, “To find," &c. To fine his lille may mean, to embellish, or prank up his title; or to point his title, as Shakespeare makes use of fine in both these and in other senses. Mason conjectured that the metaphor was derived from the fining of liquors, which is also probable.
d Convey'd himself as heir to the lady Lingare,-) Thus the quartos. The folio, unmetrically, reads, -
“ Convey'd himself as th' heir to th' lady Lingare."
The sense of conrey'd, in this pa35age, is rendered plainly by Bishop Cooper:-" Conjicere se in familiam; to convey himself to be of some noble family."
King Lewis the tenth,-) This should be “Lewis the ninth." Shakespeare adopted the error from Holinshed.
f Than amply to imbare-) The folio has, imbarre; the first two quartos, imbace; and the third, einbrace. We adopt the ac. cepted reading, which was first suggested by Warburton, and signifies, to lay bare.