1599 The Life Of King Henry V by William Shakespeare
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THE LIFE OF KING HENRY THE FIFTH
by William Shakespeare
KING HENRY THE FIFTH
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, brother to the King
DUKE OF BEDFORD, " " " "
DUKE OF EXETER, Uncle to the King
DUKE OF YORK, cousin to the King
EARL OF SALISBURY
EARL OF WESTMORELAND
EARL OF WARWICK
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
BISHOP OF ELY
EARL OF CAMBRIDGE, conspirator against the King
LORD SCROOP, " " " "
SIR THOMAS GREY, " " " "
SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, officer in the King's army
GOWER, " " " " "
FLUELLEN, " " " " "
MACMORRIS, " " " " "
JAMY, " " " " "
BATES, soldier in the King's army
COURT, " " " " "
WILLIAMS, " " " " "
NYM, " " " " "
BARDOLPH, " " " " "
PISTOL, " " " " "
BOY A HERALD
CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France
LEWIS, the Dauphin DUKE OF BURGUNDY
DUKE OF ORLEANS DUKE OF BRITAINE
DUKE OF BOURBON THE CONSTABLE OF FRANCE
RAMBURES, French Lord
GRANDPRE, " "
GOVERNOR OF HARFLEUR MONTJOY, a French herald
AMBASSADORS to the King of England
ISABEL, Queen of France
KATHERINE, daughter to Charles and Isabel
ALICE, a lady attending her
HOSTESS of the Boar's Head, Eastcheap; formerly Mrs. Quickly, now
married to Pistol
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, Attendants
England and France
CHORUS. O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire,
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that hath dar'd
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object. Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder.
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' th' receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there, jumping o'er times,
Turning th' accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass; for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like, your humble patience pray
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play. Exit
ACT I. SCENE I.
London. An ante-chamber in the KING'S palace
Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY and the BISHOP OF ELY
CANTERBURY. My lord, I'll tell you: that self bill is urg'd
Which in th' eleventh year of the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us pass'd
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of farther question.
ELY. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
CANTERBURY. It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession;
For all the temporal lands which men devout
By testament have given to the church
Would they strip from us; being valu'd thus-
As much as would maintain, to the King's honour,
Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
And, to relief of lazars and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred alms-houses right well supplied;
And to the coffers of the King, beside,
A thousand pounds by th' year: thus runs the bill.
ELY. This would drink deep.
CANTERBURY. 'T would drink the cup and all.
ELY. But what prevention?
CANTERBURY. The King is full of grace and fair regard.
ELY. And a true lover of the holy Church.
CANTERBURY. The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
The breath no sooner left his father's body
But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Seem'd to die too; yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came
And whipp'd th' offending Adam out of him,
Leaving his body as a paradise
T'envelop and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made;
Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady currance, scouring faults;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulnes
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king.
ELY. We are blessed in the change.
CANTERBURY. Hear him but reason in divinity,
And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire the King were made a prelate;
Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,
You would say it hath been all in all his study;
List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
A fearful battle rend'red you in music.
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a charter'd libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears
To steal his sweet and honey'd sentences;
So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to this theoric;
Which is a wonder how his Grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain,
His companies unletter'd, rude, and shallow,
His hours fill'd up with riots, banquets, sports;
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
From open haunts and popularity.
ELY. The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality;
And so the Prince obscur'd his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.
CANTERBURY. It must be so; for miracles are ceas'd;
And therefore we must needs admit the means
How things are perfected.
ELY. But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urg'd by the Commons? Doth his Majesty
Incline to it, or no?
CANTERBURY. He seems indifferent
Or rather swaying more upon our part
Than cherishing th' exhibiters against us;
For I have made an offer to his Majesty-
Upon our spiritual convocation
And in regard of causes now in hand,
Which I have open'd to his Grace at large,
As touching France- to give a greater sum
Than ever at one time the clergy yet
Did to his predecessors part withal.
ELY. How did this offer seem receiv'd, my lord?
CANTERBURY. With good acceptance of his Majesty;
Save that there was not time enough to hear,
As I perceiv'd his Grace would fain have done,
The severals and unhidden passages
Of his true tides to some certain dukedoms,
And generally to the crown and seat of France,
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