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SHAKSPERE'S

HENRY

THE FIFTH.

ACT I.

RUMOUR appears as Chorus.

1

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.
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' the receiving earth :
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there ; jumping o'er times ;
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass; For the which supply,
Admit me chorus to this history.

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SCENE 1.

THE THRONE ROOM

IN THE PALACE AT WESTMINSTER,

Present, the Dukes of BedfordA and GlosterB, Exeter, Warwick, and

Westmoreland ; others in attendance.

Enter the King.C

K. IIen. Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury ?
Exe. Not here in presence.
K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege ?

K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin ; we would be resolv'd,
Before we hear him, of some things of weight
That task our thoughts, concerning us and France.

Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURYS and Bishop of Ely,"

with attendants.

Cant. God and his angels guard your sacred throne,
And make you long become it.
K. Hen.

Sure, we thank you
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed :
And justly and religiously unfold,

AJohn, Duke of Bedford, was the third son of King Henry IV., and his brother, Henry V., left to him the Regency of France. He died in the year 1435. This duke was accounted one of the best generals of the royal race of Plantaganet.

BHumphrey, Duke of Gloster, was the fourth son of King Henry IV., and on the death of his brother, Henry V., became Regent of England. It is generally supposed he was strangled. His death took place in the year 1446.

CHenry the V. of that name, and sone of Henry the IIII. began his reygne over this realme of Englande ye xxi day of the moneth of Marche. * * This man, before ye deth of his fader, applyed hym unto all vyce and insolency, and drewe unto hym all ryottours and wylde dysposed persones; but after he was admytted to the rule of the lande, anone and sodaynly he became a newe man, and tourned all that rage and wyldnes into sobernesse and wyse sadnesse, and the vyce into costant vertue.Fabyan.

He was Duke of Lancaster and Earl of Chester and Derby.-Tyler.

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Why the law Salique, that they have in France,
Or should, or should not, bar us in our claim.
And Heaven forbid, my dear and faithful lord,
That you should fashion, wrest, or bow your reading,
Or nicely charge your understanding soul
With opening titles miscreate, whose right
Suits not in native colours with the truth;
We charge you, in the name of Heaven, take heed :
For never two such kingdoms did contend
Without much fall of blood ; whose guiltless drops
Are every one a woe, a sore complaint,
'Gainst him whose wrongs give edge unto the swords
That make such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord :

Cant." Then hear me, gracious sovereign ; and you peers,
That owe yourselves, your lives, and services,
To this imperial throne :-There is no bar
To make against your highness' claim to France,
But this, which they produce from Pharamond,
“ In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant,"
“No woman shall succeed in Salique land ;
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
Yet their own authors faithfully affirm
That the land Salique is in Germany,
Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe :

K. Hen. May I, with right and conscience, make this claim?

Cant. The sin upon my head, dread sovereign !
For in the book of Numbers is it writ,-
When the son dies, let the inheritance

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1

DExeter was half brother to King Henry IV., being one of the sons
of John of Gaunt, by Catherine Swynforn.

EHenry Chichely, a Carthusian monk, recently promoted to the see
of Canterbury.
FJohn Fordham, consecrated 1388 ; died, 1426.

@The Law SALIQUE. — According to this law no woman was permitted
to govern or be a queen in her own right. The title was only allowed
to the wife of the monarch. This law was imp from Germany by
the warlike Franks.

H'The Archbishop's speech in this scene, explaining King Henry's
title to the crown of France, is closely copied from IIolinshed's chronicle,

pagr 545.

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Descend unto the daughter. Gracious lord,
Stand for your own ; unwind your bloody flag ;
Look back into your mighty ancestors :
Go, my dread lord, to your great grandsire's tomb,
From whom

you claim ; invoke his warlike spirit, And

your great-uncle's, Edward the Black Prince ;
Who on the French ground play'd a tragedy,
Making defeat on the full power of France ;
Whiles his most mighty father on a hill
Stood smiling, to behold his lion's whelp
Forage in blood of French nobility.

West. Awake remembrance of these valiant dead,
And with your puissant arm renew their feats :
You are their heir, you sit upon their throne;
The blood and courage, that renowned them,
Runs in your veins; and my thrice-puissant liege
Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.

Exe. Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth
Do all expect that you should rouse yourself,
As did the former lions of your blood.
West. They know your grace hath cause,

and
means,

and might : So hath your highness; never king of England Had nobles richer, and more loyal subjects; Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England, And lie pavilion'd in the fields of France.

K. Hen. Call in the messenger sent from the dauphin.

Exit Herald with Lords.

The King ascends his throne.

Now are we well resolv'd;4 and, by Heaven's help
And yours, the noble sinews of our power,

A“ About the middle of the year 1414, Henry V., influenced by the persuasions of Chichely, Archbishop of Canterbury, by the dying injunctions of his royal father, not to allow the kingdom to remain long at peace, or more probably by those feelings of ambition, which were no less natural to his age and character, than consonant with the manners of the time in which he lived, resolved to assert that claim to the crown of France which his great grandfather, King Edward the Third, had urged with such confidence and success."-Nicolas's History of the Battle of Agincourt.

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France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces : there we'll sit,
Ruling, in large and ample empery,
O'er France and all her almost kingly dukedoms,
Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
Tombless, with no remembrance over them.

Enter Ambassadors of France. Attendants carrying a

treasure chest.

Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin dauphin ; for, we hear,
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.

Amb. May't please your majesty to give us leave
Freely to render what we have in charge ;
Or shall we sparingly show you far off
The dauphin's meaning, and our embassy?

K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king;
Therefore, with frank and with uncurbed plainness
Tell us the dauphin's mind.
Amb.

Thus, then, in few.
Your highness, lately sending into France,
Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right
Of your great predecessor, King Edward the Third,
In answer of which claim, the prince our master
Says, that you savour too much of your youth ;
And bids you be advis'd, there's nought in France
That can be with a nimble galliard won :
You cannot revel into dukedoms there.
He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this,
Desires you, let the dukedoms that you claim
Hear no more of you. This the dauphin speaks.

K. Hen. What treasure, uncle ?
Exe. (Opening the chest). Tennis-balls, my liege.

BThe charge of this Ambassade was committed unto the Erle of
Vendosme to Mayster Bouratier, Archbyshop of Bourgues.
And the King, sitting under his cloth of Estate, the said Ambassador
had accesse unto him.-Stow.

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