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Than cherishing the 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 ?
CANT. 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 titles to some certain dukedoms,
And, generally, to the crown and seat of France,
Deriv'd from Edward, his great-grandfather.
ELY. What was the impediment that broke this off?
CANT. The French ambassador, upon that instant,
Crav'd audience:-and the hour, I think, is come,
To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock ?
CANT. Then go we in, to know his embassy,
Which I could with a ready guess declare,
Before the Frenchman speak a word of it.
Ely. I'll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.
SCENE II.—The same. A Room of State in the same. Enter KING HENRY, GLOUCESTER, BEDFORD, EXETER, WARWICK,
WESTMORELAND, and Attendants.
K. HEN. 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 ?b
K. HEN. Not yet, my cousin ; we would be resolvid,
Before we hear him, of some things of weight,
That ask our thoughts, concerning us and France.
Enter the ARCHBISHOP of CANTERBURY, and the BISHOP of ELY.
CANT. God and his angels guard your sacred throne,
And make you long become it !
Sure, we thank you.
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed,
And justly and religiously unfold,
Why the law Salique, that they have in France,
Or should, or should not, bar us in our claim.
• 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
In the quartos the play begins with this speech.
And God 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;
For God doth know, how many, now in health,
Shall drop their blood in approbation
Of what your reverence shall incite us to :
Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
How awake our sleeping sword of war;
We charge you in the name of God, 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:
For we will hear, note, and believe in heart,
That what you speak is in your conscience wash'd
As pure as sin with baptism.
CANT. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,-and you peers, (1)
That owe your lives, your faith, and services, a
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 nè succedant,
No woman shall succeed in Salique land:
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze b
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:
Where Charles the great, having subdued the Saxons,
There left behind and settled certain French;
Who, holding in disdain the German women,
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Establish'd then this law,—to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salique land;
Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day, in Germany callid Meisen.
Then doth it well appear, the Salique law
Was not devised for the realm of France;
Nor did the French possess the Salique land
Until four hundred one and twenty years
After defunction of king Pharamond,
Idly suppos’d the founder of this law;
• That orce your lives, your faith, and services,–] The folio reading is your selves, your lives,” &c.
Glozé—] That is, misinterpret, put a false construction on; and not, we believe, as the commentators say, expound, or explain.
Who died within the year of our redemption
Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the great
Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French
Beyond the river Sala, in the year
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,
King Pepin, which deposed Childeric,
Did, as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was daughter to king Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also,—who usurp'd the crown
Of Charles the duke of Lorraine, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the great,-
To fine a his title with some show* of truth,
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,)
Convey'db himself as heir to the lady Lingare, (2)
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis the emperor, and Lewis the son
Of Charles the great. Also king Lewis the tenth,
Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied
That fair queen Isabel, his grandmother,
Was lineal of the lady Ermengare,
Daughter to Charles, the foresaid duke of Lorraine :
By the which marriage, the line of Charles the great
Was re-united to the crown of France.
So that, as clear as is the summer's sun,
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim,
King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female:
So do the kings of France unto this day;
Howbeit they would hold up this Salique law,
To bar your highness claiming from the female,
And rather choose to hide them in a net,
Than amply to imbared their crooked titles
Usurp'd from you and your progenitors. .
K. HEN. May I with right and conscience make this claim ?
Cant. The sin upon my head, dread sovereign !
(*) First folio, shewes. • To fine his tille—] The first folio reads, “To find," &c. To fine his title 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.
o 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 convey'd, in this passage, is rendered plainly by Bishop Cooper :-"Conjicere se in familiam; to convey himself to be of some noble family."
For in the Book of Numbers is it writ,-
When the son* dies, let the inheritance
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.(3)
O noble English, that could entertain
With half their forces the full pride of France,
And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work, and cold for action !a
ELY. 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 enterprizes.
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; b 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.
CANT. 0, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With blood † and sword and fire to win your right:
In aid whereof, we of the spiritualty
Will raise your highness such a mighty sum,
As never did the clergy at one time,
Bring in to any of your ancestors.
K. HEN. We must not only arm to invade the French;
But lay down our proportions to defend
Against the Scot, who will make road upon us
With all advantages.
(*) First folio, man.
(+) Old copy, bloods. And cold for action!] That is, for want of action.
They know your grace hath cause and means and might ;
So hath your highness ;] So, tautologically, reads the passage in the folio, 1623, where alone it appears. We should, perhaps, transpose the words grace and cause, reading :
“ They know your cause hath grace and means and might;
So hath your highness;' or, retaining their original sequence, substitute haste for hath in the second line;
“So haste, your highness."
CANT. They of those marches, gracious sovereign,
Shall be a wall sufficient to defend
Our inland from the pilfering borderers.
K. HEN. We do not mean the coursing snatchers only,
But fear the main intendment of the Scot,
Who hath been still a giddy neighbour to us;
For you shall read, that my great-grandfather
Never went with his forces into France,
But that the Scot on his unfurnish'd kingdom
Jame pouring, like the tide into a breach,
With ample and brim fulness of his force;
Galling the gleaned land with hot assays;
Girding with grievous siege castles and towns;
That England, being empty of defence,
Hath shook, and trembled at the ill neighbourhood.a
CANT. She hath been then more feard than harm’d, my liege:
For hear her but exampled by herself,-
When all her chivalry hath been in France,
And she a mourning widow of her nobles,
She hath herself not only well defended,
But taken, and impounded as a stray,
The king of Scots; whom she did send to France,
To fill king Edward's fame with prisoner kings;
And make your chronicle as rich with praise,
As is the ooze and bottom of the sea
With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries.
WEST. But there's a saying, very old and true,-
If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin:
For once the eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs;
Playing the mouse, in absence of the cat,
To spoil* and havoc more than she can eat.
Exe. It follows then, the cat must stay at home?
Yet that is but a crush'do necessity,
(*) First folio, tame. • At the ill neighbourhood.] The quartos have,
“Hath shook and trembled at the bruit hereof;"which we much prefer. b And make your chronicle-] The quartos read, -
your chronicles," &c.;the folio:
their chronicle,” &c. As Johnson suggested, we ought, probably, to substitute,
- her chronicle." c Yet that is but a crush'd necessity,–] Thus the folio. The quartos have, “a curs'd necessity;” neither affords a perspicuous meaning. Mason proposed to read,
“ Yet that is not a curs'd necessity.” Warburton, "a’scus'd necessity.” Capell," a crude necessity.”