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ACT I.

SCENE I. - London. An Ante-chamber in the King's Palace.

Enter the ? ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY and 3 BISHOP OF ELY. Cant. My lord, I'll tell you,—that self bill is urg'd, Which, in the 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 5 out of further question.

Ely. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?

Cant. 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 valued 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, 8 to relief of lazars, and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred almshouses, right well supplied ;

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i London.-According to Holinshed the business of this Scene was

transacted at Leicester, where King Henry V. held a Parliament in the second year of his reign. But the Chorus, at the beginning of Act II., shows that the author intended to make

London the place of the first Scene. Archbishop of Canterbury.- This was Henry Chicheley, raised to

the see 1414, died 1443. 3 Bishop of Ely.-John Fordham, consecrated 1388, died 1426. Scambling and unquiet time.-A disorderly time, in which

authority is set at nought. Scambling is a word much used by

old authors, the same meaning as scrambling. 5 Out of further question.-Of further debate. Our possession. --Thus the old copies ; the folio of 1632 alters it

to possessions. 7 Men devout.-The transposition of the adjective is common, es

pecially in the case of some words derived from the French. To relief of lazars.The was frequently omitted before a noun

already defined by another noun, especially in prepositional phrases. (See Abbott, 89.)

And to the coffers of the king beside
1 A thousand pounds by the year : Thus runs the bill.

Ely. This would drink deep.
Cant.

'Twould drink the cup and all.
Ely. But what prevention?
Cant. The king is full of grace and fair regard.
Ely. And a true lover of the holy church.
Cant. 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 the ? offending Adam out of him ;
Leaving his body as a paradise,
To envelop and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made :
3 Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady "currance, scouring faults ;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, 5 and all at once,
As in this king.
Ely. We are blessed

the change.
Cant. Hear him but reason in divinity,
And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire the king were made a prelate :
Hear him 6 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 render'd you in music :
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,

1 A thousand pounds by the year.-Hall, who was one of Shake.

speare's authorities in this play, says, 'And the kyng to have

clerely in his cofers twentie thousand pounds.' 2 The offending Adam.-One of Shakespeare's ideas taken from

Scripture. 8 Never came reformation in a flood, etc.-An allusion to this

method by which Hercules cleansed the famous stables, when

he turned a river through them. * Currance.-The reading of the old copy, corrected in the second, folio. A running stream, a course.

French courance. 6 And all at once. -A trite phrase in the time of Shakespeare Compare : 'Does love turn fool, run mad, and all at once ?

Middleton's · Changeling.' 6 Debate.-Controvert, dispute. French debatre. Compare : H

could not debate anything without some commotion, even wher the argument was not of moment.'- Clarendon.

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Familiar as his garter'; 1 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 practick part of life
Must be the mistress to this a theoric :
Which is a wonder, 3 how his grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain :
4 His companies unletter'd, rude, and shallow;
His hours filld up with riots, banquets, sports ;
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any 5 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 8 crescive in his faculty.

Cant. 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 ?
Cant.

He seems indifferent : Or, rather, 9swaying more upon our part, 1 That, when he speaks.-So before that is frequently omitted, probably from the desire of brevity. Compare :

That we but teach.'- Macbeth. 2 Theoric.-Speculation, not practice. Compare :

The bookish theoric
Wherein the toga'd consuls can propose

As masterly as he.'--Othello. 133 How his grace should glean it. For explanation of this idiom,

see Abbott, 414.." 4 His companies. His companions. 5 Sequestration.-Separation, retirement. Compare :

“There must be leisure, retirement, solitude, and a sequestra.

tion of a man's self from the noise of the world.'-South. 6. Popularity.--Plebeian intercourse.

7 The strawberry grows, etc.—The wild fruit found in the woods. Hos Crescive.-Increasing, growing. Latin cresco. Swaying more upon our part.-Inclining. Compare :

Now, sways it this way, like a mighty sea,
Now sways it that way.'--Řing Henry VI., Part 3.

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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 3 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 ?
Ely.

It is.
Cant. Then go we in, to know his 5 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.

[E.rcunt.

:

SCENE II.-The same. A Room of State in the same. Enter KING HENRY, GLOSTER, 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.

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Withal.—The emphatic form of with, and is used for with after

the object at the end of a sentence. ? The severals. This plural noun has the force of our modern

details. 3 Unhidden passages. -Open, clear titles, the lines of succession by

which his claims descend. 4 Impediment.-Hindrance, opposition. Latin impedimentum. 6 Embassy.—.1 message concerning business between princes, the

message brought by an ambassador, or embassador. 6 Good uncle.--This was Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Dorset, who was

balf-brother to King Henry IV., being one of the sons of John of Gaunt by Catherine Swyuford, Shakespeare is rather too

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West. 1 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 CANTERBURY and BISHOP OF ELY.

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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,
Why the law Salique, that they have in France,
Or should, or should not, 2 bar us in our claim.
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 3 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 4 in approbation
Of what your reverence shall incite us to :
Therefore take heed how you 5 impawn our person,
How you 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,

early in giving him the title of Exeter; for when Harfleur was
taken, and he was appointed governor of the town, he was
Earl of Dorset. He was created Duke of Exeter the year after
the battle of Agincourt, Nov. 14, 1416. Some commentators
suppose that Shakespeare confounded this nobleman with John
Holland, Duke of Exeter, who was married to Elizabeth, the

king's aunt, but he was executed at Plashey in 1400. i Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege ?-In the quartos of

1600, 1602, and 1608, the play begins with this speech, but they all assign the line Exeter, and give it thus :

Shall I call in the ambassador, my liege ? * Bar us in our claim.-Exclude us. Compare :

• It was thought sufficient not only to exclude them from that

benefit, but, to bar them from their money.'-Clarendon,
3 Titles miscreate.—Titles that are spurious.
* In approbation.-In probation or proof. Latin approbatio.
* Impawn.-Give as a pledge. Compare :

Go to the king, and let there be impawn'd
Some surety for a safe return again.'--Henry IV.

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