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King HENRY THE FIFTH.
Conspirators against the King.
King HENRY's Army.
CHARLES THE SIXTz, King of France.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, English and French Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants.
The Action at the beginning takes place in ENGLAND, but afterwards, wholly in FRANCE.
0, 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 havet dar'd, On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth So great an object. Can this cock-pit hold The vasty fields of France ? or may we cram, Within this wooden O, the very casques, That did affright the air at Agincourt ? 0, pardon ! since a crooked figure may Attest, in little place, a million ; And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
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; Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray, Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
a The very casques,-) The mere helmets.
Cant. My lord, I'll tell you—that self bill is
Which in the eleventh year o' the 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.
'Twould 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. Ely.
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, a 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 11," Act III. Sc. 5, where it again occurs,
-Who might be your mother?
Over the wretched ?"-
and rail at once."
It is frequently met with in the old writers. Thus, in “The
"She wept, she cride, she sob'd, and all at once." And in Middleton's "Changeling," Act IV. Sc. 3:-
“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 bis claims descend. Unhidden is open, clear."-JOHNSON,
SCENE II.—The same. A Room of State in
Enter King HENRY, GLOUCESTER, BEDFORD,
EXETER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and
K. HEN. Where is my gracious lord of Canter
bury? Exe. Not here in presence. K. HEN. Send for him, good uncle. West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my
Cant. God and his angels guard your sacred
throne, And make you long become it! K. HEN.
Sure, we thank you.
a In the quartos the play begins with this speech.