Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

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.

ACT І.

SCENE I. London. An Antechamber in the

King's Palace.

Enter the Archbishop

Canterbury, and Bishop

of Ely.

Canterbury. My lord, I'll tell you,—that self bill is

urged,
Which in the eleventh year o' the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us passed,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it 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,

| This first scene was added in the folio, together with the choruses and other amplifications. It appears from Hall and Holinshed, that the events passed at Leicester, where king Henry V. held a parliament in the second year of his reign. But the chorus at the beginning of the second act shows that the Poet intended to make London the place of his first scene.

2 “Canterbury and Ely." Henry Chicheley, a Carthusian monk, re. cently promoted to the see of Canterbury John Fordham, bishop of Ely consecrated 1388, died 1426.

As much as would maintain, to the king's honor,
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 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 promised it not'
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Seemed to die too;' yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,
And whipped 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;
Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady current, scouring faults;
Nor never hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king
Ely.

We are blessed in 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 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 rendered you in music :
Turn him to any cause of policy,

1. The same thought occurs in the preceding play, where king Henry V. says: “My father is gone wild into his

grave, For in his tomb lie my affections."

The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears,
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences ;
So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to his theoric;
Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain ;
His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow ;
His hours filled 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,
Neighbored by fruit of baser quality.
And so the prince obscured his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive ? in his faculty.

Cant. It must be so; for miracles are ceased;
And therefore we must needs admit the means,
How things are perfected.
Ely.

But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urged by the commons ? Doth his majesty
Incline to it, or no ?
Cant.

He seems indifferent ;
Or, rather, swaying more upon our part,
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 opened to his grace at large,

1 He discourses with so much skill on all subjects, “ that his theory must have been taught by art and practice.Practic and theoric, or rather practique and theorique, was the old orthography of practice and theory.

2 This expressive word is used by Drant, in his Translation of Horace's Art of Poetry, 1567.

1

Ely.

Enter KING HENRY, GlosTER, BEDFORD, EXETER,
concealed circumstances of his true titles, &c.
Beaufort, half brother to king Henry IV., being one of the sons of John
of Gaunt by Katharine Swynford. He was not made duke of Exeter till
Holland, duke of Exeter, who married Elizabeth, the king's aunt. He was
executed at Plashey, in 1400. The old play began with the next speech

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 received, my lord ?

Cant. With good acceptance of his majesty ;
Save, that there was not time enough to hear
(As, I perceived, 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,
Derived from Edward his great grandfather.

Ely. What was the impediment that broke this off?

Cant. The French ambassador upon that instant
Craved audience; and the hour I think is come,
To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock ?

It is.
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.

[Exeunt. SCENE II. The same. A Room of State in the

WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and Attendants.
K. Hen. Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?
Exe. Not here in presence.
R. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.?
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege?
K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin; we would be resolved,
“The severals and unhidden passages." The particulars and clear, un-
Send for him, good uncle.” The person here addressed was Thomas

, only arl of Dorset. Shakspeare may have confounded this character with Sohn VOL. IV.

16

same.

1

2

the year

Before we hear him, of some things of weight,
That task our thoughts, concerning us and France.

[ocr errors]

Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of

Ely.
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, 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 titles miscreate,' whose right
Suits not in native colors 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 you awake the 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 ;
And we will hear, note, and believe in heart,
That what you speak is in your conscience washed
As

pure as sin with baptism.
Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,—and you

peers,
That owe your lives, your faith, and services,

1 Or burden your knowing or conscious soul with displaying false titles in a specious manner or opening pretensions, which, if shown in their native colors, would appear to be false.

« PředchozíPokračovat »