Imágenes de páginas

The severals, and unhidden passages
Or his true titles to some certain Dukedoms,
And, generally, to the Crown of France
Deriv'd from Edward his great grandfather.

Ely. What was th' impediment, that broke this off?
Cant. The French Ambassador


that instant Cray'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 embassy :
Which I could with a ready guess declare,
Before the Frenchman speaks a word of it.
Ely. I'll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.



Opens to the Presence.



Enter King Henry, Gloucester, Bedford, Clarence,

Warwick, Westmorland, and Exeter. K. Henry.

HERE is my gracious lord of Can

terbury? Exe. Not here in presence. K. Henry. Send for him, good uncle. Weft. Shall we call in th' ambassador, my Liege? K. Henry. Not yet, my cousin; we would be re

foly'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.

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

K. Henry. Sure, we thank you.
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed ;
Anda juftly and religiously unfold,


[ocr errors]

Why the law Salike, 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 foul
With opening titles miscreate, whole 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 you'awake our fleeping 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 fore complaint,
'Gainst him, whose wrong gives edge unto the swords,
That make such walte in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord;
For we will trear, note, and believe in heart,
That what you speak is in your conscience washt,
As pure as fin with baptism.
Cant. Then hear me, gracious Sovereign, and you

That owe your lives, your faith, 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 fuccedant;
No Woman shall succeed in Salike land:
Which Salike 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 Salike lies in Germany,
Between the floods of Sala and of Elve :
Where Charles the great, having fubdu'd the Saxons,
There left behind and settled certain French:


[ocr errors]

Who, holding in disdain the German women,
For some dishonest manners of their life,
Establisht then this law: to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salike land :
Which Salike, as I said, 'twixt Elve and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany callid Meifen.
Thus doth it well appear, the Salike law
Was not devised for the realm of France;
Nor did the French possess the Salike land,
Until four hundred one and twenty years
After defunction of King Pharamond,
(Idly suppos'd, the founder of this law ;)
Who died within the

year cf our redemption
Four hundred twenty fix; and Charles the great,
Subdu'd 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 Childerick,
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 Lorain, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the great,
To fine his title with some shews of truth,
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught)
Convey'd himself as heir to th' lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis th' Emperor, which was the son
Of Charles the great. Also King Lewis the ninth,
Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience,
Wearing the Crown of France, 'till satisfy'd
That fair Queen Tabel, his grandmother,
Was lineal of the lady Ermengere,
Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Lorain:
By the which match the line of Charles the great
Was re-united to the Crown of France.


So that, as clear as is the summer's fun,
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim,
King Lewis his Possession, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female.
So do the Kings of France until this day:
Howbeit they would hold up this Salike law,
To bar your Highness claiming from the female ;
And rather chuse to hide them in a net,
* Than amply to imbare their crooked titles,
Usurpt from you and your progenitors.
K. Henry. May I with right and conscience make this

Cant. The fin upon my head, dread Sovereign!
For in the book of Numbers it is 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 grandfire's tomb,
From whom you claim; invoke his warlike spirit,
And your great uncle Edward the black Prince;
Who on the French ground play'd a Tragedy,
Making defeat on the full pow'r of France;
While his most mighty Father, on a hill,
Stood smiling, to behold his Lion's whelp
Forage in blood of French Nobility.
O noble English, that could entertain
With half their forces the full pow'r of France;
And let another half stand laughing by,
All out of work, and cold for action!

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

* Than openly to imbrace-] The two old Folios read, Than amply to imbarre. Hence it appears we should, read, Than amply to imbare, i, e. lay open, make naked, expose to view.


Is in the very May-morn of his youth,
Ripe for exploits and mighty enterprises.
Exe. Your brother Kings and Monarchs of the

Do all expect that you should rouze yourself;
As did the former Lions of your blood.
Weft. * They know, your Race had 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 field of France. + O let their bodies follow, my dear Liege, With blood and sword, and fire, to win your right.

Cant. 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. Henry. We must not only arm t'invade the French,
But lay down our proportions to defend
Against the Scot, who will make road upon us
With all advantages.

Cant. They of those Marches, gracious Sovereign, Shall be a wall fufficient to defend Our Inland from the pilfering borderers. K. Henry. We do not nean the coursing snatchers

only, But fear the main intendment of the Scot, Who hath been ftill a giddy neighbour to us :

* They know your Grace hath cause, and means, and might, So hath your Highness) We should read,

your Race had cause,which is carrying on the Sense of the concluding Words of Exeter.

As did the former Lions of your blood. meaning Edward III, and the Black Prince.

0, let their bodies follow, &c.] These two Lines, with a higl, Indecorum, are given to the Archbishop: but they belong to Wesimorland; and Centerbury begins,

In aid whereof, we of the Spiritualty, &c.


« AnteriorContinuar »