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Is at this day in Germany call'd-Meisen.
Thus 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 supposed the founder of this law;
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 Childerick,
Did, as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was the daughter to Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also, that 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 show of truth
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught),
Convey'd himself as heir to the lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis the emperor, and Lewis
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 Lorain:
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
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 imbare‡ 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!
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 unto 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.
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!
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 enterprises.
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
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 fields of France.
Cant. O, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With blood, and sword, and fire, to win your right
In aid whereof, we of the spirituality
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.
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 intendmentt 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
Came pouring, like the tide unto a breach,
With ample and brim fulness of his force;
Galling the gleaned land with hot essays;
Girding with grievous siege castles and towns;
*The borders of England and Scotland.
That England, being empty of defence,
Hath shook, and trembled at the ill neighbourhood.
Cant. She hath been then more fear'd* 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 cursed necessity;
Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries,
And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,
The advised head defends itself at home:
For government, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into parts, doth keep in one concent;†
Congruing in a full and natural close,
Cant. True: therefore doth heaven divide
The state of man in divers functions,
Setting endeavour in continual motion;
To which is fixed, as an aim or butt,
Obedience: for so work the honey bees;
Creatures, that, by a rule in nature, teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king, and officers of sorts:
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home;
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad;
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor:
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold;
The civil§ citizens kneading up the honey;
The poor mechanic porters crowding in
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate;
As many several ways meet in one town;
As many fresh streams run in one self sea;
As many lines close in the dial's centre;
So many a thousand actions, once afoot,
End in one purpose, and be all well borne
Without defeat. Therefore to France, my liege.
Divide your happy England into four;
Whereof take you one quarter into France,
And you withal shall make all Gallia shake,
If we, with thrice that power left at home,
Cannot defend our own door from the dog,
Let us be worried; and our nation lose
The name of hardiness, and policy.
K. Hen. Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.
[Exit an Attendant. The KING ascends his Throne.
Now are we well resolved: and,-by God's help;
And yours, the noble sinews of our power,-
France being ours, we'll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces: Or there we'll sit,
Ruling, in large and ample empery,t
O'er France, and all her almost kingly dukedoms;
Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
Tombless, with no remembrance over them:
Either our history shall, with full mouth,
Speak freely of our acts; or else our grave,
Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
Not worship'd with a waxen epitaph.
Enter AMBASSADORS of France.
Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for, we hear,
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.
Amb. May it please your majesty, to give us leave
Freely to render what we have in charge;
Or shall we sparingly show you far off
The Dauphin's meaning, and our embassy?
K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king
Unto whose grace our passion is as subject
As are our wretches fetter'd in our prisons:
Therefore, with frank and with uncurbed plainness,
Tell us the Dauphin's mind.
Amb. Thus, then in few.
Your highness, lately sending into France,
Did claim some certain dukedoms, in the right
Of your great predecessor, king Edward the third.
In answer of which claim, the prince our master
Says, that you savour too much of your youth;
And bids you be advised, there's nought in France,
That can be with a nimble galliard* won;
You cannot revel into dukedoms there :
He therefore sends you, meeter for your spirit,
This tun of treasure; and, in lieu of this,
Desires you, let the dukedoms, that you claim,
Hear no more of you. This the Dauphin speaks.
K. Hen. What treasure, uncle?
Exe. Tennis-balls, my liege.
K. Hen. We are glad, the Dauphin is so pleasant with us;
His present, and your pains, we thank you for:
When we have match'd our rackets to these balls,
We will, in France, by God's grace, play a set,
Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard:†
Tell him, he hath made a match with such a wrangler,
That all the courts of France will be disturb'd
With chaces. And we understand him well,
How he comes o'er us with our wilder days,
Not measuring what use we made of them.
We never valued this poor seat of England;
And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence; As 'tís ever common,
That men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the Dauphin,-I will keep my state;
Be like a king, and show my sail of greatness,
When I do rouse me in my throne of France:
For that I have laid by my majesty,
And plodded like a man for working days;
But I will rise there with so full a glory,
That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell the pleasant prince,-this mock of his
Hath turn'd his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
And some are yet ungotten, and unborn,
That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin's scorn.
But this lies all within the will of God,
To whom I do appeal; And in whose name,
Tell you the Dauphin, I am coming on,
To venge me as I may, and to put forth
My rightful hand in a well-hallow'd cause.
So, get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin,
* A dance.
+ A place in the tennis-court into which the ball is sometimes struck. At tennis, the spot where a ball falls, beyond which the adversary must strike his ball to gain a point.