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O, 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 spirit, that hath dar'd, On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth So great an object: Can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O, the very casques, That did affright the air at Agincourt? O, pardon! since a crooked figure may Attest, in little place, a million; And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work: Suppose, within the girdle of these walls Are now confin’d two mighty monarchies, Whose high upreared and abutting fronts The perilous, narrow ocean parts asunder. Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts ; Into a thousand parts 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 :
Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and Bishop of Ely.
Cant. 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 pass'd, 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,
Ely. This would drink deep.
Cant. The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
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 render'd you in musick: Turn him to any cause of policy, The Gordian knot of it he will unloose, Familiar as his garter; 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 honeyed sentences; So that the art and practick part of life Must be the mistress to this theorick: Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it, Since his addiction was to courses vain : His companies unletter'd, rude, and shallow; His hours fill'd 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, Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality : And so the prince obscurd 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 ceas'd;