Imagini ale paginilor

A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied;
And to the coffers of the king beside,

'Twould drink the cup and all.

A thousand pounds by the year: Thus runs the bill.
Ely. This would drink deep.
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 promis'd it not.
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortified in him,
Seem'd to die too: yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,

And whipp'd 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.


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,

9 Never came reformation in a flood,] Alluding to the method by which Hercules cleansed the famous stables, when he turned a river through them. Hercules still is in our author's head, when he mentions the Hydra. JOHNSON.

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 life2
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 companies3 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 obscur'd 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; And therefore we must needs admit the means, How things are perfected.


But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urg'd by the commons? Doth his majesty

The air, &c.] This line is exquisitely beautiful.

2 So that the art and practick part of life-] He discourses with so much skill on all subjects, that the art and practice of life must be the mistress or teacher of his theorick; that is, that his theory must have been taught by art and practice; which, says he, is strange, since he could see little of the true art or practice among his loose companions, nor ever retired to digest his practice into theory. Art is used by the author for practice, as distinguished from science or theory. JOHNSON.


companies] is here used for companions. It is used by other authors of Shakspeare's age in the same sense.

— popularity.] i. e. plebeian intercourse; an unusual sense of the word.


crescive in his faculty.] Increasing in its proper power.

Incline to it, or no?
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 open'd to his grace at large,
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 receiv'd, my lord? Cant. With good acceptance of his majesty; Save, that there was not time enough to hear (As, I perceiv'd, 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, Deriv'd from Edward, his great grandfather.

Ely. What was the impediment that broke this off?

Cant. The French ambassador, upon that instant, Crav'd 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.


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 his claims descend. Unhidden is open, clear. JOHNSON.

The same.


A Room of State in the same.



K. Hen. Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?

Exe. Not here in presence.

K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege?
K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin; we would be re-

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. 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"


-task-] Keep busied with scruples and laborious disqui


Or nicely charge your understanding soul-] Take heed, lest by nice and subtle sophistry you burthen your knowing soul, or

With opening titles miscreate, whose 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 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


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 wash'd
As pure as sin with baptism.

Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,—and

you peers,

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 nè succedant,
No woman shall succeed in Salique land:
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze,2
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
Yet their own authors faithfully affirm,

knowingly burthen your soul, with the guilt of advancing a false title, or of maintaining, by specious fallacies, a claim which, if shown in its native and true colours, would appear to be false. miscreate,] Ill-begotten, illegitimate, spurious.


in approbation-] i. e. in proving and supporting that title which shall be now set up.


gloze,] Expound, explain, and sometimes comment


« ÎnapoiContinuă »