Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 into 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.

Exi. 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 [might :-
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. 0, let their bodies follow, my dear liege,
With blood, and sword, and fire, to win your right:
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, 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.

[ocr errors]

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 intendment 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 into a breach,
With ample and brim fulness of his force;
Galling the gleaned land with hot essays,
Girding with grievous siege castles and towns;
That England, being empty of defence,
Hath shook and trembled at th’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 havock more than she can eat.

Exe. It follows, then, the cat must stay at home:
Yet that is but a crush'd necessity,
Since we have locks to safeguard necessaries,
And pretty traps to catch the petty thieves.
While that the armed hand doth fight abroad,
Th' advised head defends itself at home;
For government, though high, and low, and lower,
Put into parts, doth keep in one concent,
Congreeing in a full and natural close,
Like music

Cant.

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 ;
The sad-ey'd justice, with his surly hum,
Deliv'ring o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone. I this infer,-
That many things, having full reference
To one concent, may work contrariously :
As many arrows, loosèd several ways,
Fly to one mark; as many ways meet in one town;
As many fresh streams meet in one salt sea;
As many lines close in the dial's centre ;
So may 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 such powers left at home,
Cannot defend our own doors 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
Now are we well resolvd; 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,
VOL. II.

2 K

Ruling in large and ample empery,
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 worshipp'd with a waxen epitaph.

Enier Embassadors of France.
Now are we well prepard to know the pleasure
Of our fair cousin Dauphin ; for we hear
Your greeting is from him, not from the king.

i Emb. May't 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 uncurbèd plainness
Tell us the Dauphin's mind.
I Emb.

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 advis'd, there's naught 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 chases. 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 valu'd this poor seat of England;
And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence; as 'tis 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,
His jest will savour but of shallow wit,
When thousands weep, more than did laugh at it.-
Convey them with safe conduct.—Fare you

well.

[Exeunt Embassadors. Exe. This was a merry message.

K. Hen. We hope to make the sender blush at it.
Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour,
That may give fartherance to our expedition ;
For we have now no thought in us but France,
Save those to God, that run before our business.
Therefore, let our proportions for these wars
Be soon collected, and all things thought upon,

with reasonable swiftness add
More feathers to our wings; for, God before,
We'll chide this Dauphin at his father's door.

That may

« PreviousContinue »