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Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies,
• And make imaginary puissance:] This shows that Shakspeare was fully sensible of the absurdity of showing battles on the theatre, which, indeed, is never done, but tragedy becomes farce. Nothing can be represented to the eye, but by something like it, and within a wooden 0 nothing very like a battle can be exhibited.
KING HENRY V.
SCENE I. London. An Ante-chamber in the
Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury,” and Bishop of
Ely. Cant. My lord, I'll tell you,--that self bill is
urg'd, 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, We lose the better half of our possession: For all the temporal lands, which men devout By testament have given to the church, Would they strip from us; being valued thus, As much as would maintain, to the king's honour, Full fifteen earls, and fifteen hundred knights ; Six thousand and two hundred good esquires; And, to relief of lazars, and weak age, Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
'- of Canterbury,] Henry Chicheley, a Carthusian monk, recently promoted to the see of Canterbury
8 — Ely.] John Fordham, consecrated 1388; died 1426.
e king is full of the holy chunis'd it not.
A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied;
Ely. This would drink deep.
'Twould drink the cup and all.
Cant. The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
Ely. We are blessed in the change.
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,
Ely. The strawberry grows underneath the nettle;
Cant. It must be so: for miracles are ceas'd ;
But, my good lord,
eso: for faculty s y night"
"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.
i- 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. part w
ut. Wir did this
Incline to it, or no?
He seems indifferent;
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
• 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.