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Henry V

Henry V Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY and the Bishop of ELY

CANTERBURY

My lord, I’ll tell you that self bill is urged Which in th' eleventh year of the last king’s reign Was like, and had indeed against us passed But that the scambling and unquiet time Did push it out of farther question.

CANTERBURY

My lord, they're suggesting the same bill again now that seemed likely to pass in the eleventh year of the last king's reign. It would have been passed, except that it was forgotten about in the trouble and confusion of that time.

ELY

But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?

ELY

What will we do? Should we resist it now?

CANTERBURY

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 honor, 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, A hundred almshouses right well supplied; And to the coffers of the King besides, A thousand pounds by th' year.” Thus runs the bill.

CANTERBURY

We have to think about this. If it passes we'll lose more than half of what we own because they will take from us all the land that religious men gave to the church in their wills. This is how much they would take: "Enough to maintain honorably fifteen earls, fifteen hundred knights, six thousand and two hundred gentlemen, and one hundred well supplied poorhouses to help sick people and old people who can't work. And a thousand pounds a year to the king." That's what the bill says.

ELY

This would drink deep.

ELY

That bill would drink up a lot of our money.

CANTERBURY

'Twould drink the cup and all.

CANTERBURY

It would drink the cup as well: we'd be left with nothing.

ELY

But what prevention?

ELY

What can we do to stop it?

CANTERBURY

The king is full of grace and fair regard.

CANTERBURY

The king is generous and polite.

ELY

And a true lover of the holy Church.

ELY

And a true supporter of the holy Church.

CANTERBURY

The courses of his youth promised it not. The breath no sooner left his father’s body But that his wildness, mortified in him, Seemed to die too. Yea, at that very moment Consideration like an angel came And whipped th' offending Adam out of him, Leaving his body as a paradise T' envelop and contain celestial spirits. Never was such a sudden scholar made, Never came reformation in a flood With such a heady currance scouring faults, Nor never Hydra-headed willfulness So soon did lose his seat, and all at once, As in this king.

CANTERBURY

You wouldn't have predicted that from how he acted when he was young. No sooner did his father die than it was as though his wildness froze and died too. At that very moment, thoughtfulness came to him like an angel and banished the sinful part of him, like Adam banished from Eden, so that his body was like a paradise where holy spirits lived. No one ever became a scholar more quickly, and no one ever repented as suddenly, scrubbing out bad qualities, and no one ever got rid of their monstrous stubbornness as fast and as completely as this king did.

ELY

We are blessèd in the change.

ELY

We're blessed that he changed in this way.

CANTERBURY

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 rendered you in music. 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 chartered libertine, is still, And the mute wonder lurketh in men’s ears To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences; So that the art and practic part of life Must be the mistress to this theoric; Which is a wonder how his Grace should glean it, Since his addiction was to courses vain, His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow, His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports, And never noted in him any study, Any retirement, any sequestration From open haunts and popularity.

CANTERBURY

Just listen to him talk about theology and, overwhelmed with admiration, you would wish the king could become a priest. Listen to him talk about politics and you'd think that was the only thing he'd ever studied. Listen to him talk about war, and it'll be like hearing a horrible battle turned into beautiful music. Get him to talk about his policies, and he'll make the most complicated problems seem simple. When he talks, he makes even the air itself, which is a well-known flirt, stand still, and men become amazed to hear his sweet and beautiful sentences. He must have spent a lot of time studying arts and practical applications of them to be able to speak this way. It's amazing that he's learned so many things, since he used to waste all his time with illiterate, rough, and shallow friends and spend his hours causing public disturbances, feasting, and playing games. I never saw him study anything or even spend time privately, away from public spaces filled with people.

ELY

The strawberry grows underneath the nettle, And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best Neighbored by fruit of baser quality; And so the Prince obscured his contemplation Under the veil of wildness, which, no doubt, Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night, Unseen yet crescive in his faculty.

ELY

Strawberries grow under nettles, and the healthiest berries grow and ripen best when they're next to a lower kind of fruit. The Prince hid his thoughts under a mask of wildness, and no doubt his learning was like summer grass in that it grew fastest at night, unseen but flourishing.

CANTERBURY

It must be so, for miracles are ceased, And therefore we must needs admit the means How things are perfected.

CANTERBURY

That must be true because there are no miracles anymore, so we have to think that there's a cause for things becoming perfect.

ELY

But, my good lord, How now for mitigation of this bill Urged by the Commons? Doth his Majesty Incline to it or no?

ELY

But, my lord, what will we do about this bill the House of Commons wants to pass? Does his Majesty agree with it or not?

CANTERBURY

He seems indifferent, Or rather swaying more upon our part Than cherishing th' exhibitors 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 opened 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.

CANTERBURY

He seems not to care, or maybe he's a little more on our side than the people presenting this bill against us. That's because I made an offer to his Majesty—in light of the issues surrounding France now at hand—to give him a larger amount of money than the church ever gave to any king before him.

ELY

How did this offer seem received, my lord?

ELY

How did he seem to feel about this offer, my lord?

CANTERBURY

With good acceptance of his Majesty— Save that there was not time enough to hear, As I perceived 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, Derived from Edward, his great-grandfather.

CANTERBURY

He seemed to want to accept it, except that there wasn't enough time to hear, as I saw he would have liked to do, about the details and clear proofs of his ownership of some dukedoms and especially of the crown and throne of France, which he inherited from Edward, his great-grandfather.

ELY

What was th' impediment that broke this off?

ELY

What was it that interrupted this?

CANTERBURY

The French ambassador upon that instant Craved audience. And the hour, I think, is come To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock?

CANTERBURY

At that moment the French ambassador wanted to see him. And I think the time has come to hear him. Is it four o'clock?

ELY

It is.

ELY

It is.

CANTERBURY

Then go we in to know his embassy, Which I could with a ready guess declare Before the Frenchman speak a word of it.

CANTERBURY

Then let's go in to hear his message, which I can easily guess before he says a word of it.

ELY

I’ll wait upon you, and I long to hear it.

ELY

I'll go with you, and am eager to hear it.

Exeunt

Henry v
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