A line-by-line translation

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

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CANTERBURY

'Twould drink the cup and all.

CANTERBURY

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ELY

But what prevention?

ELY

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CANTERBURY

The king is full of grace and fair regard.

CANTERBURY

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ELY

And a true lover of the holy Church.

ELY

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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

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ELY

We are blessèd in the change.

ELY

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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

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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

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CANTERBURY

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

CANTERBURY

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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

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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

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ELY

How did this offer seem received, my lord?

ELY

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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

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ELY

What was th' impediment that broke this off?

ELY

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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

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ELY

It is.

ELY

Lorem

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

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ELY

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

ELY

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Exeunt

Henry v
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