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Henry V

Henry V Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Enter KING HENRY, GLOUCESTER, BEDFORD, EXETER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and attendants

KING HENRY

Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?

KING HENRY

Where is the lord of Canterbury?

EXETER

Not here in presence.

EXETER

Not here in the throne room.

KING HENRY

Send for him, good uncle.

KING HENRY

Send for him, dear uncle.

WESTMORELAND

Shall we call in th' ambassador, my liege?

WESTMORELAND

Should we call in the ambassador, your Highness?

KING HENRY

Not yet, my cousin. We would be resolved,Before we hear him, of some things of weightThat task our thoughts concerning us and France.

KING HENRY

Not yet, cousin. We should make a decision before we hear from him about some important things I have been thinking about concerning us and France.

Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY and the Bishop of ELY

CANTERBURY

God and his angels guard your sacred throneAnd make you long become it.

CANTERBURY

May God and his angels guard your holy throne and keep you on it for a long time.

KING HENRY

Sure we thank you. My learnèd lord, we pray you to proceed And justly and religiously unfold Why the law Salic 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 With opening titles miscreate, whose right Suits not in native colors 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 our 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 wrong gives edge unto the swords That make such waste in brief mortality. Under this conjuration, speak, my lord, For we will hear, note, and believe in heart That what you speak is in your conscience washed As pure as sin with baptism.

KING HENRY

Thank you. Wise lord, please tell us truly and religiously why the Salic law that they have in France either does or does not stand in the way of my claim to the throne. And God forbid, dear and faithful nobleman, that you twist your interpretation out of shape or make up minor distinctions that don't lead to the truth. Because God knows how many healthy people will shed their life's blood for this business of yours. So be careful about what you put me under the obligation of doing and about encouraging us to go to war when we are now at peace. In the name of God, I'm ordering you to be careful, because two such kingdoms as England and France never fought without a lot of bloodshed. Each innocent drop of blood is a tragedy, and each one is a terrible blame to the person who begins the fight that takes so many lives, when life is so short already. Now that I've said this, speak, my lord. I will hear, pay attention to, and believe completely that you say the things you do with a conscience as innocent as a baby's that has just been baptized.

CANTERBURY

Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers That owe yourselves, your lives, 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 ne succedant” (No woman shall succeed in Salic land), Which Salic land the French unjustly gloze To be the realm of France, and Pharamond The founder of this law and female bar. Yet their own authors faithfully affirm That the land Salic is in Germany, Between the floods of Sala and of Elbe, Where Charles the Great, having subdued the Saxons, There left behind and settled certain French, Who, holding in disdain the German women For some dishonest manners of their life, Established then this law: to wit, no female Should be inheritrix in Salic land, Which “Salic,” as I said, ’twixt Elbe and Sala Is at this day in Germany called Meissen. Then doth it well appear the Salic law Was not devisèd for the realm of France, Nor did the French possess the Salic land Until four hundred one and twenty years After defunction of King Pharamond, Idly supposed the founder of this law; Who died within the year of our redemption Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great Subdued the Saxons and did seat the French Beyond the river Sala in the year Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say, King Pepin, which deposèd Childeric, Did, as heir general, being descended Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair, Make claim and title to the crown of France. Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown Of Charles the duke of Lorraine, sole heir male Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great, To find his title with some shows of truth, Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught, Conveyed himself as th' heir to th' Lady Lingare, Daughter to Charlemagne, who was the son To Lewis the Emperor, and Lewis the son Of Charles the Great. Also King Lewis the Tenth, Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet, Could not keep quiet in his conscience, Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied That fair Queen Isabel, his grandmother, Was lineal of the Lady Ermengare, Daughter to Charles the foresaid duke of Lorraine, By the which marriage the line of Charles the Great Was reunited to the crown of France. So that, as clear as is the summer’s sun, King Pepin’s title and Hugh Capet’s claim, King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear To hold in right and title of the female. So do the kings of France unto this day, Howbeit they would hold up this Salic law To bar your Highness claiming from the female And rather choose to hide them in a net Than amply to imbar their crooked titles Usurped from you and your progenitors.

CANTERBURY

Then listen to me, kind king, and you lords who owe your lives and duties to his power. There is nothing standing in the way of your Highness's claim to France except this, which they found in the writings of Pharamond: “In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant” (no woman will inherit anything in the Salic land). Wrongly, the French say that the Salic land is the country of France, and that Pharamond is the inventor of this law keeping women from inheriting. But their scholars write truthfully that the Salic land is in Germany, between the rivers Sala and Elbe, where Charles the Great defeated the Saxons and left some French men there to settle the land. They, looking down on the German women because of their dirty way of life, made this law then: that no woman should inherit anything in the Salic land. As I said, the "Salic land" is in Germany between the Elbe and Sala and is now called Meissen. So it's clear that the Salic law was not made for the country of France. The French didn't even own the Salic land until four hundred and twenty-one years after King Pharamond's death, who was wrongly thought to be the inventor of this law. He died in the year 426 AD and Charles the Great defeated the Saxons and settled the French beyond the river Sala in the year 805. Besides, their writers say that King Pepin, who took the throne from Childeric, was descended from Blithild, King Clothair's daughter, and laid claim to the crown of France. Hugh Capet also, who took the crown from Charles the duke of Lorraine, the only male heir descended from Charles the Great, claimed to be the heir of the Lady Lingare, daughter of Charlemagne, who was the son of Emperor Lewis, who was the son of Charles the Great. He said this so he would seem to have a claim to the title of king, but he actually invented this and it was worth nothing as proof. Also King Lewis the Tenth, who was the only heir to the greedy Capet, felt uneasy wearing the crown of France until he made sure that beautiful Queen Isabel, his grandmother, was descended from the Lady Ermengare, daughter of the aforementioned Charles duke of Lorraine. By their marriage the family of Charles the Great got the crown of France back. So it's as clear as the sun on a summer day that King Pepin's, Hugh Capet's, and King Lewis's claims to the throne all depend on inheriting it from a woman. And that's what the kings of France do to this day, although they hold up this Salic law to keep you from making a claim based on inheriting from a woman, your Highness. They're hiding the truth to protect the power that they stole from you and your ancestors.

KING HENRY

May I with right and conscience make this claim?

KING HENRY

Is it right for me to make this claim, and can I do it in good conscience?

CANTERBURY

The sin upon my head, dread sovereign, For in the Book of Numbers is it writ: “When the man 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 played 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!

CANTERBURY

May I be punished instead of you, your highness, if not. It's written in the Book of Numbers in the Bible: "When a man dies, his daughter should inherit his estate." Kind king, stand up for what's yours, take out your blood-covered battle-flag, think back to your powerful ancestors. Go, powerful king, to your great-grandfather's tomb, from whom you inherited the throne. Pray to his war-like ghost and that of your great-uncle, Edward the Black Prince, who performed a tragedy on French soil and defeated the entire army of France while his strong father stood on a hill smiling to see his lion cub shed the blood of French nobles. Oh noble Englishmen, who could fight with half their army the whole army of France and let the other half stand by laughing, with no work to do!

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 renownèd 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.

ELY

Remember these brave dead men and do the same things they did yourself. You are their heir, you sit on their throne, and the blood and courage that made them famous runs in your veins. My extremely powerful king is a young man ready for adventures and great deeds.

EXETER

Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth Do all expect that you should rouse yourself As did the former lions of your blood.

EXETER

Your fellow kings all expect you to get ready to fight like your relatives the former lion-like kings.

WESTMORELAND

They know your Grace hath cause and means and might; So hath your Highness. Never king of England Had nobles richer, and more loyal subjects, Whose hearts have left their bodies here in England And lie pavilioned in the fields of France.

WESTMORELAND

They know you have a cause, resources, and power to fight. And you do. No king of England ever had richer nobles and more loyal subjects. It's as if your subjects' hearts have already left their bodies here in England and are now attacking France.

CANTERBURY

Oh, 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.

CANTERBURY

Let their bodies follow, my dear king, to fight for your rights with blood and sword and fire. We in the church will raise such a huge sum to help you, your Highness—larger than any the church ever brought to one of your ancestors at once.

KING HENRY

We must not only arm t' invade the French, But lay down our proportions to defend Against the Scot, who will make road upon us With all advantages.

KING HENRY

We must not only prepare to attack the French but make plans to defend ourselves against the Scots, who will invade us and have the advantage. 

CANTERBURY

They of those marches, gracious sovereign, Shall be a wall sufficient to defend Our inland from the pilfering borderers.

CANTERBURY

Those who live in the zones along the border, good king, will be a sufficient wall to defend the inside of our country from the thieving people on the border.

KING HENRY

We do not mean the coursing snatchers only, But fear the main intendment of the Scot, Who hath been still a giddy neighbor to us. For you shall read that my great-grandfather Never went with his forces into France But that the Scot on his unfurnished kingdom Came pouring like the tide into a breach With ample and brim fullness of his force, Galling the gleanèd land with hot assays, Girding with grievous siege castles and towns, That England, being empty of defense, Hath shook and trembled at th' ill neighborhood.

KING HENRY

I don't just mean the thieves who attack randomly but the main army of the Scots, who have always been an unpredictable neighbor to us. You can read in books that my great-grandfather never took his army into France without the Scots pouring into his defenseless kingdom, as the ocean's tide rushes in to fill a gap, with their full force. They attacked and looted, attacking towns and castles, so that England, with no one to defend it, shook with fear at these terrible neighbors.

CANTERBURY

She hath been then more feared than harmed, 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 her chronicle as rich with praise As is the ooze and bottom of the sea With sunken wrack and sumless treasuries.

CANTERBURY

England was more afraid than hurt, my king. Just listen to what England did in the past when all the soldiers were in France and the country was like a widow mourning her noblemen: she not only defended herself well but captured and locked up the king of Scots like a stray dog. She sent him to France to make King Edward famous for holding kings captive, so that historians would cover England in as much praise as the ooze at the bottom of the sea is covered in shipwrecks and priceless treasures.

ELY

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 ’tame and havoc more than she can eat.

ELY

But there's a very old and true saying: "If you want to win France, begin with Scotland." Because when the eagle England is hunting for prey, the weasel Scot comes sneaking to her nest and eats her royal eggs, like a mouse when the cat is gone that destroys what it can't eat.

EXETER

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

EXETER

So it would follow that the cat must stay home. But that's a hasty conclusion, since we have locks to keep provisions safe and pretty traps to catch small thieves. While the armed hand fights abroad, the wise head defends itself at home. Even though a society has high and low and even lower parts, when they work together they work naturally in complete harmony, like in music.

CANTERBURY

Therefore doth heaven divide The state of man in diverse functions, Setting endeavor in continual motion, To which is fixèd as an aim or butt Obedience; for so work the honeybees, 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 armèd 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-eyed justice with his surly hum Delivering o'er to executors pale The lazy yawning drone. I this infer: That many things, having full reference To one consent, may work contrariously, As many arrows loosèd several ways Come 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 center, 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.

CANTERBURY

That's why God divides men into different groups that work continually and whose goal is obedience. That's how bees work, animals who serve as examples of good order to the people in a kingdom. They have a king and professions of a kind. Some like judges impose the law at home, others like merchants go abroad to trade, others like soldiers armed with stings loot the soft summer flowers and happily march back with what they capture to the royal tent of their emperor. He, busy in his royal work, watches the singing builders build golden roofs, the citizens knead honey, the poor porters crowd with their heavy loads through his narrow gate, the sad-eyed judge buzz grumpily and hand over a lazy yawning drone to pale executioners. I infer this: that many things governed by one goal can work in contrary ways. Just as many arrows shot in different directions can hit one mark, many roads meet in one town, many fresh-waters rivers end in a salty sea, many lines meet at the center of a circle—in this way, a thousand actions once begun will end in one purpose, and they will be done well and we will not be defeated. So go to France, my king! Divide your happy English people into four parts and take a quarter to France, and you will shake up all of France. If we, with three times that number left at home, can't defend our own homes from the dog, let us be mauled and let our country lose its reputation for toughness and strategy.

KING HENRY

Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.

KING HENRY

Call in the messengers sent from the Dauphin.

Exeunt some attendants

Now are we well resolved, 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, 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 worshipped with a waxen epitaph.

I have made my decision, and with God's help and yours, who are the noble muscles who make us powerful, once I conquer France I'll make it obey me or break it to pieces. Either I'll stay there, ruling with great power over France and all its almost-royal dukedoms, or you should bury my bones in an unworthy box, with no tomb and no ceremony over them. Either our history will have plenty to say about our actions, or our graves will have no epitaph on them as though they had a tongueless mouth like Turkish servants whose tongues were cut out.

Enter AMBASSADORS of France, with attendants

Now are we well prepared to know the pleasure Of our fair cousin Dauphin, for we hear Your greeting is from him, not from the king.

Now I am well prepared to know what my handsome cousin the Dauphin wants, because I hear you're bringing a greeting from him, not from the king.

AMBASSADOR

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?

AMBASSADOR

May I have permission from your Majesty to speak freely what I was told to say, or should I water it down and summarize the Dauphin's message?

KING HENRY

We are no tyrant, but a Christian king, Unto whose grace our passion is as subject As is our wretches fettered in our prisons. Therefore with frank and with uncurbèd plainness Tell us the Dauphin’s mind.

KING HENRY

I am no tyrant, but a Christian king, and my emotions are as much under my control as the miserable people tied up in my prisons are. So tell me what the Dauphin says honestly and completely.

AMBASSADOR

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 savor too much of your youth And bids you be advised 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.

AMBASSADOR

So, in few words: Your Highness lately wrote to France to lay claim to some dukedoms in the name of your great ancestor, King Edward the Third. In answer to this claim, our master the prince says that you show your youth and wants you to know that there's nothing in France that can be won by dancing well. You can't party your way into dukedoms there. So he sends you this chest of treasure as a better fit for your personality, and in return for this asks you not to mention the dukedoms you lay claim to anymore. That's what the Dauphin said.

KING HENRY

What treasure, uncle?

KING HENRY

What is the treasure, uncle?

EXETER

Tennis balls, my liege.

EXETER

[Opens the chest] Tennis balls, my king.

KING HENRY

We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us. His present and your pains we thank you for. When we have matched 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 disturbed 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 valued this poor seat of England And therefore, living hence, did give ourself To barbarous license, 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 turned his balls to gun-stones, and his soul Shall stand sore chargèd 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-hallowed cause. So get you hence in peace. And tell the Dauphin His jest will savor but of shallow wit When thousands weep more than did laugh at it. —Convey them with safe conduct.— Fare you well.

KING HENRY

I'm glad the Dauphin is so light-hearted around me. Thank you for his present and the trouble you've taken. When we have hit these balls with our rackets, we will (if God wills it) play a set that will put his father's crown into play. Tell him he's playing a match with such a fighter that we'll be chasing balls through all the courts of France. I understand him well when he holds my wilder days over me, not considering what I learned from them. I never used to value poor England and, living outside of it, spent all my time behaving badly, as men always do when they're away from home. But tell the Dauphin I will keep calm like a king should, and show my greatness when I rise to the throne of France because I have set aside my dignity and worked like a manual laborer. But I will rise to the throne with such glory that I will dazzle all the eyes in France, so that it will strike the Dauphin blind to look at me. And tell the light-hearted prince that this joke of his has turned these balls into bullets, and he will be to blame for the wasteful revenge that will fly with them. For this joke will joke many thousands of widows out of their beloved husbands, joke mothers out of their sons, joke castles down, and some people are not yet conceived and born who will have good reason to regret the Dauphin's jokes. But this will all only happen if God wishes it to, and I appeal to him. Tell the Dauphin it's in God's name that I am coming to take revenge if I can and to fight for a holy cause. So go peacefully. And tell the Dauphin his joke won't seem funny when thousands more cry than laughed at it. 

[To attendants]
 Escort them safely back.

[To AMBASSADOR]
 Goodbye.

Exeunt AMBASSADORS, with attendants

EXETER

This was a merry message.

EXETER

That was a funny message.

KING HENRY

We hope to make the sender blush at it. Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour That may give furth'rance 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 That may with reasonable swiftness add More feathers to our wings. For, God before, We’ll chide this Dauphin at his father’s door. Therefore let every man now task his thought, That this fair action may on foot be brought.

KING HENRY

I hope I'll make the sender ashamed of it. So, my lords, don't waste any time you could use to prepare our expedition, because I don't have any thoughts except about France and our business there, and of course God. So let our troops for these wars be gathered soon, and all the things taken care of that can be done quickly to give us the advantage. For, with God on our side, I'll scold this Dauphin in his father's own house. So let every man now start thinking what to do to get this expedition going.

Flourish

Exeunt

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