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O For a Muse of fire, that would afcend
The brightest heaven of invention !
A kingdom for a stage, Princes to a&t,
And Monarchs to behold the swelling scene !
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Affume the port of Mars; and, at his heels,
(Leasht in, like hounds,) should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. Pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraised spirit, that hath dar'd,
On this unworthy scaffold, to bring forth
So great an object. Can this Cock-pit hold
The vasty field of France? or may we cram,
Within this wooden 0, the very caskes
That did affright the air, at Agincourt ?
0, pardon; firce a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million ;
And let us, cyphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin'd two mighty monarchies ;
Whose high up-rear'd, and abutting fronts
Perillous, the narrow ocean parts asunder.
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance:
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i tho receiving earth.
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings,
Carry them here, and there ; jumping o'er times ;
Turning th accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass : for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history ;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our Play.
An Antechamber in the English Court, at
Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of Ely.
Archbishop of CANTERBURY.
Y lord, I'll tell you; that self bill is urg'd,
Was like, and had, indeed against us past,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of further queltion.
Ely. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
Cánt. It must be thought on: if it pass against us, We lose the better half of our possession : For ail the temporal lands, which men devout By testament have given to the Church, Would they strip from us; being valu'd thus, As much as would maintain, to the King's honour, Full fifteen Earls and fifteen hundred Knights,
* The life of Henry V.] This Play was writ (as appears from a Paf fage in the Chorus to the fifth A&) at the Time of the Earl of Effex's commanding the Forces in Ireland in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and not till after Henry the Vlih had been played, as may be seen by the Conclusion of this Play.
Six thousand and two hundred good Esquires:
And to relief of lazars, and weak
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred alms-houses, right well supply'd
And to the coffers of the King, beside,
A thousand pounds by th' year. Thus runs the bill.
Ely. This would drink deep.
Cant. 'Twould drink the cup and all.
Ely. But what prevention ?
Cant. The King is full of grace and fair regard,
Ely. And a true lover of the holy Church,
Cánt. The courses of his youth promis'd it not;
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortify'd in him,
Seem'd to die too; yea, at that very moment,
Confideration, like an angel, came,
And whipt th' offending Adam out of him;
Leaving his Body as a Paradise,
T'invelope and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made :
Never came reformation in a flood
With such a heady current, fcow'ring faults:
Nor ever Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his feat, and all at once,
As in this King.
· Ely. We're blessed in the change.
Cant. 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 common-wealth affairs,
You'd say, it hath been all in all his study.
Lift his discourse of war, and
A fearful battle render'd you in music.
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his-garter. When he speaks,
The air, a charter'd libertine, is fili;
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears,
To steal his sweet and honied sentences:
So that the A&, and practic part of life,
Must be the mistress to this theorique.
Which is a wonder how his Grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain ;
His companies unletter'd, rude and shallow;
His hours fill'd up with riots, banquets, sports ;
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
From open haunts and popularity.
Ely. The Strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
And wholesome berries thrive, and ripen best,
Neighbour'd by fruit of baser quality:
And so the Prince obfcur'd his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness; which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grafs, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.
Cant. It must be fo; for miracles are ceas'd:
And therefore we must needs admit the means,
How things are perfected.
Ely. But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill,
Urg'd by the Commons; doth his Majesty
Incline to it, or no?
Cant. He seems indifferent;
Or rather swaying more upon our part,
Than cherishing th' exhibiters 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 open’d 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.
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 făin have done)