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Henry V

Henry V

 Table of Contents

Henry V Power Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

CANTERBURY The king is full of grace and fair regard.ELY And a true lover 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,Seem'd to die too; yea, at that very momentConsideration, like an angel, cameAnd whipp'd the offending Adam out of him,Leaving his body as a paradise, (1.1.4)


According to Canterbury and Ely, Henry V is an excellent king, despite his wild youth. Here, Canterbury compares Henry to Adam (from the Book of Genesis) and suggests that Henry has been redeemed for the sins of his past.

Quote #2

My learned lord, we pray you to proceedAnd justly and religiously unfoldWhy the law Salic that they have in FranceOr 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 soulWith opening titles miscreate, whose rightSuits not in native colours with the truth;For God doth know how many now in healthShall drop their blood in approbationOf what your reverence shall incite us to. (1.2.4)


At this point in the play, we've already learned that Henry is thinking of claiming the French throne. Here, Henry tells the Archbishop that it will be his fault if Henry starts a big war that can't be justified. Is it just us, or does Henry seems reluctant to take responsibility for his actions and decisions?

Quote #3

Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and you peers,That owe yourselves, your lives and servicesTo this imperial throne. There is no barTo make against your highness' claim to FranceBut 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 glozeTo be the realm of France, and PharamondThe founder of this law and female bar.Yet their own authors faithfully affirmThat 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 womenFor some dishonest manners of their life,Establish'd then this law; to wit, no femaleShould be inheritrix in Salic land:Which Salic, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,Is at this day in Germany call'd Meisen.Then doth it well appear that Salic lawWas not devised for the realm of France:Nor did the French possess the Salic landUntil four hundred one and twenty yearsAfter defunction of King Pharamond,Idly supposed the founder of this law;Who died within the year of our redemptionFour hundred twenty-six; and Charles the GreatSubdued the Saxons, and did seat the FrenchBeyond the river Sala, in the yearEight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,King Pepin, which deposed Childeric,Did, as heir general, being descendedOf Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair,Make claim and title to the crown of France.Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crownOf Charles the duke of Lorraine, sole heir maleOf the true line and stock of Charles the Great,To find his title with some shows of truth,'Through, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,Convey'd himself as heir to the Lady Lingare,Daughter to Charlemain, who was the sonTo Lewis the emperor, and Lewis the sonOf 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 satisfiedThat 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 GreatWas re-united 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 appearTo hold in right and title of the female:So do the kings of France unto this day;Howbeit they would hold up this Salic lawTo bar your highness claiming from the female,And rather choose to hide them in a netThan amply to imbar their crooked titlesUsurp'd from you and your progenitors. (1.2.2)


Whoa! Canterbury gives a looooong, drawn out speech explaining why he thinks it's okay for Henry to make a grab for the French throne. (We counted, and it takes the guy 63 lines.) Here, he says that the French have been using the Salic Law as an excuse to prevent English kings (like Henry's great-grandfather King Edward III) from inheriting the French crown. (Salic Law is just the name of a French rule that prevented men from inheriting the crown through a female line. In other words, if a king has a daughter, she can't inherit the throne and her sons and grandsons can't inherit it either.) Canterbury also claims that, from a historical and legal standpoint, the Salic Law only applies to Germany, not France. Plus, adds Canterbury, a bunch of French kings have inherited the crown through their mothers' family lineage, so the Salic Law shouldn't apply to King Henry V either. Um, okay. If it's such a cut and dry case, why does it take Canterbury so long to justify it?

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