Henry V Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
BISHOP OF CANTERBURY
The king is full of grace and fair regard.
BISHOP OF ELY
And a true lover of the holy Church.
BISHOP OF 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 (1.1.24-32)
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.
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
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. (1.2.11-23)
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?
BISHOP OF 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
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 Meisen.
Then doth it well appear that 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,
Through in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,
Conveyed himself as th' heir to th' Lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemange, 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 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 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. (1.2.37-100)
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?