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But, my good lord,
How now for mitigation of this bill
Urged by the commons? Doth his majesty
He seems indifferent;
Or, rather, swaying 1 more upon our part,
Than cherishing the 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 received, my lord?
Cant. 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.
Ely. What was the impediment that broke this off?
Cant. The French ambassador, upon that instant, Craved audience: and the hour, I think, is come, To give him hearing. Is it four o'clock ?
Cant. Then go we in, to know his embassy; Which I could, with a ready guess, declare, Before the Frenchman speak a word of it. Ely. I'll wait upon you; and I long to hear it.
The same. A room of state in the same.
Enter KING HENRY, GLOSTER, BEDFORD, EXETER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and Attendants.
K. Hen. Where is my gracious lord of Canterbury?
Exe. Not here in presence.
K. Hen. Send for him, good uncle.
West. Shall we call in the ambassador, my liege? K. Hen. Not yet, my cousin: we would be resolved,
Before we hear him, of some things of weight, That task our thoughts, concerning us and France.
My learned lord, we pray you to proceed;
And justly and religiously unfold,
Why the law Salique, 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,1 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 the 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 wrongs give edge unto the swords
That make such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord;
And we will hear, note, and believe in heart,
That what you speak is in your conscience wash'd
As pure as sin with baptism.
Cant. Then hear me, gracious sovereign,-and
That owe your lives, your faith, 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 Salique land;
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze,1
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 Salique lies 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,
Establish'd there this law; to wit, no female
Should be inheritrix in Salique land;
Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany call'd Meisen.
Thus doth it well appear, the Salique law
Was not devised for the realm of France;
Nor did the French possess the Salique 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 deposed Childerick,
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,—that usurp'd the crown
Of Charles the duke of Lorrain, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the great,—
To fine his title with some show of truth,
(Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught)
Convey'd himself as heir to the lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemain, 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 Lorrain :
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 Salique law,
To bar your highness claiming from the female;
And rather choose to hide them in a net,
1 To make showy or specious.
2 Derived his title.