Posts Tagged ‘King’


After the chorus, we open, not with the King but two men of the Church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely are also worried that a new law is being debated that will take half the Church’s lands away from them for the King. Canterbury hopes to persuade Henry not to pass this law and will fund any war against France and has even made a claim that Henry has a right to the throne of France.


It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession:
For all the temporal lands which men devout
By testament have given to the church
Would they strip from us; being valued thus:
As much as would maintain, to the king’s honour,
Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
And, to relief of lazars and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls past corporal toil.
A hundred almshouses right well supplied;
And to the coffers of the king beside,
A thousand pounds by the year: thus runs the bill.

This scene acts as a sort of “Previously on Henry IV” and we are told how Henry has reformed his character overnight after his Father’s death. His old wild ways abandoned and a life of religious study and contemplation takes it’s place.


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 moment
Consideration, like an angel, came
And whipp’d the offending Adam out of him,
Leaving his body as a paradise,
To envelop and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made;
Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady currance, scouring faults
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat and all at once
As in this king.


The strawberry grows underneath the nettle
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbour’d by fruit of baser quality

A French Ambassador is expected in court and Canterbury and Ely go to meet him and persuade the King to go to war with France and take the Crown.


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