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Harry the Fifth is crown'd :-up, vanity!
Down, royal state ! all you sage counsellors, hence !
And to the English court assemble now,
every region, apes of idleness !
Now, neighbour confines, purge you of your scum :
Have you a ruffian that will swear, drink, dance,
Revel the night ; rob, murder, and commit
The oldest sins the newest kind of ways ?
Be happy, he will trouble you no more :
England shall double-gild his treble guilt,-
England shall give him office, honour, might:
For the fifth Harry from curb'd licence plucks
The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth in every innocent.
O my poor kingdom, sick with civil blows!
When that my care could not withhold thy riots,
What wilt thou do when riot is thy care ?
Oh, thou wilt be a wilderness again,
Peopled with wolves, thy old inhabitants !
Prince. Oh, pardon me, my liege! but for my tears,
The moist impediments unto my speech,
I had forestalld this dear and deep rebuke,
you with grief had spoke, and I had heard
The course of it so far. There is your crown ;
And He that wears the crown immortally,
Long guard it yours! If I affect it more
Than as your honour, and as your renown,
Let me no more from this obedience rise,-
(Which my most true and inward duteous spirit
Teacheth,)—this prostrate and exterior bending !
God witness with me, when I here came in
And found no course of breath within your majesty,
How cold it struck my heart! If I do feign,
O let me in my present wildness die ;
And never live to show th' incredulous world
The noble change that I have purposèd !
Coming to look on you, thinking you dead,
(And dead almost, my liege, to think you were,)
I spake unto the crown as having sense,
And thus upbraided it :- The care on thee depending
Hath fed upon the body of my father ;
Therefore, thou, best of gold, art worst of gold :
Other, less fine in carat, is more precious,
Preserving life in medicine potable;
But thou, most fine, most honour'd, most renown'd,
Hast eat thy bearer up.—Thus, my most royal liege,
Accusing it, I put it on my head,
To try with it,-as with an enemy
That had before my face murder'd my father, --
The quarrel of a true inheritor.
But if it did infect my blood with joy,
Or swell my thoughts to any strain or pride ;
If any rebel or vain spirit of mine
Did, with the least affection of a welcome,
Give entertainment to the might of it,
Let God for ever keep it from my head,
And make me as the poorest vassal is,
That doth with awe and terror kneel to it.
K’ing. O my son !
God put it in thy mind to take it hence,
That thou might'st win the more thy father's love,
Pleading so wisely in excuse of it.
Come hither, Harry, sit thou by my bed ;
And hear, I think, the very latest counsel
That ever I shall breathe. God knows, my son,
By what by-paths, and indirect crook'd ways,
I met this crown ; and I myself know well
How troublesome it sat upon my head :
To thee it shall descend with better quiet,
Better opinion, better confirmation ;
For all the soil of the achievement goes
With me into the earth. It seem'd in me
But as an honour snatch'd with boisterous hand ;
And I had many living, to upbraid
My gain of it by their assistances ;
Which daily grew to quarrel and to bloodshed,
Wounding supposed peace : all these bold fears,
Thou seest, with peril I have answered ;
For all my reign hath been but as a scene
Acting that argument; and now my death
Changes the mood : for what in me was purchas'd
thee in a more fairer sort ;
So thou the garland wear'st successively.
Yet, though thou stand’st more sure than I could do,
Thou art not firm enough, since griefs are green ;
And all thy friends, which thou must make thy friends,
Have but their stings and teeth newly ta'en out,
By whose fell working I was first advanc'd,
And by whose power I well might lodge a fear
To be again displac'd : which to avoid,
I cut them off; and had a purpose now
To lead out many to the Holy Land,
Lest rest, and lying still, might make them look
Too near unto my state. Therefore, my Harry,
Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
May waste the memory of the former days.
More would I, but my lungs are wasted so,
That strength of speech is utterly denied me.
How I came by the crown, O God forgive !
And grant it may with thee in true peace live !
Prince. My gracious liege,
You won it, wore it, kept it, gave it me;
Then plain and right must my possession be :
Which I, with more than with a common pain,
'Gainst all the world will rightfully maintain.
The Netherlanders, in their dire extremity, sent over a solemn embassy to London, and made anew an offer to the queen, of acknowledging her for their sovereign, on condition of obtaining her protection and assistance. Elizabeth's wisest counsellors were divided in opinion with regard to the conduct which she should hold in this critical and important emergence. Some advised her to reject the offer of the States, and represented imminent dangers, as well as injustice, attending the acceptance of it. They said that the suppression of rebellious subjects was the common
cause of all sovereigns; and any encouragement given to the revolt of the Flemings might prove the example of a like pernicious licence to the English : that though princes were bound by the laws of the Supreme Being not to oppress their subjects, the people never were entitled to forget all duty to their sovereign, or transfer, from every fancy or disgust, or even from the justest ground of complaint, their obedience to any other master : that the queen, in the succours hitherto afforded the Flemings, had considered them as labouring under oppression, not as entitled to freedom; and had intended only to admonish Philip not to persevere in his tyranny, without any view of ravishing from him those provinces which he enjoyed by hereditary right from his ancestors : that her situation in Ireland, and even in England, would afford that powerful monarch sufficient opportunity of retaliating upon her; and she must thenceforth expect that, instead of secretly fomenting faction, he would openly employ his whole force in the protection and defence of the Catholics ; that the Pope would undoubtedly unite his spiritual arms to the temporal ones of Spain ; and that the queen would soon repent her making so precarious an acquisition in foreign countries, by exposing her own dominions to the most imminent danger.
Other counsellors of Elizabeth maintained a contrary
opinion. They asserted that the queen had not even from the beginning of her reign, but certainly had not at present, the choice whether she would embrace friendship or hostility with Philip : that by the whole tenor of that prince's conduct it appeared that his sole aims were the extending of his empire, and the entire subjection of the Protestants, under the specious pretence of maintaining the Catholic faith : that the provocations which she had already given him, joined to his general scheme of policy, would for ever render him her implacable enemy; and as soon as he had subdued his revolted subjects, he would undoubtedly fall, with the whole force of his united empire, on her defenceless state: that the only question was, whether she would maintain a war abroad, and supported by allies, or wait till the subjection of all the confederates of England should give her enemies leisure to begin their hostilities in the bowels of the kingdom: that the revolted provinces, though in a declining condition, possessed still considerable force, and by the assistance of England, by the advantages of their situation, and by their inveterate antipathy to Philip, might still be enabled to maintain the contest against the Spanish monarchy : that their maritime power, united to the queen's, would give her entire security on the side from which alone she could be assaulted ; and would even enable her to make inroads on Philip's dominions, both in Europe and the Indies : that a war which was necessary could never be unjust; and selfdefence was concerned as well in preventing certain dangers at a distance, as in repelling any immediate invasion : and that, since hostility with Spain was the unavoidable consequence of the present interests and situations of the two monarchies, it were better to compensate that danger and loss by the acquisition of such important provinces to the English Empire.
Amidst these opposite counsels, the Queen, apprehensive of the consequences attending each extreme, was inclined to steer a middle course ; and though such conduct is seldom