Search Menu

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY and the Bishop of ELY
The Archbishop of CANTERBURY and the Bishop of ELY enter.





5
CANTERBURY
My lord, I’ll tell you that self bill is urged
Which in th' eleventh year of the last king’s reign
Was like, and had indeed against us passed
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of farther question.
CANTERBURY
My lord, this bill that’s being proposed is the same one that was proposed in the eleventh year of old King Henry’s reign. Everyone thought it would pass then, and it probably would have had it not been for the great civil unrest and uncertainty of the time, which required the matter to be put off.

ELY
But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
ELY
But how will we keep it from being passed now, my lord?




10




15



CANTERBURY
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 honor,
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 besides,
A thousand pounds by th' year.” Thus runs the bill.
CANTERBURY
We have to think about that. If it does pass, the Church will lose more than half of what it possesses, because the bill would strip us of enough real estate left to the church by wealthy, pious men in their wills to support fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights, six thousand two hundred squires, and a hundred well-supplied almshouses for the relief of lepers, old-age pensioners, the poor, and those too weak or sick to work. Add to that a yearly sum of a thousand pounds to go directly into the king’s coffers. That’s what the bill says.

20
ELY
This would drink deep.
ELY
That would be quite a drain.

CANTERBURY
'Twould drink the cup and all.
CANTERBURY
It would drain us dry.

ELY
But what prevention?
ELY
But what can be done to prevent it?

CANTERBURY
The king is full of grace and fair regard.
CANTERBURY
The king is virtuous and kind.

ELY
And a true lover of the holy Church.
ELY
And a true lover of the holy Church.

Henry V (No Fear Shakespeare)