Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

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
60But 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
65The 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 Saxons,
70There 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,
75Which “Salic,” as I said, ’twixt Elbe and Sala
Is at this day in Germany called Meissen.
Then doth it well appear the Salic law
Was not devisèd for the realm of France,
Nor did the French possess the Salic land
80Until 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
85Subdued 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
90Of 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,
95To find his title with some shows of truth,
Though in pure truth it was corrupt and naught,
Conveyed himself as th' heir to th' Lady Lingare,
Daughter to Charlemagne, who was the son
To Lewis the Emperor, and Lewis the son
100Of 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,
105Was lineal of the Lady Ermengare,
Daughter to Charles the foresaid duke of Lorraine,
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,
110King Pepin’s title and Hugh Capet’s claim,
King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female.
intended for the realm of France. Nor did the French possess the Salic land until four hundred twenty-one years after the death of King Pharamond, incorrectly thought to be the founder of the law. He died in the year 426, and Charles the Great conquered the Saxons and settled Frenchmen in the region beyond the river Sala in the year 805. Besides, according to the French historians, King Pepin, who deposed Childeric, based his own claim to the crown of France on his descent from Blithild, the daughter of King Clothair. Another case: Hugh Capet, who usurped the crown from Charles the duke of Lorraine—sole male heir in a direct line from Charles the Great—passed himself off as heir to Lady Lingare, daughter of Charlemagne, who was the son of Lewis the Emperor (who was the son of Charles the Great), in order to give his claim to the throne more validity (though, in fact, the claim was completely false and worthless). Another case: King Lewis the Tenth, who was sole heir to the usurper Capet, could not rest easy as king until he was assured that Queen Isabel, his grandmother, was a direct descendent of the Lady Ermengare, daughter of the aforementioned Charles duke of Lorraine, by which marriage the line of Charles the Great was reunited with the throne of France. Thus, it should be clear as day that King Pepin’s title, Hugh Capet’s claim, and the resolution of King Lewis’s doubts all plainly derive from the female.