Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

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Of what your reverence shall incite us to.
Therefore take heed how you impawn our person,
How you awake our sleeping sword of war.
25We 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 wrong gives edge unto the swords
30That make such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord,
For we will hear, note, and believe in heart
That what you speak is in your conscience washed
As pure as sin with baptism.
to wage war. I charge you, in the name of God, be careful what you say. For mighty kingdoms such as England and France have never gone to war with one another without much bloodshed, every innocent drop of which cries out against the wrongdoer who caused such loss of life without good reason. With this in mind, speak, my lord. And I will listen, consider, and earnestly believe that what you say is spoken with a conscience as pure as a newly baptized soul.
35Then 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
But this, which they produce from Pharamond:
40 “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
The founder of this law and female bar.
45Yet 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,
There left behind and settled certain French,
50Who, 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,
Which “Salic,” as I said, ’twixt Elbe and Sala
55Is at this day in Germany called Meissen.
Then hear me, gracious sovereign, and all you peers who owe your lives and duty to this imperial throne. There is no legal obstacle to your Highness’s claim to France except the following rule, which the French cite from King Pharamond: In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant (No woman shall inherit property in the Salic land). The French wrongly interpret “the Salic land” to mean France, and they cite Pharamond as the founder of this law that bars female succession to the throne. But their own authors assert that the Salic land is in Germany, between the Sala and the Elbe rivers, where Charles the Great left behind certain French settlements after conquering the Saxons. The French settlers despised the German women because they were unfaithful to their husbands, so the settlers passed this law that no woman should have right of inheritance in Salic land. And the Salic land—the region between the Elbe and the Sala, in Germany, as I said—is now called Meissen. It is clear, then, that the Salic law was not