Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
From Henry V.
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(See full text.)

  Canterbury.—The king is full of grace and fair regard.
  Ely.—And a true lover of the holy church.
  Cant.—The courses of his youth promised it not.
The breath no sooner left his father’s body,
But that his wildness, mortified in him,        5
Seemed to die too; yea, at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,
And whipped the offending Adam out of him;
Leaving his body as a paradise,
To envelop and contain celestial spirits.        10
Never was such a sudden scholar made:
Never came reformation in a flood,
With such a heady current, scouring faults;
Nor never hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,        15
As in this king.
Hear him but reason in divinity,
And, all-admiring, with an inward wish
You would desire, the king were made a prelate;
Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs,        20
You would say,—it hath been all-in-all his study:
List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
A fearful battle rendered you in music:
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose,        25
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men’s ears,
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences;
So that the air and practic part of life        30
Must be the mistress to this theoric:
Which is a wonder, how his grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain:
His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow;
His hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports,        35
And never noted in him any study,
Any retirement, any sequestration
From open haunts and popularity.
 
 
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