The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0923  Thursday, 19 October 2006

From: 		Harvey Roy Greenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 18 Oct 2006 07:38:46 EDT
Subject: 	The Archbishop Wasn't There? So Forth.

Still and seemingly forever trying to finish my essay on the dramaturgy 
of the Archbishop of Canterbury's oration at the beginning of Act I, 
Sc.2, Henry V:

Several questions: One source claims that the Archbishop never gave the 
oration at all. Supposedly, someone named Redmond stated that he was 
there and gave the speech, assertion made as part of an essay or some 
such, in 1540, possibly to curry Tudor favor. Counter claim is that 
Henry Chiechele, A of C in 1414, was NOT at the meeting of the 
parliament at Leicester, he did not appear in the roles kept, so could 
not have made the speech which Holinshed gives at length. So: Is the 
assertion that he did not make the speech a canard? Was it given at all? 
By someone else. Where did Holinshed get his sources about the speech -- 
if known? By the by, according to the 'Archbishop never gave it" source, 
not only did the Parliament NOT consider the bill to deed Church 
property to the crown, the Parliament enacted laws against the Lollards, 
who I believe were heretics and didn't care much for Rome.

On a different tack:

The archbishop says the only counterclaim against Henry's claim to the 
French throne is 'produced from Pharamond". As far as I can see, 
Pharamond was a quasi-mythic King of the Salian Franks, who if he lived 
at all, according to Canterbury  defuncted -- geez -- at around the time 
that's stated in the speech, 4XX. But from what source is the Salic law 
cited by the French 'produced' if Pharamond never produced it. . Near as 
I can find out Pharamond never wrote down anything which could be 
'produced', and the Salic law was issued as part of an overall codex by 
King Clovis I several centuries later in aid of governance of the Salian 
Franks Clovis ruled over.

Of course, the Archbishop denies the existence of any such law, from 
whatever source, prior to Charles the Great -- Charlemagne -- conquering 
-- 'subdu'ing' the Saxons in 8xx, after which, according to the prelate, 
French settlers thought the Salic/Saxon/German women lewd and 
licentious, and thus passed the Salic law against female inheritrixes THEN.

Who in fact were these Saxons, for this is not clarified in the speech 
-- can't blaim Shakespeare here, for his version in iambic pentameter in 
simply the original oration of 1414, poetized. According to my exhausted 
if not exhausting combing through the ins and outs of premedieval German 
history, Germany was a big sprawling congerie of warring tribes in 4XX, 
Franks, Saxons, Frisians, so forth, some of whom moved into what would 
later be French territory. Some Saxons emigrated to England -- hence 
Anglo-Saxons, some stayed behind and, I think, became those 
German/Saxons 'subdu'd" by Charlemagne. These tribes were the barbarians 
who had continued to plague Rome from ancient centuries.

All of this is very unclear, and I am trying to clarify it, at least for 
myself, if I don't do a Nahum Tate on the oration. Shakespeare seems to 
have condensed an awful lot of history in the Oration. The overall and 
most important point, as far as I can see, is that Henry V and Charles 
VI according to the prelate BOTH derive their line through the feminine, 
only Henry's is pure, unsullied, so forth, while Charles VI lineage is 
tainted by sundry abdications, assassinations, plots, conspiracies, so 
forth. Yeah right, we will overlook all the sundry knavish stuff before 
Henry got the throne, so much for Richard of Bordeaux, etc.

Any help at all on any of these points will, as always, be very greatly 
appreciated.  What a tangle!

Harvey Roy Greenberg

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