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Richard was deposed and thrown into prison. He was a son of Edward, called from the black armour which he wore, the Black Prince. The Black Prince was the eldest son of Edward III., the duke of Clarence was his second son, and John of Gaunt the third. When Richard was deposed, a descendant of the duke of Clarence, was the legal successor to the throne, but Henry Bolingbroke set aside his claim, and caused himself to be crowned King. Henry IV.died March, 1413, in the 14th year of his reign.
At the age of twenty-five Henry V. succeeded his father. During his short reign of nine years he exhibited such qualities as are much admired in a rude age. He possessed great personal courage, a spirit of military enterprise, talent for command, and patient perseverance in the accomplishment of his purposes. According to history his deportment was singularly graceful and dignified, and his power of self-government even more extraordinary than his control of other men.
Shakspeare, in the last act of Henry IV. has given a very touching scene—it is the closing one of the king's life, in which he gives his latest counsel to the Prince of Wales. The king being ill, has his crown displaced from his head, and falls asleep. At this moment the prince enters the apartment of his father, and perceiving his condition, tenderly laments it, but removes the crown, and swears to maintain his right to it. The king awakes, eagerly demands who has taken
and seeing prince Henry, requests to be left alone with him; they then confer together thus :
HENRY IV. and PRINCE HENRY.
K. Hen. Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought;
Thou hid'st a thousand daggers in thy thoughts :
Pluck down my officers, break my decrees ;
P. Hen. O, pardon me, my liege! but for my tears, The moist impediments unto my speech, [Kneeling I had forestalled this dear and deep rebuke, Ere you with grief had spoke, and I had heard The course of it so far. There is your crown ; And He that wears the crown immortally, Long guard it yours! If I affect it more, Than as your honour, and as your renown, Let me no more from this obedience rise, (Which my most true and inward-duteous spirit Teacheth,) this prostrate and exterior bending ! Heaven witness with me, when I here came in,
And found no course of breath within your majesty,
Coming to look on you, thinking you dead,
head! And make me as the poorest vassal is, That doth with awe and terror kneel to it!
K. Hen. O my son ! Heaven put it in thy mind, to take it hence, That thou mightst win the more thy father's love, Pleading so wisely in excuse of it. Come hither, Harry ; sit thou by my bed ; And hear, I think, the very latest counsel That ever I shall breathe. Heaven knows, my son. By what by-paths, and indirect, crooked ways, I met this crown; and I myself know well, How troublesome it sat upon my head: To thee it shall descend with better quiet, Better opinion, better confirmation ; For all the soil of the achievement goes With me into the earth. It seemed in me, But as an honour snatched with boisterous hand ; And I had many living, to upbraid My gain of it by their assistances ; Which daily grew to quarrel, and to bloodshed.
What in me was purchased,
with thee in true peace live !
The noble change that he had purposed, as he bound his brows with the crown of his dying father, was exemplified in Prince Henry when he became King of England. One circumstance of his public conduct, which is finely exhibited by Shakspeare, is illustrative of his respect for the constitution and laws of his kingdom, and as an example of his disinterestedness and veneration for justice does honour to his memory.
Henry the Fifth, when Prince of Wales, was wild, and in the disgraceful society of Sir John Falstaff, Poins, and other idlers, committed several offences against the laws. Some of his attendants had been taken up by the officers of justice, for a riot, and were brought before the chief justice, Sir William Gascoigne. While they were in court, prince Henry came, and rudely demanded that they should be released. The chief justice refused. The prince insulted, and, it is supposed, even struck the judge. The chief justice with great dignity kept his seat upon the bench and in the authoritative tone of a man to whom the execution of the laws is intrusted, rebuked the prince, and ordered him to be taken into custody. To this the prince, recollecting his duty, becomingly submitted."
It is related by an old historian that Prince Henry, being ordered to prison,“ doing reverence" to the judge, departed, and went to the King's bench as he was commanded. One of his attendants, displeased at this indignity, (as he deemed it,) offered to the prince, and thinking to incense the King against the chief justice, repaired to his majesty with the whole affair. The King on hearing the circumstance, paused for a moment, and then, lifting his eyes and clasped hands to Heaven, exclaimed,“O merciful God! how much above all other men am I indebted to thine infinite goodness; especially that thou has given me a judge who feareth not to minister justice, and also a son who can suffer worthily and obey justice."
“ After the death of his father, when Henry became king, the nation expected he would give himself up to amusement and intemperance; but on the contrary; he immediately assumed the deportment and conduct of a wise monarch, and, dismissing from his presence his former companions, instead of disgracing the chief justice who had committed him, he thanked him for the firmness and dignity with which he had executed the laws, and conferred great favours upon
him." King Henry, the Princes his brothers, and the Chief Justice.
Ch. Just. Good morrow; and heaven save your majesty!
King. This new and gorgeous garment, majesty,
good brothers—be assured,
brother too. Let me but bear your love, I'll bear your cares. P. John and the others. We hope no other from your ma
jesty. King. You all look strangely on me :- - and
you most ; You are, I think, assured I love you not. [To the Chief Just.
Ch. Just. I am assured, if I be measured rightly,