Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

A Glorious Reign

When Henry of Monmouth, the wild Prince Hal, heard that his father was dead, he went into his own room, and there spent the night in meditation and prayer. He was very sorry for the past, and fully determined to do better in the future. When morning came he put these good resolutions into practice. First, he sent for his former companions and told them that he was going to reform and that he did not wish to see them again until they were willing to follow his example.

Next, he sent for the grave and learned men who had helped his father, and begged them to give him also their advice; and he told Judge Gascoigne—whom he honoured for doing right, regardless of rank—that he hoped his judges would always administer justice in the same way.

Having thus won his greatest victory by conquering himself, the new king set the Earl of March free, restored their estates to the Percys, and buried Richard II. and Henry IV. among the other kings.

Henry V. was able, energetic, and brave, as well as handsome and warm-hearted; so he soon won the affections of his subjects. His greatest fault was that he sorely persecuted the Lollards, whom he had been taught to believe very wicked. By his order, many of them were burned, among others old Lord Cobham, who, because he had once escaped from prison and joined some rebels, was accused of treason and heresy, and was consequently both burned and hanged.

The new king, however, was most anxious to conquer new lands. As the French king was insane, and as his two principal subjects, the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, were warring against each other, Henry fancied that it was a good time to invade France. He therefore renewed the claim to the French crown which had already been made by Edward III., and landed at Harfleur with an army of fifteen thousand men.

This city held out four months, hoping the French army would come to its rescue; but the troops could not leave Paris, as there was a quarrel about who should have command. Seeing no help coming, the people of Harfleur were forced to surrender; but by this time the English soldiers were nearly all sick.

Marching at the head of his army, and sharing all their hardships, Henry now set out for Calais; but on the way thither he was met by a French army of fifty thousand men. In spite of the great odds against him, the English king did not lose his presence of mind, and in his address to his troops he said that he intended to win great glory, either by victory or by death. When a soldier remarked that he wished some of his countrymen were there to help them fight, the king cried: "If we are to die, I am glad we are so few; but if we are to conquer, our glory will be all the greater if unshared."



The French army consisted mainly of heavy cavalry, and as the ground was soaked with rain, the horses sank into the mud up to their knees. This fact told greatly in favour of the light-armed English bowmen, who, in spite of the bravery of the French, won a brilliant victory (1415).

Henry himself did wonders, and when the battle of Agincourt was ended, it was found that while the English had lost only forty men, the French slain numbered more than ten thousand. The next day the dead were buried; and when Henry went back to England, his people rushed into the water at Dover to meet him and give him an uproarious welcome.

Two years after this battle Henry went back to France with a new army. He besieged and took Rouen after ten months' effort, and finally became master of the greater part of France. The troubles in that kingdom had by this time grown so serious that many Frenchmen joined Henry, and a treaty was finally signed at Troyes in 1420. It was then agreed that Henry should marry the French king's daughter, and that when the insane monarch died the King of England should reign in France too.

Wooing of Henry V.


So Henry made a triumphal entry into Paris, where he first saw Catherine, his future wife. If you care to know how an English king who knew very little French could make love to a French princess who knew only a few words of English, you can read all about it in one of Shakespeare's plays.

During the next two years Henry and Catherine were very happy. But before their little son was a year old, Henry V. became very ill. He named his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, Regent of England, said the Duke of Bedford must rule France, and gave the guardianship of his little son to another nobleman.

Henry died in France, at the age of thirty-four, and his body was carried home to be buried. His funeral was the grandest that had yet been seen in England, and upon his tomb, in Westminster Abbey, tapers were kept burning constantly for more than a hundred years.

As Henry had to take so many troops over to France, he had many ships built; and he has hence sometimes been called the founder of the English navy. He was a very brave king, but although he won much glory, he burdened England with debt, and by his unjust wars caused the death of about one hundred thousand men.