An example of creative copying by Shakespeare (1564-1616)


From Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

[Anno 2 Henry V, 1414.] Henrie Chichelie archbishop of Canturburie made a pithie oration...He did much inveie against the surmised and false fained law Salike, which the Frenchmen alledge ever against the kings of England in barre of their just title to the crown of France. The verie words of that supposed law are these, "In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant," that is to saie, "Into the Salike land let not women succeed." Which the French glossers expound to be the realme of France, and that this law was made by king Pharamond; whereas yet their owne authors affirme, that the land Salike is in Germanie, betweene the rivers of Elbe and Sala; and that when Charles the Great had overcome the Saxons he placed there certeine Frenchmen, which having in disdeine the dishonest maners of the German women, made a law, that the femailes should not succeed to any inheritance within that land, which at this daie is called Meisen, so that if this be true, this law was not made for the realme of France, nor the Frenchmen possessed the land Salike, till foure hundred and one and twentie yeares after the death of Pharamond, the supposed maker of this Salike law, for this Pharamond deceassed in the yeare 426, and Charles the Great subdued the Saxons, and placed the Frenchmen in those parts beyond the river of Sala in the yeare 805. 

Moreover, it appeareth by their owne writers, that king Pepine, which deposed Childerike, claimed the crowne of France, as heire generall, for that he was descended of Blithild daughter to king Clothair the first. Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crowne upon Charles duke of Loraine, the sole heire male of the line and stocke of Charles the great, to make his title seeme true, and appeare good, though indeed it was starke naught, conveied himselfe as heire to the ladie Lingard, daughter to king Charlemaine, sonne to Lewes the emperor, that was son to Charles the great. King Lewes also the tenth otherwise called saint Lewes, being verie heire to the said usurper Hugh Capet, could never be satisfied in his conscience how he might justlie keepe and possesse the crowne of France, till he was persuaded and fullie instructed, that queene Isabell his grandmother was lineallie descended of the ladie Ermengard daughter and heire to the above named Charles duke of Loraine, by the which marriage, the bloud and line of Charles the Great was againe united and restored to the crowne & scepter of France, so that more cleere than the sunne it openlie appeareth, that the title of king Pepin, the claime of Hugh Capet, the posession of Lewes, yea, and the French kings to this daie, are derived and conveyed from the heire female, though they would under the color of such a fained law, barre the kings and princes of this realme of England of their right and lawfull inheritance. 


  From Shakespeare's Henry V, Act I, Scene 2:

Canterbury....        -- There is no bar
To make against your highness' claim to France
But this, which they produce from Pharamond,--
In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant,
No woman shall succeed in Salique land:
Which Salique land the French unjustly gloze
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar.
Yet their own authors faithfully affirm
That the land Salique 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;
Who, 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 Salique land:
Which Salique, as I said, 'twixt Elbe and Sala,
Is at this day in Germany called Meisen.
Then doth it well appear, the Salique law
was not devised for the realm of France:
Nor did the French possess the Salique land
Until four hundered one-and-twenty years
After defunction of King Pharamond,
Idly supposed the founder of this law.
Who died within the year of our redemption
Four hundred twenty-six; and Charles the Great
Subdued the Saxons, and did seat the French
Beyond the river Sala, in the year
Eight hundred five. Besides, their writers say,
King Pepin, which deposed Childerick,
Did, as heir general, being descended
Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair,
Make claim and title to the crown of France.
Hugh Capet also, who usurped the crown
Of Charles the Duke of Lorraine, sole heir male
Of the true line and stock of Charles the Great,
To fine his title with some show of truth,
Though, in pure truth, it was corrupt and naught,--
Conveyed himself as hir to the Lady Lingard,
Daughter to Charlemain, who was the son
To Lewis the Emperor, and Lewis the son
Of Charles the Great. Also King Lewis the Tenth,
Who was sole heir to the usurper Capet,
Could not keep quiet in his conscience
Wearing the crown of France, till satisfied
That fair Queen Isabel, his grandmother, 
Was lineal of the Lady Ermengard,
Daughter to Charles the foresaid Duke of Lorraine.
By which marriage the line of Charles the Great
Was re-united to the Crown of France.
So that, as clear as is the summer's sun,
King Pepin's title, and Hugh Capet's claim
King Lewis his satisfaction, all appear
To hold in right and title of the female:
So do the kings of France unto this day.
Howbeit they would hold up this Salique law
To bar your highness claiming from the female;
And rather choose to hide them in a net
Than amply to imbar their crooked titles
Usurped from you and your progenitors.