Act V - Act V, Scene 2
SCENE II. France. A royal palace.
[Enter, at one door, King Henry, Exeter, Bedford, [Gloucester,]
Warwick, [Westmoreland,] and other Lords; at another, the French
King, Queen Isabel, [the Princess Katharine, Alice, and other
Ladies;] the Duke of Burgundy, and other French.]
Peace to this meeting, wherefore we are met!
Unto our brother France, and to our sister,
Health and fair time of day; joy and good wishes
To our most fair and princely cousin Katharine;
And, as a branch and member of this royalty,
By whom this great assembly is contriv'd,
We do salute you, Duke of Burgundy;
And, princes French, and peers, health to you all!
Right joyous are we to behold your face,
Most worthy brother England; fairly met!
So are you, princes English, every one.
So happy be the issue, brother England,
Of this good day and of this gracious meeting
As we are now glad to behold your eyes;
Your eyes, which hitherto have borne in them
Against the French that met them in their bent
The fatal balls of murdering basilisks.
The venom of such looks, we fairly hope,
Have lost their quality; and that this day
Shall change all griefs and quarrels into love.
To cry amen to that, thus we appear.
You English princes all, I do salute you.
My duty to you both, on equal love,
Great Kings of France and England! That I have labour'd,
With all my wits, my pains, and strong endeavours,
To bring your most imperial Majesties
Unto this bar and royal interview,
Your mightiness on both parts best can witness.
Since then my office hath so far prevail'd
That, face to face and royal eye to eye,
You have congreeted, let it not disgrace me
If I demand, before this royal view,
What rub or what impediment there is,
Why that the naked, poor, and mangled Peace,
Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful births,
Should not in this best garden of the world,
Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?
Alas, she hath from France too long been chas'd,
And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps,
Corrupting in it own fertility.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach'd,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder'd twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory,
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kexes, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility;
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads, and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness.
Even so our houses and ourselves and children
Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country;
But grow like savages,--as soldiers will
That nothing do but meditate on blood,--
To swearing and stern looks, diffus'd attire,
And everything that seems unnatural.
Which to reduce into our former favour
You are assembled; and my speech entreats
That I may know the let, why gentle Peace
Should not expel these inconveniences
And bless us with her former qualities.
If, Duke of Burgundy, you would the peace,
Whose want gives growth to the imperfections
Which you have cited, you must buy that peace
With full accord to all our just demands;
Whose tenours and particular effects
You have enschedul'd briefly in your hands.
The King hath heard them; to the which as yet
There is no answer made.
Well, then, the peace,
Which you before so urg'd, lies in his answer.
I have but with a cursorary eye
O'erglanc'd the articles. Pleaseth your Grace
To appoint some of your council presently
To sit with us once more, with better heed
To re-survey them, we will suddenly
Pass our accept and peremptory answer.
Brother, we shall. Go, uncle Exeter,
And brother Clarence, and you, brother Gloucester,
Warwick, and Huntington, go with the King;
And take with you free power to ratify,
Augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best
Shall see advantageable for our dignity,
Anything in or out of our demands,
And we'll consign thereto. Will you, fair sister,
Go with the princes, or stay here with us?
Our gracious brother, I will go with them.
Haply a woman's voice may do some good,
When articles too nicely urg'd be stood on.
Yet leave our cousin Katharine here with us:
She is our capital demand, compris'd
Within the fore-rank of our articles.
She hath good leave.
[Exeunt all except Henry, Katharine [and Alice.]
Fair Katharine, and most fair,
Will you vouchsafe to teach a soldier terms
Such as will enter at a lady's ear
And plead his love-suit to her gentle heart?
Your Majesty shall mock me; I cannot speak your
O fair Katharine, if you will love me soundly with your
French heart, I will be glad to hear you confess it brokenly
with your English tongue. Do you like me, Kate?
Pardonnez-moi, I cannot tell wat is "like me."
An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like an angel.
Que dit-il? Que je suis semblable a les anges?
Oui, vraiment, sauf votre grace, ainsi dit-il.
I said so, dear Katharine; and I must not blush to affirm it.
O bon Dieu! les langues des hommes sont pleines de tromperies.
What says she, fair one? That the tongues of men are full of
Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of deceits: dat is de
The Princess is the better Englishwoman. I' faith, Kate, my
wooing is fit for thy understanding: I am glad thou canst
speak no better English; for if thou couldst, thou wouldst
find me such a plain king that thou wouldst think I had sold my
farm to buy my crown. I know no ways to mince it in love, but
directly to say, "I love you"; then if you urge me farther than
to say, "Do you in faith?" I wear out my suit. Give me your
answer; i' faith, do; and so clap hands and a bargain. How say
Sauf votre honneur, me understand well.
Marry, if you would put me to verses, or to dance for your
sake, Kate, why you undid me; for the one, I have neither
words nor measure, and for the other I have no strength in
measure, yet a reasonable measure in strength. If I could win a
lady at leap-frog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour
on my back, under the correction of bragging be it spoken, I
should quickly leap into a wife. Or if I might buffet for my
love, or bound my horse for her favours, I could lay on like a
butcher and sit like a jack-an-apes, never off. But, before God,
Kate, I cannot look greenly, nor gasp out my eloquence, nor I
have no cunning in protestation; only downright oaths, which I
never use till urg'd, nor never break for urging. If thou canst
love a fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth
sunburning, that never looks in his glass for love of anything
he sees there, let thine eye be thy cook. I speak to thee plain
soldier. If thou canst love me for this, take me; if not, to say
to thee that I shall die, is true; but for thy love, by the Lord,
no; yet I love thee too. And while thou liv'st, dear Kate, take a
fellow of plain and uncoined constancy; for he perforce must do
thee right, because he hath not the gift to woo in other places;
for these fellows of infinite tongue, that can rhyme themselves
into ladies' favours, they do always reason themselves out again.
What! a speaker is but a prater: a rhyme is but a ballad. A good
leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a black beard will turn
white; a curl'd pate will grow bald; a fair face will wither; a
full eye will wax hollow; but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and
the moon; or rather the sun and not the moon; for it shines bright
and never changes, but keeps his course truly. If thou would have
such a one, take me; and take me, take a soldier; take a soldier,
take a king. And what say'st thou then to my love? Speak, my fair,
and fairly, I pray thee.
Is it possible dat I should love de enemy of France?
No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of France, Kate;
but, in loving me, you should love the friend of France; for I
love France so well that I will not part with a village of it, I
will have it all mine; and, Kate, when France is mine and I am
yours, then yours is France and you are mine.
I cannot tell wat is dat.
No, Kate? I will tell thee in French; which I am sure will hang
upon my tongue like a new-married wife about her husband's
neck, hardly to be shook off. Je quand sur le possession de
France, et quand vous avez le possession de moi,--let me see,
what then? Saint Denis be my speed!--donc votre est France
et vous etes mienne. It is as easy for me, Kate, to conquer the
kingdom as to speak so much more French. I shall never move
thee in French, unless it be to laugh at me.
Sauf votre honneur, le Francais que vous parlez, il est meilleur
que l'Anglois lequel je parle.
No, faith, is't not, Kate; but thy speaking of my tongue, and I
thine, most truly-falsely, must needs be granted to be much at
one. But, Kate, dost thou understand thus much English: canst
thou love me?
I cannot tell.
Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? I'll ask them. Come, I
know thou lovest me; and at night, when you come into your
closet, you'll question this gentlewoman about me; and I know,
Kate, you will to her dispraise those parts in me that you love
with your heart. But, good Kate, mock me mercifully; the
rather, gentle princess, because I love thee cruelly. If ever
thou beest mine, Kate, as I have a saving faith within me tells
me thou shalt, I get thee with scambling, and thou must therefore
needs prove a good soldier-breeder. Shall not thou and I, between
Saint Denis and Saint George, compound a boy, half French, half
English, that shall go to Constantinople and take the Turk by the
beard? Shall we not? What say'st thou, my fair flower-de-luce?
I do not know dat.
No; 'tis hereafter to know, but now to promise. Do but now
promise, Kate, you will endeavour for your French part of
such a boy; and for my English moiety, take the word of a king
and a bachelor. How answer you, la plus belle Katherine du monde,
mon tres cher et divin deesse?
Your Majestee ave fausse French enough to deceive de most
sage damoiselle dat is en France.
Now, fie upon my false French! By mine honour, in true English,
I love thee, Kate; by which honour I dare not swear thou lovest
me; yet my blood begins to flatter me that thou dost,
notwithstanding the poor and untempering effect of my visage.
Now, beshrew my father's ambition! he was thinking of civil wars
when he got me; therefore was I created with a stubborn outside,
with an aspect of iron, that, when I come to woo ladies, I fright
them. But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax, the better I shall
appear. My comfort is, that old age, that ill layer up of beauty,
can do no more spoil upon my face. Thou hast me, if thou hast me,
at the worst; and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and
better; and therefore tell me, most fair Katharine, will you have
me? Put off your maiden blushes; avouch the thoughts of your heart
with the looks of an empress; take me by the hand, and say, Harry
of England, I am thine; which word thou shalt no sooner bless mine
ear withal, but I will tell thee aloud, England is thine, Ireland
is thine, France is thine, and Henry Plantagenet is thine; who,
though I speak it before his face, if he be not fellow with the
best king, thou shalt find the best king of good fellows.
Come, your answer in broken music; for thy voice is music and thy
English broken; therefore, queen of all, Katharine, break thy mind
to me in broken English. Wilt thou have me?
Dat is as it shall please de roi mon pere.
Nay, it will please him well, Kate; it shall please him, Kate.
Den it sall also content me.
Upon that I kiss your hand, and call you my queen.
Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez! Ma foi, je ne veux point
que vous abaissez votre grandeur en baisant la main d'une indigne
serviteur. Excusez-moi, je vous supplie, mon tres-puissant seigneur.
Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.
Les dames et demoiselles pour etre baisees devant leur noces, il
n'est pas la coutume de France.
Madame my interpreter, what says she?
Dat it is not be de fashion pour les ladies of France,--I cannot
tell wat is baiser en Anglish.
Your Majestee entendre bettre que moi.
It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss before they
are married, would she say?
O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I
cannot be confined within the weak list of a country's fashion.
We are the makers of manners, Kate; and the liberty that follows
our places stops the mouth of all find-faults, as I will do yours,
for upholding the nice fashion of your country in denying me a kiss;
therefore, patiently and yielding. [Kissing her.] You have
witchcraft in your lips, Kate; there is more eloquence in a sugar
touch of them than in the tongues of the French council; and they
should sooner persuade Harry of England than a general petition of
monarchs. Here comes your father.
[Re-enter the French Power and the English Lords.]
God save your Majesty! My royal cousin, teach you our princess
I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I love her;
and that is good English.
Is she not apt?
Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth; so
that, having neither the voice nor the heart of flattery about
me, I cannot so conjure up the spirit of love in her, that he
will appear in his true likeness.
Pardon the frankness of my mirth, if I answer you for that. If
you would conjure in her, you must make a circle; if conjure up
Love in her in his true likeness, he must appear naked and blind.
Can you blame her then, being a maid yet ros'd over with the virgin
crimson of modesty, if she deny the appearance of a naked blind boy
in her naked seeing self? It were, my lord, a hard condition for a
maid to consign to.
Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and enforces.
They are then excus'd, my lord, when they see not what they do.
Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent winking.
I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach her to
know my meaning; for maids, well summer'd and warm kept, are like
flies at Bartholomew-tide, blind, though they have their eyes; and
then they will endure handling, which before would not abide
This moral ties me over to time and a hot summer; and so I shall
catch the fly, your cousin, in the latter end, and she must be blind
As love is, my lord, before it loves.
It is so; and you may, some of you, thank love for my blindness,
who cannot see many a fair French city for one fair French maid
that stands in my way.
Yes, my lord, you see them perspectively, the cities turn'd into
a maid; for they are all girdled with maiden walls that war hath
Shall Kate be my wife?
So please you.
I am content, so the maiden cities you talk of may wait on her;
so the maid that stood in the way for my wish shall show me the
way to my will.
We have consented to all terms of reason.
Is't so, my lords of England?
The king hath granted every article;
His daughter first, and then in sequel all,
According to their firm proposed natures.
Only he hath not yet subscribed this: where your Majesty demands,
that the King of France, having any occasion to write for matter
of grant, shall name your Highness in this form and with this
addition, in French, Notre tres-cher fils Henri, Roi d'Angleterre,
Heritier de France; and thus in Latin, Praeclarissimus filius noster
Henricus, Rex Angliae et Haeres Franciae.
Nor this I have not, brother, so denied
But our request shall make me let it pass.
I pray you then, in love and dear alliance,
Let that one article rank with the rest;
And thereupon give me your daughter.
Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up
Issue to me; that the contending kingdoms
Of France and England, whose very shores look pale
With envy of each other's happiness,
May cease their hatred; and this dear conjunction
Plant neighbourhood and Christian-like accord
In their sweet bosoms, that never war advance
His bleeding sword 'twixt England and fair France.
Now, welcome, Kate; and bear me witness all,
That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen.
God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one, your realms in one!
As man and wife, being two, are one in love,
So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousal,
That never may ill office, or fell jealousy,
Which troubles oft the bed of blessed marriage,
Thrust in between the paction of these kingdoms,
To make divorce of their incorporate league;
That English may as French, French Englishmen,
Receive each other. God speak this Amen!
Prepare we for our marriage; on which day,
My Lord of Burgundy, we'll take your oath,
And all the peers', for surety of our leagues,
Then shall I swear to Kate, and you to me;
And may our oaths well kept and prosperous be!
Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursu'd the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of England. Fortune made his sword,
By which the world's best garden he achieved,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown'd King
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing,
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.