Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT V. - The First Part of King Henry the Sixth
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ACT V. - William Shakespeare, The First Part of King Henry the Sixth 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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London. A Room in the Palace.
EnterKing Henry, Gloucester,andExeter.
Have you perus’d the letters from the pope,
The emperor, and the Earl of Armagnac?
I have, my lord; and their intent is this:
They humbly sue unto your excellence
To have a godly peace concluded of
Between the realms of England and of France.
How doth your Grace affect their motion?
Well, my good lord; and as the only means
To stop effusion of our Christian blood,
And stablish quietness on every side.
Ay, marry, uncle; for I always thought
It was both impious and unnatural
That such immanity and bloody strife
Should reign among professors of one faith.
Beside, my lord, the sooner to effect
And surer bind this knot of amity,
The Earl of Armagnac, near knit to Charles,
A man of great authority in France,
Proffers his only daughter to your Grace
In marriage, with a large and sumptuous dowry.
Marriage, uncle! alas! my years are young,
And fitter is my study and my books
Than wanton dalliance with a paramour.
Yet call the ambassadors; and, as you please,
So let them have their answers every one:
I shall be well content with any choice
Tends to God’s glory and my country’s weal.
Enter a Legate, and two Ambassadors, withWinchester,nowCardinal Beaufort,and habited accordingly.
[Aside.] What! is my Lord of Winchester install’d,
And call’d unto a cardinal’s degree?
Then, I perceive that will be verified
Henry the Fifth did sometime prophesy,—
‘If once he come to be a cardinal,
He’ll make his cap co-equal with the crown.’
My lords ambassadors, your several suits
Have been consider’d, and debated on.
Your purpose is both good and reasonable;
And therefore are we certainly resolv’d
To draw conditions of a friendly peace;
Which by my Lord of Winchester we mean
Shall be transported presently to France.
And for the proffer of my lord your master,
I have inform’d his highness so at large,
As,—liking of the lady’s virtuous gifts,
Her beauty, and the value of her dower,—
He doth intend she shall be England’s queen.
[To the Ambassador.] In argument and proof of which contract,
Bear her this jewel, pledge of my affection.
And so, my lord protector, see them guarded,
And safely brought to Dover; where inshipp’d
Commit them to the fortune of the sea.
[ExeuntKing Henryand Train;Gloucester, Exeter,and Ambassadors.
Stay, my lord legate: you shall first receive
The sum of money which I promised
Should be deliver’d to his holiness
For clothing me in these grave ornaments.
I will attend upon your lordship’s leisure.
[Aside.] Now Winchester will not submit, I trow,
Or be inferior to the proudest peer.
Humphrey of Gloucester, thou shalt well perceive
That neither in birth or for authority
The bishop will be overborne by thee:
I’ll either make thee stoop and bend thy knee,
Or sack this country with a mutiny.
France. Plains in Anjou.
EnterCharles, Burgundy, Alençon, Joan la Pucelle,and Forces, marching.
These news, my lord, may cheer our drooping spirits;
’Tis said the stout Parisians do revolt,
And turn again unto the war-like French.
Then, march to Paris, royal Charles of France,
And keep not back your powers in dalliance.
Peace be amongst them if they turn to us;
Else, ruin combat with their palaces!
Enter a Scout.
Success unto our valiant general,
And happiness to his accomplices!
What tidings send our scouts? I prithee speak.
The English army, that divided was
Into two parties, is now conjoin’d in one,
And means to give you battle presently.
Somewhat too sudden, sirs, the warning is:
But we will presently provide for them.
I trust the ghost of Talbot is not there:
Now he is gone, my lord, you need not fear.
Of all base passions, fear is most accurs’d.
Command the conquest, Charles, it shall be thine;
Let Henry fret and all the world repine.
Then on, my lords; and France be fortunate!
France. Before Angiers.
Alarum: Excursions. EnterJoan la Pucelle.
The regent conquers and the Frenchmen fly.
Now help, ye charming spells and periapts;
And ye choice spirits that admonish me
And give me signs of future accidents:
You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
Under the lordly monarch of the north,
Appear, and aid me in this enterprise!
This speedy and quick appearance argues proof
Of your accustom’d diligence to me.
Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull’d
Out of the powerful regions under earth,
Help me this once, that France may get the field.
[They walk, and speak not.
O! hold me not with silence over-long.
Where I was wont to feed you with my blood,
I’ll lop a member off and give it you,
In earnest of a further benefit,
So you do condescend to help me now.
[They hang their heads.
No hope to have redress? My body shall
Pay recompense, if you will grant my suit.
[They shake their heads.
Cannot my body nor blood-sacrifice
Entreat you to your wonted furtherance?
Then take my soul; my body, soul, and all,
Before that England give the French the foil.
See! they forsake me. Now the time is come,
That France must vail her lofty-plumed crest,
And let her head fall into England’s lap.
My ancient incantations are too weak,
And hell too strong for me to buckle with:
Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.
Alarum. Enter French and English fighting:Joan la PucelleandYorkfight hand to hand:Joan la Pucelleis taken. The French fly.
Damsel of France, I think I have you fast:
Unchain your spirits now with spelling charms,
And try if they can gain your liberty.
A goodly prize, fit for the devil’s grace!
See how the ugly witch doth bend her brows,
As if with Circe she would change my shape.
Chang’d to a worser shape thou canst not be.
O! Charles the Dauphin is a proper man;
No shape but his can please your dainty eye.
A plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee!
And may ye both be suddenly surpris’d
By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!
Fell banning hag, enchantress, hold thy tongue!
I prithee, give me leave to curse a while.
Curse, miscreant, when thou comest to the stake.
Alarum. EnterSuffolk,withMargaretin his hand.
Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.
[Gazes on her.
O fairest beauty! do not fear nor fly,
For I will touch thee but with reverent hands.
I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
And lay them gently on thy tender side.
What art thou? say, that I may honour thee.
Margaret my name, and daughter to a king,
The King of Naples, whosoe’er thou art.
An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call’d.
Be not offended, nature’s miracle,
Thou art allotted to be ta’en by me:
So doth the swan her downy cygnets save,
Keeping them prisoners underneath her wings.
Yet if this servile usage once offend,
Go and be free again, as Suffolk’s friend.
[She turns away as going.
O stay! I have no power to let her pass;
My hand would free her, but my heart says no.
As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,
Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak:
I’ll call for pen and ink and write my mind.
Fie, De la Pole! disable not thyself;
Hast not a tongue? is she not here thy prisoner?
Wilt thou be daunted at a woman’s sight?
Ay; beauty’s princely majesty is such
Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.
Say, Earl of Suffolk,—if thy name be so,—
What ransom must I pay before I pass?
For I perceive, I am thy prisoner.
[Aside.] How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit,
Before thou make a trial of her love?
Why speak’st thou not? what ransom must I pay?
[Aside.] She’s beautiful and therefore to be woo’d,
She is a woman, therefore to be won.
Wilt thou accept of ransom, yea or no?
[Aside.] Fond man! remember that thou hast a wife;
Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?
I were best to leave him, for he will not hear.
[Aside.] There all is marr’d; there lies a cooling card.
He talks at random; sure, the man is mad.
[Aside.] And yet a dispensation may be had.
And yet I would that you would answer me.
[Aside.] I’ll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
Why, for my king: tush! that’s a wooden thing.
[Overhearing him.] He talks of wood: it is some carpenter.
[Aside.] Yet so my fancy may be satisfied,
And peace established between these realms.
But there remains a scruple in that too;
For though her father be the King of Naples,
Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor,
And our nobility will scorn the match.
Hear ye, captain? Are you not at leisure?
[Aside.] It shall be so, disdain they ne’er so much:
Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.
Madam, I have a secret to reveal.
[Aside.] What though I be enthrall’d? he seems a knight,
And will not any way dishonour me.
Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.
[Aside.] Perhaps I shall be rescu’d by the French;
And then I need not crave his courtesy.
Sweet madam, give me hearing in a cause—
Tush, women have been captivate ere now.
Lady, wherefore talk you so?
I cry you mercy, ’tis but quid for quo.
Say, gentle princess, would you not suppose
Your bondage happy to be made a queen?
To be a queen in bondage is more vile
Than is a slave in base servility;
For princes should be free.
And so shall you,
If happy England’s royal king be free.
Why, what concerns his freedom unto me?
I’ll undertake to make thee Henry’s queen,
To put a golden sceptre in thy hand
And set a precious crown upon thy head,
If thou wilt condescend to be my—
I am unworthy to be Henry’s wife.
No, gentle madam; I unworthy am
To woo so fair a dame to be his wife
And have no portion in the choice myself.
How say you, madam, are you so content?
An if my father please, I am content.
Then call our captains and our colours forth!
And, madam, at your father’s castle walls
We’ll crave a parley, to confer with him.
[Troops come forward.
A Parley sounded. EnterReignieron the Walls.
See, Reignier, see thy daughter prisoner!
Suffolk, what remedy?
I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
Or to exclaim on Fortune’s fickleness.
Yes, there is remedy enough; my lord:
Consent, and for thy honour, give consent,
Thy daughter shall be wedded to my king,
Whom I with pain have woo’d and won thereto;
And this her easy-held imprisonment
Hath gain’d thy daughter princely liberty.
Speaks Suffolk as he thinks?
Fair Margaret knows
That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.
Upon thy princely warrant, I descend
To give thee answer of thy just demand.
[Exit from the walls.
And here I will expect thy coming.
Trumpets sound. EnterReignier,below.
Welcome, brave earl, into our territories:
Command in Anjou what your honour pleases.
Thanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child,
Fit to be made companion with a king.
What answer makes your Grace unto my suit?
Since thou dost deign to woo her little worth
To be the princely bride of such a lord,
Upon condition I may quietly
Enjoy mine own, the county Maine and Anjou,
Free from oppression or the stroke of war,
My daughter shall be Henry’s if he please.
That is her ransom; I deliver her;
And those two counties I will undertake
Your Grace shall well and quietly enjoy.
And I again, in Henry’s royal name,
As deputy unto that gracious king,
Give thee her hand for sign of plighted faith.
Reignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks,
Because this is in traffic of a king:
[Aside.] And yet, methinks, I could be well content
To be mine own attorney in this case.
I’ll over then, to England with this news,
And make this marriage to be solemniz’d.
So farewell, Reignier: set this diamond safe,
In golden palaces, as it becomes.
I do embrace thee, as I would embrace
The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.
Farewell, my lord. Good wishes, praise, and prayers
Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.
Farewell, sweet madam! but hark you, Margaret;
No princely commendations to my king?
Such commendations as become a maid,
A virgin, and his servant, say to him.
Words sweetly plac’d and modestly directed.
But madam, I must trouble you again,
No loving token to his majesty?
Yes, my good lord; a pure unspotted heart,
Never yet taint with love, I send the king.
And this withal.
That for thyself: I will not so presume,
To send such peevish tokens to a king.
O! wert thou for myself! But Suffolk, stay;
Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth;
There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk.
Solicit Henry with her wondrous praise:
Bethink thee on her virtues that surmount
And natural graces that extinguish art;
Repeat their semblance often on the seas,
That, when thou com’st to kneel at Henry’s feet,
Thou mayst bereave him of his wits with wonder.
Camp of theDuke of York,in Anjou.
EnterYork, Warwick,and Others.
Bring forth that sorceress, condemn’d to burn.
EnterJoan la Pucelle,guarded; and a Shepherd.
Ah, Joan! this kills thy father’s heart outright.
Have I sought every country far and near,
And, now it is my chance to find thee out,
Must I behold thy timeless cruel death?
Ah, Joan! sweet daughter Joan, I’ll die with thee.
Decrepit miser! base ignoble wretch!
I am descended of a gentler blood:
Thou art no father nor no friend of mine.
Out, out! My lords, an please you, ’tis not so;
I did beget her all the parish knows:
Her mother liveth yet, can testify
She was the first fruit of my bachelorship.
Graceless! wilt thou deny thy parentage?
This argues what her kind of life hath been:
Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes.
Fie, Joan, that thou wilt be so obstacle!
God knows, thou art a collop of my flesh;
And for thy sake have I shed many a tear:
Deny me not, I prithee, gentle Joan.
Peasant, avaunt! You have suborn’d this man,
Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.
’Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest,
The morn that I was wedded to her mother.
Kneel down and take my blessing, good my girl.
Wilt thou not stoop? Now cursed be the time
Of thy nativity! I would the milk
Thy mother gave thee, when thou suck’dst her breast,
Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake!
Or else, when thou didst keep my lambs a-field
I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee!
Dost thou deny thy father, cursed drab?
O! burn her, burn her! hanging is too good.
Take her away; for she hath liv’d too long,
To fill the world with vicious qualities.
First, let me tell you whom you have condemn’d:
Not me begotten of a shepherd swain,
But issu’d from the progeny of kings;
Virtuous and holy; chosen from above,
By inspiration of celestial grace,
To work exceeding miracles on earth.
I never had to do with wicked spirits:
But you,—that are polluted with your lusts,
Stain’d with the guiltless blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,—
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it straight a thing impossible
To compass wonders but by help of devils.
No misconceived! Joan of Arc hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,
Chaste and immaculate in very thought;
Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effus’d,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.
Ay, ay: away with her to execution!
And hark ye, sirs; because she is a maid,
Spare for no fagots, let there be enow:
Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,
That so her torture may be shortened.
Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts?
Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity;
That warranteth by law to be thy privilege.
I am with child, ye bloody homicides:
Murder not then the fruit within my womb,
Although ye hale me to a violent death.
Now, heaven forefend! the holy maid with child!
The greatest miracle that e’er ye wrought!
Is all your strict preciseness come to this?
She and the Dauphin have been juggling:
I did imagine what would be her refuge.
Well, go to; we will have no bastards live;
Especially since Charles must father it.
You are deceiv’d; my child is none of his:
It was Alençon that enjoy’d my love.
Alençon! that notorious Machiavel!
It dies an if it had a thousand lives.
O! give me leave, I have deluded you:
’Twas neither Charles, nor yet the duke I nam’d,
But Reignier, King of Naples, that prevail’d.
A married man: that’s most intolerable.
Why, here’s a girl! I think she knows not well,
There were so many, whom she may accuse.
It’s sign she hath been liberal and free.
And yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure.
Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee:
Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.
Then lead me hence; with whom I leave my curse:
May never glorious sun reflex his beams
Upon the country where you make abode;
But darkness and the gloomy shade of death
Environ you, till mischief and despair
Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves!
Break thou in pieces and consume to ashes,
Thou foul accursed minister of hell!
Lord regent, I do greet your excellence
With letters of commission from the king.
For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,
Mov’d with remorse of these outrageous broils,
Have earnestly implor’d a general peace
Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French;
And here at hand the Dauphin, and his train,
Approacheth to confer about some matter.
Is all our travail turn’d to this effect?
After the slaughter of so many peers,
So many captains, gentlemen, and soldiers,
That in this quarrel have been overthrown,
And sold their bodies for their country’s benefit,
Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?
Have we not lost most part of all the towns,
By treason, falsehood, and by treachery,
Our great progenitors had conquered?
O! Warwick, Warwick! I foresee with grief
The utter loss of all the realm of France.
Be patient, York: if we conclude a peace,
It shall be with such strict and severe covenants
As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby.
EnterCharles,attended;Alençon,theBastard of Orleans, Reignier,and Others.
Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed,
That peaceful truce shall be proclaim’d in France,
We come to be informed by yourselves
What the conditions of that league must be.
Speak, Winchester; for boiling choler chokes
The hollow passage of my poison’d voice,
By sight of these our baleful enemies.
Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus:
That, in regard King Henry gives consent,
Of mere compassion and of lenity,
To ease your country of distressful war,
And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace,
You shall become true liegemen to his crown:
And, Charles, upon-condition thou wilt swear
To pay him tribute, and submit thyself,
Thou shalt be plac’d as viceroy under him,
And still enjoy thy regal dignity.
Must he be then, as shadow of himself?
Adorn his temples with a coronet,
And yet, in substance and authority,
Retain but privilege of a private man?
This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
’Tis known already that I am possess’d
With more than half the Gallian territories,
And therein reverenc’d for their lawful king:
Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquish’d,
Detract so much from that prerogative
As to be call’d but viceroy of the whole?
No, lord ambassador; I’ll rather keep
That which I have than, coveting for more,
Be cast from possibility of all.
Insulting Charles! hast thou by secret means
Us’d intercession to obtain a league,
And now the matter grows to compromise,
Stand’st thou aloof upon comparison?
Either accept the title thou usurp’st,
Of benefit proceeding from our king
And not of any challenge of desert,
Or we will plague thee with incessant wars.
My lord, you do not well in obstinacy
To cavil in the course of this contract:
If once it be neglected, ten to one,
We shall not find like opportunity.
[Aside toCharles.] To say the truth, it is your policy
To save your subjects from such massacre
And ruthless slaughters as are daily seen
By our proceeding in hostility;
And therefore take this compact of a truce,
Although you break it when your pleasure serves.
How sayst thou, Charles? shall our condition stand?
Only reserv’d, you claim no interest
In any of our towns of garrison.
Then swear allegiance to his majesty;
As thou art knight, never to disobey
Nor be rebellious to the crown of England,
Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England.
[Charles,&c., give tokens of fealty.
So, now dismiss your army when ye please;
Hang up your ensigns, let your drums be still,
For here we entertain a solemn peace.
London. A Room in the Palace.
EnterKing Henry,in conference withSuffolk; GloucesterandExeterfollowing.
Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
Of beauteous Margaret hath astonish’d me:
Her virtues, graced with external gifts
Do breed love’s settled passions in my heart:
And like as rigour of tempestuous gusts
Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
So am I driven by breath of her renown
Either to suffer shipwrack, or arrive
Where I may have fruition of her love.
Tush! my good lord, this superficial tale
Is but a preface of her worthy praise:
The chief perfections of that lovely dame—
Had I sufficient skill to utter them—
Would make a volume of enticing lines,
Able to ravish any dull conceit:
And, which is more, she is not so divine,
So full replete with choice of all delights,
But with as humble lowliness of mind
She is content to be at your command;
Command, I mean, of virtuous chaste intents,
To love and honour Henry as her lord.
And otherwise will Henry ne’er presume.
Therefore, my Lord Protector, give consent
That Margaret may be England’s royal queen.
So should I give consent to flatter sin.
You know, my lord, your highness is betroth’d
Unto another lady of esteem;
How shall we then dispense with that contract,
And not deface your honour with reproach?
As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
Or one that, at a triumph having vow’d
To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
By reason of his adversary’s odds.
A poor earl’s daughter is unequal odds,
And therefore may be broke without offence.
Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that?
Her father is no better than an earl,
Although in glorious titles he excel.
Yes, my good lord, her father is a king,
The King of Naples and Jerusalem;
And of such great authority in France
As his alliance will confirm our peace,
And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.
And so the Earl of Armagnac may do,
Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.
Beside, his wealth doth warrant liberal dower,
Where Reignier sooner will receive than give.
A dower, my lords! disgrace not so your king,
That he should be so abject, base, and poor,
To choose for wealth and not for perfect love.
Henry is able to enrich his queen,
And not to seek a queen to make him rich:
So worthless peasants bargain for their wives,
As market-men for oxen, sheep, or horse.
Marriage is a matter of more worth
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship:
Not whom we will, but whom his Grace affects,
Must be companion of his nuptial bed;
And therefore, lords, since he affects her most
It most of all these reasons bindeth us,
In our opinions she should be preferr’d.
For what is wedlock forced, but a hell,
An age of discord and continual strife?
Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss,
And is a pattern of celestial peace.
Whom should we match with Henry, being a king,
But Margaret, that is daughter to a king?
Her peerless feature, joined with her birth,
Approves her fit for none but for a king:
Her valiant courage and undaunted spirit—
More than in women commonly is seen—
Will answer our hope in issue of a king;
For Henry, son unto a conqueror,
Is likely to beget more conquerors,
If with a lady of so high resolve
As is fair Margaret he be link’d in love.
Then yield, my lords; and here conclude with me
That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.
Whether it be through force of your report,
My noble lord of Suffolk, or for that
My tender youth was never yet attaint
With any passion of inflaming love,
I cannot tell; but this I am assur’d,
I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,
Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
As I am sick with working of my thoughts.
Take, therefore, shipping; post, my lord, to France;
Agree to any covenants, and procure
That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come
To cross the seas to England and be crown’d
King Henry’s faithful and anointed queen:
For your expenses and sufficient charge,
Among the people gather up a tenth.
Be gone, I say; for till you do return
I rest perplexed with a thousand cares.
And you, good uncle, banish all offence:
If you do censure me by what you were,
Not what you are, I know it will excuse
This sudden execution of my will.
And so, conduct me, where, from company
I may revolve and ruminate my grief.
Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.
Thus Suffolk hath prevail’d; and thus he goes,
As did the youthful Paris once to Greece;
With hope to find the like event in love,
But prosper better than the Trojan did.
Margaret shall now be queen, and rule the king;
But I will rule both her, the king, and realm.