William Shakespeare's The Life of King Henry the Fifth in the complete original text.
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The Life of King Henry the Fifth

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Act V. Scene II.

Scene II.—Troyes in Champagne. An Apart-
ment in the FRENCH KING'S Palace.

Enter, from one side, KING HENRY, BEDFORD,
LAND, and other Lords; from the other side,
KATHARINE, ALICE and other Ladies; the DUKE
or BURGUNDY, and his Train.

K. Hen. 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
Fr. King. Right joyous are we to behold your
Most worthy brother England; fairly met:
So are you, princes English, every one.
Q. Isa. 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.
K. Hen. To cry amen to that, thus we appear.
Q. Isa. You English princes all, I do salute
Bur. 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 en-
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 hearts, 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 its own fertility.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleached,
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, kecksies, 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 every thing 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.
K. Hen. If, Duke of Burgundy, you would the
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.
Bur. The king hath heard them; to the which,
as yet,
There is no answer made.
K. Hen. Well then the peace,
Which you before so urg'd, lies in his answer.
Fr. King. 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.
K. Hen. Brother, we shall. Go, uncle Exeter,
And brother Clarence, and you, brother Glouces-
Warwick and Huntingdon, 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?
Q. Isa. Our gracious brother, I will go with
Haply a woman's voice may do some good
When articles too nicely urg'd be stood on.
K. Hen. Yet leave our cousin Katharine here
with us:
She is our capital demand, compris'd
Within the fore-rank of our articles.
Q. Isa. She hath good leave.
[Exeunt all except KING HENRY,
K. Hen. 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?
Kath. Your majesty sail mock at me; I can-
not speak your England.
K. Hen. 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?
Kath. Pardonnez moy, I cannot tell vat is
'like me.'
K. Hen. An angel is like you, Kate; and you
are like an angel.
Kath. Quo dit-il? que je suis semblable à les
A lice. Ouy, vrayment, sauf vostre grace, ainsi
K. Hen. I said so, dear Katharine; and I
nuist not blush to affirm it.
Kath. O bon Dieu! les tongues des hommes
sont pleines des tromperies.
K. Hen. What says she, fair one? that the
tongues of men are full of deceits?
Alice. Ouy, dat de tongues of de mans is be
full of deceits: dat is de princess.
K. Hen. The princess is the better English-
woman. 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 further
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 you, lady?
Kath. Sauf vostre honneur, me understand vell
K. Hen. 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 mea-
sure, 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 protesta-
tion; only downright oaths, which I never use
till urged, nor never break for urging. If thou
canst love a fellow of this temper, Kate, whose
face is not worth sun-burning, 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 livest, 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 rime them-
selves into ladies' favours, they do always reason
themselves out again. What! a speaker is but
a prater; a rime is but a ballad. A good leg
will fall, a straight back will stoop, a black beard
will turn white, a curled 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 sayest thou then to
my love? speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.
Kath. Is it possible dat I sould love de
enemy of France?
K. Hen. 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.
Kath. I cannot tell vat is dat.
K. Hen. 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 posses-
sion de France, et quand vous avez le possession
de moy,—let me see, what then? Saint Denis
be my speed!—done vostre est France, et vous
estes 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, un-
less it be to laugh at me.
Kath. Sauf vostre honneur, le Francois que
vous parlez est meilleur quo l'Anglois lequel je
K. Hen. 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?
Kath. I cannot tell.
K. Hen. 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 be'st 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 sayest thou,
my fair flower-de-luce?
Kath. I do not know dat.
K. Hen. 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 Katharine du monde, mon tres cher et
divine deesse?
Kath. Your majesté ave fausse French enough
to deceive de most sage demoiselle dat is en
K. Hen. 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 stub-
born 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?
Kath. Dat is as it sail please de roymon père.
K. Hen. Nay, it will please him well, Kate;
it shall please him, Kate.
Kath. Den it sail also content me.
K. Hen. Upon that I kiss your hand, and I
call you my queen.
Kath. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez!
Mafoy, je ne veux point que vous abaissez vostre
grandeur, en baisant la main d'une vostre in-
digne serviteure: excusez moy, je vous supplie,
mon tres puissant seigneur.
K. Hen. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.
Kath. Les dames, et demoiselles, pour estre
baisées devant leur noces, il n'est pas la cou-
tume de France.
K. Hen. Madam my interpreter, what says she?
Alice. Dat it is not be de fashion pour les
ladies of France,—I cannot tell what is baiser
in English.
K. Hen. To kiss.
Alice. Your majesty entendre bettre quo moy.
K. Hen. It is not a fashion for the maids in
France to kiss before they are married, would
she say?
Alice. Ouy, vrayment.
K. Hen. 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 li-
berty that follows our places stops the mouths
of all find-faults, as I will do yours, for uphold-
ing 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 KING and QUEEN,
and other French and EnglishLords.
Bur. God save your majesty! My royal cousin,
teach you our princess English?
K. Hen. I would have her learn, my fair
cousin, how perfectly I love her; and that is
good English.
Bur. Is she not apt?
K. Hen. 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.
Bur. 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 rosed 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.
K. Hen. Yet they do wink and yield, as love
is blind and enforces.
Bur. They are then excused, my lord, when
they see not what they do.
K. Hen. Then, good my lord, teach your
cousin to consent winking.
Bur. I will wink on her to consent, my lord,
if you will teach her to know my meaning: for
maids, well summered 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 looking on.
K. Hen. 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 too.
Bur. As love is. my lord, before it loves.
K. Hen. 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.
Fr. King. Yes, my lord, you see them per-
spectively, the cities turned into a maid; for
they are all girdled with maiden walls that war
hath never entered.
K. Hen. Shall Kate be my wife?
Fr. King. So please you.
K. Hen. 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.
Fr. King. We have consented to all terms of
K. Hen. Is't so, my lords of England?
West. The king hath granted every article:
His daughter first, and then in sequel all,
According to their firm proposed natures.
Exe. 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. Noire très cher
filz Henry roy d' Angleterre, Héretier de France;
and thus in Latin, Prœclarissimus filius nos-
ter Henricus, Rex Angliœ, et Hœres Franciœ.
Fr. King. Nor this I have not, brother, so
But your request shall make me let it pass.
K. Hen. I pray you then, in love and dear
Let that one article rank with the rest;
And thereupon give me your daughter.
Fr. King. 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
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.
All. Amen!
K. Hen. Now, welcome, Kate: and bear me
witness all,
That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen.
Q. Isa. 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 I God speak this Amen!
All. Amen!
K. Hen. 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! [Sennet. Exeunt.

Enter Chorus.
Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursued 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 liv'd
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
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.
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