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History of Henry V

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Act V, Scene 2

France. A royal palace.


[Enter, at one door KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD,] [p]GLOUCESTER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and other Lords; [p]at another, the FRENCH KING, QUEEN ISABEL, the [p]PRINCESS KATHARINE, ALICE and other Ladies; the [p]DUKE of BURGUNDY, and his train]

  • Henry V. 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; 2985
    And, as a branch and member of this royalty,
    By whom this great assembly is contrived,
    We do salute you, Duke of Burgundy;
    And, princes French, and peers, health to you all!
  • King of France. Right joyous are we to behold your face, 2990
    Most worthy brother England; fairly met:
    So are you, princes English, every one.
  • Queen Isabel. 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; 2995
    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 3000
    Shall change all griefs and quarrels into love.
  • Henry V. To cry amen to that, thus we appear.
  • Duke of Burgundy. My duty to you both, on equal love,
    Great Kings of France and England! That I have labour'd, 3005
    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 3010
    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, 3015
    Dear nurse of arts 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 chased,
    And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps, 3020
    Corrupting in its 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 3025
    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, 3030
    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, 3035
    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 3040
    That nothing do but meditate on blood,—
    To swearing and stern looks, diffused attire
    And every thing that seems unnatural.
    Which to reduce into our former favour
    You are assembled: and my speech entreats 3045
    That I may know the let, why gentle Peace
    Should not expel these inconveniences
    And bless us with her former qualities.
  • Henry V. If, Duke of Burgundy, you would the peace,
    Whose want gives growth to the imperfections 3050
    Which you have cited, you must buy that peace
    With full accord to all our just demands;
    Whose tenors and particular effects
    You have enscheduled briefly in your hands.
  • Duke of Burgundy. The king hath heard them; to the which as yet 3055
    There is no answer made.
  • Henry V. Well then the peace,
    Which you before so urged, lies in his answer.
  • King of France. I have but with a cursorary eye
    O'erglanced the articles: pleaseth your grace 3060
    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.
  • Henry V. Brother, we shall. Go, uncle Exeter, 3065
    And brother Clarence, and you, brother Gloucester,
    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, 3070
    Any thing in or out of our demands,
    And we'll consign thereto. Will you, fair sister,
    Go with the princes, or stay here with us?
  • Queen Isabel. Our gracious brother, I will go with them:
    Haply a woman's voice may do some good, 3075
    When articles too nicely urged be stood on.
  • Henry V. Yet leave our cousin Katharine here with us:
    She is our capital demand, comprised
    Within the fore-rank of our articles.

[Exeunt all except HENRY, KATHARINE, and ALICE]

  • Henry V. 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? 3085
  • Katharine. Your majesty shall mock at me; I cannot speak your England.
  • Henry V. 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? 3090
  • Katharine. Pardonnez-moi, I cannot tell vat is 'like me.'
  • Henry V. An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like an angel.
  • Katharine. Que dit-il? que je suis semblable a les anges?
  • Alice. Oui, vraiment, sauf votre grace, ainsi dit-il.
  • Henry V. I said so, dear Katharine; and I must not blush to 3095
    affirm it.
  • Katharine. O bon Dieu! les langues des hommes sont pleines de
  • Henry V. What says she, fair one? that the tongues of men
    are full of deceits? 3100
  • Alice. Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of
    deceits: dat is de princess.
  • Henry V. 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 3105
    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 3110
    my suit. Give me your answer; i' faith, do: and so
    clap hands and a bargain: how say you, lady?
  • Katharine. Sauf votre honneur, me understand vell.
  • Henry V. Marry, if you would put me to verses or to dance for
    your sake, Kate, why you undid me: for the one, I 3115
    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 3120
    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 3125
    eloquence, nor I have no cunning in protestation;
    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 3130
    of any thing 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 3135
    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 rhyme themselves into ladies' favours, they do 3140
    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 curled pate will grow
    bald; a fair face will wither; a full eye will wax 3145
    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, 3150
    take a king. And what sayest thou then to my love?
    speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.
  • Katharine. Is it possible dat I sould love de enemy of France?
  • Henry V. No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of
    France, Kate: but, in loving me, you should love 3155
    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.
  • Henry V. 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 3165
    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. 3170
  • Katharine. Sauf votre honneur, le Francois que vous parlez, il
    est meilleur que l'Anglois lequel je parle.
  • Henry V. 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 3175
    understand thus much English, canst thou love me?
  • Henry V. 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 3180
    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 3185
    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 3190
    Constantinople and take the Turk by the beard?
    shall we not? what sayest thou, my fair
  • Henry V. No; 'tis hereafter to know, but now to promise: do 3195
    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 devin deesse? 3200
  • Katharine. Your majestee ave fausse French enough to deceive de
    most sage demoiselle dat is en France.
  • Henry V. 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 3205
    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 3210
    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 3215
    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 3220
    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 Harry
    Plantagenet is thine;' who though I speak it before
    his face, if he be not fellow with the best king, 3225
    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? 3230
  • Katharine. Dat is as it sall please de roi mon pere.
  • Henry V. Nay, it will please him well, Kate it shall please
    him, Kate.
  • Henry V. Upon that I kiss your hand, and I call you my queen. 3235
  • Katharine. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez: ma foi, je
    ne veux point que vous abaissiez votre grandeur en
    baisant la main d'une de votre seigeurie indigne
    serviteur; excusez-moi, je vous supplie, mon
    tres-puissant seigneur. 3240
  • Henry V. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.
  • Katharine. Les dames et demoiselles pour etre baisees devant
    leur noces, il n'est pas la coutume de France.
  • Henry V. Madam my interpreter, what says she?
  • Alice. Dat it is not be de fashion pour les ladies of 3245
    France,—I cannot tell vat is baiser en Anglish.
  • Alice. Your majesty entendre bettre que moi.
  • Henry V. It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss
    before they are married, would she say? 3250
  • Henry V. 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 3255
    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] 3260
    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. 3265

[Re-enter the FRENCH KING and his QUEEN, BURGUNDY, and other Lords]

  • Duke of Burgundy. God save your majesty! my royal cousin, teach you
    our princess English?
  • Henry V. I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how
    perfectly I love her; and that is good English. 3270
  • Henry V. 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 3275
    his true likeness.
  • Duke of Burgundy. 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 3280
    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. 3285
  • Henry V. Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and enforces.
  • Duke of Burgundy. They are then excused, my lord, when they see not
    what they do.
  • Henry V. Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent winking.
  • Duke of Burgundy. I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will 3290
    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. 3295
  • Henry V. 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.
  • Henry V. It is so: and you may, some of you, thank love for 3300
    my blindness, who cannot see many a fair French city
    for one fair French maid that stands in my way.
  • King of France. Yes, my lord, you see them perspectively, the cities
    turned into a maid; for they are all girdled with
    maiden walls that war hath never entered. 3305
  • Henry V. 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. 3310
  • Henry V. Is't so, my lords of England?
  • Earl of Westmoreland. The king hath granted every article:
    His daughter first, and then in sequel all,
    According to their firm proposed natures. 3315
  • Duke of Exeter. 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 trescher fils Henri, Roi 3320
    d'Angleterre, Heritier de France; and thus in
    Latin, Praeclarissimus filius noster Henricus, Rex
    Angliae, et Haeres Franciae.
  • King of France. Nor this I have not, brother, so denied,
    But your request shall make me let it pass. 3325
  • Henry V. I pray you then, in love and dear alliance,
    Let that one article rank with the rest;
    And thereupon give me your daughter.
  • King of France. Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up
    Issue to me; that the contending kingdoms 3330
    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 3335
    His bleeding sword 'twixt England and fair France.
  • Henry V. Now, welcome, Kate: and bear me witness all,
    That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen.


  • Queen Isabel. 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, 3345
    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! 3350
  • Henry V. 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; 3355
    And may our oaths well kept and prosperous be!
    [Sennet. Exeunt]

[Enter Chorus]

  • Chorus. Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen, 3360
    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 lived
    This star of England: Fortune made his sword; 3365
    By which the world's best garden be 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, 3370
    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.