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History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act V, Scene 1

London. The palace.



  • Henry VI. Have you perused the letters from the pope,
    The emperor and the Earl of Armagnac?
  • Duke of Gloucester. I have, my lord: and their intent is this:
    They humbly sue unto your excellence
    To have a godly peace concluded of 2360
    Between the realms of England and of France.
  • Henry VI. How doth your grace affect their motion?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Well, my good lord; and as the only means
    To stop effusion of our Christian blood
    And 'stablish quietness on every side. 2365
  • Henry VI. 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.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Beside, my lord, the sooner to effect 2370
    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. 2375
  • Henry VI. Marriage, uncle! alas, my years are young!
    And fitter is my study and my books
    Than wanton dalliance with a paramour.
    Yet call the ambassador; and, as you please,
    So let them have their answers every one: 2380
    I shall be well content with any choice
    Tends to God's glory and my country's weal.
    [Enter CARDINAL OF WINCHESTER in Cardinal's habit,]
    a Legate and two Ambassadors]
  • Duke of Exeter. What! is my Lord of Winchester install'd, 2385
    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.' 2390
  • Henry VI. My lords ambassadors, your several suits
    Have been consider'd and debated on.
    And therefore are we certainly resolved
    To draw conditions of a friendly peace;
    Which by my Lord of Winchester we mean 2395
    Shall be transported presently to France.
  • Duke of Gloucester. 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, 2400
    He doth intend she shall be England's queen.
  • Henry VI. 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 2405
    Commit them to the fortune of the sea.

[Exeunt all but CARDINAL OF WINCHESTER and Legate]

  • Winchester. Stay, my lord legate: you shall first receive
    The sum of money which I promised
    Should be deliver'd to his holiness 2410
    For clothing me in these grave ornaments.
  • Legate. I will attend upon your lordship's leisure.
  • Winchester. [Aside] Now Winchester will not submit, I trow,
    Or be inferior to the proudest peer.
    Humphrey of Gloucester, thou shalt well perceive 2415
    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.