[Sennet. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, and EXETER]
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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:
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,
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.'
- 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
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,
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
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
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
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.