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Makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music.

      — The Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene 2


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History of Henry VI, Part I

Act V

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Scene 1. London. The palace.

Scene 2. France. Plains in Anjou.

Scene 3. Before Angiers.

Scene 4. Camp of the YORK in Anjou.

Scene 5. London. The palace.


Act V, Scene 1

London. The palace.

      next scene .


  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

France. Plains in Anjou.

      next scene .


  • Charles, King of France. These news, my lord, may cheer our drooping spirits:
    'Tis said the stout Parisians do revolt
    And turn again unto the warlike French. 2425
  • Duke of Alencon. Then march to Paris, royal Charles of France,
    And keep not back your powers in dalliance.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Peace be amongst them, if they turn to us;
    Else, ruin combat with their palaces!

[Enter Scout]

  • Scout. Success unto our valiant general,
    And happiness to his accomplices!
  • Scout. The English army, that divided was
    Into two parties, is now conjoined in one, 2435
    And means to give you battle presently.
  • Duke of Burgundy. I trust the ghost of Talbot is not there:
    Now he is gone, my lord, you need not fear. 2440
  • Joan la Pucelle. Of all base passions, fear is most accursed.
    Command the conquest, Charles, it shall be thine,
    Let Henry fret and all the world repine.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Before Angiers.

      next scene .

[Alarum. Excursions. Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE]

  • Joan 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. 2450
    You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
    Under the lordly monarch of the north,
    Appear and aid me in this enterprise.
    [Enter Fiends] 2455
    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. 2460
    [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 further benefit, 2465
    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] 2470
    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.
    [They depart] 2475
    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: 2480
    Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.
    [Excursions. Re-enter JOAN LA PUCELLE fighting hand]
    to hand with YORK. JOAN LA PUCELLE is taken. The
    French fly] 2485
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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 wench doth bend her brows, 2490
    As if with Circe she would change my shape!
  • Joan la Pucelle. A plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee! 2495
    And may ye both be suddenly surprised
    By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!


[Alarum. Enter SUFFOLK with MARGARET in his hand]

  • Earl of Suffolk. Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.
    [Gazes on her]
    O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly! 2505
    For I will touch thee but with reverent hands;
    I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
    And lay them gently on thy tender side.
    Who art thou? say, that I may honour thee.
  • Queen Margaret. Margaret my name, and daughter to a king, 2510
    The King of Naples, whosoe'er thou art.
  • Earl of Suffolk. 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, 2515
    Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
    Yet, if this servile usage once offend.
    Go, and be free again, as Suffolk's friend.
    [She is going]
    O, stay! I have no power to let her pass; 2520
    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: 2525
    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?
    Wilt thou be daunted at a woman's sight?
    Ay, beauty's princely majesty is such, 2530
    Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.
  • Queen Margaret. Say, Earl of Suffolk—if thy name be so—
    What ransom must I pay before I pass?
    For I perceive I am thy prisoner.
  • Earl of Suffolk. How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit, 2535
    Before thou make a trial of her love?
  • Earl of Suffolk. She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
    She is a woman, therefore to be won.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife;
    Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?
  • Earl of Suffolk. I'll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
    Why, for my king: tush, that's a wooden thing!
  • Earl of Suffolk. 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, 2555
    And our nobility will scorn the match.
  • Earl of Suffolk. It shall be so, disdain they ne'er so much.
    Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.
    Madam, I have a secret to reveal. 2560
  • Queen Margaret. What though I be enthrall'd? he seems a knight,
    And will not any way dishonour me.
  • Queen Margaret. Perhaps I shall be rescued by the French;
    And then I need not crave his courtesy. 2565
  • Earl of Suffolk. Say, gentle princess, would you not suppose 2570
    Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?
  • Queen Margaret. To be a queen in bondage is more vile
    Than is a slave in base servility;
    For princes should be free.
  • Earl of Suffolk. And so shall you, 2575
    If happy England's royal king be free.
  • Earl of Suffolk. 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, 2580
    If thou wilt condescend to be my—
  • Earl of Suffolk. No, gentle madam; I unworthy am 2585
    To woo so fair a dame to be his wife,
    And have no portion in the choice myself.
    How say you, madam, are ye so content?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Then call our captains and our colours forth. 2590
    And, madam, at your father's castle walls
    We'll crave a parley, to confer with him.
    [A parley sounded. Enter REIGNIER on the walls]
    See, Reignier, see, thy daughter prisoner!
  • Reignier. Suffolk, what remedy?
    I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
    Or to exclaim on fortune's fickleness.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Yes, there is remedy enough, my lord: 2600
    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 gained thy daughter princely liberty. 2605
  • Earl of Suffolk. Fair Margaret knows
    That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.
  • Reignier. Upon thy princely warrant, I descend
    To give thee answer of thy just demand. 2610

[Exit from the walls]

[Trumpets sound. Enter REIGNIER, below]

  • Reignier. Welcome, brave earl, into our territories:
    Command in Anjou what your honour pleases. 2615
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child,
    Fit to be made companion with a king:
    What answer makes your grace unto my suit?
  • Reignier. Since thou dost deign to woo her little worth
    To be the princely bride of such a lord; 2620
    Upon condition I may quietly
    Enjoy mine own, the country Maine and Anjou,
    Free from oppression or the stroke of war,
    My daughter shall be Henry's, if he please.
  • Earl of Suffolk. That is her ransom; I deliver her; 2625
    And those two counties I will undertake
    Your grace shall well and quietly enjoy.
  • Reignier. And I again, in Henry's royal name,
    As deputy unto that gracious king,
    Give thee her hand, for sign of plighted faith. 2630
  • Earl of Suffolk. Reignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks,
    Because this is in traffic of a king.
    And yet, methinks, I could be well content
    To be mine own attorney in this case. 2635
    I'll over then to England with this news,
    And make this marriage to be solemnized.
    So farewell, Reignier: set this diamond safe
    In golden palaces, as it becomes.
  • Reignier. I do embrace thee, as I would embrace 2640
    The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.
  • Queen Margaret. Farewell, my lord: good wishes, praise and prayers
    Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.


  • Earl of Suffolk. Farewell, sweet madam: but hark you, Margaret; 2645
    No princely commendations to my king?
  • Queen Margaret. Such commendations as becomes a maid,
    A virgin and his servant, say to him.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Words sweetly placed and modestly directed.
    But madam, I must trouble you again; 2650
    No loving token to his majesty?
  • Queen Margaret. Yes, my good lord, a pure unspotted heart,
    Never yet taint with love, I send the king.

[Kisses her]

  • Queen Margaret. That for thyself: I will not so presume
    To send such peevish tokens to a king.


  • Earl of Suffolk. O, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay;
    Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth; 2660
    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, 2665
    That, when thou comest to kneel at Henry's feet,
    Thou mayst bereave him of his wits with wonder.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Camp of the YORK in Anjou.

      next scene .

[Enter YORK, WARWICK, and others]

[Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE, guarded, and a Shepherd]

  • 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? 2675
    Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I'll die with thee!
  • Joan la Pucelle. Decrepit miser! base ignoble wretch!
    I am descended of a gentler blood:
    Thou art no father nor no friend of mine.
  • Shepherd. Out, out! My lords, an please you, 'tis not so; 2680
    I did beget her, all the parish knows:
    Her mother liveth yet, can testify
    She was the first fruit of my bachelorship.
  • Shepherd. 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. 2690
  • Joan la Pucelle. Peasant, avaunt! You have suborn'd this man,
    Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.
  • Shepherd. '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. 2695
    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, 2700
    I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee!
    Dost thou deny thy father, cursed drab?
    O, burn her, burn her! hanging is too good.


  • Joan la Pucelle. First, let me tell you whom you have condemn'd:
    Not me begotten of a shepherd swain,
    But issued from the progeny of kings;
    Virtuous and holy; chosen from above, 2710
    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, 2715
    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 2720
    A virgin from her tender infancy,
    Chaste and immaculate in very thought;
    Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused,
    Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.
  • Earl of Warwick. And hark ye, sirs; because she is a maid,
    Spare for no faggots, let there be enow:
    Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,
    That so her torture may be shortened.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts? 2730
    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. 2735
  • Earl of Warwick. The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought:
    Is all your strict preciseness come to this?
  • Earl of Warwick. Well, go to; we'll have no bastards live;
    Especially since Charles must father it.
  • Joan la Pucelle. You are deceived; my child is none of his:
    It was Alencon that enjoy'd my love.
  • Joan la Pucelle. O, give me leave, I have deluded you:
    'Twas neither Charles nor yet the duke I named,
    But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevail'd.
  • Joan la Pucelle. 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 2760
    Environ you, till mischief and despair
    Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves!

[Exit, guarded]


  • Winchester. Lord regent, I do greet your excellence
    With letters of commission from the king.
    For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,
    Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils, 2770
    Have earnestly implored 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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Is all our travail turn'd to this effect? 2775
    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? 2780
    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. 2785
  • Earl of Warwick. Be patient, York: if we conclude a peace,
    It shall be with such strict and severe covenants
    As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby.
    REIGNIER, and others] 2790
  • Charles, King of France. 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.
  • Winchester. Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus:
    That, in regard King Henry gives consent,
    Of mere compassion and of lenity, 2800
    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, submit thyself, 2805
    Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him,
    And still enjoy thy regal dignity.
  • Duke of Alencon. Must he be then as shadow of himself?
    Adorn his temples with a coronet,
    And yet, in substance and authority, 2810
    Retain but privilege of a private man?
    This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
  • Charles, King of France. 'Tis known already that I am possess'd
    With more than half the Gallian territories,
    And therein reverenced for their lawful king: 2815
    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, 2820
    Be cast from possibility of all.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Insulting Charles! hast thou by secret means
    Used intercession to obtain a league,
    And, now the matter grows to compromise,
    Stand'st thou aloof upon comparison? 2825
    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.
  • Reignier. My lord, you do not well in obstinacy 2830
    To cavil in the course of this contract:
    If once it be neglected, ten to one
    We shall not find like opportunity.
  • Duke of Alencon. To say the truth, it is your policy
    To save your subjects from such massacre 2835
    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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then swear allegiance to his majesty,
    As thou art knight, never to disobey 2845
    Nor be rebellious to the crown of England,
    Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England.
    So, now dismiss your army when ye please:
    Hang up your ensign, let your drums be still,
    For here we entertain a solemn peace. 2850


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

London. The palace.


[Enter SUFFOLK in conference with KING HENRY VI,] [p]GLOUCESTER and EXETER]

  • Henry VI. Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
    Of beauteous Margaret hath astonish'd me: 2855
    Her virtues graced with external gifts
    Do breed love's settled passions in my heart:
    And like as rigor of tempestuous gusts
    Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
    So am I driven by breath of her renown 2860
    Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive
    Where I may have fruition of her love.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Tush, my good lord, this superficial tale
    Is but a preface of her worthy praise;
    The chief perfections of that lovely dame 2865
    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, 2870
    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.
  • Henry VI. And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume. 2875
    Therefore, my lord protector, give consent
    That Margaret may be England's royal queen.
  • Duke of Gloucester. So should I give consent to flatter sin.
    You know, my lord, your highness is betroth'd
    Unto another lady of esteem: 2880
    How shall we then dispense with that contract,
    And not deface your honour with reproach?
  • Earl of Suffolk. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
    Or one that, at a triumph having vow'd
    To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists 2885
    By reason of his adversary's odds:
    A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds,
    And therefore may be broke without offence.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that?
    Her father is no better than an earl, 2890
    Although in glorious titles he excel.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Yes, 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 2895
    And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.
  • Duke of Gloucester. And so the Earl of Armagnac may do,
    Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.
  • Duke of Exeter. Beside, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower,
    Where Reignier sooner will receive than give. 2900
  • Earl of Suffolk. 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 seek a queen to make him rich: 2905
    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, 2910
    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, 2915
    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? 2920
    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; 2925
    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 2930
    That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.
  • Henry VI. 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, 2935
    I cannot tell; but this I am assured,
    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; 2940
    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, 2945
    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, 2950
    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.



  • Earl of Suffolk. 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, 2960
    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.