1599 The Life Of King Henry V
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such a boy; and for my English moiety take the word of a king and
a bachelor. How answer you, la plus belle Katherine du monde, mon
tres cher et divin deesse?
KATHERINE. Your Majestee ave fausse French enough to deceive de
most sage damoiselle dat is en France.
KING HENRY. 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 stubborn 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 in 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 Katherine, 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, Katherine,
break thy mind to me in broken English, wilt thou have me?
KATHERINE. Dat is as it shall please de roi mon pere.
KING HENRY. Nay, it will please him well, Kate- it shall please
KATHERINE. Den it sall also content me.
KING HENRY. Upon that I kiss your hand, and I can you my queen.
KATHERINE. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez! Ma foi, je ne
veux point que vous abaissiez votre grandeur en baisant la main
d'une, notre seigneur, indigne serviteur; excusez-moi, je vous
supplie, mon tres puissant seigneur.
KING HENRY. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.
KATHERINE. Les dames et demoiselles pour etre baisees devant leur
noces, il n'est pas la coutume de France.
KING HENRY. Madame my interpreter, what says she?
ALICE. Dat it is not be de fashion pour le ladies of France- I
cannot tell vat is baiser en Anglish.
KING HENRY. To kiss.
ALICE. Your Majestee entendre bettre que moi.
KING HENRY. It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss
before they are married, would she say?
ALICE. Oui, vraiment.
KING HENRY. O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear Kate,
you and I cannot be confin'd within the weak list of a country's
fashion; we are the makers of manners, Kate; and the liberty that
follows our 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] 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 Henry of England
than a general petition of monarchs. Here comes your father.
Enter the FRENCH POWER and the ENGLISH LORDS
BURGUNDY. God save your Majesty! My royal cousin,
Teach you our princess English?
KING HENRY. I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I
love her; and that is good English.
BURGUNDY. Is she not apt?
KING HENRY. 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.
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 blame her, then, being a maid yet ros'd 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.
KING HENRY. Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and
BURGUNDY. They are then excus'd, my lord, when they see not what
KING HENRY. Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent
BURGUNDY. I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach
her to know my meaning; for maids well summer'd 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.
KING HENRY. 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.
BURGUNDY. As love is, my lord, before it loves.
KING HENRY. 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.
FRENCH KING. 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 ent'red.
KING HENRY. Shall Kate be my wife?
FRENCH KING. So please you.
KING HENRY. 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.
FRENCH KING. We have consented to all terms of reason.
KING HENRY. Is't so, my lords of England?
WESTMORELAND. The king hath granted every article:
His daughter first; and then in sequel, all,
According to their firm proposed natures.
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 tres cher
fils Henri, Roi d'Angleterre, Heritier de France; and thus in
Latin, Praeclarissimus filius noster Henricus, Rex Angliae et
FRENCH KING. Nor this I have not, brother, so denied
But our request shall make me let it pass.
KING HENRY. I pray you, then, in love and dear alliance,
Let that one article rank with the rest;
And thereupon give me your daughter.
FRENCH 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 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
His bleeding sword 'twixt England and fair France.
KING HENRY. Now, welcome, Kate; and bear me witness all,
That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen. [Floulish]
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,
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!
KING HENRY. 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 prosp'rous be!
CHORUS. Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursu'd 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;
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 bleed;
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take. Exit