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  • Title: Henry VI, Part 1 (Folio 1, 1623)

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
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    Henry VI, Part 1 (Folio 1, 1623)

    Actus Quintus.
    Enter Suffolke in conference with the King,
    Glocester, and Exeter.
    King. Your wondrous rare description (noble Earle)
    Of beauteous Margaret hath astonish'd me:
    Her vertues graced with externall gifts,
    2825Do breed Loues setled passions in my heart,
    And like as rigour of tempestuous gustes
    Prouokes the mightiest Hulke against the tide,
    So am I driuen by breath of her Renowne,
    Either to suffer Shipwracke, or arriue
    2830Where I may haue fruition of her Loue.
    Suf. Tush my good Lord, this superficiall tale,
    Is but a preface of her worthy praise:
    The cheefe perfections of that louely Dame,
    (Had I sufficient skill to vtter them)
    2835Would make a volume of inticing lines,
    Able to rauish any dull conceit.
    And which is more, she is not so Diuine,
    So full repleate with choice of all delights,
    But with as humble lowlinesse of minde,
    2840She is content to be at your command:
    Command I meane, of Vertuous chaste intents,
    To Loue, and Honor Henry as her Lord.
    King. And otherwise, will Henry ne're presume:
    Therefore my Lord Protector, giue consent,
    2845That Marg'ret may be Englands Royall Queene.
    Glo. So should I giue consent to flatter sinne,
    You know (my Lord) your Highnesse is betroath'd
    Vnto another Lady of esteeme,
    How shall we then dispense with that contract,
    2850And not deface your Honor with reproach?
    Suf. As doth a Ruler with vnlawfull Oathes,
    Or one that at a Triumph, hauing vow'd
    To try his strength, forsaketh yet the Listes
    By reason of his Aduersaries oddes.
    2855A poore Earles daughter is vnequall oddes,
    And therefore may be broke without offence.
    Gloucester. Why what (I pray) is Margaret more
    then that?
    Her Father is no better than an Earle,
    2860Although in glorious Titles he excell.
    Suf. Yes my Lord, her Father is a King,
    The King of Naples, and Ierusalem,
    And of such great Authoritie in France,
    As his alliance will confirme our peace,
    2865And keepe the Frenchmen in Allegeance.
    Glo. And so the Earle of Arminacke may doe,
    Because he is neere Kinsman vnto Charles.
    Exet. Beside, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower,
    Where Reignier sooner will receyue, than giue.
    2870 Suf. A Dowre my Lords? Disgrace not so your King,
    That he should be so abiect, base, and poore,
    To choose for wealth, and not for perfect Loue.
    Henry is able to enrich his Queene,
    And not to seeke a Queene to make him rich,
    2875So worthlesse Pezants bargaine for their Wiues,
    As Market men for Oxen, Sheepe, or Horse.
    Marriage is a matter of more worth,
    Then to be dealt in by Atturney-ship:
    Not whom we will, but whom his Grace affects,
    2880Must be companion of his Nuptiall bed.
    And therefore Lords, since he affects her most,
    Most of all these reasons bindeth vs,
    In our opinions she should be preferr'd.
    For what is wedlocke forced? but a Hell,
    2885An Age of discord and continuall strife,
    Whereas the contrarie bringeth blisse,
    And is a patterne of Celestiall peace.
    Whom should we match with Henry being a King,
    But Margaret, that is daughter to a King:
    2890Her peerelesse feature, ioyned with her birth,
    Approues her fit for none, but for a King.
    Her valiant courage, and vndaunted spirit,
    (More then in women commonly is seene)
    Will answer our hope in issue of a King.
    2895For Henry, sonne vnto a Conqueror,
    Is likely to beget more Conquerors,
    If with a Lady of so high resolue,
    (As is faire Margaret) he be link'd in loue.
    Then yeeld my Lords, and heere conclude with mee,
    2900That Margaret shall be Queene, and none but shee.
    King. Whether it be through force of your report,
    My Noble Lord of Suffolke: Or for that
    My tender youth was neuer yet attaint
    With any passion of inflaming Ioue,
    2905I cannot tell: but this I am assur'd,
    I feele such sharpe dissention in my breast,
    Such fierce alarums both of Hope and Feare,
    As I am sicke with working of my thoughts.
    Take therefore shipping, poste my Lord to France,
    2910Agree to any couenants, and procure
    That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come
    To crosse the Seas to England, and be crown'd
    King Henries faithfull and annointed Queene.
    For your expences and sufficient charge,
    2915Among the people gather vp a tenth.
    Be gone I say, for till you do returne,
    I rest perplexed with a thousand Cares.
    And you (good Vnckle) banish all offence:
    If you do censure me, by what you were,
    2920Not what you are, I know it will excuse
    This sodaine execution of my will.
    And so conduct me, where from company,
    I may reuolue and ruminate my greefe.
    Glo. I greefe I feare me, both at first and last.
    Exit Glocester.
    Suf. Thus Suffolke hath preuail'd, and thus he goes
    As did the youthfull Paris once to Greece,
    With hope to finde the like euent in loue,
    But prosper better than the Troian did:
    2930Margaret shall now be Queene, and rule the King:
    But I will rule both her, the King, and Realme.