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  • Title: Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)
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    Author: William Shakespeare
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    Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)

    [Flourish.] Enter King [Henry, the Duke of] Gloucester, [the Bishop of] Winchester, [the Duke of] Exeter, [Richard Plantagenet now Duke of] York, [and the Earl of] Warwick, [with white roses; the Earl of] Suffolk, [and the Duke of] 1745Somerset, [with red roses; Lord] Talbot, and [the] Governor [of Paris].
    Lord Bishop, set the crown upon his head.
    God save King Henry, of that name the sixth.
    Now, Governor of Paris, take your oath
    That you elect no other King but him;
    1750Esteem none friends but such as are his friends,
    And none your foes but such as shall pretend
    Malicious practices against his state.
    This shall ye do, so help you righteous God.
    Enter [Sir John] Falstaff [with a letter].
    My gracious sovereign, as I rode from Calice
    To haste unto your coronation
    A letter was delivered to my hands,
    Writ to your grace, from th' Duke of Burgundy.
    [He presents the letter to King Henry.]
    Shame to the Duke of Burgundy and thee.
    1760I vowed, base knight, when I did meet thee next,
    To tear the Garter from thy craven's leg,
    [He tears it off.]
    Which I have done because unworthily
    Thou was't installèd in that high degree.
    Pardon me, princely Henry, and the rest.
    1765This dastard at the battle of Poitiers,
    When but in all I was six thousand strong,
    And that the French were almost ten to one,
    Before we met, or that a stroke was given,
    Like to a trusty squire did run away;
    1770In which assault we lost twelve hundred men.
    Myself and diverse gentlemen beside
    Were there surprised and taken prisoners.
    Then judge, great lords, if I have done amiss,
    Or whether that such cowards ought to wear
    1775This ornament of knighthood: yea or no?
    To say the truth, this fact was infamous
    And ill beseeming any common man,
    Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.
    When first this order was ordained my lords,
    1780Knights of the Garter were of noble birth,
    Valiant and virtuous, full of haughty courage,
    Such as were grown to credit by the wars;
    Not fearing death nor shrinking for distress,
    But always resolute in most extremes.
    1785He then that is not furnished in this sort
    Doth but usurp the sacred name of knight,
    Profaning this most honorable order,
    And should, if I were worthy to be judge,
    Be quite degraded, like a hedge-born swain
    1790That doth presume to boast of gentle blood.
    [To Falstaff.] Stain to thy countrymen, thou hear'st thy doom.
    Be packing, therefore, thou that was't a knight.
    Henceforth we banish thee on pain of death.
    [Exit Falstaff.]
    And now, Lord Protector, view the letter
    1795Sent from our Uncle, Duke of Burgundy.
    What means his grace that he hath changed his style?
    No more but plain and bluntly "To the King"?
    Hath he forgot he is his sovereign?
    1800Or doth this churlish superscription
    Pretend some alteration in good will?
    What's here? "I have upon especial cause
    Moved with compassion of my country's wrack
    Together with the pitiful complaints
    1805Of such as your oppression feeds upon,
    Forsaken your pernicious faction
    And joined with Charles, the rightful king of France."
    O monstrous treachery. Can this be so?
    That in alliance, amity, and oaths
    1810There should be found such false dissembling guile?
    What? Doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?
    He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.
    Is that the worst this letter doth contain?
    It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.
    Why then, Lord Talbot there shall talk with him
    And give him chastisement for this abuse.
    How say you, my lord? Are you not content?
    Content, my liege? Yes. But that I am prevented,
    I should have begged I might have been employed.
    Then gather strength and march unto him straight.
    Let him perceive how ill we brook his treason,
    And what offense it is to flout his friends.
    I go my lord, in heart desiring still
    1825You may behold confusion of your foes.
    Enter Vernon [wearing a white rose] and Basset [wearing a red rose].
    [To King Henry.] Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign.
    [To King Henry.] And me, my lord; grant me the combat too.
    [To King Henry, pointing to Vernon.] This is my servant; hear him, noble prince.
    [To King Henry, pointing to Basset.] And this is mine, sweet Henry, favor him.
    Be patient, lords, and give them leave to speak.
    Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim,
    And wherefore crave you combat, or with whom?
    With him, my lord; for he hath done me wrong.
    And I with him; for he hath done me wrong.
    What is that wrong whereof you both complain?
    First let me know, and then I'll answer you.
    Crossing the sea from England into France,
    This fellow here with envious carping tongue
    1840Upbraided me about the rose I wear,
    Saying the sanguine color of the leaves
    Did represent my master's blushing cheeks
    When stubbornly he did repugn the truth
    About a certain question in the law
    1845Argued betwixt the Duke of York and him,
    With other vile and ignominious terms;
    In confutation of which rude reproach,
    And in defense of my lord's worthiness,
    I crave the benefit of law of arms.
    And that is my petition, noble lord;
    For though he seem with forgèd quaint conceit
    To set a gloss upon his bold intent,
    Yet know, my lord, I was provoked by him,
    And he first took exceptions at this badge,
    1855Pronouncing that the paleness of this flower
    Bewrayed the faintness of my master's heart.
    Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?
    Your private grudge, my lord of York, will out,
    Though ne'er so cunningly you smother it.
    Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick men
    When for so slight and frivolous a cause
    Such factious emulations shall arise?
    Good cousins both of York and Somerset,
    1865Quiet yourselves, I pray, and be at peace.
    Let this dissension first be tried by fight,
    And then your highness shall command a peace.
    The quarrel toucheth none but us alone;
    Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then.
    There is my pledge. Accept it, Somerset.
    Nay, let it rest where it began at first.
    Confirm it so, mine honorable lord.
    Confirm it so? Confounded be your strife,
    And perish ye with your audacious prate.
    1875Presumptuous vassals, are you not ashamed
    With this immodest clamorous outrage
    To trouble and disturb the King and us?
    And you, my lords, methinks you do not well
    To bear with their perverse objections,
    1880Much less to take occasion from their mouths
    To raise a mutiny betwixt yourselves.
    Let me persuade you take a better course.
    It grieves his highness. Good my lords, be friends.
    Come hither, you that would be combatants.
    Henceforth I charge you, as you love our favor,
    Quite to forget this quarrel, and the cause.
    And you, my lords, remember where we are:
    In France, amongst a fickle wavering nation.
    1890If they perceive dissension in our looks,
    And that within ourselves we disagree,
    How will their grudging stomachs be provoked
    To willful disobedience, and rebel.
    Beside, what infamy will there arise
    1895When foreign princes shall be certified
    That for a toy, a thing of no regard,
    King Henry's peers and chief nobility
    Destroyed themselves and lost the realm of France.
    O, think upon the conquest of my father,
    1900My tender years, and let us not forgo
    That for a trifle that was bought with blood.
    Let me be umpire in this doubtful strife.
    I see no reason if I wear this rose,
    [He takes a red rose.]
    That any one should therefore be suspicious
    1905I more incline to Somerset than York:
    Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both.
    As well they may upbraid me with my crown
    Because, forsooth, the King of Scots is crowned.
    But your discretions better can persuade
    1910Than I am able to instruct or teach,
    And therefore, as we hither came in peace,
    So let us still continue peace and love.
    Cousin of York, we institute your grace
    To be our regent in these parts of France;
    1915And good my Lord of Somerset, unite
    Your troops of horsemen with his bands of foot,
    And like true subjects, sons of your progenitors,
    Go cheerfully together and digest
    Your angry choler on your enemies.
    1920Ourself, my Lord Protector, and the rest,
    After some respite, will return to Calice;
    From thence to England, where I hope ere long
    To be presented by your victories
    With Charles, Alencon, and that traitorous rout.
    1925 [Flourish.] Exeunt. Manent [Richard Plantagenet now Duke of] York, Warwick, Exeter, [and] Vernon.
    My Lord of York, I promise you, the King
    Prettily, methought, did play the orator.
    And so he did; but yet I like it not
    In that he wears the badge of Somerset.
    Tush, that was but his fancy; blame him not,
    I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.
    And if I wish he did--but let it rest,
    Other affairs must now be managèd.
    Exeunt. Manet Exeter.
    Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy voice;
    For had the passions of thy heart burst out
    I fear we should have seen deciphered there
    More rancorous spite, more furious raging broils,
    Than yet can be imagined or supposed.
    1940But howsoe'er, no simple man that sees
    This jarring discord of nobility,
    This shouldering of each other in the court,
    This factious bandying of their favorites,
    But that it doth presage some ill event.
    1945'Tis much, when scepters are in children's hands,
    But more when envy breeds unkind division:
    There comes the ruin, there begins confusion.