Page images
PDF
EPUB

K. Hen. No, Kate? I will tell thee in French; which, I am sure, will hang upon my tongue like a new-married wife about her husband's neck, hardly to be shook off. Quand j'ay la possession de France, et quand rous avez le possession de moi, (let me see, what then? Saint Dennis be my speed!)donc vostre est France, et vous estes mienne. It is as easy for me, Kate, to conquer the kingdom, as to speak so much more French : I shall never move thee in French, unless it be to laugh at me.

Kath. Sauf vostre honneur, le François que vous parlez, est meilleur que l'Anglois lequel je parle.

K. Hen. No, 'faith, is't not, Kate: but thy speaking of my tongue, and I thine, most truly falsely, must needs be granted to be much at one. But, Kate, dost thou understand thus much English? Canst thou love me?

Kath. I cannot tell.

K. Hen. Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? I'll ask them. Come, I know, thou lovest me: and at night when you come into your closet, you'll question this gentlewoman about nie; and I know, Kate, you will, to her, dispraise those parts in me, that you love with your heart: but, good Kate, mock me mercifully; the rather, gentle princess, because I love thee cruelly. If ever thou be'st mine, Kate, (as I have a saving faith within me, tells me,-thou shalt,) I get thee with scambling, and thou must therefore needs prove a good soldierbreeder: Shalt not thou and I, between Saint Dennis and Saint George, compound a boy, half French, half English, that shall go to Constantinople, and take the Turk by the beard? shall we not? what sayest thou, my fair flower-de-luce?

Kath. I do not know dat.

K. Hen. No; 'tis hereafter to know, but now to promise: do but now promise, Kate, you will endeavour for your French part of such a boy; and, for my English moiety, take the word of a king and a bachelor. How answer you, la plus belle Katharine du monde, mon tres chere et divine deesse?

Kath. Your majesté ave fausse French enough to deceive de most sage damoiselle dat is en France.

K Hen. Now, fye upon my false French! By mine bonour, 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 ill 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 Katharine, 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 sayHarry 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 musick; for thy voice is

musick, and thy English broken: therefore, queen of all, Katharine, break thy mind to me in broken English, Wilt thou have me?

Kath. Dat is, as it shall please de roy mon pere.

K. Hen. Nay, it will please him well, Kate; it shall please him, Kate.

Kath. Den it shall also content me.

K. Hen. Upon that I will kiss your hand, and I call you—my queen.

Kath. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez: ma foy, je ne veux point que vous abbaissez vostre grandeur, en baisant la main d'une vostre indigne serviteure; excusez moy, je vous supplie, mon tres puissant seigneur.

K. Hen. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.

Kath. Ļes dames, et damoiselles, pour estre baiseés devant leur

nopces, il n'est pas le coutume de France. K. Hen. Madam my interpreter, what says

she? Alice. Dat it is not be de fashion pour les ladies of France,-I cannot tell what is, baiser, en English.

K. Hen. To kiss.
Alice. Your majesty entendre bettre que moy.

K. Hen. It is not the fashion for the maids in France to kiss before they are married, would she say?

Alice. Ouy, vrayment.

K. Hen. O, Kate, nice customs curt'sy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined 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 mouths 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:

1

there is more eloquence in a sugar touch of them, than in the tongues of the French council; and they should sooner persuade Harry of England, than a general petition of monarchs. Here comes your father.

Enter the French King and Queen, BURGUNDY, Bed

FORD, Gloster, Exeter, WESTMORELAND, and other French and English Lords.

Bur. God save your majesty! my royal cousin, teach you our princess English?

K. Hen. I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I love her; and that is good English.

Bur. Is she not apt?

K. Hen. 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 like

ness.

Bur. 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 rosed 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.

K. Hen. Yet they do wink, and yield; as love is blind, and enforces.

Bur. They are then excused, my lord, when they see not what they do.

K. Hen. Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent to winking.

Bur. I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach her to know my meaning: for maids, well summered and warın kept, are like flies at Bartholomewtide, blind, though they have their eyes; and then they will endure handling, which before would not abide looking on.

K. Hen. This moral ties me over to time, and a hot summer; and so I will catch the fly, your cousin, in the latter end, and she must be blind too.

Bur. As love is, my lord, before it loves.
K. Hen. 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.

Fr. 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 entered,

K. Hen. Shall Kate be my wife?
Fr. King. So please you.

K. Hen. I am content; so the maiden cities you talk of, may wait on her: so the maid, that stood in the way of my wish, shall show me the way to my will.

Fr. King. We have consented to all terms of reason.
K. Hen. Is't so, my lords of England ?

West. The king hath granted every article:
His daughter, first; and then, in sequel, all,
According to their firm proposed natures.

Exe. 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 filz Henry roy d'Angleterre,

« PreviousContinue »