Page images
PDF
EPUB

That which I have, than, coveting for more,
Be cast from possibility of all.
York. 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?
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.

Reig. My lord, you do not well in obstinacy
To cavil in the course of this contract:
If once it be neglected, ten to one,
We shall not find like opportunity.

Alen. To say the truth, it is your policy,
To save your subjects from such massacre,
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.

[Aside, to CHARLES. War. How say'st thou, Charles ? shall our con

dition stand ?
Char. It shall:
Only resery'd, you claim no interest
In any of our towns of garrison.

York. Then swear allegiance to his majesty;
As thou art knight, never to disobey,
Nor be rebellious to the crown of England,
Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England. -

HARLES, and the rest, give Tokens of fealty.

As thou art llibus to them the crown

- upon comparison?] Do you stand to compare your present state, a state which you have neither right or power to maintain, with the terms which we offer ?

4 Of benefit-] Benefit is here a term of law. Be content to live as the beneficiary of our king. Johnson.

[graphic]

So, now dismiss your army when ye please;
Hang up your ensigns, let your drums be still,
For here we entertain a solemn peace. [Exeunt.

SCENE V.
London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King Henry, in conference mith SUPPOLK;

Gloster and EXETER following.
K. Hen. Your wond'rous rare description, noble

earl,
Of beauteous Margaret hath astonish'd me:
Her virtues, graced with external gifts,
Do breed love's settled passions in my heart:
And like as rigour in tempestuous gusts
Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide;
So am I driven, by breath of her renown,
Either to suffer shipwreck, or arrive
Where I may have fruition of her love.

Suf. Tush! my good lord! this superficial tale
Is but a preface of her worthy praise:
The chief perfections of that lovely dame,
(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,
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.

K. Hen. And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume.

So am I driven,] This simile is somewhat obscure ; he seems to mean, that as a ship is driven against the tide by the wind, so he is driven by love against the current of his interest. Johnson.

[ocr errors]

Therefore, my lord protector, give consent,
That Margaret may be England's royal queen.

Glo. So should I give consent to fatter sin.
You know, my lord, your highness is betroth'd
Unto another lady of esteem;
How shall we then dispense with that contract,
And not deface your honour with reproach?

Suf. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
Or one, that, at a triumpho having vow'd
To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
By reason of his adversary's odds:
A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds,
And therefore may be broke without offence.
Glo. Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than

that?
Her father is no better than an earl,
Although in glorious titles he excel.

Suf. Yes, iny good 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,
And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.

Glo. And so the earl of Armagnac may do
Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.
Exe. Beside, his wealth doth warrant liberal

dower; While Reignier sooner will receive, than give. Suf. 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 to seek a queen to make him rich:
So worthless peasants bargain for their wives,

[ocr errors]

at a triumph-) A triumph, in the age of Shakspeare, signified a public exhibition, such as a mask, a revel, &c.

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,
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,
An age of discord and continual strife?
Whereas the contrary bringeth forth 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?
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;
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,
That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.
K. Hen. 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,
I cannot tell; but this I am assur'd,
I feel such sharp dissention in my breast,
Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
As I am sick with working of my thoughts.

by attorneyship;] By the intervention of another man's choice; or the discretional agency of another,

Take, therefore, shipping; post, my lord, to France;
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 expences and sufficient charge,
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,
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. [Exit.
Glo. Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.

[Exeunt Gloster and EXETER. Suf. 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,
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.

[Exit.

If you do censure me, &c.] To censure is here simply to judge. If in judging me you consider the past frailties of your own youth.

9- ruminate my grief.] Grief in the first line is taken generally for pain or uneasiness ; in the second specially for sorrow.

i Of this play there is no copy earlier than that of the folio in 1623, though the two succeeding parts are extant in two editions in quarto. That the second and third parts were published without the first, may be admitted as no weak proof that the copies were surreptitiously obtained, and that the printers of that time gave the publick those plays, not such as the author designed, but such as they could get them. That this play was written before the two others is indubitably collected from the series of events; that it was written and played before Henry the Fifth is apparent;

« PreviousContinue »