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Puc. O, give me leave, I have deluded you. 'Twas neither Charles, nor yet the duke I named, But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevailed.
War. A married man! that's most intolerable. York. Why, here's a girl! I think she knows not well,
There were so many, whom she may accuse.
War. It's a sign, she hath been liberal and free. York. And, yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure.Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat, and thee; Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.
Puc. Then lead me hence; with whom I leave my
May never glorious sun reflex his beams
Upon the country where you make abode!
But darkness and the gloomy shade of death
Environ you; till mischief, and despair,
Drive you to break your necks, or hang yourselves!
York. Break thou in pieces, and consume to ashes,
Thou foul, accursed minister of hell!
Enter CARDINAL BEAUFORT, attended.
Car. Lord regent, I do greet your excellence
With letters of commission from the king.
For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,
Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils,
Have earnestly implored a general peace
Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French;
And here at hand the dauphin, and his train,
Approacheth, to confer about some matter.
York. Is all our travail turned to this effect?
After the slaughter of so many peers,
So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers,
That in this quarrel have been overthrown,
And sold their bodies for their country's benefit,
Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?
Have we not lost most part of all the towns,
By treason, falsehood, and by treachery,
Our great progenitors had conquered ?-
O Warwick, Warwick! I foresee with grief
The utter loss of all the realm of France.
War. Be patient, York; if we conclude a peace, It shall be with such strict and severe covenants, As little shall the Frenchman gain thereby.
Enter CHARLES, attended; ALENÇON, Bastard, ReigNIER, and others.
Char. Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed, That peaceful truce shall be proclaimed in France, We come to be informed by yourselves What the conditions of that league must be.
York. Speak, Winchester; for boiling choler chokes The hollow passage of my poisoned voice, By sight of these our baleful enemies.
Win. Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus:
That-in regard king Henry gives consent,
Of mere compassion, and of lenity,
To ease your country of distressful war,
And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace,-
You shall become true liegemen to his crown.
And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear
To pay him tribute, and submit thyself,
Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him,
And still enjoy thy regal dignity.
Alen. Must he be then as shadow of himself?
Adorn his temples with a coronet;
in substance and authority,
Retain but privilege of a private man?
This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
Char. 'Tis known, already, that I am possessed
With more than half the Gallian territories,
And therein reverenced for their lawful king.
Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquished,
Detract so much from that prerogative,
As to be called but viceroy of the whole?
No, lord ambassador; I'll rather keep
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 condition
Char. It shall :
Only reserved, 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.[CHARLES, and the rest, give tokens of fealty. So, now dismiss your army when ye please; Hang up your ensigns; let your drums be still; For here we entertain a solemn peace.
1 "Be content to live as the beneficiary of our king." Benefit is here a term of law.
SCENE V. London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING HENRY, in conference with SUFFOLK; GLOSTER and EXETER following.
K. Hen. Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
Of beauteous Margaret hath astonished me.
Her virtues, graced with external gifts,
Do breed love's settled passions in my heart;
And, like as rigor 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.
Suff. 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 honor Henry as her lord.
K. Hen. And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume.
Therefore, my lord protector, give consent,
That Margaret may be England's royal queen.
Glo. So should I give consent to flatter sin. You know, my lord, your highness is betrothed Unto another lady of esteem;
How shall we then dispense with that contract,
And not deface your honor with reproach?
Suff. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
Or one, that, at a triumph1 having vowed
1 A triumph then signified a public exhibition; such as a tournament, mask, or revel.
Το 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
Her father is no better than an earl,
Although in glorious titles he excel.
Suff. Yes, my 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.
Suff. 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,
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 preferred.
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,
1 By the intervention of another man's choice.