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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 findfaults; 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: 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,
BEDFORD, 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 likeness.
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:
weak list -] i, e. slight barrier.
my condition is not smooth:] Condition is temper. * Pardon the frankness of my mirth,] We have here but a mean dialogue for princes; the merriment is very gross, and the sentiments are very worthless. Johnson.
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 warm kept, are like flies at Bartholomew-tide, 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 tiine, 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
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
s This moral —] That is, the application of this fable. The moral being the application of a fable, our author calls any application a moral.
my wish, shall show me the way to
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 cher tres filz Henry roy d'Angleterre, heretier de France; and thus in Latin,-Præclarissimus filius noster Henricus, rex Angliæ, & hæres Franciæ.
Fr. King. Nor this I have not, brother, so denied, But your request shall make me let it pass. K. Hen. I pray you then, in love and dear alli
ance, Let that one article rank with the rest : And, thereupon, give me your daughter, Fr. King. Take her, fair son; and from her
blood raise up
[Flourish. Q. Isa. God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one, your realms in one!
Thus far, with rough, and all unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursu'd the story; In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts? the full course of their glory. Small time, but, in that small, most greatly liv'd
This star of England: fortune made his sword; By which the world's best gardeno he achiev'd,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Of France and England did this king succeed;
6 Our bending author -] By bending, our author meant unequal to the weight of his subject; and bending beneath it. Mangling by starts —] By touching only on select parts.
the world's best garden -] i. e. France,
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake, In your fair minds let this acceptance take.
This play has many scenes of high dignity, and many of
easy merriment. The character of the King is well supported, except in his courtship, where he has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of Henry. The bumour of Pistol is very happily continued: his character has perhaps been the model of all the bullies that have yet appeared on the English stage.
The lines given to the Chorus have many admirers; but the truth is, that in them a little may be praised, and much must be forgiven; nor can it be easily discovered why the intelligence given by the Chorus is more necessary in this play than in many others where it is omitted. The great defect of this play is the emptiness and narrowness of the last Act, which a very little diligence might have easily avoided. JohnsƠN.