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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.
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
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:1
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.
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 linked 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
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 assured,
I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,
Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
As I am sick with working of my thoughts.
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 crowned
King Henry's faithful and anointed queen.
For your expenses 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;
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.2
1 To censure is here simply to judge.
2 Grief, in this line, stands for pain, uneasiness; in the next following, especially for sorrow.
Glo. Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last. [Exeunt GLOSTER and EXETER. Suff. Thus Suffolk hath prevailed; 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.