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York. Ay, ay-away with her to execution.
War. And hark ye, sirs; because she is a maid,
Spare for no faggots, let there be enough:
Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,
That so her torture may be shortened.
Puc. Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts?—
Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity;
That warranteth by law to be thy privilege.-
I am with child, ye bloody homicides:
Murder not then the fruit within my womb,
Although ye hale me to a violent death.
York. Now heaven forfend! the holy maid with child?
War. The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought:
Is all your strict preciseness come to this?
York. She and the Dauphin have been juggling :
I did imagine what would be her refuge.
War. Well, go to; we will have no bastards live; Especially, since Charles must father it.
Puc. You are deceived; my child is none of his; It was Alençon, that enjoy'd my love.
York. Alençon, that notorious Machiavel! It dies, an if it had a thousand lives.
Puc. O, give me leave, I have deluded you; "Twas neither Charles, nor yet the duke I named, But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevail'd.
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 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 curse: 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 turn'd 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 Frenchmen gain thereby.
Enter CHARLES, attended; ALENÇON, BASTARD, REIGNIER, and others.
Char. Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed,
That peaceful truce shall be proclaim'd 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 poison'd 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:
And yet, in substance and authority,
Retain but privilege of a private man?
This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
Char. "Tis known already that I am possess'd
With more than half the Gallian territories,
And therein reverenced for their lawful king
Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquish❜d,
Detract so much from that prerogative,
As to be call'd 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 stand? 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.
K. Hen. Your wondrous 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.
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,
SCENE V-London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING HENRY, in conference with SUFFOLK; GLOSTER and EXETER following.
"Be content to live as the beneficiary of our king."
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.
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 betroth'd
Unto another lady of esteem;
How shall we then dispense with that contract,
And not deface your honour with reproach?
Suff. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
Or one, that, at a triumph* 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.
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 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,
* Public exhibition.
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 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 crown'd
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:
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.
Glo. Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and EXETER. Suff. 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.