William Shakespeare: Henry VI (Pt 1), Act V

Act V

Scene I

London. The palace

Sennet. Enter King Henry VI, Gloucester, and Exeter

King Henry VI

Have you perused the letters from the pope, The emperor and the Earl of Armagnac?

Gloucester

I have, my lord: and their intent is this: They humbly sue unto your excellence To have a godly peace concluded of Between the realms of England and of France.

King Henry VI

How doth your grace affect their motion?

Gloucester

Well, my good lord; and as the only means To stop effusion of our Christian blood And 'stablish quietness on every side.

King Henry VI

Ay, marry, uncle; for I always thought It was both impious and unnatural That such immanity and bloody strife Should reign among professors of one faith.

Gloucester

Beside, my lord, the sooner to effect And surer bind this knot of amity, The Earl of Armagnac, near knit to Charles, A man of great authority in France, Proffers his only daughter to your grace In marriage, with a large and sumptuous dowry.

King Henry VI

Marriage, uncle! alas, my years are young! And fitter is my study and my books Than wanton dalliance with a paramour. Yet call the ambassador; and, as you please, So let them have their answers every one: I shall be well content with any choice Tends to God's glory and my country's weal.

Enter Cardinal of Winchester in Cardinal's habit, a Legate and two Ambassadors

Exeter

What! is my Lord of Winchester install'd, And call'd unto a cardinal's degree? Then I perceive that will be verified Henry the Fifth did sometime prophesy, 'If once he come to be a cardinal, He'll make his cap co-equal with the crown.'

King Henry VI

My lords ambassadors, your several suits Have been consider'd and debated on. And therefore are we certainly resolved To draw conditions of a friendly peace; Which by my Lord of Winchester we mean Shall be transported presently to France.

Gloucester

And for the proffer of my lord your master, I have inform'd his highness so at large As liking of the lady's virtuous gifts, Her beauty and the value of her dower, He doth intend she shall be England's queen.

King Henry VI

In argument and proof of which contract, Bear her this jewel, pledge of my affection. And so, my lord protector, see them guarded And safely brought to Dover; where inshipp'd Commit them to the fortune of the sea.

Exeunt all but Cardinal of Winchester and Legate

Cardinal of Winchester

Stay, my lord legate: you shall first receive The sum of money which I promised Should be deliver'd to his holiness For clothing me in these grave ornaments.

Legate

I will attend upon your lordship's leisure.

Cardinal of Winchester

Aside

Now Winchester will not submit, I trow, Or be inferior to the proudest peer. Humphrey of Gloucester, thou shalt well perceive That, neither in birth or for authority, The bishop will be overborne by thee: I'll either make thee stoop and bend thy knee, Or sack this country with a mutiny.

Exeunt