Henry VI, Part 1 - Act 5, scene 5
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Act 5, scene 5
Suffolk persuades Henry to marry Margaret over the objections of Gloucester. Suffolk plans to control Margaret and, through her, the kingdom.Enter Suffolk in conference with the King,
Gloucester, and Exeter, ⌜with Attendants.⌝
2606 Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
2607 Of beauteous Margaret hath astonished me.
2609 Do breed love’s settled passions in my heart,
2610 5 And like as rigor of tempestuous gusts
2611 Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
2612 So am I driven by breath of her renown
2613 Either to suffer shipwrack, or arrive
2614 Where I may have fruition of her love.
2615 10 Tush, my good lord, this superficial tale
2616 Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
2617 The chief perfections of that lovely dame,
2618 Had I sufficient skill to utter them,
2619 Would make a volume of enticing lines
2620 15 Able to ravish any dull conceit;
2621 And, which is more, she is not so divine,
2622 So full replete with choice of all delights,
2623 But with as humble lowliness of mind
2624 She is content to be at your command—
2625 20 Command, I mean, of virtuous chaste intents—
2626 To love and honor Henry as her lord.
2627 And otherwise will Henry ne’er presume.—
2628 Therefore, my Lord Protector, give consent
2629 That Margaret may be England’s royal queen.
2630 25 So should I give consent to flatter sin.
2631 You know, my lord, your Highness is betrothed
2632 Unto another lady of esteem.
2633 How shall we then dispense with that contract
2634 And not deface your honor with reproach?
2635 30 As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
2636 Or one that, at a triumph having vowed
2637 To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
2638 By reason of his adversary’s odds.
2640 35 And therefore may be broke without offense.
2641 Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that?
2642 Her father is no better than an earl,
2643 Although in glorious titles he excel.
2644 Yes, my lord, her father is a king,
2645 40 The King of Naples and Jerusalem,
2646 And of such great authority in France
2647 As his alliance will confirm our peace,
2648 And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.
2649 And so the Earl of Armagnac may do,
2650 45 Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.
2651 Besides, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower,
2652 Where Reignier sooner will receive than give.
2653 A dower, my lords? Disgrace not so your king
2654 That he should be so abject, base, and poor,
2655 50 To choose for wealth and not for perfect love.
2656 Henry is able to enrich his queen,
2657 And not to seek a queen to make him rich;
2658 So worthless peasants bargain for their wives,
2659 As market men for oxen, sheep, or horse.
2660 55 Marriage is a matter of more worth
2661 Than to be dealt in by attorneyship.
2662 Not whom we will, but whom his Grace affects,
2663 Must be companion of his nuptial bed.
2664 And therefore, lords, since he affects her most,
2665 60 Most of all these reasons bindeth us
2666 In our opinions she should be preferred.
2667 For what is wedlock forcèd but a hell,
2668 An age of discord and continual strife?
2670 65 And is a pattern of celestial peace.
2671 Whom should we match with Henry, being a king,
2672 But Margaret, that is daughter to a king?
2673 Her peerless feature, joinèd with her birth,
2674 Approves her fit for none but for a king.
2675 70 Her valiant courage and undaunted spirit,
2676 More than in women commonly is seen,
2677 Will answer our hope in issue of a king.
2678 For Henry, son unto a conqueror,
2679 Is likely to beget more conquerors,
2680 75 If with a lady of so high resolve
2681 As is fair Margaret he be linked in love.
2682 Then yield, my lords, and here conclude with me
2683 That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.
2684 Whether it be through force of your report,
2685 80 My noble Lord of Suffolk, or for that
2686 My tender youth was never yet attaint
2687 With any passion of inflaming love,
2688 I cannot tell; but this I am assured:
2689 I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,
2690 85 Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
2691 As I am sick with working of my thoughts.
2692 Take therefore shipping; post, my lord, to France;
2693 Agree to any covenants, and procure
2694 That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come
2695 90 To cross the seas to England and be crowned
2696 King Henry’s faithful and anointed queen.
2697 For your expenses and sufficient charge,
2698 Among the people gather up a tenth.
2699 Be gone, I say, for till you do return,
2700 95 I rest perplexèd with a thousand cares.—
2701 And you, good uncle, banish all offense.
2702 If you do censure me by what you were,
2704 This sudden execution of my will.
2705 100 And so conduct me where, from company,
2706 I may revolve and ruminate my grief.
He exits ⌜with Attendants.⌝
2707 Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.
Gloucester exits ⌜with Exeter.⌝
2708 Thus Suffolk hath prevailed, and thus he goes
2709 As did the youthful Paris once to Greece,
2710 105 With hope to find the like event in love,
2711 But prosper better than the Trojan did.
2712 Margaret shall now be queen, and rule the King,
2713 But I will rule both her, the King, and realm.