France. The FRENCH KING'S palace
Enter at one door, KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, WARWICK,
WESTMORELAND, and other LORDS; at another, the FRENCH KING, QUEEN ISABEL,
the PRINCESS KATHERINE, ALICE, and other LADIES; the DUKE OF BURGUNDY,
and his train
Peace to this meeting, wherefore we are met!
Unto our brother France, and to our sister,
Health and fair time of day; joy and good wishes
To our most fair and princely cousin Katherine.
And, as a branch and member of this royalty,
By whom this great assembly is contriv'd,
We do salute you, Duke of Burgundy.
And, princes French, and peers, health to you all!
Right joyous are we to behold your face,
Most worthy brother England; fairly met!
So are you, princes English, every one.
So happy be the issue, brother England,
Of this good day and of this gracious meeting
As we are now glad to behold your eyes-
Your eyes, which hitherto have home in them,
Against the French that met them in their bent,
The fatal balls of murdering basilisks;
The venom of such looks, we fairly hope,
Have lost their quality; and that this day
Shall change all griefs and quarrels into love.
To cry amen to that, thus we appear.
You English princes an, I do salute you.
My duty to you both, on equal love,
Great Kings of France and England! That I have labour'd
With all my wits, my pains, and strong endeavours,
To bring your most imperial Majesties
Unto this bar and royal interview,
Your mightiness on both parts best can witness.
Since then my office hath so far prevail'd
That face to face and royal eye to eye
You have congreeted, let it not disgrace me
If I demand, before this royal view,
What rub or what impediment there is
Why that the naked, poor, and mangled Peace,
Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful births,
Should not in this best garden of the world,
Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?
Alas, she hath from France too long been chas'd!
And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps,
Corrupting in it own fertility.
Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach'd,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder'd twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock, and rank fumitory,
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet, and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads, and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness;
Even so our houses and ourselves and children
Have lost, or do not learn for want of time,
The sciences that should become our country;
But grow, like savages- as soldiers will,
That nothing do but meditate on blood-
To swearing and stern looks, diffus'd attire,
And everything that seems unnatural.
Which to reduce into our former favout
You are assembled; and my speech entreats
That I may know the let why gentle Peace
Should not expel these inconveniences
And bless us with her former qualities.
If, Duke of Burgundy, you would the peace
Whose want gives growth to th' imperfections
Which you have cited, you must buy that peace
With full accord to all our just demands;
Whose tenours and particular effects
You have, enschedul'd briefly, in your hands.
The King hath heard them; to the which as yet
There is no answer made.
Well then, the peace,
Which you before so urg'd, lies in his answer.
I have but with a cursorary eye
O'erglanced the articles; pleaseth your Grace
To appoint some of your council presently
To sit with us once more, with better heed
To re-survey them, we will suddenly
Pass our accept and peremptory answer.
Brother, we shall. Go, uncle Exeter,
And brother Clarence, and you, brother Gloucester,
Warwick, and Huntington, go with the King;
And take with you free power to ratify,
Augment, or alter, as your wisdoms best
Shall see advantageable for our dignity,
Any thing in or out of our demands;
And we'll consign thereto. Will you, fair sister,
Go with the princes or stay here with us?
Our gracious brother, I will go with them;
Haply a woman's voice may do some good,
When articles too nicely urg'd be stood on.
Yet leave our cousin Katherine here with us;
She is our capital demand, compris'd
Within the fore-rank of our articles.
She hath good leave.
Exeunt all but the KING, KATHERINE, and ALICE
Fair Katherine, and most fair,
Will you vouchsafe to teach a soldier terms
Such as will enter at a lady's ear,
And plead his love-suit to her gentle heart?
Your Majesty shall mock me; I cannot speak your England.
O fair Katherine, if you will love me soundly with your
French heart, I will be glad to hear you confess it brokenly with
your English tongue. Do you like me, Kate?
Pardonnez-moi, I cannot tell vat is like me.
An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like an angel.
Que dit-il? que je suis semblable a les anges?
Oui, vraiment, sauf votre grace, ainsi dit-il.
I said so, dear Katherine, and I must not blush to
O bon Dieu! les langues des hommes sont pleines de
What says she, fair one? that the tongues of men are
full of deceits?
Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of deceits- dat is
The Princess is the better English-woman. I' faith,
Kate, my wooing is fit for thy understanding: I am glad thou
canst speak no better English; for if thou couldst, thou wouldst
find me such a plain king that thou wouldst think I had sold my
farm to buy my crown. I know no ways to mince it in love, but
directly to say 'I love you.' Then, if you urge me farther than
to say 'Do you in faith?' I wear out my suit. Give me your
answer; i' faith, do; and so clap hands and a bargain. How say
Sauf votre honneur, me understand well.
Marry, if you would put me to verses or to dance for
your sake, Kate, why you undid me; for the one I have neither
words nor measure, and for the other I have no strength in
measure, yet a reasonable measure in strength. If I could win a
lady at leap-frog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my armour
on my back, under the correction of bragging be it spoken, I
should quickly leap into wife. Or if I might buffet for my love,
or bound my horse for her favours, I could lay on like a butcher,
and sit like a jack-an-apes, never off. But, before God, Kate, I
cannot look greenly, nor gasp out my cloquence, nor I have no
cunning in protestation; only downright oaths, which I never use
till urg'd, nor never break for urging. If thou canst love a
fellow of this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth sunburning,
that never looks in his glass for love of anything he sees there,
let thine eye be thy cook. I speak to thee plain soldier. If thou
canst love me for this, take me; if not, to say to thee that I
shall die is true- but for thy love, by the Lord, no; yet I love
thee too. And while thou liv'st, dear Kate, take a fellow of
plain and uncoined constancy; for he perforce must do thee right,
because he hath not the gift to woo in other places; for these
fellows of infinite tongue, that can rhyme themselves into
ladies' favours, they do always reason themselves out again.
What! a speaker is but a prater: a rhyme is but a ballad. A good
leg will fall; a straight back will stoop; a black beard will
turn white; a curl'd pate will grow bald; a fair face will
wither; a full eye will wax hollow. But a good heart, Kate, is
the sun and the moon; or, rather, the sun, and not the moon- for
it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.
If thou would have such a one, take me; and take me, take a
soldier; take a soldier, take a king. And what say'st thou, then,
to my love? Speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.
Is it possible dat I sould love de enemy of France?
No, it is not possible you should love the enemy of
France, Kate, but in loving me you should love the friend of
France; for I love France so well that I will not part with a
village of it; I will have it all mine. And, Kate, when France is
mine and I am yours, then yours is France and you are mine.
I cannot tell vat is dat.
No, Kate? I will tell thee in French, which I am sure
will hang upon my tongue like a new-married wife about her
husband's neck, hardly to be shook off. Je quand sur le
possession de France, et quand vous avez le possession de moi-
let me see, what then? Saint Denis be my speed!- donc votre est
France et vous etes mienne. It is as easy for me, Kate, to
conquer the kingdom as to speak so much more French: I shall
never move thee in French, unless it be to laugh at me.
Sauf votre honneur, le Francais que vous parlez, il est
meilleur que l'Anglais lequel je parle.
No, faith, is't not, Kate; but thy speaking of my
tongue, and I thine, most truly falsely, must needs be granted to
be much at one. But, Kate, dost thou understand thus much
English- Canst thou love me?
I cannot tell.
Can any of your neighbours tell, Kate? I'll ask them.
Come, I know thou lovest me; and at night, when you come into
your closet, you'll question this gentlewoman about me; and I
know, Kate, you will to her dispraise those parts in me that you
love with your heart. But, good Kate, mock me mercifully; the
rather, gentle Princess, because I love thee cruelly. If ever
thou beest mine, Kate, as I have a saving faith within me tells
me thou shalt, I get thee with scambling, and thou must therefore
needs prove a good soldier-breeder. Shall not thou and I, between
Saint Denis and Saint George, compound a boy, half French, half
English, that shall go to Constantinople and take the Turk by the
beard? Shall we not? What say'st thou, my fair flower-de-luce?
I do not know dat.
No: 'tis hereafter to know, but now to promise; do but
now promise, Kate, you will endeavour for your French part of
such a boy; and for my English moiety take the word of a king and
a bachelor. How answer you, la plus belle Katherine du monde, mon
tres cher et divin deesse?
Your Majestee ave fausse French enough to deceive de
most sage damoiselle dat is en France.
Now, fie upon my false French! By mine honour, in true
English, I love thee, Kate; by which honour I dare not swear thou
lovest me; yet my blood begins to flatter me that thou dost,
notwithstanding the poor and untempering effect of my visage. Now
beshrew my father's ambition! He was thinking of civil wars when
he got me; therefore was I created with a stubborn outside, with
an aspect of iron, that when I come to woo ladies I fright them.
But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax, the better I shall appear:
my comfort is, that old age, that in layer-up of beauty, can do
no more spoil upon my face; thou hast me, if thou hast me, at the
worst; and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and
better. And therefore tell me, most fair Katherine, will you have
me? Put off your maiden blushes; avouch the thoughts of your
heart with the looks of an empress; take me by the hand and say
'Harry of England, I am thine.' Which word thou shalt no sooner
bless mine ear withal but I will tell thee aloud 'England is
thine, Ireland is thine, France is thine, and Henry Plantagenet
is thine'; who, though I speak it before his face, if he be not
fellow with the best king, thou shalt find the best king of good
fellows. Come, your answer in broken music- for thy voice is
music and thy English broken; therefore, Queen of all, Katherine,
break thy mind to me in broken English, wilt thou have me?
Dat is as it shall please de roi mon pere.
Nay, it will please him well, Kate- it shall please
Den it sall also content me.
Upon that I kiss your hand, and I can you my queen.
Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez! Ma foi, je ne
veux point que vous abaissiez votre grandeur en baisant la main
d'une, notre seigneur, indigne serviteur; excusez-moi, je vous
supplie, mon tres puissant seigneur.
Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.
Les dames et demoiselles pour etre baisees devant leur
noces, il n'est pas la coutume de France.
Madame my interpreter, what says she?
Dat it is not be de fashion pour le ladies of France- I
cannot tell vat is baiser en Anglish.
Your Majestee entendre bettre que moi.
It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss
before they are married, would she say?
O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear Kate,
you and I cannot be confin'd 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 mouth of all find-faults- as I will
do yours for upholding the nice fashion of your country in
denying me a kiss; therefore, patiently and yielding.
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 Henry of England
than a general petition of monarchs. Here comes your father.
Enter the FRENCH POWER and the ENGLISH LORDS
God save your Majesty! My royal cousin,
Teach you our princess English?
I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I
love her; and that is good English.
Is she not apt?
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.
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. Can you blame her, then, being a maid yet ros'd 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.
Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and
They are then excus'd, my lord, when they see not what
Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent
I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach
her to know my meaning; for maids well summer'd 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.
This moral ties me over to time and a hot summer; and
so I shall catch the fly, your cousin, in the latter end, and she
must be blind too.
As love is, my lord, before it loves.
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.
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 ent'red.
Shall Kate be my wife?
So please you.
I am content, so the maiden cities you talk of may wait
on her; so the maid that stood in the way for my wish shall show
me the way to my will.
We have consented to all terms of reason.
Is't so, my lords of England?
The king hath granted every article:
His daughter first; and then in sequel, all,
According to their firm proposed natures.
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 tres cher
fils Henri, Roi d'Angleterre, Heritier de France; and thus in
Latin, Praeclarissimus filius noster Henricus, Rex Angliae et
Nor this I have not, brother, so denied
But our request shall make me let it pass.
I pray you, then, in love and dear alliance,
Let that one article rank with the rest;
And thereupon give me your daughter.
Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up
Issue to me; that the contending kingdoms
Of France and England, whose very shores look pale
With envy of each other's happiness,
May cease their hatred; and this dear conjunction
Plant neighbourhood and Christian-like accord
In their sweet bosoms, that never war advance
His bleeding sword 'twixt England and fair France.
Now, welcome, Kate; and bear me witness all,
That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen.
God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one, your realms in one!
As man and wife, being two, are one in love,
So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousal
That never may ill office or fell jealousy,
Which troubles oft the bed of blessed marriage,
Thrust in between the paction of these kingdoms,
To make divorce of their incorporate league;
That English may as French, French Englishmen,
Receive each other. God speak this Amen!
Prepare we for our marriage; on which day,
My Lord of Burgundy, we'll take your oath,
And all the peers', for surety of our leagues.
Then shall I swear to Kate, and you to me,
And may our oaths well kept and prosp'rous be!