Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

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 livest, 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; & black beard will turn white; a curled 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 sayest thou, then, to my love? speak, my fair, and fairly, I pray thee.

Kath. Is it possible dat I should love de enemy of France? K. Hen. 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.

Kath. I cannot tell vat is dat.

K. Hen. 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. Quand j'ai la possession de France, et quand vous avez la possession de moi,-let me see, what then? Saint Denis be my speed! -donc votre est France et vous êtes 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.

Kath. Sauf votre honneur, le Français que vous parlez est meilleur que l'Anglais lequel je parle.

K. Hen. 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?

Kath. I cannot tell.

K. Hen. 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 sayest thou, my fair flower-de-luce?

Kath. I do not know dat.

K. Hen. 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 Katharine du monde, mon très chère et divine déesse?

Kath. Your majesté ave fausse French enough to deceive de most sage demoiselle dat is en France.

K. Hen. 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 ill 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 Katharine, 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, Katharine, break thy mind to me in broken English,-wilt thou have me?

Kath. Dat is as it sall please de roi mon père.

K. Hen. Nay, it will please him well, Kate,-it shall please him, Kate.

Kath. Den it sall also content me.

K. Hen. Upon that I kiss your hand, and I call you my queen.

Kath. Laissez, mon seigneur, laissez, laissez: ma foi, je ne veux point que vous abaissez votre grandeur en baisant la main d'une votre indigne serviteur; excusez-moi, je vous supplie, mon très puissant seigneur.

K. Hen. Then I will kiss your lips, Kate.

Kath. Les dames et demoiselles pour être baisées devant leur noces, il n'est pas le coutume de France.

K. Hen. Madam, my interpreter, what says she?

Alice. Dat it is not be de fashion pour les ladies of France, -I cannot tell vat is baiser en Anglish.

K. Hen. To kiss.

Alice. Your majesty entendre bettre que moi.

K. Hen. It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss before they are married, would she say?

Alice. Oui, vraiment.

K. Hen. Ó Kate, nice customs court'sy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined 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. [Kissing her.] 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 Harry of England than a general petition of monarchs.-Here comes your father.

Enter the FRENCH KING and QUEEN, BURGUNDY, BEDFORD, GLOSTER, EXETER, WARWICK, WESTMORELAND, and other French and English Lords.

Bur. God save your majesty! my royal cousin,

Teach you our princess English?

K. Hen. I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I love her; and that is good English.

Bur. Is she not apt?

K. Hen. 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.

Bur. 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 rosed-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.

K. Hen. Yet they do wink and yield; as love is blind and enforces.

Bur. They are then excused, my lord, when they see not what they do.

K. Hen. Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent winking.

Bur. I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach her to know my meaning: for maids well summered 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.

K. Hen. 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.

Bur. As love is, my lord, before it loves.

K. Hen. 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.

Fr. King. 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 entered.

K. Hen. Shall Kate be my wife?

Fr. King. So please you.

K. Hen. I am content; so the maiden cities you talk of may wait on her: so the maid that stood in the way of my wish shall show me the way to my will.

Fr. King. We have consented to all terms of reason.
K. Hen. Is't so, my lords of England?

West. The king hath granted every article:-
His daughter first; and, in sequel, all,

According to their firm proposed natures.

Exe. 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 très cher fils Henry, roi d'Angleterre, héritier de France; and thus in Latin, Præclarissimus filius noster Henricus, rex Angliæ et hæres Franciæ.

Fr. King. Nor this I have not, brother, so denied But your request shall make me let it pass.

K. Hen. I pray you, then, in love and dear alliance,

Let that one article rank with the rest;

And thereupon give me your daughter.

Fr. King. Take her, fair son; and from her blood raise 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.
All. Amen!

[up

K. Hen. Now, welcome, Kate:--and bear me witness all, That here I kiss her as my sovereign queen. [Flourish.

Q. Isa. 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!
All. Amen!

K. Hen. 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 prosperous be! [Exeunt.

Enter Chorus.

Chor. Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursu'd the story;
In little room confining mighty men,

Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but, in that small, most greatly liv'd
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the world's best garden he achiev'd,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown'd king
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing

That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

[Exit.

« AnteriorContinuar »