List iconHenry VI, Part 1List icon

Henry VI, Part 1
Act 5, scene 5

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With an underage boy now king of England, Henry VI, Part 1, depicts the collapse of England’s role in France, as…

Act 1, scene 1

The funeral procession for Henry V is interrupted first by a quarrel between Gloucester and Winchester and then by messengers…

Act 1, scene 2

Charles the Dauphin, leader of the French, is defeated by a small English force that is besieging Orleance. He is…

Act 1, scene 3

Gloucester visits the Tower of London, only to be denied entry by Winchester. The servants of the two nobles skirmish…

Act 1, scene 4

The master gunner of Orleance shows his boy how to fire on the English when they come to spy. The…

Act 1, scene 5

Talbot attacks, fights Pucelle, fails to defeat her, and accuses her of witchcraft. The English, defeated, retreat.

Act 1, scene 6

The French celebrate Pucelle’s victory.

Act 2, scene 1

The English forces, led by Bedford, Burgundy, and Talbot, scale the walls of Orleance and drive out the French, who…

Act 2, scene 2

The English plan a grand tomb for the dead Salisbury, in part as a monument to their recent victory. Talbot…

Act 2, scene 3

The Countess plots to capture and kill the visiting Talbot.

Act 2, scene 4

Richard Plantagenet and Somerset, having quarreled over a case at law, withdraw into a garden, where the supporters of Plantagenet…

Act 2, scene 5

Edmund Mortimer, imprisoned by Henry IV because of his strong claim to the throne, and kept in prison by Henry…

Act 3, scene 1

Gloucester and Winchester quarrel openly in Henry VI’s royal court. Their supporters, forbidden to carry weapons, have been fighting in…

Act 3, scene 2

Pucelle and four soldiers, disguised as peasants, enter Roan. From a tower within the city, Pucelle signals to the French…

Act 3, scene 3

As Talbot and Burgundy march separately to Paris for the coronation of Henry VI, Pucelle entices Burgundy to join the…

Act 3, scene 4

In Paris, a grateful Henry VI creates Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury in recompense for his victories in France. Vernon, a…

Act 4, scene 1

Henry VI is crowned. Fastolf arrives with a letter from Burgundy and, because of his earlier cowardice in battle, is…

Act 4, scene 2

As Talbot draws up his troops before Bordeaux, he learns that he is surrounded by much greater French forces.

Act 4, scene 3

Sir William Lucy urges York to help Talbot, but York refuses to march until Somerset unites his cavalry with York’s…

Act 4, scene 4

Sir William Lucy chastises Somerset for not having helped Talbot, but Somerset blames York, who has apparently refused to communicate…

Act 4, scene 5

Talbot has been joined by his son John Talbot, whom he urges to flee certain death. John Talbot refuses to…

Act 4, scene 6

Talbot again urges his son to flee and is again rebuffed.

Act 4, scene 7

Talbot, holding his dead son, dies. Sir William Lucy comes to claim their bodies from the victorious French.

Act 5, scene 1

Henry follows Gloucester’s advice to make peace with France and to agree to marry the daughter of the earl of…

Act 5, scene 2

Charles is informed that the divided English army has united and is advancing toward him.

Act 5, scene 3

As the French face likely defeat, Pucelle conjures up devils, but they refuse to help, and she is captured by…

Act 5, scene 4

Pucelle, on her way to be executed by the English, is visited by her shepherd father, whom she scorns and…

Act 5, scene 5

Suffolk persuades Henry to marry Margaret over the objections of Gloucester. Suffolk plans to control Margaret and, through her, the…

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Scene 5
Enter Suffolk in conference with the King,
Gloucester, and Exeter, with Attendants.


KING HENRY 
 Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
 Of beauteous Margaret hath astonished me.

227
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ACT 5. SC. 5

 Her virtues gracèd with external gifts
 Do breed love’s settled passions in my heart,
5 And like as rigor of tempestuous gusts
 Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
 So am I driven by breath of her renown
 Either to suffer shipwrack, or arrive
 Where I may have fruition of her love.
SUFFOLK 
10 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
15 Able to ravish any dull conceit;
 And, which is more, she is not so divine,
 So full replete with choice of all delights,
 But with as humble lowliness of mind
 She is content to be at your command—
20 Command, I mean, of virtuous chaste intents—
 To love and honor Henry as her lord.
KING HENRY 
 And otherwise will Henry ne’er presume.—
 Therefore, my Lord Protector, give consent
 That Margaret may be England’s royal queen.
GLOUCESTER 
25 So should I give consent to flatter sin.
 You know, my lord, your Highness is betrothed
 Unto another lady of esteem.
 How shall we then dispense with that contract
 And not deface your honor with reproach?
SUFFOLK 
30 As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths;
 Or one that, at a triumph having vowed
 To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
 By reason of his adversary’s odds.

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Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 5. SC. 5

 A poor earl’s daughter is unequal odds,
35 And therefore may be broke without offense.
GLOUCESTER 
 Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that?
 Her father is no better than an earl,
 Although in glorious titles he excel.
SUFFOLK 
 Yes, my lord, her father is a king,
40 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.
GLOUCESTER 
 And so the Earl of Armagnac may do,
45 Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.
EXETER 
 Besides, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower,
 Where Reignier sooner will receive than give.
SUFFOLK 
 A dower, my lords? Disgrace not so your king
 That he should be so abject, base, and poor,
50 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.
55 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,
60 Most of all these reasons bindeth us
 In our opinions she should be preferred.
 For what is wedlock forcèd but a hell,
 An age of discord and continual strife?

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ACT 5. SC. 5

 Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss
65 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, joinèd with her birth,
 Approves her fit for none but for a king.
70 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,
75 If with a lady of so high resolve
 As is fair Margaret he be linked in love.
 Then yield, my lords, and here conclude with me
 That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.
KING HENRY 
 Whether it be through force of your report,
80 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,
85 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
90 To cross the seas to England and be crowned
 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,
95 I rest perplexèd with a thousand cares.—
 And you, good uncle, banish all offense.
 If you do censure me by what you were,

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Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 5. SC. 5

 Not what you are, I know it will excuse
 This sudden execution of my will.
100 And so conduct me where, from company,
 I may revolve and ruminate my grief.
He exits with Attendants.
GLOUCESTER 
 Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.
Gloucester exits with Exeter.
SUFFOLK 
 Thus Suffolk hath prevailed, and thus he goes
 As did the youthful Paris once to Greece,
105 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.
He exits.