home contact

King Henry VI, Part I

Please see the bottom of the page for helpful resources.

ACT V SCENE III Before Angiers. 
[Alarum. Excursions. Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE]
JOAN LA PUCELLEThe regent conquers, and the Frenchmen fly.
Now help, ye charming spells and periapts;
And ye choice spirits that admonish me
And give me signs of future accidents.
You speedy helpers, that are substitutes5
Under the lordly monarch of the north,
Appear and aid me in this enterprise.
[Enter Fiends]
This speedy and quick appearance argues proof
Of your accustom'd diligence to me.
Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull'd10
Out of the powerful regions under earth,
Help me this once, that France may get the field.
[They walk, and speak not]
O, hold me not with silence over-long!
Where I was wont to feed you with my blood,
I'll lop a member off and give it you15
In earnest of further benefit,
So you do condescend to help me now.
[They hang their heads]
No hope to have redress? My body shall
Pay recompense, if you will grant my suit.
[They shake their heads]
Cannot my body nor blood-sacrifice20
Entreat you to your wonted furtherance?
Then take my soul, my body, soul and all,
Before that England give the French the foil.
[They depart]
See, they forsake me! Now the time is come
That France must vail her lofty-plumed crest25
And let her head fall into England's lap.
My ancient incantations are too weak,
And hell too strong for me to buckle with:
Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.
[ Excursions. Re-enter JOAN LA PUCELLE fighting hand to hand with YORK JOAN LA PUCELLE is taken. The French fly ]
YORKDamsel of France, I think I have you fast:30
Unchain your spirits now with spelling charms
And try if they can gain your liberty.
A goodly prize, fit for the devil's grace!
See, how the ugly wench doth bend her brows,
As if with Circe she would change my shape!35
JOAN LA PUCELLEChanged to a worser shape thou canst not be.
YORKO, Charles the Dauphin is a proper man;
No shape but his can please your dainty eye.
JOAN LA PUCELLEA plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee!
And may ye both be suddenly surprised40
By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!
YORKFell banning hag, enchantress, hold thy tongue!
JOAN LA PUCELLEI prithee, give me leave to curse awhile.
YORKCurse, miscreant, when thou comest to the stake.
[Alarum. Enter SUFFOLK with MARGARET in his hand]
SUFFOLKBe what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.45
[Gazes on her]
O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly!
For I will touch thee but with reverent hands;
I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
And lay them gently on thy tender side.
Who art thou? say, that I may honour thee.50
MARGARETMargaret my name, and daughter to a king,
The King of Naples, whosoe'er thou art.
SUFFOLKAn earl I am, and Suffolk am I call'd.
Be not offended, nature's miracle,
Thou art allotted to be ta'en by me:55
So doth the swan her downy cygnets save,
Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
Yet, if this servile usage once offend.
Go, and be free again, as Suffolk's friend.
[She is going]
O, stay! I have no power to let her pass;60
My hand would free her, but my heart says no
As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,

Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak:65
I'll call for pen and ink, and write my mind.
Fie, de la Pole! disable not thyself;
Hast not a tongue? is she not here?
Wilt thou be daunted at a woman's sight?
Ay, beauty's princely majesty is such,70
Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.
MARGARETSay, Earl of Suffolk--if thy name be so--
What ransom must I pay before I pass?
For I perceive I am thy prisoner.
SUFFOLKHow canst thou tell she will deny thy suit,75
Before thou make a trial of her love?
MARGARETWhy speak'st thou not? what ransom must I pay?
SUFFOLKShe's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore to be won.
MARGARETWilt thou accept of ransom? yea, or no.80
SUFFOLKFond man, remember that thou hast a wife;
Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?
MARGARETI were best to leave him, for he will not hear.
SUFFOLKThere all is marr'd; there lies a cooling card.
MARGARETHe talks at random; sure, the man is mad.85
SUFFOLKAnd yet a dispensation may be had.
MARGARETAnd yet I would that you would answer me.
SUFFOLKI'll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
Why, for my king: tush, that's a wooden thing!
MARGARETHe talks of wood: it is some carpenter.90
SUFFOLKYet so my fancy may be satisfied,
And peace established between these realms
But there remains a scruple in that too;
For though her father be the King of Naples,
Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor,95
And our nobility will scorn the match.
MARGARETHear ye, captain, are you not at leisure?
SUFFOLKIt shall be so, disdain they ne'er so much.
Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.
Madam, I have a secret to reveal.100
MARGARETWhat though I be enthrall'd? he seems a knight,
And will not any way dishonour me.
SUFFOLKLady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.
MARGARETPerhaps I shall be rescued by the French;
And then I need not crave his courtesy.105
SUFFOLKSweet madam, give me a hearing in a cause--
MARGARETTush, women have been captivate ere now.
SUFFOLKLady, wherefore talk you so?
MARGARETI cry you mercy, 'tis but Quid for Quo.
SUFFOLKSay, gentle princess, would you not suppose110
Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?
MARGARETTo be a queen in bondage is more vile
Than is a slave in base servility;
For princes should be free.
SUFFOLKAnd so shall you,115
If happy England's royal king be free.
MARGARETWhy, what concerns his freedom unto me?
SUFFOLKI'll undertake to make thee Henry's queen,
To put a golden sceptre in thy hand
And set a precious crown upon thy head,120
If thou wilt condescend to be my--
SUFFOLKHis love.
MARGARETI am unworthy to be Henry's wife.
SUFFOLKNo, gentle madam; I unworthy am125
To woo so fair a dame to be his wife,
And have no portion in the choice myself.
How say you, madam, are ye so content?
MARGARETAn if my father please, I am content.
SUFFOLKThen call our captains and our colours forth.130
And, madam, at your father's castle walls
We'll crave a parley, to confer with him.
[A parley sounded. Enter REIGNIER on the walls]
See, Reignier, see, thy daughter prisoner!
SUFFOLKTo me.135
REIGNIERSuffolk, what remedy?
I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
Or to exclaim on fortune's fickleness.
SUFFOLKYes, there is remedy enough, my lord:
Consent, and for thy honour give consent,140
Thy daughter shall be wedded to my king;
Whom I with pain have woo'd and won thereto;
And this her easy-held imprisonment
Hath gained thy daughter princely liberty.
REIGNIERSpeaks Suffolk as he thinks?145
SUFFOLKFair Margaret knows
That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.
REIGNIERUpon thy princely warrant, I descend
To give thee answer of thy just demand.
[Exit from the walls]
SUFFOLKAnd here I will expect thy coming.150
[Trumpets sound. Enter REIGNIER, below]
REIGNIERWelcome, brave earl, into our territories:
Command in Anjou what your honour pleases.
SUFFOLKThanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child,
Fit to be made companion with a king:
What answer makes your grace unto my suit?155
REIGNIERSince thou dost deign to woo her little worth
To be the princely bride of such a lord;
Upon condition I may quietly
Enjoy mine own, the country Maine and Anjou,
Free from oppression or the stroke of war,160
My daughter shall be Henry's, if he please.
SUFFOLKThat is her ransom; I deliver her;
And those two counties I will undertake
Your grace shall well and quietly enjoy.
REIGNIERAnd I again, in Henry's royal name,165
As deputy unto that gracious king,
Give thee her hand, for sign of plighted faith.
SUFFOLKReignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks,
Because this is in traffic of a king.
And yet, methinks, I could be well content170
To be mine own attorney in this case.
I'll over then to England with this news,
And make this marriage to be solemnized.
So farewell, Reignier: set this diamond safe
In golden palaces, as it becomes.175
REIGNIERI do embrace thee, as I would embrace
The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.
MARGARETFarewell, my lord: good wishes, praise and prayers
Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.
SUFFOLKFarewell, sweet madam: but hark you, Margaret;180
No princely commendations to my king?
MARGARETSuch commendations as becomes a maid,
A virgin and his servant, say to him.
SUFFOLKWords sweetly placed and modestly directed.
But madam, I must trouble you again;185
No loving token to his majesty?
MARGARETYes, my good lord, a pure unspotted heart,
Never yet taint with love, I send the king.
SUFFOLKAnd this withal.
[Kisses her]
MARGARETThat for thyself: I will not so presume190
To send such peevish tokens to a king.
SUFFOLKO, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay;
Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth;
There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk.
Solicit Henry with her wondrous praise:195
Bethink thee on her virtues that surmount,
And natural graces that extinguish art;
Repeat their semblance often on the seas,
That, when thou comest to kneel at Henry's feet,
Thou mayst bereave him of his wits with wonder.200

Continue to 1 Henry VI, Act 5, Scene 4


Related Articles

 The Essential Student History Quiz (with answers and illustrations)
 Elements of Shakespeare's History Plays
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama

 Shakespeare's Reputation in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 Four Periods of Shakespeare's Life
 Shakespeare's Writing Style

 Words Shakespeare Coined
 Quotations About William Shakespeare
 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels