Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry VI, part I > Act IV, scene I

	TALBOT, EXETER, the Governor, of Paris, and others]

GLOUCESTER: Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.

OF WINCHESTER: God save King Henry, of that name the sixth!

GLOUCESTER: Now, governor of Paris, take your oath,
	That you elect no other king but him;
	Esteem none friends but such as are his friends,
	And none your foes but such as shall pretend
	Malicious practises against his state:
	This shall ye do, so help you righteous God!


FASTOLFE: My gracious sovereign, as I rode from Calais,
	To haste unto your coronation,
	A letter was deliver'd to my hands,
	Writ to your grace from the Duke of Burgundy.

TALBOT: Shame to the Duke of Burgundy and thee!
	I vow'd, base knight, when I did meet thee next,
	To tear the garter from thy craven's leg,

	[Plucking it off]

	Which I have done, because unworthily
	Thou wast installed in that high degree.
	Pardon me, princely Henry, and the rest
	This dastard, at the battle of Patay,
	When but in all I was six thousand strong
	And that the French were almost ten to one,
	Before we met or that a stroke was given,
	Like to a trusty squire did run away:
	In which assault we lost twelve hundred men;
	Myself and divers gentlemen beside
	Were there surprised and taken prisoners.
	Then judge, great lords, if I have done amiss;
	Or whether that such cowards ought to wear
	This ornament of knighthood, yea or no.

GLOUCESTER: To say the truth, this fact was infamous
	And ill beseeming any common man,
	Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.

TALBOT: When first this order was ordain'd, my lords,
	Knights of the garter were of noble birth,
	Valiant and virtuous, full of haughty courage,
	Such as were grown to credit by the wars;
	Not fearing death, nor shrinking for distress,
	But always resolute in most extremes.
	He then that is not furnish'd in this sort
	Doth but usurp the sacred name of knight,
	Profaning this most honourable order,
	And should, if I were worthy to be judge,
	Be quite degraded, like a hedge-born swain
	That doth presume to boast of gentle blood.

KING HENRY VI: Stain to thy countrymen, thou hear'st thy doom!
	Be packing, therefore, thou that wast a knight:
	Henceforth we banish thee, on pain of death.


	And now, my lord protector, view the letter
	Sent from our uncle Duke of Burgundy.

GLOUCESTER: What means his grace, that he hath changed his style?
	No more but, plain and bluntly, 'To the king!'
	Hath he forgot he is his sovereign?
	Or doth this churlish superscription
	Pretend some alteration in good will?
	What's here?


	'I have, upon especial cause,
	Moved with compassion of my country's wreck,
	Together with the pitiful complaints
	Of such as your oppression feeds upon,
	Forsaken your pernicious faction
	And join'd with Charles, the rightful King of France.'
	O monstrous treachery! can this be so,
	That in alliance, amity and oaths,
	There should be found such false dissembling guile?

KING HENRY VI: What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?

GLOUCESTER: He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.

KING HENRY VI: Is that the worst this letter doth contain?

GLOUCESTER: It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.

KING HENRY VI: Why, then, Lord Talbot there shall talk with him
	And give him chastisement for this abuse.
	How say you, my lord? are you not content?

TALBOT: Content, my liege! yes, but that I am prevented,
	I should have begg'd I might have been employ'd.

KING HENRY VI: Then gather strength and march unto him straight:
	Let him perceive how ill we brook his treason
	And what offence it is to flout his friends.

TALBOT: I go, my lord, in heart desiring still
	You may behold confusion of your foes.


	[Enter VERNON and BASSET]

VERNON: Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign.

BASSET: And me, my lord, grant me the combat too.

YORK: This is my servant: hear him, noble prince.

SOMERSET: And this is mine: sweet Henry, favour him.

KING HENRY VI: Be patient, lords; and give them leave to speak.
	Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim?
	And wherefore crave you combat? or with whom?

VERNON: With him, my lord; for he hath done me wrong.

BASSET: And I with him; for he hath done me wrong.

KING HENRY VI: What is that wrong whereof you both complain?
	First let me know, and then I'll answer you.

BASSET: Crossing the sea from England into France,
	This fellow here, with envious carping tongue,
	Upbraided me about the rose I wear;
	Saying, the sanguine colour of the leaves
	Did represent my master's blushing cheeks,
	When stubbornly he did repugn the truth
	About a certain question in the law
	Argued betwixt the Duke of York and him;
	With other vile and ignominious terms:
	In confutation of which rude reproach
	And in defence of my lord's worthiness,
	I crave the benefit of law of arms.

VERNON: And that is my petition, noble lord:
	For though he seem with forged quaint conceit
	To set a gloss upon his bold intent,
	Yet know, my lord, I was provoked by him;
	And he first took exceptions at this badge,
	Pronouncing that the paleness of this flower
	Bewray'd the faintness of my master's heart.

YORK: Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?

SOMERSET: Your private grudge, my Lord of York, will out,
	Though ne'er so cunningly you smother it.

KING HENRY VI: Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick men,
	When for so slight and frivolous a cause
	Such factious emulations shall arise!
	Good cousins both, of York and Somerset,
	Quiet yourselves, I pray, and be at peace.

YORK: Let this dissension first be tried by fight,
	And then your highness shall command a peace.

SOMERSET: The quarrel toucheth none but us alone;
	Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then.

YORK: There is my pledge; accept it, Somerset.

VERNON: Nay, let it rest where it began at first.

BASSET: Confirm it so, mine honourable lord.

GLOUCESTER: Confirm it so! Confounded be your strife!
	And perish ye, with your audacious prate!
	Presumptuous vassals, are you not ashamed
	With this immodest clamorous outrage
	To trouble and disturb the king and us?
	And you, my lords, methinks you do not well
	To bear with their perverse objections;
	Much less to take occasion from their mouths
	To raise a mutiny betwixt yourselves:
	Let me persuade you take a better course.

EXETER: It grieves his highness: good my lords, be friends.

KING HENRY VI: Come hither, you that would be combatants:
	Henceforth I charge you, as you love our favour,
	Quite to forget this quarrel and the cause.
	And you, my lords, remember where we are,
	In France, amongst a fickle wavering nation:
	If they perceive dissension in our looks
	And that within ourselves we disagree,
	How will their grudging stomachs be provoked
	To wilful disobedience, and rebel!
	Beside, what infamy will there arise,
	When foreign princes shall be certified
	That for a toy, a thing of no regard,
	King Henry's peers and chief nobility
	Destroy'd themselves, and lost the realm of France!
	O, think upon the conquest of my father,
	My tender years, and let us not forego
	That for a trifle that was bought with blood
	Let me be umpire in this doubtful strife.
	I see no reason, if I wear this rose,

	[Putting on a red rose]

	That any one should therefore be suspicious
	I more incline to Somerset than York:
	Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both:
	As well they may upbraid me with my crown,
	Because, forsooth, the king of Scots is crown'd.
	But your discretions better can persuade
	Than I am able to instruct or teach:
	And therefore, as we hither came in peace,
	So let us still continue peace and love.
	Cousin of York, we institute your grace
	To be our regent in these parts of France:
	And, good my Lord of Somerset, unite
	Your troops of horsemen with his bands of foot;
	And, like true subjects, sons of your progenitors,
	Go cheerfully together and digest.
	Your angry choler on your enemies.
	Ourself, my lord protector and the rest
	After some respite will return to Calais;
	From thence to England; where I hope ere long
	To be presented, by your victories,
	With Charles, Alencon and that traitorous rout.

	[Flourish. Exeunt all but YORK, WARWICK, EXETER
	and VERNON]

WARWICK: My Lord of York, I promise you, the king
	Prettily, methought, did play the orator.

YORK: And so he did; but yet I like it not,
	In that he wears the badge of Somerset.

WARWICK: Tush, that was but his fancy, blame him not;
	I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.

YORK: An if I wist he did,--but let it rest;
	Other affairs must now be managed.

	[Exeunt all but EXETER]

EXETER: Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy voice;
	For, had the passions of thy heart burst out,
	I fear we should have seen decipher'd there
	More rancorous spite, more furious raging broils,
	Than yet can be imagined or supposed.
	But howsoe'er, no simple man that sees
	This jarring discord of nobility,
	This shouldering of each other in the court,
	This factious bandying of their favourites,
	But that it doth presage some ill event.
	'Tis much when sceptres are in children's hands;
	But more when envy breeds unkind division;
	There comes the rain, there begins confusion.



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