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Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1 Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, YORK, SUFFOLK, SOMERSET, WARWICK, TALBOT, EXETER, the Governor, of Paris, and others

GLOUCESTER

Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.

GLOUCESTER

Put the crown on his head, lord bishop. 

WINCHESTER

God save King Henry, of that name the sixth!

WINCHESTER

God save King Henry! He is the sixth one with that name.

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!

GLOUCESTER

Now, governor of Paris, make a promise, that you accept no other king but him. Consider no other friends but his friends and your enemies should be those who plot to harm him. You shall do this! God be with you! 

Enter FASTOLFE

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.

FASTOLFE

I came from Calais to hurry to your coronation, my gentle king, and I was given this letter from the Duke of Burgundy. It's addressed to you.

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,

TALBOT

Shame on you and the Duke of Burgundy! I swore to you when I last met you, lowly knight, that I would pull off the knight's garter, that ribbon, from your coward's leg. 

Plucking it off

TALBOT

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.

TALBOT

I've done this because you don't deserve such high status. Prince Henry and the rest of you, excuse me. During the battle of Patay, this coward, when I was alone among six thousand men and the French had a ten to one advantage, this "reliable" attendant ran away from me before we even attacked. In that battle we lost twelve hundred men and myself and some other gentlemen were unexpectedly taken prisoner. Great lords, judge then, if what I did was wrong and if cowards like him should be allowed to wear this symbol of knighthood. Yes or no?

GLOUCESTER

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

GLOUCESTER

To be honest, that crime is shameful and doesn't suit any ordinary man, let alone 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.

TALBOT

When the order of the Garters was first set up, my lords, knights of that order were of noble birth, they were virtuous and good and had courage. These knights rose in honor through the wars, they weren't scared of death and they didn't run away from hardship. They were always determined in difficult situations. He, who does not possess those qualities, assumes the precious name of knight falsely. He pollutes this most honorable order and if I could decide what to do with him, his position would be lowered, and he would become a person of very low birth who only thinks he can brag about his highborn 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.

KING HENRY VI

Do you hear the judgement? Your countrymen will be marked by this! Therefore, go pack your things. You were once a knight but now we cast you out and if you return, you'll die. 

Exit FASTOLFE

KING HENRY VI

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

KING HENRY VI

And now, my lord protector, read the letter that the Duke of Burgundy sent us. 

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?

GLOUCESTER

What does he mean, why has he changed his form of address? Does he say nothing more than a simple "To the king?" Has he forgotten that Henry is his king? Or does this blunt address mean that his good intentions have changed? What do we have here?

Reads

GLOUCESTER

'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?

GLOUCESTER

"I have moved away from the ruin of my country, as well as the pathetic complaints that encourage your oppression. I have abandoned your destructive group and joined Charles, the true King of France." Oh, this is terrible treason! How can there be such trickery among what should be unity, friendship and promises? 

KING HENRY VI

What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?

KING HENRY VI

My uncle Burgundy rebels against me? 

GLOUCESTER

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

GLOUCESTER

He does, my lord. And now he is your enemy. 

KING HENRY VI

Is that the worst this letter doth contain?

KING HENRY VI

Is anything worse written in this letter?

GLOUCESTER

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

GLOUCESTER

That is the worst that he writes, my lord. 

KING HENRY VI

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

KING HENRY VI

Well, then, you will talk with him, Talbot and punish him for this betrayal. What do you say to that, my lord? Are you not happy about it?

TALBOT

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

TALBOT

Happy, my king! Yes! It's only that I would have liked to have begged to do what you have ordered. 

KING HENRY VI

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

KING HENRY VI

Gather all your men and meet him immediately. Let him see how badly we think of his treason and how he insulted us by mocking his friends. 

TALBOT

I go, my lord, in heart desiring stillYou may behold confusion of your foes.

TALBOT

My lord, I am off! With all my heart I hope that you may see the destruction of your enemies. 

Exit

Enter VERNON and BASSET

VERNON

Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign.

VERNON

My gracious king, give me permission to fight in a duel.

BASSET

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

BASSET

My lord, grant me permission too.

YORK

This is my servant: hear him, noble prince.

YORK

This is my servant. Listen to what he has to say, kind prince. 

SOMERSET

And this is mine: sweet Henry, favour him.

SOMERSET

And this is my servant. Sweet Henry, give him what he wants. 

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?

KING HENRY VI

Lords, be patient and let them speak. Gentlemen, tell me what makes you ask for this? And why do you want to fight or with whom do you want to fight?

VERNON

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

VERNON

With him, because he has harmed me, my lord. 

BASSET

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

BASSET

And I want to fight with him, because he has harmed me. 

KING HENRY VI

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

KING HENRY VI

What is the cause of this wrongdoing, that you both complain about? Tell me about it first and then I'll reply to your request.

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.

BASSET

While I was traveling across the sea from England to France, this hateful and critical man who stands before you accused me about the rose that I wear. He said that the blood-red color of the petals looked like the blushing cheeks of my master. He stubbornly rejected the truth about the question of succession that had been discussed between himself and the Duke of York. He used vulgar and degrading words. In order to prove him wrong and to defend the name of my lord, I wish to challenge him to a duel. 

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.

VERNON

And that's my request too, kind lord. Although he gives an attractive interpretation of his daring plan, using false and cunning rhetoric. You should know, my lord, that I was provoked by him. He started objecting to my badge first, saying that the white color of this flower revealed my master's cowardly heart. 

YORK

Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?

YORK

Won't you stop this hate, Somerset? 

SOMERSET

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

SOMERSET

Your personal resentment will end, although you won't be the one who suppresses it, my Lord of York.

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.

KING HENRY VI

Good lord, what kind of madness is ruling these foolish men? Why does such a small and silly argument cause this divisive rivalry!? My good kinsmen, York and Somerset, I ask you now to be quiet and to be at peace. 

YORK

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

YORK

Let this disagreement be tested in a fight and then your highness can ask for peace. 

SOMERSET

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

SOMERSET

This argument doesn't concern anyone but us. We can decide it between us, then.

YORK

There is my pledge; accept it, Somerset.

YORK

Here is my glove. Accept it, Somerset.

VERNON

Nay, let it rest where it began at first.

VERNON

No, let it remain where it was before.

BASSET

Confirm it so, mine honourable lord.

BASSET

Let us do this, then, my honorable 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.

GLOUCESTER

Let you do this!? Your argument should be destroyed! And you should die along with your reckless chatter! Aren't you ashamed, you arrogant servants, that you trouble and disturb the king and us with this shameless noisy insult?! As for you, my lords, I don't think you should take their wicked accusations and definitely don't take it as an opportunity to start a fight between yourselves. Let me persuade you to do something better. 

EXETER

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

EXETER

It makes his highness sad and so, my good 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,

KING HENRY VI

Come here, you that want to fight each other. Here I order you to forget this argument and the reason for it, if you love us. And you, my lords, remember where we are. We're in France at the center of a changeable and hesitant nation. If they see that we are arguing and that we can't agree among ourselves, their resentful tempers will be provoked to intentional disobedience and rebellion! Also, can you imagine what a scandal it would be abroad if foreign princes found out that King Henry's lords and the highest aristocracy destroyed themselves and lost France over something so small and unimportant? You should remember my father's victories and my young age. And let us not lose something that we bought with blood over a small argument. Let me be the judge in this fearful argument. I don't see why, if I wear this rose—

Putting on a red rose

KING HENRY VI

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.

KING HENRY VI

...you should think that I lean more towards Somerset than York. Both are my lords and I love them both. They might as well condemn me for my crown, because the King of Scotland has a crown as well. But you can observe the differences better than I can explain them to you; and so as we now come together in peace, let us continue similarly in peace and love. We appoint you, cousin of York, to be our representative in these parts of France. And, my good Lord of Somerset, bring together your soldiers on horses with his soldiers on foot. Cheerfully go together and take our your anger on your enemies. Behave like my faithful subjects, sons of your forefathers. I will return to Calais, after some delay, with my lord protector and the rest of you. From Calais, I'll go to England, where soon I hope to be told of your victories against Charles, Alencon and that treasonous crowd.

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

WARWICK

My Lord of York, I promise you, the kingPrettily, methought, did play the orator.

WARWICK

I thought that the king played the role of the public speaker rather well, my lord of York.

YORK

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

YORK

Yes, he did. But I don't like that he is wearing Somerset's badge. 

WARWICK

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

WARWICK

Oh, come on! He only did it on a whim. Don't blame him for it. I dare say, sweet prince, that he didn't mean harm by it.

YORK

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

YORK

From what I know, he did—but let's forget about that. We must manage other things now. 

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.

EXETER

You did well, Richard, to stop speaking, because if the passions of your heart were to come to the surface, I am afraid it would have revealed more hateful malice and a fight more angry and furious than can be imagined or assumed. But anyway, any ordinary man who sees this disturbing conflict between the lords, this pushing of each other in court and the competition between their favorites, can see that this will have some terrible outcome. It's bad enough when children are kings, but it is even worse when jealousy creates unnatural divisions. That one starts the rain, but this one starts destruction. 

Exit

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Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.