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Henry VI, Part 2

Henry VI, Part 2 Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Flourish of trumpets: then hautboys. Enter KING HENRY VI, GLOUCESTER, SALISBURY, WARWICK, and CARDINAL, on the one side; QUEEN MARGARET, SUFFOLK, YORK, SOMERSET, and BUCKINGHAM, on the other

SUFFOLK

As by your high imperial majesty I had in charge at my depart for France, As procurator to your excellence, To marry Princess Margaret for your grace, So, in the famous ancient city, Tours, In presence of the Kings of France and Sicil, The Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne and Alencon, Seven earls, twelve barons and twenty reverend bishops, I have perform'd my task and was espoused: And humbly now upon my bended knee, In sight of England and her lordly peers, Deliver up my title in the queen To your most gracious hands, that are the substance Of that great shadow I did represent; The happiest gift that ever marquess gave, The fairest queen that ever king received.

SUFFOLK

I was commanded by your majesty to travel to France as your representative and arrange a marriage with Princess Margaret on your behalf. And so in that famous ancient city Tours—in the presence of the Kings of France and Sicily and the Dukes of Orleans, Calaber, Bretagne and Alencon, seven earls, twelve barons and twenty bishops—I carried out my task and married her by proxy. And now, humbly on my knees in front of England and her lords, I turn the queen over to your gracious hands, since you are the substance of the shadow that I represented when I was abroad. She is the best gift that a marquess has ever given anyone, and the most beautiful queen that any king has ever married.

KING HENRY VI

Suffolk, arise. Welcome, Queen Margaret: I can express no kinder sign of love Than this kind kiss. O Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness! For thou hast given me in this beauteous face A world of earthly blessings to my soul, If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.

KING HENRY VI

Stand up, Suffolk. Welcome, Queen Margaret! [Kisses her] This kind kiss is the most affectionate sign of love that I can give you. Oh, Lord, that gives me life, let me also have a heart full of gratitude! Because you have given my soul a whole world of earthly blessings in this beautiful face, if she and I can learn to love each other.

QUEEN MARGARET

Great King of England and my gracious lord, The mutual conference that my mind hath had, By day, by night, waking and in my dreams, In courtly company or at my beads, With you, mine alder-liefest sovereign, Makes me the bolder to salute my king With ruder terms, such as my wit affords And over-joy of heart doth minister.

QUEEN MARGARET

Great king of England and my good husband, I've already been in intimate conversation with you in my mind—I thought of you during the day and during the night, when I was awake and in my dreams, when I was with people at court or when I was praying alone. So after all this imagined conversation, my dear lord, I feel bold enough to greet my king in a friendly way, as my heart and mind directs me. 

KING HENRY VI

Her sight did ravish; but her grace in speech, Her words y-clad with wisdom's majesty, Makes me from wondering fall to weeping joys; Such is the fulness of my heart's content. Lords, with one cheerful voice welcome my love.

KING HENRY VI

The sight of her enchants me, but her speech is even more graceful. Her words, clothed with the power of wisdom, make me go from admiration to tears of joy. That's how happy I am. Lords, welcome my love with one cheerful voice.

ALL

[Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England'shappiness!

ALL

[Kneeling] Long live Queen Margaret, England's happiness!

QUEEN MARGARET

We thank you all.

QUEEN MARGARET

Thank you, everyone. 

Flourish

SUFFOLK

My lord protector, so it please your grace, Here are the articles of contracted peace Between our sovereign and the French king Charles, For eighteen months concluded by consent.

SUFFOLK

[To GLOUCESTER] My lord protector, if it's all right with you, here are the conditions of the peace negotiation between our king and the French king Charles. The peace will last for eighteenth months. 

GLOUCESTER

[Reads] 'Imprimis, it is agreed between the French king Charles, and William de la Pole, Marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that the said Henry shall espouse the Lady Margaret, daughter unto Reignier King of Naples, Sicilia and Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England ere the thirtieth of May next ensuing. Item, that the duchy of Anjou and the county of Maine shall be released and delivered to the king her father'—

GLOUCESTER

[Reads] "Firstly, it is agreed between the French king Charles and William de la Pole, Marquess of Suffolk, ambassador for Henry King of England, that the said Henry shall marry the Lady Margaret, daughter of King Reignier of Naples, Sicilia and Jerusalem, and crown her Queen of England before the next thirtieth of May. Likewise, that the dukedom of Anjou and the county of Maine will be released from English control and given to her father the king - "

Lets the paper fall

KING HENRY VI

Uncle, how now!

KING HENRY VI

Uncle, what are you doing? 

GLOUCESTER

Pardon me, gracious lord;Some sudden qualm hath struck me at the heartAnd dimm'd mine eyes, that I can read no further.

GLOUCESTER

Excuse me, my good lord. Something has suddenly made me feel sick and blurred my vision, so that I can't read any more.

KING HENRY VI

Uncle of Winchester, I pray, read on.

KING HENRY VI

Please, uncle of Winchester, keep reading. 

CARDINAL

[Reads] 'Item, It is further agreed between them, that the duchies of Anjou and Maine shall be released and delivered over to the king her father, and she sent over of the King of England's own proper cost and charges, without having any dowry.'

CARDINAL

[Reads] "Likewise, it is also agreed between them, that the dukedoms of Anjou and Maine shall be released from English control and given to her father the king, and she will be sent over at the King of England's personal cost, with no dowry.

KING HENRY VI

They please us well. Lord marquess, kneel down: We here create thee the first duke of Suffolk, And gird thee with the sword. Cousin of York, We here discharge your grace from being regent I' the parts of France, till term of eighteen months Be full expired. Thanks, uncle Winchester, Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick; We thank you all for the great favour done, In entertainment to my princely queen. Come, let us in, and with all speed provide To see her coronation be perform'd.

KING HENRY VI

That's fine with us. Lord marquees, kneel down. We'll make you the first duke of Suffolk, giving you a new title with our sword. Cousin of York, we dismiss you from your post as regent in those territories in France, until the period of eighteenth months is over. Thanks, uncle Winchester, Gloucester, York, Buckingham, Somerset, Salisbury, and Warwick. We thank you for all that you have done to welcome my royal queen. Come, let's go inside and quickly prepare everything for her coronation.

Exeunt KING HENRY VI, QUEEN MARGARET, and SUFFOLK

GLOUCESTER

Brave peers of England, pillars of the state, To you Duke Humphrey must unload his grief, Your grief, the common grief of all the land. What! Did my brother Henry spend his youth, His valour, coin and people, in the wars? Did he so often lodge in open field, In winter's cold and summer's parching heat, To conquer France, his true inheritance? And did my brother Bedford toil his wits, To keep by policy what Henry got? Have you yourselves, Somerset, Buckingham, Brave York, Salisbury, and victorious Warwick, Received deep scars in France and Normandy? Or hath mine uncle Beaufort and myself, With all the learned council of the realm, Studied so long, sat in the council-house Early and late, debating to and fro How France and Frenchmen might be kept in awe, And had his highness in his infancy Crowned in Paris in despite of foes? And shall these labours and these honours die? Shall Henry's conquest, Bedford's vigilance, Your deeds of war and all our counsel die? O peers of England, shameful is this league! Fatal this marriage, cancelling your fame, Blotting your names from books of memory, Razing the characters of your renown, Defacing monuments of conquer'd France, Undoing all, as all had never been!

GLOUCESTER

Noblemen of England, since you're the leading men in this country, Duke Humphrey has to unload his grief on you—which is your grief too, and the grief of everyone in England. What? Didn't my brother Henry spend his young days, his bravery, his money, and English lives in the wars? To conquer France, which was his birthright, didn't he so often sleep in an open field through cold winters and hot summers? And didn't my brother Bedford work so hard to maintain by good politics the lands that Henry had conquered? Haven't you, Somerset, Buckingham, brave York, Salisbury and victorious Warwick, received deep scars fighting in France and Normandy? Haven't my uncle Beaufort and I studied hard, with all the country's council, sitting in the council house early and staying until late, debating back and forth how to defeat the French and keep our territories? And wasn't his highness crowned in Paris as a baby, against the will of his enemies? And shall all this work and all our victories be for nothing? Shall Henry's conquest, Bedford's skill in politics, your bravery in war, and all our advice be for nothing? Oh, men of England, this is a shameful union! This marriage is disastrous! It destroys your reputations, smudging your names from the history books, erasing the written records of our famous actions, disfiguring the memorials of conquered France, undoing everything as if it had never happened!

CARDINAL

Nephew, what means this passionate discourse,This peroration with such circumstance?For France, 'tis ours; and we will keep it still.

CARDINAL

What does this passionate argument mean, nephew? Why all this elaborate speech? France is ours and we'll keep it.

GLOUCESTER

Ay, uncle, we will keep it, if we can; But now it is impossible we should: Suffolk, the new-made duke that rules the roast, Hath given the duchy of Anjou and Maine Unto the poor King Reignier, whose large style Agrees not with the leanness of his purse.

GLOUCESTER

Yes, uncle, we will keep it, if we can. But now it seems impossible. Suffolk, the new-made duke, has the power now. And he's given the dukedom of Anjou and Maine to the poor King Reignier, who doesn't have any money to back up his great title.

SALISBURY

Now, by the death of Him that died for all,These counties were the keys of Normandy.But wherefore weeps Warwick, my valiant son?

SALISBURY

By Christ's death, who died for us all, these countries were our foothold in Normandy. But why do you cry, my brave son Warwick?

WARWICK

For grief that they are past recovery: For, were there hope to conquer them again, My sword should shed hot blood, mine eyes no tears. Anjou and Maine! Myself did win them both; Those provinces these arms of mine did conquer: And are the cities, that I got with wounds, Delivered up again with peaceful words? Mort Dieu!

WARWICK

Because they are not going to be saved. And if there was a hope that we could conquer them again, my sword would shed hot blood and my eyes wouldn't cry. Anjou and Maine! I conquered both of them! My own arms conquered those provinces. So how can those cities that I won in battle be given back with peaceful words? God's death!

YORK

For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate, That dims the honour of this warlike isle! France should have torn and rent my very heart, Before I would have yielded to this league. I never read but England's kings have had Large sums of gold and dowries with their wives: And our King Henry gives away his own, To match with her that brings no vantages.

YORK

As for the Duke of Suffolk, who dishonors this brave island, may he be suffocated! France would have had to tear and rip up my heart before I'd surrender to this union. I have only ever read about English kings that have gained large amounts of gold and property by marrying. And our King Henry gives away his own money to marry a woman who has nothing to her name. 

GLOUCESTER

A proper jest, and never heard before,That Suffolk should demand a whole fifteenthFor costs and charges in transporting her!She should have stayed in France and starvedin France, Before—

GLOUCESTER

It's a real joke I've never heard before, that Suffolk demands large reimbursements for the cost of transporting her here! She should have stayed in France and starved in France, before —

CARDINAL

My Lord of Gloucester, now ye grow too hot:It was the pleasure of my lord the King.

CARDINAL

My Lord of Gloucester, you're too angry now. You have to remember that it was what the King wanted.

GLOUCESTER

My Lord of Winchester, I know your mind; 'Tis not my speeches that you do mislike, But 'tis my presence that doth trouble ye. Rancour will out: proud prelate, in thy face I see thy fury: if I longer stay, We shall begin our ancient bickerings. Lordings, farewell; and say, when I am gone, I prophesied France will be lost ere long.

GLOUCESTER

I know what you think, my Lord of Winchester. It's not my speeches that you don't like but my presence that bothers you. Your anger will explode, proud priest. I see your rage in your face. If I stay longer we'll bring up old grudges. Therefore, goodbye, my lords. And when I'm gone, say that I predicted France will be lost before long. 

Exit

CARDINAL

So, there goes our protector in a rage. 'Tis known to you he is mine enemy, Nay, more, an enemy unto you all, And no great friend, I fear me, to the king. Consider, lords, he is the next of blood, And heir apparent to the English crown: Had Henry got an empire by his marriage, And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west, There's reason he should be displeased at it. Look to it, lords! Let not his smoothing words Bewitch your hearts; be wise and circumspect. What though the common people favour him, Calling him 'Humphrey, the good Duke of Gloucester,' Clapping their hands, and crying with loud voice, 'Jesu maintain your royal excellence!' With 'God preserve the good Duke Humphrey!' I fear me, lords, for all this flattering gloss, He will be found a dangerous protector.

CARDINAL

So, there goes our protector in anger. It's known to you that he is my enemy. No, more than that. He's an enemy to all of you and no friend to the king, I'm afraid. Consider, lords, that he is the next in line and heir to the English throne. And if Henry got an empire by his marriage and all the rich countries in the west, there is no reason we would have been unhappy about this. But be careful, lords! Don't let his flattering words enchant your hearts. Be smart and cautious. What does it matter that the common people like him, calling him "Humphrey, the good Duke of Gloucester", applauding him and shouting loudly: "Let Jesus keep your royal excellence!" and "God save the good Duke Humphrey!" I am afraid, lords, that for all his smooth words, he will turn out to be a dangerous protector.

BUCKINGHAM

Why should he, then, protect our sovereign, He being of age to govern of himself? Cousin of Somerset, join you with me, And all together, with the Duke of Suffolk, We'll quickly hoise Duke Humphrey from his seat.

BUCKINGHAM

Why should he rule for the king, then, since the king is already old enough to rule for himself? Cousin of Somerset, if you support me in this and we all work together with the Duke of Suffolk, we can quickly take Duke Humphrey down from his throne.

CARDINAL

This weighty business will not brook delay:I'll to the Duke of Suffolk presently.

CARDINAL

We shouldn't wait any longer when the problem is so serious. I'll go to the Duke of Suffolk immediately. 

Exit

SOMERSET

Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's pride And greatness of his place be grief to us, Yet let us watch the haughty cardinal: His insolence is more intolerable Than all the princes in the land beside: If Gloucester be displaced, he'll be protector.

SOMERSET

Cousin of Buckingham, though Humphrey's pride and his great position disturbs us, we should be suspicious of the proud cardinal too. He is more arrogant than all the nobles in this country. If Gloucester is pushed aside, the cardinal will be protector.

BUCKINGHAM

Or thou or I, Somerset, will be protector,Despite Duke Humphrey or the cardinal.

BUCKINGHAM

Or you or I, Somerset, will be the protector, in spite of Duke Humphrey and the cardinal.

Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and SOMERSET

SALISBURY

Pride went before, ambition follows him. While these do labour for their own preferment, Behoves it us to labour for the realm. I never saw but Humphrey Duke of Gloucester Did bear him like a noble gentleman. Oft have I seen the haughty cardinal, More like a soldier than a man o' the church, As stout and proud as he were lord of all, Swear like a ruffian and demean himself Unlike the ruler of a commonweal. Warwick, my son, the comfort of my age, Thy deeds, thy plainness and thy housekeeping, Hath won the greatest favour of the commons, Excepting none but good Duke Humphrey: And, brother York, thy acts in Ireland, In bringing them to civil discipline, Thy late exploits done in the heart of France, When thou wert regent for our sovereign, Have made thee fear'd and honour'd of the people: Join we together, for the public good, In what we can, to bridle and suppress The pride of Suffolk and the cardinal, With Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition; And, as we may, cherish Duke Humphrey's deeds, While they do tend the profit of the land.

SALISBURY

The proud cardinal left before and the ambitious Buckingham and Somerset follow him. While they work for their own advancement, some of us work hard for the country. I have always seen Humphrey Duke of Gloucester behave like a noble gentleman. But I have often seen the proud cardinal looking more like a soldier than a man of the church, as arrogant and proud as if he were lord of everything. He swears like a hooligan and does not behave like the ruler of the commonwealth. [To WARWICK] Warwick, my son—who comforts me in my old age—your good behavior and open and generous nature have made you the most popular with the people, except for good Duke Humphrey.[To YORK] And my brother-in-law York, your bravery in Ireland when you defeated the rebellion there, and your recent remarkable actions in the heart of France, when you were the regent for your king, have made you feared and honored by the people. Let's join together for the general good, and do what we can to control and rein in the pride of Suffolk and the cardinal, as well as Somerset's and Buckingham's ambition. And we'll support Duke Humphrey's actions as much as we can, while they promote the good of the country. 

WARWICK

So God help Warwick, as he loves the land,And common profit of his country!

WARWICK

So God help Warwick, since he loves the land and common good of his country! 

YORK

[Aside] And so says York, for he hath greatest cause.

YORK

[To himself] And York agrees, since he has the biggest reason.

SALISBURY

Then let's make haste away, and look unto the main.

SALISBURY

Then let's get started and see to the most important business at hand.

WARWICK

Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost; That Maine which by main force Warwick did win, And would have kept so long as breath did last! Main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine, Which I will win from France, or else be slain.

WARWICK

Let's see to the most important business! Oh, father, Maine is lost. I won it in battle and would have kept it for as long as I breathe! You meant the most important business but I meant Maine, which I will win back from France, or otherwise die trying.

Exeunt WARWICK and SALISBURY

YORK

Anjou and Maine are given to the French; Paris is lost; the state of Normandy Stands on a tickle point, now they are gone: Suffolk concluded on the articles, The peers agreed, and Henry was well pleased To change two dukedoms for a duke's fair daughter. I cannot blame them all: what is't to them? 'Tis thine they give away, and not their own. Pirates may make cheap pennyworths of their pillage And purchase friends and give to courtezans, Still revelling like lords till all be gone; While as the silly owner of the goods Weeps over them and wrings his hapless hands And shakes his head and trembling stands aloof, While all is shared and all is borne away, Ready to starve and dare not touch his own: So York must sit and fret and bite his tongue, While his own lands are bargain'd for and sold. Methinks the realms of England, France and Ireland Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood As did the fatal brand Althaea burn'd Unto the prince's heart of Calydon. Anjou and Maine both given unto the French! Cold news for me, for I had hope of France, Even as I have of fertile England's soil. A day will come when York shall claim his own; And therefore I will take the Nevils' parts And make a show of love to proud Duke Humphrey, And, when I spy advantage, claim the crown, For that's the golden mark I seek to hit: Nor shall proud Lancaster usurp my right, Nor hold the sceptre in his childish fist, Nor wear the diadem upon his head, Whose church-like humours fits not for a crown. Then, York, be still awhile, till time do serve: Watch thou and wake when others be asleep, To pry into the secrets of the state; Till Henry, surfeiting in joys of love, With his new bride and England's dear-bought queen, And Humphrey with the peers be fall'n at jars: Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose, With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed; And in my standard bear the arms of York To grapple with the house of Lancaster; And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown, Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down.

YORK

Anjou and Maine are given to the French; Paris is lost; we're barely hanging on to Normandy. Now that they're all gone, Suffolk decided the terms and conditions, everyone agreed, and Henry was happy enough to exchange two dukedoms for a beautiful daughter of the duke. I can't blame them all, for what's it to them? It's your inheritance that they give away and not their own. Pirates may exchange what they stole for virtually nothing and so buy friends and give to prostitutes, enjoying their ill-gotten gains like lords until it's all gone. Meanwhile the helpless owner of the stolen stuff cries over it, and wrings his poor hands, and shakes his head, but stands aside and does nothing while the pirates take his property. He is about to starve and doesn't dare to touch what's his own. In the same way, York has to sit and fret and stay silent, while his own lands are exchanged and sold. I think that the countries of England, France and Ireland are as part of my flesh and blood as was the deadly branding iron Althea burned on the prince of Calydon's heart. Anjou and Maine are both surrendered to the French! This is sad news for me, because I had as much hope to rule France as I do to rule fertile England. A day will come when York will claim what belongs to him; and so I'll support Salisbury and Warwick and pretend to be loyal to the proud Duke Humphrey. But when I find a way, I'll claim the crown, since that's the golden target I'm aiming for. The proud Lancaster won't take my throne, or hold the scepter in his childish hand, or wear the crown on his head. He's too simple and religious to make a good king.Then, York, be patient for a while, until the right opportunity arises. Be on your guard and awake when others are asleep, to find out the secrets of the government—until Henry enjoys the love of his new bride and England's expensively-purchased queen too much, and until Humphrey falls out with his friends. Then I will raise high the milk-white rose, whose sweet smell will perfume the air. With the banner of the house of York, I'll challenge the house of Lancaster and make the king give up his crown, with force if necessary—since his silly bookishness and bad government has dragged our beautiful England down.

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.