Henry VI Part 1

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Suffolk, in conference with the King, Gloucester,

and Exeter


Your wondrous rare description, noble Earl,
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent

Of beauteous Margaret hath astonished me.
astonish, 'stonish (v.) 1 fill with wonder, amaze, astound

Her virtues, graced with external gifts,

Do breed love's settled passions in my heart;
settled (adj.) 4 deep-rooted, firmly implanted

And like as rigour of tempestuous gusts
rigour (n.) strength, severity, harshness

Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide,
hulk (n.) ship, vessel
provoke (v.) 3 impel, urge on, drive

So am I driven by breath of her renown
breath (n.) 1 utterance, speech, voice

Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive

Where I may have fruition of her love.


Tush, my good lord, this superficial tale
superficial (adj.) of surface qualities, of outward gifts

Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
worthy (adj.) 1 of worth, of value, deserving

The chief perfections of that lovely dame,

Had I sufficient skill to utter them,

Would make a volume of enticing lines

Able to ravish any dull conceit;
conceit (n.) 1 imagination, fancy, wit
ravish (v.) 1 entrance, enrapture, carry away with joy See Topics: Archaisms

And, which is more, she is not so divine,

So full replete with choice of all delights,
choice (n.) 4 abundance, profusion, great supply
full (adv.) 1 fully, completely, properly

But with as humble lowliness of mind

She is content to be at your command –
content (adj.) 1 agreeable, willing, ready See Topics: Frequency count

Command, I mean, of virtuous chaste intents,
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

To love and honour Henry as her lord.


And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume.

Therefore, my Lord Protector, give consent

That Margaret may be England's royal Queen.


So should I give consent to flatter sin.
flatter (v.) 1 extenuate, gloss over, mitigate

You know, my lord, your highness is betrothed

Unto another lady of esteem.

How shall we then dispense with that contract
dispense with (v.) 3 gain exemption from, set aside, dissolve

And not deface your honour with reproach?
deface (v.) 1 disfigure, defame, mar


As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths,

Or one that at a triumph, having vowed
triumph (n.) 1 public festivity, pageant, display of celebration, tournament

To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

By reason of his adversary's odds.

A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds,

And therefore may be broke without offence.


Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that?

Her father is no better than an earl,

Although in glorious titles he excel.


Yes, my lord, her father is a king,

The King of Naples and Jerusalem,

And of such great authority in France

As his alliance will confirm our peace
confirm (v.) encourage, strengthen, make firm

And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.


And so the Earl of Armagnac may do,

Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.


Beside, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower,
dower (n.) dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

Where Reignier sooner will receive than give.


A dower, my lords? Disgrace not so your king

That he should be so abject, base, and poor
abject (adj.) mean-spirited, despicable, contemptible
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count

To choose for wealth and not for perfect love.
perfect (adj.) 1 complete, pure, sheer, utter

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.
market-man (n.) man who trades in a market

Marriage is a matter of more worth

Than to be dealt in by attorneyship;
attorneyship (n.) legal practices, arrangement between lawyers

Not whom we will, but whom his grace affects,
affect (v.) 2 love, like, be fond of

Must be companion of his nuptial bed.

And therefore, lords, since he affects her most,
affect (v.) 2 love, like, be fond of

It most of all these reasons bindeth us

In our opinions she should be preferred.

For what is wedlock forced but a hell,

An age of discord and continual strife?
age (n.) 1 whole life, lifetime, days

Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss

And is a pattern of celestial peace.
pattern (n.) 1 picture, model, specimen, example

Whom should we match with Henry, being a king,

But Margaret, that is daughter to a king?

Her peerless feature, joined with her birth,
birth (n.) 1 royal birth, noble ancestry
feature (n.) physical appearance, bodily shape, looks

Approves her fit for none but for a king;
approve (v.) 1 prove, confirm, corroborate, substantiate

Her valiant courage and undaunted spirit,
courage (n.) 1 spirit, disposition, nature

More than in women commonly is seen,

Will answer our hope in issue of a king.
answer (v.) 3 satisfy, discharge, requite
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

For Henry, son unto a conqueror,

Is likely to beget more conquerors,

If with a lady of so high resolve
resolve (n.) 1 constancy, firmness of purpose, steadfastness

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.


Whether it be through force of your report,

My noble lord of Suffolk, or for that

My tender youth was never yet attaint
attaint (v.) 1 affect, touch, strike

With any passion of inflaming love,
passion (n.) 1 powerful feeling, overpowering emotion [often opposed to ‘reason’]

I cannot tell; but this I am assured,

I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,

Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
alarm, alarum, 'larm, 'larum (n.) 4 alarm, agitation, excited feeling

As I am sick with working of my thoughts.

Take therefore shipping; post, my lord, to France;
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast
shipping (n.) voyage, sailing, passage

Agree to any covenants, and procure
covenant (n.) contract, legal agreement, compact
procure (v.) 2 contrive, endeavour, take measures

That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come

To cross the seas to England and be crowned

King Henry's faithful and anointed queen.

For your expenses and sufficient charge,
charge (n.) 7 expense, cost, outlay

Among the people gather up a tenth.
tenth (n.) tax, levy [amounting to a tenth of one's income]

Be gone, I say; for till you do return

I rest perplexed with a thousand cares.
rest (v.) 1 remain, stay, stand

And you, good uncle, banish all offence:
offence (n.) 2 opposition, hostility, antagonism

If you do censure me by what you were,
censure (v.) 1 judge, think of, give an opinion of [not involving blame]

Not what you are, I know it will excuse

This sudden execution of my will.
sudden (adj.) 1 swift, rapid, prompt

And so conduct me where, from company,

I may resolve and ruminate my grief.
grief (n.) 2 pain, torment, distress
resolve (v.) 7 remove, dispel, clear away



Ay, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.

Exeunt Gloucester and Exeter


Thus Suffolk hath prevailed; and thus he goes,
prevail (v.) 2 succeed in seduction, have one's way [in a sexual encounter]

As did the youthful Paris once to Greece,

With hope to find the like event in love
event (n.) outcome, issue, consequence
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

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.


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