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Henry V Scenes

Scene 2

Southampton. A council-chamber.

(Exeter; Bedford; Westmorland; King Henry the Fifth; Scroop; Cambridge; Grey; Attendants)

The three traitors have been discovered, though they are not aware of this. They outrageously flatter King Henry, who talks calmly to them. When the King decides to free a man imprisoned for railing against him, all three counsel against mercy. Henry reveals that he knows of their treason and, using their own arguments against mercy, condemns them all to death. He is particularly bitter at Scroop, who was one of his best friends once. The three confess, expressing gladness that they failed in their plot. Henry rallies his lords for the war. (191 lines)

Enter Exeter, Bedford, and Westmorland.


’Fore God, his Grace is bold to trust these traitors.


They shall be apprehended by and by.


How smooth and even they do bear themselves!

As if allegiance in their bosoms sate

Crowned with faith and constant loyalty.


The King hath note of all that they intend,

By interception which they dream not of.


Nay, but the man that was his bedfellow,

Whom he hath dull’d and cloy’d with gracious favors—

That he should, for a foreign purse, so sell

His sovereign’s life to death and treachery.

Sound trumpets. Enter the King, Scroop, Cambridge, and Grey, with Attendants.


Now sits the wind fair, and we will aboard.

My Lord of Cambridge, and my kind Lord of Masham,

And you, my gentle knight, give me your thoughts.

Think you not that the pow’rs we bear with us

Will cut their passage through the force of France,

Doing the execution and the act

For which we have in head assembled them?


No doubt, my liege, if each man do his best.


I doubt not that, since we are well persuaded

We carry not a heart with us from hence

That grows not in a fair consent with ours;

Nor leave not one behind that doth not wish

Success and conquest to attend on us.


Never was monarch better fear’d and lov’d

Than is your Majesty. There’s not, I think, a subject

That sits in heart-grief and uneasiness

Under the sweet shade of your government.


True; those that were your father’s enemies

Have steep’d their galls in honey, and do serve you

With hearts create of duty and of zeal.


We therefore have great cause of thankfulness,

And shall forget the office of our hand

Sooner than quittance of desert and merit,

According to the weight and worthiness.


So service shall with steeled sinews toil,

And labor shall refresh itself with hope

To do your Grace incessant services.


We judge no less. Uncle of Exeter,

Enlarge the man committed yesterday,

That rail’d against our person. We consider

It was excess of wine that set him on,

And on his more advice we pardon him.


That’s mercy, but too much security.

Let him be punish’d, sovereign, lest example

Breed, by his sufferance, more of such a kind.


O, let us yet be merciful.


So may your Highness, and yet punish too.



You show great mercy if you give him life

After the taste of much correction.


Alas, your too much love and care of me

Are heavy orisons ’gainst this poor wretch!

If little faults, proceeding on distemper,

Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye

When capital crimes, chew’d, swallow’d, and digested,

Appear before us? We’ll yet enlarge that man,

Though Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, in their dear care

And tender preservation of our person,

Would have him punish’d. And now to our French causes.

Who are the late commissioners?


I one, my lord.

Your Highness bade me ask for it today.


So did you me, my liege.


And I, my royal sovereign.


Then, Richard Earl of Cambridge, there is yours;

There yours, Lord Scroop of Masham; and, sir knight,

Grey of Northumberland, this same is yours:

Read them, and know I know your worthiness.

My Lord of Westmorland, and uncle Exeter,

We will aboard tonight.—Why, how now, gentlemen?

What see you in those papers that you lose

So much complexion?—Look ye how they change!

Their cheeks are paper.—Why, what read you there

That have so cowarded and chas’d your blood

Out of appearance?


I do confess my fault,

And do submit me to your Highness’ mercy.


To which we all appeal.


The mercy that was quick in us but late,

By your own counsel is suppress’d and kill’d.

You must not dare (for shame) to talk of mercy,

For your own reasons turn into your bosoms,

As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.

See you, my princes and my noble peers,

These English monsters! My Lord of Cambridge here,

You know how apt our love was to accord

To furnish him with all appertinents

Belonging to his honor; and this man

Hath, for a few light crowns, lightly conspir’d

And sworn unto the practices of France

To kill us here in Hampton. To the which

This knight, no less for bounty bound to us

Than Cambridge is, hath likewise sworn. But O,

What shall I say to thee, Lord Scroop, thou cruel,

Ingrateful, savage, and inhuman creature?

Thou that didst bear the key of all my counsels,

That knew’st the very bottom of my soul,

That (almost) mightst have coin’d me into gold,

Wouldst thou have practic’d on me, for thy use?

May it be possible that foreign hire

Could out of thee extract one spark of evil

That might annoy my finger? ’Tis so strange,

That, though the truth of it stands off as gross

As black and white, my eye will scarcely see it.

Treason and murder ever kept together,

As two yoke-devils sworn to either’s purpose,

Working so grossly in a natural cause

That admiration did not hoop at them;

But thou (’gainst all proportion) didst bring in

Wonder to wait on treason and on murder;

And whatsoever cunning fiend it was

That wrought upon thee so preposterously

Hath got the voice in hell for excellence;

And other devils that suggest by treasons

Do botch and bungle up damnation

With patches, colors, and with forms being fetch’d

From glist’ring semblances of piety;

But he that temper’d thee, bade thee stand up,

Gave thee no instance why thou shouldst do treason,

Unless to dub thee with the name of traitor.

If that same demon that hath gull’d thee thus

Should with his lion gait walk the whole world,

He might return to vasty Tartar back,

And tell the legions, “I can never win

A soul so easy as that Englishman’s.”

O, how hast thou with jealousy infected

The sweetness of affiance! Show men dutiful?

Why, so didst thou. Seem they grave and learned?

Why, so didst thou. Come they of noble family?

Why, so didst thou. Seem they religious?

Why, so didst thou. Or are they spare in diet,

Free from gross passion, or of mirth or anger,

Constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood,

Garnish’d and deck’d in modest complement,

Not working with the eye without the ear,

And but in purged judgment trusting neither?

Such and so finely bolted didst thou seem.

And thus thy fall hath left a kind of blot

To mark the full-fraught man and best indued

With some suspicion. I will weep for thee;

For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like

Another fall of man. Their faults are open,

Arrest them to the answer of the law,

And God acquit them of their practices!


I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Richard Earl of Cambridge.

I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Henry Lord Scroop of Masham.

I arrest thee of high treason, by the name of Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland.


Our purposes God justly hath discover’d,

And I repent my fault more than my death,

Which I beseech your Highness to forgive,

Although my body pay the price of it.


For me, the gold of France did not seduce,

Although I did admit it as a motive

The sooner to effect what I intended.

But God be thanked for prevention,

Which I in sufferance heartily will rejoice,

Beseeching God, and you, to pardon me.


Never did faithful subject more rejoice

At the discovery of most dangerous treason

Than I do at this hour joy o’er myself,

Prevented from a damned enterprise.

My fault, but not my body, pardon, sovereign.


God quit you in his mercy! Hear your sentence.

You have conspir’d against our royal person,

Join’d with an enemy proclaim’d, and from his coffers

Receiv’d the golden earnest of our death;

Wherein you would have sold your king to slaughter,

His princes and his peers to servitude,

His subjects to oppression and contempt,

And his whole kingdom into desolation.

Touching our person seek we no revenge,

But we our kingdom’s safety must so tender,

Whose ruin you have sought, that to her laws

We do deliver you. Get you therefore hence,

Poor miserable wretches, to your death;

The taste whereof God of his mercy give

You patience to endure, and true repentance

Of all your dear offenses! Bear them hence.

Exeunt Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, guarded.

Now, lords, for France; the enterprise whereof

Shall be to you as us, like glorious.

We doubt not of a fair and lucky war,

Since God so graciously hath brought to light

This dangerous treason lurking in our way

To hinder our beginnings. We doubt not now

But every rub is smoothed on our way.

Then forth, dear countrymen! Let us deliver

Our puissance into the hand of God,

Putting it straight in expedition.

Cheerly to sea! The signs of war advance!

No king of England, if not king of France!

Flourish. Exeunt.


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