What says she, fair one?
King Henry, to Alice
What says she, fair one? That the
tongues of men are full of deceits?
Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of
deceits; dat is de Princess.
For these fellows of infinite tongue,
that can rhyme themselves into ladies’ favors,
they do always reason themselves out again.
The Princess is the better Englishwoman.—
I’ faith, Kate, my wooing is fit for thy
understanding. I am glad thou canst speak no
better English, for if thou couldst, thou wouldst
find me such a plain king that thou wouldst think I
had sold my farm to buy my crown. I know no ways
to mince it in love, but directly to say “I love you.”
Then if you urge me farther than to say “Do you, in
faith?” I wear out my suit. Give me your answer, i’
faith, do; and so clap hands and a bargain. How say
Sauf votre honneur, me understand well.
Marry, if you would put me to verses or
to dance for your sake, Kate, why you undid me.
For the one, I have neither words nor measure; and
for the other, I have no strength in measure, yet a
reasonable measure in strength. If I could win a
lady at leapfrog or by vaulting into my saddle with
my armor on my back, under the correction of
bragging be it spoken, I should quickly leap into a
wife. Or if I might buffet for my love, or bound my
horse for her favors, I could lay on like a butcher
and sit like a jackanapes, never off. But, before God,
Kate, I cannot look greenly nor gasp out my eloquence,
nor I have no cunning in protestation, only
downright oaths, which I never use till urged, nor
never break for urging. If thou canst love a fellow of
this temper, Kate, whose face is not worth sun-burning,
that never looks in his glass for love of
anything he sees there, let thine eye be thy cook. I
speak to thee plain soldier. If thou canst love me for
this, take me. If not, to say to thee that I shall die is
true, but for thy love, by the Lord, no. Yet I love thee
too. And while thou liv’st, dear Kate, take a fellow of
plain and uncoined constancy, for he perforce must
do thee right because he hath not the gift to woo in
other places. For these fellows of infinite tongue,
that can rhyme themselves into ladies’ favors, they
do always reason themselves out again. What? A
speaker is but a prater, a rhyme is but a ballad, a
good leg will fall, a straight back will stoop, a black
beard will turn white, a curled pate will grow bald,
a fair face will wither, a full eye will wax hollow, but
a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon, or
rather the sun and not the moon, for it shines bright
and never changes but keeps his course truly. If
thou would have such a one, take me. And take me,
take a soldier. Take a soldier, take a king. And what
say’st thou then to my love? Speak, my fair, and
fairly, I pray thee.
Is it possible dat I sould love de enemy of France?
No, it is not possible you should love the
enemy of France, Kate. But, in loving me, you
should love the friend of France, for I love France
so well that I will not part with a village of it. I will
have it all mine. And, Kate, when France is mine
and I am yours, then yours is France and you are mine.