Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ALICE

Your Majesté entendre bettre que moi.

ALICE

Your Majesty understand bettre den me.

KING HENRY

It is not a fashion for the maids in France to kiss before they are married, would she say?

KING HENRY

It is not the custom for the maids in France to kiss before they are married, is that what she says?

ALICE

Oui, vraiment.

ALICE

Yes, exactly.

KING HENRY

O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak list of a country’s fashion. We are the makers of manners, Kate, and the liberty that follows our places stops the mouth of all find- faults, as I will do yours for upholding the nice fashion of your country in denying me a kiss. Therefore, patiently and yielding. (kissing her) You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate. There is more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the tongues of the French council, and they should sooner persuade Harry of England than a general petition of monarchs. Here comes your father.

KING HENRY

Oh, Kate, prudish customs bow before great kings. You and I cannot be held within the confines of a country’s arbitrary customs, dear Kate. You and I, Kate, we are the makers of custom, and the freedom that goes with our position silences all who would criticize, as I will silence you for upholding the prudish custom of your country in refusing me a kiss. Therefore, willingly and yielding. (kisses her) You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate. There is more eloquence in a sweet touch of them than in the tongues of the whole French council. They would persuade Harry of England sooner than a whole assembly of monarchs. Here comes your father.
Enter the FRENCH KING, QUEEN ISABEL, BURGUNDY, and other LORDS
The FRENCH KING and QUEEN, BURGUNDY, and other LORDS enter.

BURGUNDY

God save your Majesty. My royal cousin, teach you our princess English?

BURGUNDY

God save your Majesty. My royal kinsman, are you teaching our princess English?

KING HENRY

265I would have her learn, my fair cousin, how perfectly I love her, and that is good English.

KING HENRY

I wanted to teach her how perfectly I love her, kinsman, and that’s good English.

BURGUNDY

Is she not apt?

BURGUNDY

She picks it up quick, doesn’t she?

KING HENRY

Our tongue is rough, coz, and my condition is not smooth, so that, having neither the voice nor the heart of flattery about me, I cannot so conjure up the spirit of love in her that he will appear in his true likeness.

KING HENRY

Our language is rough, friend, and it’s not in my nature to speak smoothly. So, possessing neither a voice nor a heart for flattery, I can’t awaken the spirit of love in her so as to make him appear in his true likeness.