Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 2

page Act 5 Scene 2 Page 11

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BURGUNDY

Pardon the frankness of my mirth if I answer you for that. If you would conjure in her, you must make a circle; if conjure up Love in her in his true likeness, he must appear naked and blind. Can you blame her then, being a maid yet rosed over with the virgin crimson of modesty, if she deny the appearance of a naked blind boy in her naked seeing self? It were, my lord, a hard condition for a maid to consign to.

BURGUNDY

Forgive my boldness if I take you up on your words about making magic. For love to appear in his true likeness, he would have to be as Cupid is: naked and blind. How can you blame her, a tender young maiden still given to virgin blushes, for objecting to having a blind, naked boy appear before her? It’s a lot to ask of a maiden.

KING HENRY

Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and enforces.

KING HENRY

But virgins close their eyes and submit all the time, and blind love has his way.

BURGUNDY

280They are then excused, my lord, when they see not what they do.

BURGUNDY

They’re forgiven, then, if they don’t see what they’re doing.

KING HENRY

Then, good my lord, teach your cousin to consent winking.

KING HENRY

Then teach your cousin to also be willing to close her eyes, my lord.

BURGUNDY

I will wink on her to consent, my lord, if you will teach her to know my meaning, for maids, well summered and warm kept, are like flies at Bartholomew-tide: blind, though they have their eyes; and then they will endure handling, which before would not abide looking on.

BURGUNDY

I will signal her with a wink to consent, my lord, if you will teach her what that means. Maidens who are well fed and well taken care of are like August flies, blind though they can see. They’ll let you handle them then, though they’d scarcely let you look at them before.

KING HENRY

This moral ties me over to time and a hot summer. And so I shall catch the fly, your cousin, in the latter end and she must be blind too.

KING HENRY

So you’re telling me to give it time and wait for summer. And even then, in order for me to catch the fly your cousin, she must be blind?

BURGUNDY

As love is, my lord, before it loves.

BURGUNDY

Like love, my lord, before it learns to love.

KING HENRY

It is so. And you may, some of you, thank love for my blindness, who cannot see many a fair French city for one fair French maid that stands in my way.

KING HENRY

Fair enough. Some of you may, thank love for my blindness. There’s many a French town that I can’t see because one pretty French maid stands in front of me.

FRENCH KING

295Yes, my lord, you see them perspectively, the cities turned into a maid, for they are all girdled with maiden walls that war hath never entered.

FRENCH KING

Oh yes, my lord, you see them, but you see them metaphorically. The cities appear to you like a maiden because virgin walls, which war has never invaded, surround them.