Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 3

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CAMBRIDGE

So may Your Highness, and yet punish, too.

CAMBRIDGE

Your Highness could be merciful but still punish.

GREY

Sir, you show great mercy if you give him life
50After the taste of much correction.

GREY

Sir, it would be merciful to let him live after beating him severely.

KING HENRY

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 winked at, how shall we stretch our eye
55When capital crimes, chewed, swallowed, 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 punished. And now to our French causes.
60Who are the late commissioners?

KING HENRY

I’m afraid your great love and concern for me lead you to deal too harshly with this poor fellow. If minor lapses caused by drunkenness are not to be tolerated, how will we punish capital crimes that result from much planning and forethought? No, I’ll have that man released, despite the fact that Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, in their extreme concern for my safety, would prefer that he were punished. And now, let’s turn to our business with the French. Who are the new commissioners?

CAMBRIDGE

I one, my lord.
Your Highness bade me ask for it today.

CAMBRIDGE

I am one, my lord. Your Highness told me to ask for my commission today.

SCROOP

So did you me, my liege.

SCROOP

You told me to do the same, my liege.

GREY

And I, my royal sovereign.

GREY

And me, too, my royal sovereign.

KING HENRY

65Then, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, there is yours.
—There yours, Lord Scroop of Masham.
—And, sir knight, Grey of Northumberland, this same is yours. (gives each of them a paper)
—Read them, and know I know your worthiness.
70—My Lord of Westmoreland and uncle Exeter,
We will aboard tonight.—Why, how now, gentlemen?
What see you in those papers, that you lose
So much complexion?—Look you, how they change.
Their cheeks are paper.—Why, what read you there
75That have so cowarded and chased your blood
Out of appearance?

KING HENRY

In that case, there is yours, Richard Earl of Cambridge; there yours, Lord Scroop of Masham; and, sir knight, Grey of Northumberland, this one is yours. (he gives each of them a piece of paper) Read them, and trust that I recognize your true worth. My Lord of Westmoreland, and uncle Exeter, we will set sail night.—Why, what’s this, gentlemen! What’s in those papers that makes you change color?—Look how pale they’re turning! Their cheeks are like paper.—What are you reading that makes you turn white?