Henry V

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 4

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CAMBRIDGE

I do confess my fault,
And do submit me to Your Highness' mercy.

CAMBRIDGE

I confess my crime and throw myself on your Highness’s mercy.

GREY, SCROOP

To which we all appeal.

GREY AND SCROOP

To which we all appeal.

KING HENRY

80The mercy that was quick in us but late
By your own counsel is suppressed and killed.
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.
85—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 appurtenants
Belonging to his honor, and this man
90Hath, for a few light crowns, lightly conspired,
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 Oh,
95What 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 coined me into gold,
100Wouldst thou have practiced 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
105As 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 whoop at them.

KING HENRY

The mercy that was alive in me a moment ago was smothered and killed by your own advice. For shame, don’t talk of mercy. Your own arguments turn against you, like dogs who bite their own masters.—Princes and noble peers, take a look at these English monsters. Cambridge here, you know how I favored him and treated him with every respect due his rank. He was bought for a few coins, entering easily into this conspiracy with the French, promising to kill me here in Southhampton. And this knight, whom I’ve treated as generously as I have Cambridge, also joined the plot. But, oh, what can I say to you, Lord Scroop? You cruel, ungrateful, savage, and inhuman creature! You who had access to all my thoughts, who knew me to the inmost part of my soul, who could have had any amount of gold from me if you’d needed it and only asked me: is it possible that a foreign power could find in you even enough evil to injure one of my fingers? Though the truth of your treachery is as plain as black on white, I can scarcely believe it, it’s so past understanding. Treason and murder have always gone together, like two devils joined in a common purpose. That’s natural. But you, against all reason, added something new to the equation. You added the sheer improbability that you could do this. Whatever fiend it was that seduced you must win the prize for excellence in hell. All other devils who tempt people to treason patch together some motive, put together from shreds