A scene for 2 characters from the play "Henry VI Part 1" by William Shakespeare



About this Monologue

  • Characters: Suffolk, English lord Margaret, daughter of the king of Naples
  • Scene type / Who are: Flirting, I wanted to tell you... I love you
  • Type: Comic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Historical, Drama
  • Description: Suffolk woos Margaret
  • Location: ACT V, Scene 3


The setting is the Hundred Years' War. The English, led by Talbot, are fighting the French, led by Joan of Arc and King Charles.

At this point of the story Talbot has been killed and the French army has been defeated by the English army led by York. Suffolk, an English lord, enters the scene with a prisoner, the beautiful Margaret, daughter of the king of Naples.

Suffolk is captivated by her beauty and wants to woo her, even if he is married. He is lost in his thoughts for most of the scene and Margaret gets annoyed by him ("I were best to leave him, for he will not hear"). Then when he finally decides to talk ...

Written by Administrator



[Alarum. Enter SUFFOLK with MARGARET in his hand]

Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.

[Gazes on her]

O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly!
For I will touch thee but with reverent hands;
I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
And lay them gently on thy tender side.
Who art thou? say, that I may honour thee.

Margaret my name, and daughter to a king,
The King of Naples, whosoe'er thou art.

An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call'd.
Be not offended, nature's miracle,
Thou art allotted to be ta'en by me:
So doth the swan her downy cygnets save,
Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
Yet, if this servile usage once offend.
Go, and be free again, as Suffolk's friend.

[She is going]

O, stay! I have no power to let her pass;
My hand would free her, but my heart says no
As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,
Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak:
I'll call for pen and ink, and write my mind.
Fie, de la Pole! disable not thyself;
Hast not a tongue? is she not here?
Wilt thou be daunted at a woman's sight?
Ay, beauty's princely majesty is such,
Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.

Say, Earl of Suffolk--if thy name be so--
What ransom must I pay before I pass?
For I perceive I am thy prisoner.

How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit,
Before thou make a trial of her love?

Why speak'st thou not? what ransom must I pay?

She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
She is a woman, therefore to be won.

Wilt thou accept of ransom? yea, or no.

Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife;
Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?

I were best to leave him, for he will not hear.

There all is marr'd; there lies a cooling card.

He talks at random; sure, the man is mad.

And yet a dispensation may be had.

And yet I would that you would answer me.

I'll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
Why, for my king: tush, that's a wooden thing!

He talks of wood: it is some carpenter.

Yet so my fancy may be satisfied,
And peace established between these realms
But there remains a scruple in that too;
For though her father be the King of Naples,
Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor,
And our nobility will scorn the match.

Hear ye, captain, are you not at leisure?

It shall be so, disdain they ne'er so much.
Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.
Madam, I have a secret to reveal.

What though I be enthrall'd? he seems a knight,
And will not any way dishonour me.

Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.

Perhaps I shall be rescued by the French;
And then I need not crave his courtesy.

Sweet madam, give me a hearing in a cause--

Tush, women have been captivate ere now.

Lady, wherefore talk you so?

I cry you mercy, 'tis but Quid for Quo.

Say, gentle princess, would you not suppose
Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?

To be a queen in bondage is more vile
Than is a slave in base servility;
For princes should be free.

And so shall you,
If happy England's royal king be free.

Why, what concerns his freedom unto me?

I'll undertake to make thee Henry's queen,
To put a golden sceptre in thy hand
And set a precious crown upon thy head,
If thou wilt condescend to be my--


His love.

I am unworthy to be Henry's wife.

No, gentle madam; I unworthy am
To woo so fair a dame to be his wife,
And have no portion in the choice myself.
How say you, madam, are ye so content?

An if my father please, I am content.

Then call our captains and our colours forth.
And, madam, at your father's castle walls
We'll crave a parley, to confer with him.

[A parley sounded. Enter REIGNIER on the walls]



The scene should start with Suffolk carrying Margaret to the stage against her will. When he realizes how beautiful she is he is captivated by her and starts flirting with her.

There is a good monologue by Suffolk at the beginning of the scene. He tells her she is free to go if she wants but then asks her to stay. The second part of the monologue can be performed directly to the audience.

Suffolk's scheming can be performed either talking to the audience or having the character talk to himself. Either way, starting from "I have no power to let her pass...." Suffolk ignores whatever Margaret asks or tells him, lost in his thoughts.

Margaret also talks directly to the audience ("He talks of wood: it is some carpenter")

When Suffolk decides to talk to her ("Madam, I have a secret to reveal...."), she ignores him ("What though I be enthrall'd?...")

For the rest of the scene they talk directly to each other as he convinces her to marry King Henry.

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