Henry VI, Part 1

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The First Part of King Henry the Sixth is one of William Shakespeare's history plays, believed to have been written approximately 1588–1590. It is the first in the cycle of four plays often referred to as "The First Tetralogy."The play deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy.

Act I

  • Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
    • Bedford, scene i

  • Stay, stay thy hands! thou art an Amazon,
    And fightest with the sword of Deborah.

  • Expect Saint Martin's summer, halcyon days.
    • Joan La Pucelle, scene ii

  • My thoughts are whirled like a potter's wheel;
    I know not where I am nor what I do.
    • Talbot, scene vii

Act II

  • I have heard it said "Unbidden guests
    Are often welcomest when they are gone."
    • Bedford, scene ii

  • Faith, I have been a truant in the law;
    And never yet could frame my will to it;
    And, therefore, frame the law unto my will.
    • Suffolk, scene iv

  • Between two hawks, which flies the higher pitch;
    Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth;
    Between two blades, which bears the better temper;
    Between two horses, which doth bear him best;
    Between two girls, which hath the merriest eye; —
    I have, perhaps, some shallow spirit of judgment;
    But in these nice sharp quillets of the law,
    Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.
    • Warwick, scene iv

  • Plantagenet: Let him, that is a true-born gentleman,
    And stands upon the honour of his birth,
    If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
    From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
    Somerset: Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer,
    But dare maintain the party of the truth,
    Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
    • Scene iv


  • Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.
    • Alençon, scene ii

  • We will bestow you in some better place,
    Fitter for sickness and for crazy age.
    • Talbot, scene v

  •  Or who should study to prefer a peace.

If holy churchmen take delight in broils?

    • Henry VI, scene i

Act IV

  • I owe him little duty and less love.
    • Somerset, scene iv

Act V

  • So doth the swan her downy cygnets save,
    Keeping them prisoners underneath her wings.
    • Suffolk, scene iii

  • Ay, beauty's princely majesty is such,
    Confounds the tongue, and makes the senses rough.
    • Suffolk, scene iii

  • She’s beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
    She is a woman, therefore to be won.
    • Suffolk, scene iii

  • To be a queen in bondage is more vile
    Than is a slave in base servility,
    For princes should be free.
    • Margaret, scene iii

  • Marriage is a matter of more worth
    Than to be dealt in by attorneyship.
    • Suffolk, scene v
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