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Intro

Leapfrog

I'm Henry V. I used to be a rowdy teenager, but now I'm all grown up and taking over the world. I'm the king of England and I've invaded France as well. And you know what I think?

Marry, if you would put me to verses or to dance for
your sake, Kate, why you undid me: for the one, I
have neither words nor measure, and for the other, I
have no strength in measure, yet a reasonable
measure in strength. If I could win a lady at
leap-frog, or by vaulting into my saddle with my
armor on my back, under the correction of bragging
be it spoken. I should quickly leap into a wife.
Or if I might buffet for my love, or bound my horse
for her favors, I could lay on like a butcher and
sit like a jack-an-apes, never off. But, before God,
Kate, I cannot look greenly nor gasp out my
eloquence, nor I have no cunning in protestation. (5.2.132-143)

Who Said It and Where

King Henry V has just won a huge victory. He's defeated France and has taken over their kingdom. After the battle, Henry goes back to England, where they throw a big parade for him. Then he returns to France to work out the details of a peace treaty with King Charles and Queen Isabel of France. He's got a big list of demands. And Princess Catherine is at the top of Henry's list.

Then something totally bizarre happens. Even though Henry knows that Catherine will be his wife, he tries to get all romantic and woos her anyway, begging her to marry him (as if she has a choice).

During said romancing, Henry tries to pass himself off as a simple and humble "soldier" who's not much of a ladies' man or a smooth talker. (We, of course, know that this isn't true.) Catherine refuses to play along. She points out that it's not up to her to decide if she'll marry Henry. Her father gets to make the decision for her. Henry protests and Catherine finally says something like, "Okay, fine, whatever."

As Henry goes in for a kiss, Catherine points out that nice French girls don't make out until after they're hitched. Henry counters by saying that Catherine is royalty, so she can do whatever she wants. King Charles agrees to the terms of the treaty and declares that Henry and Catherine can get hitched ASAP since the union will unite France and England. Wedding cake, anyone?

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