Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT III. - The First Part of King Henry the Sixth
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
ACT III. - William Shakespeare, The First Part of King Henry the Sixth 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
London. The Parliament House.
Flourish. EnterKing Henry, Exeter, Gloucester, Warwick, Somerset,andSuffolk;theBishop of Winchester, Richard Plantagenet,and Others.Gloucesteroffers to put up a bill;Winchestersnatches it, and tears it.
Com’st thou with deep premeditated lines,
With written pamphlets studiously devis’d,
Humphrey of Gloucester? If thou canst accuse,
Or aught intend’st to lay unto my charge,
Do it without invention, suddenly;
As I, with sudden and extemporal speech
Purpose to answer what thou canst object.
Presumptuous priest! this place commands my patience
Or thou shouldst find thou hast dishonour’d me.
Think not, although in writing I preferr’d
The manner of thy vile outrageous crimes,
That therefore I have forg’d, or am not able
Verbatim to rehearse the method of my pen:
No, prelate; such is thy audacious wickedness,
Thy lewd, pestiferous, and dissentious pranks,
As very infants prattle of thy pride.
Thou art a most pernicious usurer,
Froward by nature, enemy to peace;
Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems
A man of thy profession and degree;
And for thy treachery, what’s more manifest?
In that thou laid’st a trap to take my life
As well at London Bridge as at the Tower.
Beside, I fear me, if thy thoughts were sifted,
The king, thy sov’reign, is not quite exempt
From envious malice of thy swelling heart.
Gloucester, I do defy thee. Lords, vouchsafe
To give me hearing what I shall reply.
If I were covetous, ambitious, or perverse,
As he will have me, how am I so poor?
Or how haps it I seek not to advance
Or raise myself, but keep my wonted calling?
And for dissension, who preferreth peace
More than I do, except I be provok’d?
No, my good lords, it is not that offends;
It is not that that hath incens’d the duke:
It is, because no one should sway but he;
No one but he should be about the king;
And that engenders thunder in his breast,
And makes him roar these accusations forth.
But he shall know I am as good—
Thou bastard of my grandfather!
Ay, lordly sir; for what are you, I pray,
But one imperious in another’s throne?
Am I not protector, saucy priest?
And am not I a prelate of the church?
Yes, as an outlaw in a castle keeps,
And useth it to patronage his theft.
Thou art reverent,
Touching thy spiritual function, not thy life.
Rome shall remedy this.
Roam thither then.
My lord, it were your duty to forbear.
Ay, see the bishop be not overborne.
Methinks my lord should be religious,
And know the office that belongs to such.
Methinks his lordship should be humbler;
It fitteth not a prelate so to plead.
Yes, when his holy state is touch’d so near.
State holy, or unhallow’d, what of that?
Is not his Grace protector to the king?
[Aside.] Plantagenet, I see, must hold his tongue,
Lest it be said, ‘Speak, sirrah, when you should;
Must your bold verdict enter talk with lords?’
Else would I have a fling at Winchester.
Uncles of Gloucester and of Winchester,
The special watchmen of our English weal,
I would prevail, if prayers might prevail,
To join your hearts in love and amity.
O! what a scandal is it to our crown,
That two such noble peers as ye should jar.
Believe me, lords, my tender years can tell
Civil dissension is a viperous worm,
That gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth.
[A noise within; ‘Down with the tawny coats!’
What tumult’s this?
An uproar, I dare warrant,
Begun through malice of the bishop’s men.
[A noise again within; ‘Stones! Stones!’
Enter the Mayor of London, attended.
O, my good lords, and virtuous Henry,
Pity the city of London, pity us!
The bishop and the Duke of Gloucester’s men,
Forbidden late to carry any weapon,
Have fill’d their pockets full of pebble stones,
And banding themselves in contrary parts
Do pelt so fast at one another’s pate,
That many have their giddy brains knock’d out:
Our windows are broke down in every street,
And we for fear compell’d to shut our shops.
Enter, skirmishing, the Serving-men ofGloucesterandWinchester,with bloody pates.
We charge you, on allegiance to ourself,
To hold your slaught’ring hands, and keep the peace.—
Pray, uncle Gloucester, mitigate this strife.
Nay, if we be forbidden stones, we’ll fall to it with our teeth.
Do what ye dare, we are as resolute.
You of my household, leave this peevish broil,
And set this unaccustom’d fight aside.
My lord, we know your Grace to be a man
Just and upright, and, for your royal birth,
Inferior to none but to his majesty;
And ere that we will suffer such a prince,
So kind a father of the commonweal,
To be disgraced by an inkhorn mate,
We and our wives and children all will fight,
And have our bodies slaught’red by thy foes.
Ay, and the very parings of our nails
Shall pitch a field when we are dead.
Stay, stay, I say!
And, if you love me, as you say you do,
Let me persuade you to forbear a while.
O! how this discord doth afflict my soul!
Can you, my Lord of Winchester, behold
My sighs and tears and will not once relent?
Who should be pitiful if you be not?
Or who should study to prefer a peace
If holy churchmen take delight in broils?
Yield, my Lord Protector; yield, Winchester;
Except you mean with obstinate repulse
To slay your sov’reign and destroy the realm.
You see what mischief and what murder too
Hath been enacted through your enmity:
Then be at peace, except ye thirst for blood.
He shall submit or I will never yield.
Compassion on the king commands me stoop;
Or I would see his heart out ere the priest
Should ever get that privilege of me.
Behold, my Lord of Winchester, the duke
Hath banish’d moody discontented fury,
As by his smoothed brows it doth appear:
Why look you still so stern and tragical?
Here, Winchester, I offer thee my hand.
Fie, uncle Beaufort! I have heard you preach,
That malice was a great and grievous sin;
And will not you maintain the thing you teach,
But prove a chief offender in the same?
Sweet king! the bishop hath a kindly gird.
For shame, my Lord of Winchester, relent!
What! shall a child instruct you what to do?
Well, Duke of Gloucester, I will yield to thee;
Love for thy love and hand for hand I give.
[Aside.] Ay; but I fear me, with a hollow heart.
See here, my friends and loving countrymen,
This token serveth for a flag of truce,
Betwixt ourselves and all our followers.
So help me God, as I dissemble not!
[Aside.] So help me God, as I intend it not!
O loving uncle, kind Duke of Gloucester,
How joyful am I made by this contract!
Away, my masters! trouble us no more;
But join in friendship, as your lords have done.
Content: I’ll to the surgeon’s.
And so will I.
And I will see what physic the tavern affords.
[Exeunt Mayor, Serving-men, &c.
Accept this scroll, most gracious sovereign,
Which in the right of Richard Plantagenet
We do exhibit to your majesty.
Well urg’d, my Lord of Warwick: for, sweet prince,
An if your Grace mark every circumstance,
You have great reason to do Richard right;
Especially for those occasions
At Eltham-place I told your majesty.
And those occasions, uncle, were of force:
Therefore, my loving lords, our pleasure is
That Richard be restored to his blood.
Let Richard be restored to his blood;
So shall his father’s wrongs be recompens’d.
As will the rest, so willeth Winchester.
If Richard will be true, not that alone,
But all the whole inheritance I give
That doth belong unto the house of York,
From whence you spring by lineal descent.
Thy humble servant vows obedience,
And humble service till the point of death.
Stoop then and set your knee against my foot;
And, in reguerdon of that duty done,
I girt thee with the valiant sword of York:
Rise, Richard, like a true Plantagenet,
And rise created princely Duke of York.
And so thrive Richard as thy foes may fall!
And as my duty springs, so perish they
That grudge one thought against your majesty!
Welcome, high prince, the mighty Duke of York!
[Aside.] Perish, base prince, ignoble Duke of York!
Now, will it best avail your majesty
To cross the seas and to be crown’d in France.
The presence of a king engenders love
Amongst his subjects and his loyal friends,
As it disanimates his enemies.
When Gloucester says the word, King Henry goes;
For friendly counsel cuts off many foes.
Your ships already are in readiness.
[Flourish. Exeunt all exceptExeter.
Ay, we may march in England or in France,
Not seeing what is likely to ensue.
This late dissension grown betwixt the peers
Burns under feigned ashes of forg’d love,
And will at last break out into a flame:
As fester’d members rot but by degree,
Till bones and flesh and sinews fall away,
So will this base and envious discord breed.
And now I fear that fatal prophecy
Which in the time of Henry, nam’d the Fifth,
Was in the mouth of every sucking babe;
That Henry born at Monmouth should win all;
And Henry born at Windsor should lose all:
Which is so plain that Exeter doth wish
His days may finish ere that hapless time.
France. Before Roan.
EnterJoan la Pucelle,disguised, and Soldiers dressed like countrymen, with sacks upon their backs.
These are the city gates, the gates of Roan,
Through which our policy must make a breach:
Take heed, be wary how you place your words;
Talk like the vulgar sort of market-men
That come to gather money for their corn.
If we have entrance,—as I hope we shall,—
And that we find the slothful watch but weak,
I’ll by a sign give notice to our friends,
That Charles the Dauphin may encounter them.
Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city,
And we be lords and rulers over Roan;
Therefore we’ll knock.
[Within.]Qui est là?
Paisans, pauvres gens de France:
Poor market-folks that come to sell their corn.
[Opening the gates.] Enter, go in; the market-bell is rung.
Now, Roan, I’ll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.
[Joan la Pucelle,&c., enter the city.
EnterCharles,theBastard of Orleans, Alençon,and Forces.
Saint Denis bless this happy stratagem!
And once again we’ll sleep secure in Roan.
Here enter’d Pucelle and her practisants;
Now she is there how will she specify
Where is the best and safest passage in?
By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower;
Which, once discern’d, shows that her meaning is,
No way to that, for weakness, which she enter’d.
EnterJoan la Pucelleon a battlement, holding out a torch burning.
Behold! this is the happy wedding torch
That joineth Roan unto her countrymen,
But burning fatal to the Talbotites!
See, noble Charles, the beacon of our friend,
The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
Now shine it like a comet of revenge,
A prophet to the fall of all our foes!
Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends;
Enter, and cry ‘The Dauphin!’ presently,
And then do execution on the watch.
[They enter the town.
EnterTalbotin an Excursion.
France, thou shalt rue this treason with thy tears,
If Talbot but survive thy treachery.
Pucelle, that witch, that damned sorceress,
Hath wrought this hellish mischief unawares,
That hardly we escap’d the pride of France.
Alarum: Excursions. Enter from the town,Bedford,brought in sick in a chair. EnterTalbotandBurgundy,and the English Forces. Then, enter on the walls,Joan la Pucelle, Charles,theBastard of Orleans, Alençon,and Others.
Good morrow, gallants! Want ye corn for bread?
I think the Duke of Burgundy will fast
Before he’ll buy again at such a rate.
’Twas full of darnel; do you like the taste?
Scoff on, vile fiend and shameless courtezan!
I trust ere long to choke thee with thine own,
And make thee curse the harvest of that corn.
Your Grace may starve perhaps, before that time.
O! let no words, but deeds, revenge this treason!
What will you do, good grey-beard? break a lance,
And run a tilt at death within a chair?
Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite,
Encompass’d with thy lustful paramours!
Becomes it thee to taunt his valiant age
And twit with cowardice a man half dead?
Damsel, I’ll have a bout with you again,
Or else let Talbot perish with this shame.
Are you so hot, sir? Yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace;
If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
[Talbotand the rest consult together.
God speed the parliament! who shall be the speaker?
Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field?
Belike your lordship takes us then for fools,
To try if that our own be ours or no.
I speak not to that railing Hecate,
But unto thee, Alençon, and the rest;
Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out?
Signior, hang! base muleters of France!
Like peasant foot-boys do they keep the walls,
And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
Away, captains! let’s get us from the walls;
For Talbot means no-goodness, by his looks.
God be wi’ you, my lord! we came but to tell you
That we are here.
[ExeuntJoan la Pucelle,&c., from the Walls.
And there will we be too, ere it be long,
Or else reproach be Talbot’s greatest fame!
Vow, Burgundy, by honour of thy house,—
Prick’d on by public wrongs sustain’d in France,—
Either to get the town again, or die;
And I, as sure as English Henry lives,
And as his father here was conqueror,
As sure as in this late-betrayed town
Great Cœur-de-lion’s heart was buried,
So sure I swear to get the town or die.
My vows are equal partners with thy vows.
But, ere we go, regard this dying prince,
The valiant Duke of Bedford. Come, my lord,
We will bestow you in some better place,
Fitter for sickness and for crazy age.
Lord Talbot, do not so dishonour me:
Here will I sit before the walls of Roan,
And will be partner of your weal or woe.
Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade you.
Not to be gone from hence; for once I read,
That stout Pendragon in his litter, sick,
Came to the field and vanquished his foes:
Methinks I should revive the soldiers’ hearts,
Because I ever found them as myself.
Undaunted spirit in a dying breast!
Then be it so: heavens keep old Bedford safe!
And now no more ado, brave Burgundy,
But gather we our forces out of hand,
And set upon our boasting enemy.
[Exeunt all butBedfordand Attendants.
Alarum: Excursions; in one of which, enterSir John Fastolfeand a Captain.
Whither away, Sir John Fastolfe, in such haste?
Whither away! to save myself by flight:
We are like to have the overthrow again.
What! will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot?
All the Talbots in the world, to save my life.
Cowardly knight! ill fortune follow thee!
Retreat: Excursions. Re-enter, from the town,Joan la Pucelle, Alençon, Charles,&c., and exeunt, flying.
Now, quiet soul, depart when Heaven please,
For I have seen our enemies’ overthrow.
What is the trust or strength of foolish man?
They, that of late were daring with their scoffs
Are glad and fain by flight to save themselves.
[Dies, and is carried off in his chair.
Alarum. Re-enterTalbot, Burgundy,and Others.
Lost, and recover’d in a day again!
This is a double honour, Burgundy:
Yet heavens have glory for this victory!
Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
Enshrines thee in his heart, and there erects
Thy noble deeds as valour’s monument.
Thanks, gentle duke. But where is Pucelle now?
I think her old familiar is asleep.
Now where’s the Bastard’s braves, and Charles his gleeks?
What! all amort? Roan hangs her head for grief,
That such a valiant company are fled.
Now will we take some order in the town,
Placing therein some expert officers,
And then depart to Paris to the king;
For there young Henry with his nobles lie.
What wills Lord Talbot pleaseth Burgundy.
But yet, before we go, let’s not forget
The noble Duke of Bedford late deceas’d,
But see his exequies fulfill’d in Roan:
A braver soldier never couched lance,
A gentler heart did never sway in court;
But kings and mightiest potentates must die,
For that’s the end of human misery.
The Plains near Roan.
EnterCharles,theBastard of Orleans, Alençon, Joan la Pucelle,and Forces.
Dismay not, princes, at this accident,
Nor grieve that Roan is so recovered:
Care is no cure, but rather corrosive,
For things that are not to be remedied.
Let frantic Talbot triumph for a while,
And like a peacock sweep along his tail;
We’ll pull his plumes and take away his train,
If Dauphin and the rest will be but rul’d.
We have been guided by thee hitherto,
And of thy cunning had no diffidence:
One sudden foil shall never breed distrust.
Search out thy wit for secret policies,
And we will make thee famous through the world.
We’ll set thy statue in some holy place
And have thee reverenc’d like a blessed saint:
Employ thee, then, sweet virgin, for our good.
Then thus it must be; this doth Joan devise:
By fair persuasions, mix’d with sugar’d words,
We will entice the Duke of Burgundy
To leave the Talbot and to follow us.
Ay, marry, sweeting, if we could do that,
France were no place for Henry’s warriors;
Nor should that nation boast it so with us,
But be extirped from our provinces.
For ever should they be expuls’d from France,
And not have title of an earldom here.
Your honours shall perceive how I will work
To bring this matter to the wished end.
[Drums heard afar off.
Hark! by the sound of drum you may perceive
Their powers are marching unto Paris-ward.
Here sound an English march. Enter, and pass over,Talbotand his Forces.
There goes the Talbot, with his colours spread,
And all the troops of English after him.
A French march. Enter theDuke of Burgundyand his Forces.
Now in the rearward comes the duke and his:
Fortune in favour makes him lag behind.
Summon a parley; we will talk with him.
A parley with the Duke of Burgundy!
Who craves a parley with the Burgundy?
The princely Charles of France, thy countryman.
What sayst thou, Charles? for I am marching hence.
Speak, Pucelle, and enchant him with thy words.
Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France!
Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.
Speak on; but be not over-tedious.
Look on thy country, look on fertile France,
And see the cities and the towns defac’d
By wasting ruin of the cruel foe.
As looks the mother on her lowly babe
When death doth close his tender dying eyes,
See, see the pining malady of France;
Behold the wounds, the most unnatural wounds,
Which thou thyself hast giv’n her woeful breast.
O! turn thy edged sword another way;
Strike those that hurt, and hurt not those that help.
One drop of blood drawn from thy country’s bosom,
Should grieve thee more than streams of foreign gore:
Return thee therefore, with a flood of tears,
And wash away thy country’s stained spots.
Either she hath bewitch’d me with her words,
Or nature makes me suddenly relent.
Besides, all French and France exclaims on thee,
Doubting thy birth and lawful progeny.
Who join’st thou with but with a lordly nation
That will not trust thee but for profit’s sake?
When Talbot hath set footing once in France,
And fashion’d thee that instrument of ill,
Who then but English Henry will be lord,
And thou be thrust out like a fugitive?
Call we to mind, and mark but this for proof,
Was not the Duke of Orleans thy foe,
And was he not in England prisoner?
But when they heard he was thine enemy,
They set him free, without his ransom paid,
In spite of Burgundy and all his friends.
See then, thou fight’st against thy countrymen!
And join’st with them will be thy slaughtermen.
Come, come, return; return thou wand’ring lord;
Charles and the rest will take thee in their arms.
I am vanquished; these haughty words of hers
Have batter’d me like roaring cannon-shot,
And made me almost yield upon my knees.
Forgive me, country, and sweet countrymen!
And, lords, accept this hearty kind embrace:
My forces and my power of men are yours.
So, farewell, Talbot; I’ll no longer trust thee.
Done like a Frenchman: turn, and turn again!
Welcome, brave duke! thy friendship makes us fresh.
And doth beget new courage in our breasts.
Pucelle hath bravely play’d her part in this,
And doth deserve a coronet of gold.
Now let us on, my lords, and join our powers:
And seek how we may prejudice the foe.
Paris. A Room in the Palace.
EnterKing Henry, Gloucester, Bishop of Winchester, York, Suffolk, Somerset, Warwick, Exeter; Vernon, Basset,and Others. To them with his Soldiers, Talbot.
My gracious prince, and honourable peers,
Hearing of your arrival in this realm,
I have a while giv’n truce unto my wars,
To do my duty to my sovereign:
In sign whereof, this arm,—that hath reclaim’d
To your obedience fifty fortresses,
Twelve cities, and seven walled towns of strength,
Beside five hundred prisoners of esteem,—
Lets fall his sword before your highness’ feet,
And with submissive loyalty of heart,
Ascribes the glory of his conquest got,
First to my God, and next unto your Grace.
Is this the Lord Talbot, uncle Gloucester,
That hath so long been resident in France?
Yes, if it please your majesty, my liege.
Welcome, brave captain and victorious lord!
When I was young,—as yet I am not old,—
I do remember how my father said,
A stouter champion never handled sword.
Long since we were resolved of your truth,
Your faithful service and your toil in war;
Yet never have you tasted our reward,
Or been reguerdon’d with so much as thanks,
Because till now we never saw your face:
Therefore, stand up; and for these good deserts,
We here create you Earl of Shrewsbury;
And in our coronation take your place.
[Flourish. Exeunt all butVernonandBasset.
Now, sir, to you, that were so hot at sea,
Disgracing of these colours that I wear
In honour of my noble Lord of York,
Dar’st thou maintain the former words thou spak’st?
Yes, sir: as well as you dare patronage
The envious barking of your saucy tongue
Against my lord the Duke of Somerset.
Sirrah, thy lord I honour as he is.
Why, what is he? as good a man as York.
Hark ye; not so: in witness, take ye that.
Villain, thou know’st the law of arms is such
That, whoso draws a sword, ’tis present death,
Or else this blow should broach thy dearest blood.
But I’ll unto his majesty, and crave
I may have liberty to venge this wrong;
When thou shalt see I’ll meet thee to thy cost.
Well, miscreant, I’ll be there as soon as you;
And, after, meet you sooner than you would.