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ACT IV. - 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).
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Paris. A Room of State.
EnterKing Henry, Gloucester, Exeter, York, Suffolk, Somerset,theBishop of Winchester, Warwick, Talbot,the Governor of Paris, and Others.
Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.
God save King Henry, of that name the sixth.
Now, Governor of Paris, take your oath,—
That you elect no other king but him,
Esteem none friends but such as are his friends,
And none your foes but such as shall pretend
Malicious practices against his state:
This shall ye do, so help you righteous God!
[Exeunt Governor and his Train.
EnterSir John Fastolfe.
My gracious sovereign; as I rode from Calais,
To haste unto your coronation,
A letter was deliver’d to my hands,
Writ to your Grace from the Duke of Burgundy.
Shame to the Duke of Burgundy and thee!
I vow’d, base knight, when I did meet thee next,
To tear the garter from thy craven’s leg;
[Plucking it off.
Which I have done, because unworthily
Thou wast installed in that high degree.
Pardon me, princely Henry, and the rest:
This dastard, at the battle of Patay,
When but in all I was six thousand strong,
And that the French were almost ten to one,
Before we met or that a stroke was given,
Like to a trusty squire did run away:
In which assault we lost twelve hundred men;
Myself, and divers gentlemen beside,
Were there surpris’d and taken prisoners.
Then judge, great lords, if I have done amiss;
Or whether that such cowards ought to wear
This ornament of knighthood, yea, or no?
To say the truth, this fact was infamous
And ill beseeming any common man,
Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.
When first this order was ordain’d, my lords,
Knights of the garter were of noble birth,
Valiant and virtuous, full of haughty courage,
Such as were grown to credit by the wars;
Not fearing death, nor shrinking for distress,
But always resolute in most extremes.
He then that is not furnish’d in this sort
Doth but usurp the sacred name of knight,
Profaning this most honourable order;
And should—if I were worthy to be judge—
Be quite degraded, like a hedge-born swain
That doth presume to boast of gentle blood.
Stain to thy countrymen! thou hear’st thy doom.
Be packing therefore, thou that wast a knight;
Henceforth we banish thee on pain of death.
And now, my Lord Protector, view the letter
Sent from our uncle Duke of Burgundy.
[Viewing superscription.] What means his Grace, that he hath chang’d his style?
No more, but plain and bluntly, To the King!
Hath he forgot he is his sovereign?
Or doth this churlish superscription
Pretend some alteration in good will?
What’s here? I have, upon especial cause,
Mov’d with compassion of my country’s wrack,
Together with the pitiful complaints
Of such as your oppression feeds upon,
Forsaken your pernicious faction,
And join’d with Charles, the rightful King of France.
O, monstrous treachery! Can this be so,
That in alliance, amity, and oaths,
There should be found such false dissembling guile?
What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?
He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.
Is that the worst this letter doth contain?
It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.
Why then, Lord Talbot there shall talk with him,
And give him chastisement for this abuse.
How say you, my lord? are you not content?
Content, my liege! Yes: but that I am prevented,
I should have begg’d I might have been employ’d.
Then gather strength, and march unto him straight:
Let him perceive how ill we brook his treason,
And what offence it is to flout his friends.
I go, my lord; in heart desiring still
You may behold confusion of your foes.
Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign!
And me, my lord; grant me the combat too!
This is my servant: hear him, noble prince!
And this is mine: sweet Henry, favour him!
Be patient, lords; and give them leave to speak.
Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim?
And wherefore crave you combat? or with whom?
With him, my lord; for he hath done me wrong.
And I with him; for he hath done me wrong.
What is that wrong whereof you both complain?
First let me know, and then I’ll answer you.
Crossing the sea from England into France,
This fellow here, with envious carping tongue,
Upbraided me about the rose I wear;
Saying, the sanguine colour of the leaves
Did represent my master’s blushing cheeks,
When stubbornly he did repugn the truth
About a certain question in the law
Argu’d betwixt the Duke of York and him;
With other vile and ignominious terms:
In confutation of which rude reproach,
And in defence of my lord’s worthiness,
I crave the benefit of law of arms.
And that is my petition, noble lord:
For though he seem with forged quaint conceit,
To set a gloss upon his bold intent,
Yet know, my lord, I was provok’d by him;
And he first took exceptions at this badge,
Pronouncing, that the paleness of this flower
Bewray’d the faintness of my master’s heart.
Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?
Your private grudge, my Lord of York, will out,
Though ne’er so cunningly you smother it.
Good Lord! what madness rules in brain-sick men,
When, for so slight and frivolous a cause,
Such factious emulations shall arise!
Good cousins both, of York and Somerset,
Quiet yourselves, I pray, and be at peace.
Let this dissension first be tried by fight,
And then your highness shall command a peace.
The quarrel toucheth none but us alone;
Betwixt ourselves let us decide it, then.
There is my pledge; accept it, Somerset.
Nay, let it rest where it began at first.
Confirm it so, mine honourable lord.
Confirm it so! Confounded be your strife!
And perish ye, with your audacious prate!
Presumptuous vassals! are you not asham’d,
With this immodest clamorous outrage
To trouble and disturb the king and us?—
And you, my lords, methinks you do not well
To bear with their perverse objections;
Much less to take occasion from their mouths
To raise a mutiny betwixt yourselves:
Let me persuade you take a better course.
It grieves his highness: good my lords, be friends.
Come hither, you that would be combatants.
Henceforth I charge you, as you love our favour,
Quite to forget this quarrel and the cause.
And you, my lords, remember where we are;
In France, amongst a fickle wav’ring nation.
If they perceive dissension in our looks,
And that within ourselves we disagree,
How will their grudging stomachs be provok’d
To wilful disobedience, and rebel!
Beside, what infamy will there arise,
When foreign princes shall be certified
That for a toy, a thing of no regard,
King Henry’s peers and chief nobility
Destroy’d themselves, and lost the realm of France!
O! think upon the conquest of my father,
My tender years, and let us not forego
That for a trifle that was bought with blood!
Let me be umpire in this doubtful strife.
I see no reason, if I wear this rose,
[Putting on a red rose.
That any one should therefore be suspicious
I more incline to Somerset than York:
Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both.
As well they may upbraid me with my crown,
Because, forsooth, the King of Scots is crown’d.
But your discretions better can persuade
Than I am able to instruct or teach:
And therefore, as we hither came in peace,
So let us still continue peace and love.
Cousin of York, we institute your Grace
To be our regent in these parts of France:
And, good my Lord of Somerset, unite
Your troops of horsemen with his bands of foot;
And like true subjects, sons of your progenitors,
Go cheerfully together and digest
Your angry choler on your enemies.
Ourself, my Lord Protector, and the rest,
After some respite will return to Calais;
From thence to England; where I hope ere long
To be presented by your victories,
With Charles, Alençon, and that traitorous rout.
[Flourish. Exeunt all butYork, Warwick, Exeter,andVernon.
My Lord of York, I promise you, the king Prettily, methought, did play the orator.
And so he did; but yet I like it not,
In that he wears the badge of Somerset.
Tush! that was but his fancy, blame him not;
I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.
An if I wist he did,—But let it rest;
Other affairs must now be managed.
Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy voice;
For had the passions of thy heart burst out,
I fear we should have seen decipher’d there
More rancorous spite, more furious raging broils,
Than yet can be imagin’d or suppos’d.
But howsoe’er, no simple man that sees
This jarring discord of nobility,
This shouldering of each other in the court,
This factious bandying of their favourites,
But that it doth presage some ill event.
’Tis much when sceptres are in children’s hands;
But more, when envy breeds unkind division:
There comes the ruin, there begins confusion.
EnterTalbot,with his Forces.
Go to the gates of Bourdeaux, trumpeter;
Summon their general unto the wall.
Trumpet sounds a parley. Enter, on the Walls, the General of the French Forces, and Others.
English John Talbot, captains, calls you forth,
Servant in arms to Harry King of England;
And thus he would: Open your city gates,
Be humble to us, call my sov’reign yours,
And do him homage as obedient subjects,
And I’ll withdraw me and my bloody power;
But, if you frown upon this proffer’d peace,
You tempt the fury of my three attendants,
Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire;
Who in a moment even with the earth
Shall lay your stately and air-braving towers,
If you forsake the offer of their love.
Thou ominous and fearful owl of death,
Our nation’s terror and their bloody scourge!
The period of thy tyranny approacheth.
On us thou canst not enter but by death;
For, I protest, we are well fortified,
And strong enough to issue out and fight:
If thou retire, the Dauphin, well appointed,
Stands with the snares of war to tangle thee:
On either hand thee there are squadrons pitch’d,
To wall thee from the liberty of flight;
And no way canst thou turn thee for redress
But death doth front thee with apparent spoil,
And pale destruction meets thee in the face.
Ten thousand French have ta’en the sacrament,
To rive their dangerous artillery
Upon no Christian soul but English Talbot.
Lo! there thou stand’st, a breathing valiant man,
Of an invincible unconquer’d spirit:
This is the latest glory of thy praise,
That I, thy enemy, ’due thee withal;
For ere the glass, that now begins to run,
Finish the process of his sandy hour,
These eyes, that see thee now well coloured,
Shall see thee wither’d, bloody, pale, and dead.
[Drum afar off.
Hark! hark! the Dauphin’s drum, a warning bell,
Sings heavy music to thy timorous soul;
And mine shall ring thy dire departure out.
[Exeunt General, &c., from the Walls.
He fables not; I hear the enemy:
Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.
O! negligent and heedless discipline;
How are we park’d and bounded in a pale,
A little herd of England’s timorous deer,
Maz’d with a yelping kennel of French curs!
If we be English deer, be then, in blood;
Not rascal-like, to fall down with a pinch,
But rather moody-mad and desperate stags,
Turn on the bloody hounds with heads of steel,
And make the cowards stand aloof at bay:
Sell every man his life as dear as mine,
And they shall find dear deer of us, my friends.
God and Saint George, Talbot and England’s right,
Prosper our colours in this dangerous fight!
Plains in Gascony.
EnterYork,with Forces; to him a Messenger.
Are not the speedy scouts return’d again,
That dogg’d the mighty army of the Dauphin?
They are return’d, my lord; and give it out,
That he is march’d to Bourdeaux with his power,
To fight with Talbot. As he march’d along,
By your espials were discovered
Two mightier troops than that the Dauphin led,
Which join’d with him and made their march for Bourdeaux.
A plague upon that villain Somerset,
That thus delays my promised supply
Of horsemen that were levied for this siege!
Renowned Talbot doth expect my aid,
And I am louted by a traitor villain,
And cannot help the noble chevalier.
God comfort him in this necessity!
If he miscarry, farewell wars in France.
EnterSir William Lucy.
Thou princely leader of our English strength,
Never so needful on the earth of France,
Spur to the rescue of the noble Talbot,
Who now is girdled with a waist of iron
And hemm’d about with grim destruction.
To Bourdeaux, war-like duke! To Bourdeaux, York!
Else, farewell Talbot, France, and England’s honour.
O God! that Somerset, who in proud heart
Doth stop my cornets, were in Talbot’s place!
So should we save a valiant gentleman
By forfeiting a traitor and a coward.
Mad ire and wrathful fury, make me weep
That thus we die, while remiss traitors sleep.
O! send some succour to the distress’d lord.
He dies, we lose; I break my war-like word;
We mourn, France smiles; we lose, they daily get;
All ’long of this vile traitor Somerset.
Then God take mercy on brave Talbot’s soul;
And on his son young John, whom two hours since
I met in travel toward his war-like father.
This seven years did not Talbot see his son;
And now they meet where both their lives are done.
Alas! what joy shall noble Talbot have,
To bid his young son welcome to his grave?
Away! vexation almost stops my breath
That sunder’d friends greet in the hour of death.
Lucy, farewell: no more my fortune can,
But curse the cause I cannot aid the man.
Maine, Blois, Poictiers, and Tours, are won away,
’Long all of Somerset and his delay.
[Exit, with his Soldiers.
Thus, while the vulture of sedition
Feeds in the bosom of such great commanders,
Sleeping neglection doth betray to loss
The conquest of our scarce cold conqueror,
That ever living man of memory,
Henry the Fifth: Whiles they each other cross,
Lives, honours, lands, and all hurry to loss.
Other Plains in Gascony.
EnterSomerset,with his Army; a Captain ofTalbot’swith him.
It is too late; I cannot send them now:
This expedition was by York and Talbot
Too rashly plotted: all our general force
Might with a sally of the very town
Be buckled with: the over-daring Talbot
Hath sullied all his gloss of former honour
By this unheedful, desperate, wild adventure:
York set him on to fight and die in shame,
That, Talbot dead, great York might bear the name.
Here is Sir William Lucy, who with me
Set from our o’ermatch’d forces forth for aid.
EnterSir William Lucy.
How now, Sir William! whither were you sent?
Whither, my lord? from bought and sold Lord Talbot;
Who, ring’d about with bold adversity,
Cries out for noble York and Somerset,
To beat assailing death from his weak legions:
And whiles the honourable captain there
Drops bloody sweat from his war-wearied limbs,
And, in advantage lingering, looks for rescue,
You, his false hopes, the trust of England’s honour,
Keep off aloof with worthless emulation.
Let not your private discord keep away
The levied succours that should lend him aid,
While he, renowned noble gentleman,
Yields up his life unto a world of odds:
Orleans the Bastard, Charles, Burgundy,
Alençon, Reignier, compass him about,
And Talbot perisheth by your default.
York set him on; York should have sent him aid.
And York as fast upon your Grace exclaims;
Swearing that you withhold his levied host
Collected for this expedition.
York lies; he might have sent and had the horse:
I owe him little duty, and less love;
And take foul scorn to fawn on him by sending.
The fraud of England, not the force of France,
Hath now entrapp’d the noble-minded Talbot.
Never to England shall he bear his life,
But dies, betray’d to fortune by your strife.
Come, go; I will dispatch the horsemen straight:
Within six hours they will be at his aid.
Too late comes rescue: he is ta’en or slain,
For fly he could not if he would have fled;
And fly would Talbot never, though he might.
If he be dead, brave Talbot, then adieu!
His fame lives in the world, his shame in you.
The English Camp near Bourdeaux.
O young John Talbot! I did send for thee
To tutor thee in stratagems of war,
That Talbot’s name might be in thee reviv’d
When sapless age, and weak unable limbs
Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.
But,—O malignant and ill-boding stars!
Now thou art come unto a feast of death,
A terrible and unavoided danger:
Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse,
And I’ll direct thee how thou shalt escape
By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone.
Is my name Talbot? and am I your son?
And shall I fly? O! if you love my mother,
Dishonour not her honourable name,
To make a bastard and a slave of me:
The world will say he is not Talbot’s blood
That basely fled when noble Talbot stood.
Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.
He that flies so will ne’er return again.
If we both stay, we both are sure to die.
Then let me stay; and, father, do you fly:
Your loss is great, so your regard should be;
My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.
Upon my death the French can little boast;
In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost.
Flight cannot stain the honour you have won;
But mine it will that no exploit have done:
You fled for vantage everyone will swear;
But if I bow, they’ll say it was for fear.
There is no hope that ever I will stay
If the first hour I shrink and run away.
Here, on my knee, I beg mortality,
Rather than life preserv’d with infamy.
Shall all thy mother’s hopes lie in one tomb?
Ay, rather than I’ll shame my mother’s womb.
Upon my blessing I command thee go.
To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.
Part of thy father may be sav’d in thee.
No part of him but will be shame in me.
Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not lose it.
Yes, your renowned name: shall flight abuse it?
Thy father’s charge shall clear thee from that stain.
You cannot witness for me, being slain.
If death be so apparent, then both fly.
And leave my followers here to fight and die?
My age was never tainted with such shame.
And shall my youth be guilty of such blame?
No more can I be sever’d from your side
Than can yourself yourself in twain divide.
Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I;
For live I will not if my father die.
Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,
Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon.
Come, side by side together live and die,
And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.
A Field of Battle.
Alarum: Excursions, whereinTalbot’sSon is hemmed about, andTalbotrescues him.
Saint George and victory! fight, soldiers, fight!
The regent hath with Talbot broke his word,
And left us to the rage of France his sword.
Where is John Talbot? Pause, and take thy breath:
I gave thee life and rescu’d thee from death.
O! twice my father, twice am I thy son:
The life thou gav’st me first was lost and done,
Till with thy war-like sword, despite of fate,
To my determin’d time thou gav’st new date.
When from the Dauphin’s crest thy sword struck fire,
It warm’d thy father’s heart with proud desire
Of bold-fac’d victory. Then leaden age,
Quicken’d with youthful spleen and war-like rage,
Beat down Alençon, Orleans, Burgundy,
And from the pride of Gallia rescu’d thee.
The ireful bastard Orleans,—that drew blood
From thee, my boy, and had the maidenhood
Of thy first fight,—I soon encountered
And, interchanging blows, I quickly shed
Some of his bastard blood; and, in disgrace,
Bespoke him thus, ‘Contaminated, base,
And misbegotten blood I spill of thine,
Mean and right poor, for that pure blood of mine
Which thou didst force from Talbot, my brave boy:’
Here, purposing the Bastard to destroy,
Came in strong rescue. Speak, thy father’s care,
Art thou not weary, John? How dost thou fare?
Wilt thou yet leave the battle, boy, and fly,
Now thou art seal’d the son of chivalry?
Fly, to revenge my death when I am dead;
The help of one stands me in little stead.
O! too much folly is it, well I wot,
To hazard all our lives in one small boat.
If I to-day die not with Frenchmen’s rage,
To-morrow I shall die with mickle age:
By me they nothing gain an if I stay;
’Tis but the short’ning of my life one day.
In thee thy mother dies, our household’s name,
My death’s revenge, thy youth, and England’s fame.
All these and more we hazard by thy stay;
All these are sav’d if thou wilt fly away.
The sword of Orleans hath not made me smart;
These words of yours draw life-blood from my heart.
On that advantage, bought with such a shame,
To save a paltry life and slay bright fame,
Before young Talbot from old Talbot fly,
The coward horse that bears me fall and die!
And like me to the peasant boys of France,
To be shame’s scorn and subject of mischance!
Surely, by all the glory you have won,
An if I fly, I am not Talbot’s son:
Then talk no more of flight, it is no boot;
If son to Talbot, die at Talbot’s foot.
Then follow thou thy desperate sire of Crete,
Thou Icarus. Thy life to me is sweet:
If thou wilt fight, fight by thy father’s side,
And, commendable prov’d, let’s die in pride.
Another Part of the Field.
Alarum: Excursions. Enter OldTalbot,wounded, led by a Servant.
Where is my other life?—mine own is gone;—
O! where’s young Talbot? where is valiant John?
Triumphant death, smear’d with captivity,
Young Talbot’s valour makes me smile at thee.
When he perceiv’d me shrink and on my knee,
His bloody sword he brandish’d over me,
And like a hungry lion did commence
Rough deeds of rage and stern impatience;
But when my angry guardant stood alone,
Tendering my ruin and assail’d of none,
Dizzy-ey’d fury and great rage of heart
Suddenly made him from my side to start
Into the clust’ring battle of the French;
And in that sea of blood my boy did drench
His overmounting spirit; and there died
My Icarus, my blossom, in his pride.
Enter Soldiers, bearing the body of YoungTalbot.
O, my dear lord! lo, where your son is borne!
Thou antick, death, which laugh’st us here to scorn,
Anon, from thy insulting tyranny,
Coupled in bonds of perpetuity,
Two Talbots, winged through the lither sky,
In thy despite shall ’scape mortality.
O! thou, whose wounds become hard-favour’d death,
Speak to thy father ere thou yield thy breath;
Brave death by speaking whe’r he will or no;
Imagine him a Frenchman and thy foe.
Poor boy! he smiles, methinks, as who should say,
Had death been French, then death had died to-day.
Come, come, and lay him in his father’s arms:
My spirit can no longer bear these harms.
Soldiers, adieu! I have what I would have,
Now my old arms are young John Talbot’s grave.
Alarums. Exeunt Soldiers and Servant, leaving the two bodies. EnterCharles, Alençon, Burgundy,theBastard of Orleans, Joan la Pucelle,and Forces.
Had York and Somerset brought rescue in
We should have found a bloody day of this.
How the young whelp of Talbot’s, raging-wood,
Did flesh his puny sword in Frenchmen’s blood!
Once I encounter’d him, and thus I said:
‘Thou maiden youth, be vanquish’d by a maid:’
But with a proud majestical high scorn,
He answer’d thus: ‘Young Talbot was not born
To be the pillage of a giglot wench.’
So, rushing in the bowels of the French,
He left me proudly, as unworthy fight.
Doubtless he would have made a noble knight;
See, where he lies inhearsed in the arms
Of the most bloody nurser of his harms.
Hew them to pieces, hack their bones asunder,
Whose life was England’s glory, Gallia’s wonder.
O, no! forbear; for that which we have fled
During the life, let us not wrong it dead.
EnterSir William Lucy,attended: a French Herald preceding.
Herald, conduct me to the Dauphin’s tent,
To know who hath obtain’d the glory of the day.
On what submissive message art thou sent?
Submission, Dauphin! ’tis a mere French word;
We English warriors wot not what it means.
I come to know what prisoners thou hast ta’en,
And to survey the bodies of the dead.
For prisoners ask’st thou? hell our prison is.
But tell me whom thou seek’st.
Where is the great Alcides of the field,
Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury?
Created, for his rare success in arms,
Great Earl of Washford, Waterford, and Valence;
Lord Talbot of Goodrig and Urchinfield,
Lord Strange of Blackmere, Lord Vordun of Alton,
Lord Cromwell of Wingfield, Lord Furnival of Sheffield,
The thrice-victorious Lord of Falconbridge;
Knight of the noble order of Saint George,
Worthy Saint Michael and the Golden Fleece;
Great mareschal to Henry the Sixth
Of all his wars within the realm of France?
Here is a silly stately style indeed!
The Turk, that two-and-fifty kingdoms hath,
Writes not so tedious a style as this.
Him that thou magnifiest with all these titles,
Stinking and fly-blown lies here at our feet.
Is Talbot slain, the Frenchmen’s only scourge,
Your kingdom’s terror and black Nemesis?
O! were mine eye-balls into bullets turn’d,
That I in rage might shoot them at your faces!
O! that I could but call these dead to life!
It were enough to fright the realm of France.
Were but his picture left among you here
It would amaze the proudest of you all.
Give me their bodies, that I may bear them hence,
And give them burial as beseems their worth.
I think this upstart is old Talbot’s ghost,
He speaks with such a proud commanding spirit.
For God’s sake, let him have ’em; to keep them here
They would but stink and putrefy the air.
Go, take their bodies hence.
I’ll bear them hence:
But from their ashes shall be rear’d
A phœnix that shall make all France afeard.
So we be rid of them, do with ’em what thou wilt.
And now to Paris, in this conquering vein:
All will be ours now bloody Talbot’s slain.