KING HENRY VI, FIRST PART
by William Shakespeare
KING HENRY the Sixth DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, uncle to the King, and Protector DUKE OF BEDFORD, uncle to the King, and Regent of France THOMAS BEAUFORT, Duke of Exeter, great-uncle to the King HENRY BEAUFORT, great-uncle to the King, Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards Cardinal JOHN BEAUFORT, Earl, afterwards Duke, of Somerset RICHARD PLANTAGENET, son of Richard, late Earl of Cambridge, afterwards Duke of York EARL OF WARWICK EARL OF SALISBURY EARL OF SUFFOLK LORD TALBOT, afterwards Earl of Shrewbury JOHN TALBOT, his son EDMUND MORTIMER, Earl of March SIR JOHN FASTOLFE SIR WILLIAM LUCY SIR WILLIAM GLANSDALE SIR THOMAS GARGRAVE Mayor of London WOODVILE, Lieutenant of the Tower VERNON, of the White-Rose or York faction BASSET, of the Red-Rose or Lancaster faction A Lawyer, Mortimer's Keepers
CHARLES, Dauphin, and afterwards King, of France REIGNIER, Duke of Anjou, and titular King of Naples DUKE OF BURGUNDY DUKE OF ALENCON BASTARD OF ORLEANS Governor of Paris Master-Gunner of Orleans and his Son General of the French forces in Bordeaux A French Sergeant A Porter An old Shepherd, father to Joan la Pucelle
MARGARET, daughter to Reignier, afterwards married to
King Henry COUNTESS OF AUVERGNE JOAN LA PUCELLE, Commonly called Joan of Arc
Lords, Warders of the Tower, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Messengers, and Attendants
Fiends appearing to La Pucelle
SCENE: Partly in England, and partly in France
The First Part of King Henry VI
Dead March. Enter the funeral of King Henry the Fifth, attended on by the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France; the Duke of Gloucester, Protector; the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of Warwick, the Bishop of
Winchester, Heralds, &c.
BEDFORD. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night! Comets, importing change of times and states, Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky, And with them scourge the bad revolting stars That have consented unto Henry's death! King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long! England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
GLOUCESTER. England ne'er had a king until his time. Virtue he had, deserving to command: His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams: His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings; His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire, More dazzled and drove back his enemies Than mid-day sun fierce bent against their faces. What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech: He ne'er lift up his hand but conquered.
EXETER. We mourn in black: why mourn we not in blood? Henry is dead and never shall revive: Upon a wooden coffin we attend, And death's dishonourable victory We with our stately presence glorify, Like captives bound to a triumphant car. What! shall we curse the planets of mishap That plotted thus our glory's overthrow? Or shall we think the subtle-witted French Conjurers and sorcerers, that afraid of him By magic verses have contriv'd his end?
WINCHESTER. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings; Unto the French the dreadful judgment-day So dreadful will not be as was his sight. The battles of the Lord of hosts he fought: The Church's prayers made him so prosperous.
GLOUCESTER. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen pray'd, His thread of life had not so soon decay'd: None do you like but an effeminate prince, Whom, like a school-boy, you may over-awe.
WINCHESTER. Gloucester, whate'er we like, thou art Protector, And lookest to command the Prince and realm. Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe, More than God or religious churchmen may.
GLOUCESTER. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh, And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st, Except it be to pray against thy foes.
BEDFORD. Cease, cease these jars and rest your minds in peace: Let's to the altar: heralds, wait on us: Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms; Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead. Posterity, await for wretched years, When at their mothers' moist eyes babes shall suck, Our isle be made a marish of salt tears, And none but women left to wail the dead. Henry the Fifth, thy ghost I invocate: Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils, Combat with adverse planets in the heavens! A far more glorious star thy soul will make Than Julius Caesar or bright—
[Enter a Messenger.]
MESSENGER. My honourable lords, health to you all! Sad tidings bring I to you out of France, Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture: Guienne, Champagne, Rheims, Orleans, Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost.
BEDFORD. What say'st thou, man, before dead Henry's corse? Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns Will make him burst his lead and rise from death.
GLOUCESTER. Is Paris lost? Is Rouen yielded up If Henry were recall'd to life again, These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
EXETER. How were they lost? What treachery was us'd?
MESSENGER. No treachery; but want of men and money. Amongst the soldiers this is muttered, That here you maintain several factions, And whilst a field should be dispatch'd and fought, You are disputing of your generals: One would have lingering wars with little cost; Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings; A third thinks, without expense at all, By guileful fair words peace may be obtain'd. Awake, awake, English nobility! Let not sloth dim your honours new-begot: Cropp'd are the flower-de-luces in your arms; Of England's coat one half is cut away.
EXETER. Were our tears wanting to this funeral, These tidings would call forth their flowing tides.
BEDFORD. Me they concern; Regent I am of France. Give me my steeled coat. I'll fight for France. Away with these disgraceful wailing robes! Wounds will I lend the French instead of eyes, To weep their intermissive miseries.
[Enter to them another Messenger.]
MESSENGER. Lords, view these letters full of bad mischance. France is revolted from the English quite, Except some petty towns of no import: The Dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims; The Bastard of Orleans with him is join'd; Reignier, Duke of Anjou, doth take his part; The Duke of Alencon flieth to his side.
EXETER. The Dauphin crowned king! all fly to him! O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?
GLOUCESTER. We will not fly, but to our enemies' throats. Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.
BEDFORD. Gloucester, why doubt'st thou of my forwardness? An army have I muster'd in my thoughts, Wherewith already France is overrun.
[Enter another Messenger.]
MESSENGER. My gracious lords, to add to your laments, Wherewith you now bedew King Henry's hearse, I must inform you of a dismal fight Betwixt the stout Lord Talbot and the French.
WINCHESTER. What! wherein Talbot overcame? is't so?
MESSENGER. O, no; wherein Lord Talbot was o'erthrown: The circumstance I'll tell you more at large. The tenth of August last this dreadful lord, Retiring from the siege of Orleans, Having full scarce six thousand in his troop, By three and twenty thousand of the French Was round encompassed and set upon. No leisure had he to enrank his men; He wanted pikes to set before his archers; Instead whereof sharp stakes pluck'd out of hedges They pitched in the ground confusedly, To keep the horsemen off from breaking in. More than three hours the fight continued; Where valiant Talbot above human thought Enacted wonders with his sword and lance: Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him; Here, there, and every where, enrag'd he slew: The French exclaim'd, the devil was in arms; All the whole army stood agaz'd on him. His soldiers spying his undaunted spirit A Talbot! a Talbot! cried out amain, And rush'd into the bowels of the battle. Here had the conquest fully been seal'd up, If Sir John Fastolfe had not play'd the coward. He, being in the vaward, plac'd behind With purpose to relieve and follow them, Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke. Hence grew the general wreck and massacre; Enclosed were they with their enemies: A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin's grace, Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back; Whom all France with their chief assembled strength Durst not presume to look once in the face.
BEDFORD. Is Talbot slain? then I will slay myself, For living idly here in pomp and ease, Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid, Unto his dastard foemen is betray'd.
MESSENGER. O no, he lives; but is took prisoner, And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford: Most of the rest slaughter'd or took likewise.
BEDFORD. His ransom there is none but I shall pay: I'll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne: His crown shall be the ransom of my friend; Four of their lords I'll change for one of ours. Farewell, my masters; to my task will I; Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make To keep our great Saint George's feast withal: Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take, Whose bloody deeds shall make an Europe quake.
MESSENGER. So you had need; for Orleans is besieg'd; The English army is grown weak and faint: The Earl of Salisbury craveth supply, And hardly keeps his men from mutiny, Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.
EXETER. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn, Either to quell the Dauphin utterly, Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.
BEDFORD. I do remember it, and here take my leave To go about my preparation.
GLOUCESTER. I'll to the Tower with all the haste I can, To view the artillery and munition; And then I will proclaim young Henry king.
EXETER. To Eltham will I, where the young King is, Being ordain'd his special governor; And for his safety there I'll best devise.
WINCHESTER. Each hath his place and function to attend: I am left out; for me nothing remains. But long I will not be Jack out of office: The King from Eltham I intend to steal, And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.
France. Before Orleans
[Sound a Flourish. Enter Charles, Alencon, and Reignier, marching with Drum and Soldiers.]
CHARLES. Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens So in the earth, to this day is not known: Late did he shine upon the English side; Now we are victors; upon us he smiles. What towns of any moment but we have? At pleasure here we lie near Orleans; Otherwhiles the famish'd English, like pale ghosts, Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.
ALENCON. They want their porridge and their fat bull beeves Either they must be dieted like mules, And have their provender tied to their mouths, Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice.
REIGNIER. Let's raise the siege: why live we idly here? Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear: Remaineth none but mad-brain'd Salisbury; And he may well in fretting spend his gall, Nor men nor money hath he to make war.
CHARLES. Sound, sound alarum! we will rush on them. Now for the honour of the forlorn French! Him I forgive my death that killeth me When he sees me go back one foot or flee.
Here alarum; they are beaten back by the English, with great loss. Re-enter Charles, Alencon, and Reignier.
CHARLES. Who ever saw the like? what men have I! Dogs! cowards! dastards! I would ne'er have fled, But that they left me 'midst my enemies.
REIGNIER. Salisbury is a desperate homicide; He fighteth as one weary of his life. The other lords, like lions wanting food, Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.
ALENCON. Froissart, a countryman of ours, records, England all Olivers and Rowlands bred During the time Edward the Third did reign. More truly now may this be verified; For none but Samsons and Goliases It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten! Lean raw-bon'd rascals! who would e'er suppose They had such courage and audacity?
CHARLES. Let's leave this town; for they are hare-brain'd slaves, And hunger will enforce them to be more eager: Of old I know them; rather with their teeth The walls they'll tear down than forsake the siege.
REIGNIER. I think by some odd gimmors or device Their arms are set like clocks, still to strike on; Else ne'er could they hold out so as they do. By my consent, we'll even let them alone.
ALENCON. Be it so.
[Enter the Bastard of Orleans.]
BASTARD. Where's the Prince Dauphin? I have news for him.
CHARLES. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us.
BASTARD. Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appall'd: Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence? Be not dismay'd, for succour is at hand: A holy maid hither with me I bring, Which by a vision sent to her from heaven Ordained is to raise this tedious siege, And drive the English forth the bounds of France. The spirit of deep prophecy she hath, Exceeding the nine sibyls of old Rome: What's past and what's to come she can descry. Speak, shall I call her in? Believe my words, For they are certain and unfallible.
CHARLES. Go, call her in. [Exit Bastard.] But first, to try her skill, Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place; Question her proudly; let thy looks be stern: By this means shall we sound what skill she hath.
[Re-enter the Bastard of Orleans, with Joan La Pucelle.]
REIGNIER. Fair maid, is 't thou wilt do these wondrous feats?
PUCELLE. Reignier is 't thou that thinkest to beguile me? Where is the Dauphin? Come, come from behind; I know thee well, though never seen before. Be not amazed, there's nothing hid from me. In private will I talk with thee apart. Stand back, you lords, and give us leave awhile.
REIGNIER. She takes upon her bravely at first dash.
PUCELLE. Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter, My wit untrain'd in any kind of art. Heaven and our Lady gracious hath it pleased To shine on my contemptible estate: Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks, God's mother deigned to appear to me, And in a vision full of majesty Will'd me to leave my base vocation, And free my country from calamity: Her aid she promised and assured success: In complete glory she reveal'd herself; And, whereas I was black and swart before, With those clear rays which she infused on me That beauty am I bless'd with which you may see. Ask me what question thou canst possible, And I will answer unpremeditated: My courage try by combat, if thou dar'st, And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex. Resolve on this, thou shalt be fortunate, If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
CHARLES. Thou hast astonish'd me with thy high terms; Only this proof I 'll of thy valour make, In single combat thou shalt buckle with me, And if thou vanquishest, thy words are true; Otherwise I renounce all confidence.
PUCELLE. I am prepared: here is my keen-edg'd sword, Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side, The which at Touraine, in Saint Katharine's church-yard, Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.
CHARLES. Then come, o' God's name; I fear no woman.
PUCELLE. And while I live, I 'll ne'er fly from a man. Here they fight, and Joan La Pucelle overcomes.
CHARLES. Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon, And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
PUCELLE. Christ's Mother helps me, else I were too weak.
CHARLES. Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must help me: Impatiently I burn with thy desire; My heart and hands thou hast at once subdued. Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so, Let me thy servant and not sovereign be: 'Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus.
PUCELLE. I must not yield to any rites of love, For my profession's sacred from above: When I have chased all thy foes from hence, Then will I think upon a recompense.
CHARLES. Meantime look gracious on thy prostrate thrall.
REIGNIER. My lord, methinks, is very long in talk.
ALENCON. Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock; Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech.
REIGNIER. Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean?
ALENCON. He may mean more than we poor men do know: These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues.
REIGNIER. My lord, where are you? what devise you on? Shall we give over Orleans, or no?
PUCELLE. Why, no, I say; distrustful recreants! Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.
CHARLES. What she says I'll confirm: we'll fight it out:
PUCELLE. Assign'd am I to be the English scourge. This night the siege assuredly I 'll raise: Expect Saint Martin's summer, halcyon days, Since I have entered into these wars. Glory is like a circle in the water, Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought. With Henry's death the English circle ends; Dispersed are the glories it included. Now am I like that proud insulting ship Which Caesar and his fortune bare at once.
CHARLES. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove? Thou with an eagle art inspired then. Helen, the mother of great Constantine, Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters, were like thee. Bright star of Venus, fall'n down on the earth, How may I reverently worship thee enough?
ALENCON. Leave off delays, and let us raise the siege.
REIGNIER. Woman, do what thou canst to save our honors; Drive them from Orleans and be immortalized.
CHARLES. Presently we 'll try: come, let's away about it: No prophet will I trust, if she prove false.
London. Before the Tower.
[Enter the Duke of Gloucester, with his Serving-men in blue coats.]
GLOUCESTER. I am come to survey the Tower this day: Since Henry's death, I fear, there is conveyance. Where be these warders that they wait not here? Open the gates; 'tis Gloucester that calls.
FIRST WARDER. [Within] Who's there that knocks so imperiously?
FIRST SERVING-MAN. It is the noble Duke of Gloucester.
SECOND WARDER. [Within] Whoe'er he be, you may not be let in.
FIRST SERVING-MAN. Villains, answer you so the lord protector?
FIRST WARDER. [Within] The Lord protect him! so we answer him: We do no otherwise than we are will'd.
GLOUCESTER. Who willed you? or whose will stands but mine? There's none protector of the realm but I. Break up the gates, I 'll be your warrantize: Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms? Gloucester's men rush at the Tower Gates, and Woodvile the Lieutenant speaks within.
WOODVILE. What noise is this? what traitors have we here?
GLOUCESTER. Lieutenant, is it you whose voice I hear? Open the gates; here's Gloucester that would enter.
WOODVILE. Have patience, noble duke; I may not open; The Cardinal of Winchester forbids: From him I have express commandment That thou nor none of thine shall be let in.
GLOUCESTER. Faint-hearted Woodvile, prizest him 'fore me? Arrogant Winchester, that haughty prelate Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook? Thou art no friend to God or to the King. Open the gates, or I 'll shut thee out shortly.
SERVING-MEN. Open the gates unto the lord protector, Or we 'll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.
[Enter to the Protector at the Tower Gates Winchester and his men in tawny coats.]
WINCHESTER. How now, ambitious Humphry! what means this?
GLOUCESTER. Peel'd priest, dost thou command me to be shut out?
WINCHESTER. I do, thou most usurping proditor, And not protector, of the king or realm.
GLOUCESTER. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator, Thou that contrivedst to murder our dead lord; Thou that givest whores indulgences to sin: I 'll canvass thee in thy broad cardinal's hat, If thou proceed in this thy insolence.
WINCHESTER. Nay, stand thou back; I will not budge a foot: This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain, To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.
GLOUCESTER. I will not slay thee, but I 'll drive thee back: Thy scarlet robes as a child's bearing-cloth I 'll use to carry thee out of this place.
WINCHESTER. Do what thou darest; I beard thee to thy face.
GLOUCESTER. What! am I dared and bearded to my face? Draw, men, for all this privileged place; Blue coats to tawny coats. Priest, beware your beard; I mean to tug it and to cuff you soundly: Under my feet I stamp thy cardinal's hat: In spite of pope or dignities of church, Here by the cheeks I 'll drag thee up and down.
WINCHESTER. Gloucester, thou wilt answer this before the pope.
GLOUCESTER. Winchester goose, I cry, a rope! a rope!
Now beat them hence; why do you let them stay? Thee I 'll chase hence, thou wolf in sheep's array. Out, tawny coats! out, scarlet hypocrite! Here Gloucester's men beat out the Cardinal's men, and enter in the hurly-burly the Mayor of London and his Officers.
MAYOR. Fie, lords! that you, being supreme magistrates, Thus contumeliously should break the peace!
GLOUCESTER. Peace, mayor! thou know'st little of my wrongs: Here's Beaufort, that regards nor God nor king, Hath here distrain'd the Tower to his use.
WINCHESTER. Here's Gloucester, a foe to citizens, One that still motions war and never peace, O'ercharging your free purses with large fines, That seeks to overthrow religion, Because he is protector of the realm, And would have armour here out of the Tower, To crown himself king and suppress the prince.
GLOUCESTER. I will not answer thee with words, but blows. Here they skirmish again.
MAYOR. Nought rests for me in this tumultuous strife But to make open proclamation: Come, officer; as loud as e'er thou canst: Cry.
OFFICER. All manner of men assembled here in arms this day against God's peace and the king's, we charge and command you, in his highness' name, to repair to your several dwelling-places; and not to wear, handle, or use any sword, weapon, or dagger, henceforward, upon pain of death.
GLOUCESTER. Cardinal, I 'll be no breaker of the law; But we shall meet, and break our minds at large.
WINCHESTER. Gloucester, we will meet; to thy cost, be sure; Thy heart-blood I will have for this day's work.
MAYOR. I 'll call for clubs, if you will not away. This Cardinal's more haughty than the devil.
GLOUCESTER. Mayor, farewell: thou dost but what thou mayst.
WINCHESTER. Abominable Gloucester, guard thy head; For I intend to have it ere long.
[Exeunt, severally, Gloucester and Winchester with their Serving-men.]
MAYOR. See the coast clear'd, and then we will depart. Good God, these nobles should such stomachs bear! I myself fight not once in forty year.
SCENE IV. Orleans.
[Enter, on the walls, a Master Gunner and his Boy.]
MASTER GUNNER. Sirrah, thou know'st how Orleans is besieged, And how the English have the suburbs won.
BOY. Father, I know; and oft have shot at them, Howe'er unfortunate I miss'd my aim.
MASTER GUNNER. But now thou shalt not. Be thou ruled by me: Chief master-gunner am I of this town; Something I must do to procure me grace. The prince's espials have informed me How the English, in the suburbs close intrench'd, Wont through a secret grate of iron bars In yonder tower to overpeer the city, And thence discover how with most advantage They may vex us with shot or with assault. To intercept this inconvenience, A piece of ordnance 'gainst it I have placed; And even these three days have I watch'd, If I could see them. Now do thou watch, for I can stay no longer. If thou spy'st any, run and bring me word; And thou shalt find me at the governor's.
BOY. Father, I warrant you; take you no care; I'll never trouble you, if I may spy them.
[Enter, on the turrets, the Lords Salisbury and Talbot, Sir William Glansdale, Sir Thomas Gargrave, and others.]
SALISBURY. Talbot, my life, my joy, again return'd! How wert thou handled being prisoner? Or by what means got'st thou to be releas'd? Discourse, I prithee, on this turret's top.
TALBOT. The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner Call'd the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles; For him was I exchanged and ransomed. But with a baser man of arms by far Once in contempt they would have barter'd me: Which I disdaining scorn'd, and craved death Rather than I would be so vile-esteem'd. In fine, redeem'd I was as I desired. But, O! the treacherous Fastolfe wounds my heart, Whom with my bare fists I would execute, If I now had him brought into my power.
SALISBURY. Yet tell'st thou not how thou wert entertain'd.
TALBOT. With scoffs and scorns and contumelious taunts. In open market-place produced they me, To be a public spectacle to all: Here, said they, is the terror of the French, The scarecrow that affrights our children so. Then broke I from the officers that led me, And with my nails digg'd stones out of the ground To hurl at the beholders of my shame; My grisly countenance made others fly; None durst come near for fear of sudden death. In iron walls they deem'd me not secure; So great fear of my name 'mongst them was spread That they supposed I could rend bars of steel, And spurn in pieces posts of adamant: Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had, That walk'd about me every minute while; And if I did but stir out of my bed, Ready they were to shoot me to the heart.
[Enter the Boy with a linstock.]
SALISBURY. I grieve to hear what torments you endured, But we will be revenged sufficiently. Now it is supper-time in Orleans: Here, through this grate, I count each one, And view the Frenchmen how they fortify: Let us look in; the sight will much delight thee. Sir Thomas Gargrave and Sir William Glansdale, Let me have your express opinions Where is best place to make our battery next.
GARGRAVE. I think, at the north gate; for there stand lords.
GLANSDALE. And I, here, at the bulwark of the bridge.
TALBOT. For aught I see, this city must be famish'd, Or with light skirmishes enfeebled.
[Here they shoot. Salisbury and Gargrave fall.]
SALISBURY. O Lord, have mercy on us, wretched sinners!
GARGRAVE. O Lord, have mercy on me, woful man!
TALBOT. What chance is this that suddenly hath cross'd us? Speak, Salisbury: at least, if thou canst speak: How farest thou, mirror of all martial men? One of thy eyes and thy cheek's side struck off! Accursed tower! accursed fatal hand That hath contrived this woful tragedy! In thirteen battles Salisbury o'ercame; Henry the Fifth he first train'd to the wars; Whilst any trump did sound, or drum struck up, His sword did ne'er leave striking in the field. Yet liv'st thou, Salisbury? though thy speech doth fail, One eye thou hast, to look to heaven for grace: The sun with one eye vieweth all the world. Heaven, be thou gracious to none alive, If Salisbury wants mercy at thy hands! Bear hence his body; I will help to bury it, Sir Thomas Gargrave, hast thou any life? Speak unto Talbot; nay, look up to him. Salisbury, cheer thy spirit with this comfort, Thou shalt not die whiles— He beckons with his hand and smiles on me, As who should say 'When I am dead and gone, Remember to avenge me on the French.' Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero, Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn; Wretched shall France be only in thy name.
[Here an alarum, and it thunders and lightens. ]
What stir is this? what tumult's in the heavens? Whence cometh this alarum and the noise?
[Enter a Messenger.]
MESSENGER. My lord, my lord, the French have gather'd head: The Dauphin, with one Joan la Pucelle join'd, A holy prophetess new risen up, Is come with a great power to raise the siege.
[Here SALISBURY lifteth himself up and groans.]
TALBOT. Hear, hear how dying Salisbury doth groan! It irks his heart he cannot be revenged. Frenchmen, I 'll be a Salisbury to you: Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish, Your hearts I 'll stamp out with my horse's heels, And make a quagmire of your mingled brains. Convey me Salisbury into his tent, And then we 'll try what these dastard Frenchmen dare.
SCENE V. The same.
[Here an alarum again: and Talbot pursueth the Dauphin, and driveth him: then enter Joan La Pucelle, driving Englishmen before her, and exit after them: then re-enter Talbot.]
TALBOT. Where is my strength, my valor, and my force? Our English troops retire, I cannot stay them: A woman clad in armour chaseth them.
[Re-enter La Pucelle.]
Here, here she comes. I 'll have a bout with thee; Devil or devil's dam, I 'll conjure thee: Blood will I draw on thee, thou art a witch, And straightway give thy soul to him thou servest.
PUCELLE. Come, come, 'tis only I that must disgrace thee.
[Here they fight.]
TALBOT. Heavens, can you suffer hell so to prevail? My breast I 'll burst with straining of my courage, And from my shoulders crack my arms asunder, But I will chastise this high-minded strumpet.
[They fight again.]
PUCELLE. Talbot, farewell; thy hour is not yet come: I must go victual Orleans forthwith.
[A short alarum: then enter the town with soldiers.]
O'ertake me, if thou canst; I scorn thy strength. Go, go, cheer up thy hungry-starved men; Help Salisbury to make his testament: This day is ours, as many more shall be.
TALBOT. My thoughts are whirled like a potter's wheel; I know not where I am, nor what I do; A witch, by fear, not force, like Hannibal, Drives back our troops and conquers as she lists. So bees with smoke and doves with noisome stench Are from their hives and houses driven away. They call'd us for our fierceness English dogs; Now, like to whelps, we crying run away.
[A short alarum.]
Hark, countrymen! either renew the fight, Or tear the lions out of England's coat; Renounce your soil, give sheep in lions' stead: Sheep run not half so treacherous from the wolf, Or horse or oxen from the leopard, As you fly from your oft-subdued slaves.
[Alarum. Here another skirmish.]
It will not be: retire into your trenches: You all consented unto Salisbury's death, For none would strike a stroke in his revenge. Pucelle is ent'red into Orleans, In spite of us or aught that we could do. O, would I were to die with Salisbury! The shame hereof will make me hide my head.
[Exit Talbot. Alarum; retreat; flourish.]
SCENE VI. The Same.
[Enter, on the walls, La Pucelle, Charles, Reignier, Alencon, and Soldiers.]
PUCELLE. Advance our waving colours on the walls; Rescued is Orleans from the English: Thus Joan la Pucelle hath perform'd her word.
CHARLES. Divinest creature, Astraea's daughter, How shall I honour thee for this success? Thy promises are like Adonis' gardens That one day bloom'd and fruitful were the next. France, triumph in thy glorious prophetess! Recover'd is the town of Orleans. More blessed hap did ne'er befall our state.
REIGNIER. Why ring not out the bells aloud throughout the town? Dauphin, command the citizens make bonfires And feast and banquet in the open streets, To celebrate the joy that God hath given us.
ALENCON. All France will be replete with mirth and joy, When they shall hear how we have play'd the men.
CHARLES. 'Tis Joan, not we, by whom the day is won; For which I will divide my crown with her; And all the priests and friars in my realm Shall in procession sing her endless praise. A statelier pyramis to her I 'll rear Than Rhodope's of Memphis ever was; In memory of her when she is dead, Her ashes, in an urn more precious Than the rich-jewel'd coffer of Darius, Transported shall be at high festivals Before the kings and queens of France. No longer on Saint Denis will we cry, But Joan la Pucelle shall be France's saint. Come in, and let us banquet royally After this golden day of victory.
SCENE I. Before Orleans.
[Enter a Sergeant of a band, with two Sentinels.]
SERGEANT. Sirs, take your places and be vigilant: If any noise or soldier you perceive Near to the walls, by some apparent sign Let us have knowledge at the court of guard.
FIRST SENTINEL. Sergeant, you shall. [Exit Sergeant. Thus are poor servitors, When others sleep upon their quiet beds, Constrain'd to watch in darkness, rain and cold.
[Enter Talbot, Bedford, Burgundy, and forces, with scaling-ladders, their drums beating a dead march.]
TALBOT. Lord Regent, and redoubted Burgundy, By whose approach the regions of Artois, Wallon and Picardy are friends to us, This happy night the Frenchmen are secure, Having all day caroused and banqueted: Embrace we then this opportunity, As fitting best to quittance their deceit Contriv'd by art and baleful sorcery.
BEDFORD. Coward of France, how much he wrongs his fame, Despairing of his own arm's fortitude, To join with witches and the help of hell!
BURGUNDY. Traitors have never other company. But what 's that Pucelle whom they term so pure?
TALBOT. A maid, they say.
BEDFORD. A maid! and be so martial!
BURGUNDY. Pray God she prove not masculine ere long, If underneath the standard of the French She carry armour as she hath begun.
TALBOT. Well, let them practice and converse with spirits: God is our fortress, in whose conquering name Let us resolve to scale their flinty bulwarks.
BEDFORD. Ascend, brave Talbot; we will follow thee.
TALBOT. Not all together: better far, I guess, That we do make our entrance several ways; That, if it chance the one of us do fail, The other yet may rise against their force.
BEDFORD. Agreed: I 'll to yond corner.
BURGUNDY. And I to this.
TALBOT. And here will Talbot mount, or make his grave. Now, Salisbury, for thee, and for the right Of English Henry, shall this night appear How much in duty I am bound to both.
SENTINEL. Arm! arm! the enemy doth make assault!
[Cry: 'St George,' 'A Talbot.']
[The French leap over the walls in their shirts. Enter, several ways, the Bastard of Orleans, Alencon, and Reignier, half ready, and half unready.]
ALENCON. How now, my lords! what, all unready so?
BASTARD. Unready! aye, and glad we 'scap'd so well.
REIGNIER. 'Twas time, I trow, to wake and leave our beds, Hearing alarums at our chamber-doors.
ALENCON. Of all exploits since first I follow'd arms, Ne'er heard I of a warlike enterprise More venturous or desperate than this.
BASTARD. I think this Talbot be a fiend of hell.
REIGNIER. If not of hell, the heavens, sure, favor him.
ALENCON. Here cometh Charles: I marvel how he sped.
BASTARD. Tut, holy Joan was his defensive guard.
[Enter Charles and La Pucelle.]
CHARLES. Is this thy cunning, thou deceitful dame? Didst thou at first, to flatter us withal, Make us partakers of a little gain, That now our loss might be ten times so much?
PUCELLE. Wherefore is Charles impatient with his friend? At all times will you have my power alike? Sleeping or waking must I still prevail, Or will you blame and lay the fault on me? Improvident soldiers! had your watch been good, This sudden mischief never could have fall'n.
CHARLES. Duke of Alencon, this was your default, That, being captain of the watch to-night, Did look no better to that weighty charge.
ALENCON. Had all your quarters been as safely kept As that whereof I had the government, We had not been thus shamefully surprised.
BASTARD. Mine was secure.
REIGNIER. And so was mine, my lord.
CHARLES. And, for myself, most part of all this night, Within her quarter and mine own precinct I was employ'd in passing to and fro, About relieving of the sentinels: Then how or which way should they first break in?
PUCELLE. Question, my lords, no further of the case, How or which way: 'tis sure they found some place But weakly guarded, where the breach was made. And now there rests no other shift but this; To gather our soldiers, scatter'd and dispersed, And lay new platforms to endamage them.
[Alarum. Enter an English Soldier, crying 'A Talbot! a Talbot!' They fly, leaving their clothes behind.]
SOLDIER. I 'll be so bold to take what they have left. The cry of Talbot serves me for a sword; For I have loaden me with many spoils, Using no other weapon but his name.
SCENE II. Orleans. Within the town.
[Enter Talbot, Bedford, Burgundy, a Captain, and others.]
BEDFORD. The day begins to break, and night is fled, Whose pitchy mantle over-veil'd the earth. Here sound retreat, and cease our hot pursuit.
TALBOT. Bring forth the body of old Salisbury, And here advance it in the market-place, The middle centre of this cursed town. Now have I paid my vow unto his soul; For every drop of blood was drawn from him There hath at least five Frenchmen died to-night. And that hereafter ages may behold What ruin happen'd in revenge of him,
Within their chiefest temple I 'll erect A tomb, wherein his corpse shall be interr'd; Upon the which, that every one may read, Shall be engraved the sack of Orleans, The treacherous manner of his mournful death And what a terror he had been to France. But, lords, in all our bloody massacre, I muse we met not with the Dauphin's grace, His new-come champion, virtuous Joan of Arc, Nor any of his false confederates.
BEDFORD. 'Tis thought, Lord Talbot, when the fight began, Rous'd on the sudden from their drowsy beds, They did amongst the troops of armed men Leap o'er the walls for refuge in the field.
BURGUNDY. Myself, as far as I could well discern For smoke and dusky vapors of the night, Am sure I scared the Dauphin and his trull, When arm in arm they both came swiftly running, Like to a pair of loving turtle-doves That could not live asunder day or night. After that things are set in order here, We'll follow them with all the power we have.
[Enter a Messenger.]
MESSENGER. All hail, my lords! Which of this princely train Call ye the warlike Talbot, for his acts So much applauded through the realm of France?
TALBOT. Here is the Talbot: who would speak with him?
MESSENGER. The virtuous lady, Countess of Auvergne, With modesty admiring thy renown, By me entreats, great lord, thou wouldst vouchsafe To visit her poor castle where she lies, That she may boast she hath beheld the man Whose glory fills the world with loud report.
BURGUNDY. Is it even so? Nay, then I see our wars Will turn into a peaceful comic sport, When ladies crave to be encount'red with. You may not, my lord, despise her gentle suit.
TALBOT. Ne'er trust me then; for when a world of men Could not prevail with all their oratory, Yet hath a woman's kindness over-ruled: And therefore tell her I return great thanks, And in submission will attend on her. Will not your honors bear me company?
BEDFORD. No, truly; it is more than manners will: And I have heard it said, unbidden guests Are often welcomest when they are gone.
TALBOT. Well then, alone, since there 's no remedy, I mean to prove this lady's courtesy. Come hither, Captain. [Whispers] You perceive my mind?
CAPTAIN. I do, my lord, and mean accordingly.
SCENE III. Auvergne. The Countess's castle.
[Enter the Countess and her Porter.]
COUNTESS. Porter, remember what I gave in charge; And when you have done so, bring the keys to me.
PORTER. Madam, I will.
COUNTESS. The plot is laid: if all things fall out right, I shall as famous be by this exploit As Scythian Tomyris by Cyrus' death. Great is the rumor of this dreadful knight, And his achievements of no less account: Fain would mine eyes be witness with mine ears, To give their censure of these rare reports.
[Enter Messenger and Talbot.]
MESSENGER. Madam, according as your ladyship desired, By message craved, so is Lord Talbot come.
COUNTESS. And he is welcome. What! is this the man?
MESSENGER. Madam, it is.
COUNTESS. Is this the scourge of France? Is this the Talbot, so much fear'd abroad That with his name the mothers still their babes? I see report is fabulous and false: I thought I should have seen some Hercules, A second Hector, for his grim aspect, And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs. Alas, this is a child, a silly dwarf! It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp Should strike such terror to his enemies.
TALBOT. Madam, I have been bold to trouble you; But since your ladyship is not at leisure, I 'll sort some other time to visit you.
COUNTESS. What means he now? Go ask him whither he goes.
MESSENGER. Stay, my Lord Talbot; for my lady craves To know the cause of your abrupt departure.
TALBOT. Marry, for that she's in a wrong belief, I go to certify her Talbot's here.
[Re-enter Porter with keys.]
COUNTESS. If thou be he, then art thou prisoner.
TALBOT. Prisoner! to whom?
COUNTESS. To me, blood-thirsty lord; And for that cause I train'd thee to my house. Long time thy shadow hath been thrall to me, For in my gallery thy picture hangs: But now the substance shall endure the like, And I will chain these legs and arms of thine, That hast by tyranny these many years Wasted our country, slain our citizens, And sent our sons and husbands captivate.
TALBOT. Ha, ha, ha!
COUNTESS. Laughest thou, wretch? Thy mirth shall turn to moan.
TALBOT. I laugh to see your ladyship so fond To think that you have aught but Talbot's shadow Whereon to practice your severity.
COUNTESS. Why, art not thou the man?
TALBOT. I am indeed.
COUNTESS. Then have I substance too.
TALBOT. No, no, I am but shadow of myself: You are deceived, my substance is not here; For what you see is but the smallest part And least proportion of humanity: I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here, It is of such a spacious lofty pitch, Your roof were not sufficient to contain 't.
COUNTESS. This is a riddling merchant for the nonce; He will be here, and yet he is not here: How can these contrarieties agree?
TALBOT. That will I show you presently.
[Winds his horn. Drums strike up: a peal of ordnance. Enter Soldiers.]
How say you, madam? are you now persuaded That Talbot is but shadow of himself? These are his substance, sinews, arms and strength, With which he yoketh your rebellious necks, Razeth your cities and subverts your towns, And in a moment makes them desolate.
COUNTESS. Victorious Talbot! pardon my abuse: I find thou art no less than fame hath bruited, And more than may be gather'd by thy shape. Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath; For I am sorry that with reverence I did not entertain thee as thou art.
TALBOT. Be not dismay'd, fair lady; nor misconstrue The mind of Talbot, as you did mistake The outward composition of his body. What you have done hath not offended me; Nor other satisfaction do I crave, But only, with your patience, that we may Taste of your wine and see what cates you have; For soldiers' stomachs always serve them well.
COUNTESS. With all my heart, and think me honored To feast so great a warrior in my house.
SCENE IV. London. The Temple-garden.
[Enter the Earls of Somerset, Suffolk, and Warwick; Richard Plantagenet, Vernon, and another Lawyer.]
PLANTAGENET. Great lords and gentlemen, what means this silence? Dare no man answer in a case of truth?
SUFFOLK. Within the Temple-hall we were too loud; The garden here is more convenient.
PLANTAGENET. Then say at once if I maintain'd the truth; Or else was wrangling Somerset in the error?
SUFFOLK. 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.
SOMERSET. Judge you, my Lord of Warwick, then, between us.
WARWICK. 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.
PLANTAGENET. Tut, tut, here is a mannerly forbearance: The truth appears so naked on my side That any purblind eye may find it out.
SOMERSET. And on my side it is so well apparell'd, So clear, so shining and so evident, That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye.
PLANTAGENET. Since you are tongue-tied and so loath to speak, In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts: Let him that is a true-born gentleman And stands upon the honor 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.
WARWICK. I love no colours, and without all colour Of base insinuating flattery I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
SUFFOLK. I pluck this red rose with young Somerset, And say withal I think he held the right.
VERNON. Stay, lords and gentlemen, and pluck no more, Till you conclude that he, upon whose side The fewest roses are cropp'd from the tree Shall yield the other in the right opinion.
SOMERSET. Good Master Vernon, it is well objected: If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
PLANTAGENET. And I.
VERNON. Then for the truth and plainness of the case, I pluck this pale and maiden blossom here, Giving my verdict on the white rose side.
SOMERSET. Prick not your finger as you pluck it off, Lest bleeding, you do paint the white rose red, And fall on my side so, against your will.
VERNON. If I, my lord, for my opinion bleed, Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt And keep me on the side where still I am.
SOMERSET. Well, well, come on: who else?
LAWYER. Unless my study and my books be false, The argument you held was wrong in you;
In sign whereof I pluck a white rose too.
PLANTAGENET. Now, Somerset, where is your argument?
SOMERSET. Here in my scabbard, meditating that Shall dye your white rose in a bloody red.
PLANTAGENET. Meantime your cheeks do counterfeit our roses; For pale they look with fear, as witnessing The truth on our side.
SOMERSET. No, Plantagenet, 'Tis not for fear but anger that thy cheeks Blush for pure shame to counterfeit our roses, And yet thy tongue will not confess thy error.
PLANTAGENET. Hath not thy rose a canker, Somerset?
SOMERSET. Hath not thy rose a thorn, Plantagenet?
PLANTAGENET. Ay, sharp and piercing, to maintain his truth; Whiles thy consuming canker eats his falsehood.
SOMERSET. Well, I 'll find friends to wear my bleeding roses, That shall maintain what I have said is true, Where false Plantagenet dare not be seen.
PLANTAGENET. Now, by this maiden blossom in my hand, I scorn thee and thy fashion, peevish boy.
SUFFOLK. Turn not thy scorns this way, Plantagenet.
PLANTAGENET. Proud Pole, I will, and scorn both him and thee.
SUFFOLK. I'll turn my part thereof into thy throat.
SOMERSET. Away, away, good William de la Pole! We grace the yeoman by conversing with him.
WARWICK. Now, by God's will, thou wrong'st him, Somerset; His grandfather was Lionel Duke of Clarence, Third son to the third Edward King of England: Spring crestless yeomen from so deep a root?
PLANTAGENET. He bears him on the place's privilege, Or durst not, for his craven heart, say thus.
SOMERSET. By Him that made me, I'll maintain my words On any plot of ground in Christendom. Was not thy father, Richard Earl of Cambridge, For treason executed in our late king's days? And, by his treason, stand'st not thou attainted, Corrupted, and exempt from ancient gentry? His trespass yet lives guilty in thy blood; And, till thou be restored, thou art a yeoman.
PLANTAGENET. My father was attached, not attainted, Condemn'd to die for treason, but no traitor; And that I'll prove on better men than Somerset, Were growing time once ripen'd to my will. For your partaker Pole and you yourself, I'll note you in my book of memory, To scourge you for this apprehension: Look to it well and say you are well warn'd.
SOMERSET. Ay, thou shalt find us ready for thee still; And know us by these colors for thy foes, For these my friends in spite of thee shall wear.
PLANTAGENET. And, by my soul, this pale and angry rose, As cognizance of my blood-drinking hate, Will I for ever and my faction wear, Until it wither with me to my grave, Or flourish to the height of my degree.
SUFFOLK. Go forward, and be chok'd with thy ambition! And so farewell until I meet thee next.
SOMERSET. Have with thee, Pole. Farewell, ambitious Richard.
PLANTAGENET. How I am braved and must perforce endure it!
WARWICK. This blot that they object against your house Shall be wiped out in the next parliament Call'd for the truce of Winchester and Gloucester; And if thou be not then created York, I will not live to be accounted Warwick. Meantime, in signal of my love to thee, Against proud Somerset and William Pole, Will I upon thy party wear this rose: And here I prophesy: this brawl to-day, Grown to this faction in the Temple-garden, Shall send between the red rose and the white A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
PLANTAGENET. Good Master Vernon, I am bound to you, That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.
VERNON. In your behalf still will I wear the same.
LAWYER. And so will I.
PLANTAGENET. Thanks, gentle sir. Come, let us four to dinner: I dare say This quarrel will drink blood another day.
SCENE V. The Tower of London.
[Enter Mortimer, brought in a chair, and Jailers.]
MORTIMER. Kind keepers of my weak decaying age, Let dying Mortimer here rest himself. Even like a man new haled from the rack, So fare my limbs with long imprisonment; And these gray locks, the pursuivants of death, Nestor-like aged in an age of care, Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer. These eyes, like lamps whose wasting oil is spent, Wax dim, as drawing to their exigent; Weak shoulders, overborne with burdening grief, And pithless arms, like to a wither'd vine That droops his sapless branches to the ground: Yet are these feet, whose strengthless stay is numb, Unable to support this lump of clay, Swift-winged with desire to get a grave, As witting I no other comfort have. But tell me, keeper, will my nephew come?
FIRST JAILER. Richard Plantagenet, my lord, will come: We sent unto the Temple, unto his chamber; And answer was return'd that he will come.
MORTIMER. Enough: my soul shall then be satisfied. Poor gentleman! his wrong doth equal mine. Since Henry Monmouth first began to reign, Before whose glory I was great in arms, This loathsome sequestration have I had; And even since then hath Richard been obscured, Deprived of honour and inheritance. But now the arbitrator of despairs, Just Death, kind umpire of men's miseries, With sweet enlargement doth dismiss me hence: I would his troubles likewise were expired, That so he might recover what was lost.
[Enter Richard Plantagenet.]
FIRST JAILER. My lord, your loving nephew now is come.
MORTIMER. Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come?
PLANTAGENET. Aye, noble uncle, thus ignobly used, Your nephew, late despised Richard, comes.
MORTIMER. Direct mine arms I may embrace his neck, And in his bosom spend my latter gasp: O, tell me when my lips do touch his cheeks, That I may kindly give one fainting kiss. And now declare, sweet stem from York's great stock, Why didst thou say of late thou wert despised?
PLANTAGENET. First, lean thine aged back against mine arm; And, in that case, I'll tell thee my disease. This day, in argument upon a case, Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me; Among which terms he used his lavish tongue And did upbraid me with my father's death: Which obloquy set bars before my tongue, Else with the like I had requited him. Therefore, good uncle, for my father's sake, In honor of a true Plantagenet And for alliance sake, declare the cause My father, Earl of Cambridge, lost his head.
MORTIMER. That cause, fair nephew, that imprison'd me And hath detain'd me all my flowering youth Within a loathsome dungeon, there to pine, Was cursed instrument of his decease.
PLANTAGENET. Discover more at large what cause that was, For I am ignorant and cannot guess.
MORTIMER. I will, if that my fading breath permit, And death approach not ere my tale be done. Henry the Fourth, grandfather to this king, Deposed his nephew Richard, Edward's son, The first-begotten and the lawful heir Of Edward king, the third of that descent; During whose reign the Percies of the north, Finding his usurpation most unjust, Endeavour'd my advancement to the throne. The reason moved these warlike lords to this Was, for that—young King Richard thus removed, Leaving no heir begotten of his body— I was the next by birth and parentage; For by my mother I derived am From Lionel Duke of Clarence, third son To King Edward the Third; whereas he From John of Gaunt doth bring his pedigree, Being but fourth of that heroic line. But mark: as in this haughty great attempt They labored to plant the rightful heir, I lost my liberty and they their lives. Long after this, when Henry the Fifth, Succeeding his father Bolingbroke, did reign, Thy father, Earl of Cambridge, then derived From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of York, Marrying my sister that thy mother was, Again in pity of my hard distress. Levied an army, weening to redeem And have install'd me in the diadem: But, as the rest, so fell that noble earl And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers, In whom the title rested, were suppress'd.
PLANTAGENET. Of which, my lord, your honor is the last.
MORTIMER. True; and thou seest that I no issue have, And that my fainting words do warrant death: Thou art my heir; the rest I wish thee gather: But yet be wary in thy studious care.
PLANTAGENET. Thy grave admonishments prevail with me: But yet, methinks, my father's execution Was nothing less than bloody tyranny.
MORTIMER. With silence, nephew, be thou politic: Strong-fixed is the house of Lancaster, And like a mountain not to be removed. But now thy uncle is removing hence; As princes do their courts, when they are cloy'd With long continuance in a settled place.
PLANTAGENET. O, uncle, would some part of my young years Might but redeem the passage of your age!
MORTIMER. Thou dost then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth Which giveth many wounds when one will kill. Mourn not, except thou sorrow for my good; Only give order for my funeral: And so farewell, and fair be all thy hopes, And prosperous be thy life in peace and war!
PLANTAGENET. And peace, no war, befall thy parting soul! In prison hast thou spent a pilgrimage, And like a hermit overpass'd thy days. Well, I will lock his counsel in my breast; And what I do imagine let that rest. Keepers, convey him hence; and I myself Will see his burial better than his life.
[Exeunt Jailers, bearing out the body of Mortimer.]
Here dies the dusky torch of Mortimer, Choked with ambition of the meaner sort: And for those wrongs, those bitter injuries, Which Somerset hath offer'd to my house, I doubt not but with honour to redress; And therefore haste I to the parliament, Either to be restored to my blood, Or make my ill the advantage of my good.
SCENE I. London. The Parliament-house.
[Flourish. Enter King, Exeter, Gloucester, Warwick, Somerset, and Suffolk; the Bishop of Winchester, Richard Plantagenet, and others. Gloucester offers to put up a bill; Winchester snatches it, tears it.]
WINCHESTER. Comest thou with deep premeditated lines, With written pamphlets studiously devised, 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.
GLOUCESTER. Presumptuous priest! this place commands my patience, Or thou shouldst find thou hast dishonor'd me. Think not, although in writing I preferr'd The manner of thy vile outrageous crimes, That therefore I have forged, 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 are sifted The king, thy sovereign, is not quite exempt From envious malice of thy swelling heart.
WINCHESTER. 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 provoked. No, my good lords, it is not that offends; It is not that that hath incensed 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—
GLOUCESTER. As good! Thou bastard of my grandfather!
WINCHESTER. Aye, lordly sir; for what are you, I pray, But one imperious in another's throne?
GLOUCESTER. Am I not protector, saucy priest?
WINCHESTER. And am not I a prelate of the church?
GLOUCESTER. Yes, as an outlaw in a castle keeps And useth it to patronage his theft.
WINCHESTER. Unreverent Gloster!
GLOUCESTER. Thou art reverent Touching thy spiritual function, not thy life.
WINCHESTER. Rome shall remedy this.
WARWICK. Roam thither, then.
SOMERSET. My lord, it were your duty to forbear.
WARWICK. Ay, see the bishop be not overborne.
SOMERSET. Methinks my lord should be religious, And know the office that belongs to such.
WARWICK. Methinks his lordship should be humbler; It fitteth not a prelate so to plead.
SOMERSET. Yes, when his holy state is touch'd so near.
WARWICK. State holy or unhallow'd, what of that? Is not his grace protector to the king?
PLANTAGENET. [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.
KING. 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?
WARWICK. An uproar, I dare warrant, Begun through malice of the bishop's men.
[A noise again, 'Stones! stones!' Enter Mayor.]
MAYOR. 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 Serving-men, in skirmish, with bloody pates.]
KING. We charge you, on allegiance to ourself, To hold your slaughtering hands and keep the peace. Pray, uncle Gloucester, mitigate this strife.
FIRST SERVING-MAN. Nay, if we be forbidden stones, we 'll fall to it with our teeth.
SECOND SERVING-MAN. Do what ye dare, we are as resolute.
GLOUCESTER. You of my household, leave this peevish broil And set this unaccustom'd fight aside.
THIRD SERVING-MAN. 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 slaughter'd by thy foes.
FIRST SERVING-MAN. Aye, and the very parings of our nails Shall pitch a field when we are dead.
GLOUCESTER. Stay, stay, I say! And if you love me, as you say you do, Let me persuade you to forbear awhile.
KING. 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?
WARWICK. Yield, my lord protector; yield, Winchester; Except you mean with obstinate repulse To slay your sovereign 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.
WINCHESTER. He shall submit, or I will never yield.
GLOUCESTER. Compassion on the king commands me stoop; Or I would see his heart out, ere the priest Should ever get that privilege of me.
WARWICK. 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 stem and tragical?
GLOUCESTER. Here, Winchester, I offer thee my hand.
KING. 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?
WARWICK. Sweet king! the bishop hath a kindly gird. For shame, my lord of Winchester, relent! What, shall a child instruct you what to do?
WINCHESTER. Well, Duke of Gloucester, I will yield to thee; Love for thy love and hand for hand I give.
GLOUCESTER. [Aside] Aye, 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!
WINCHESTER. [Aside] So help me God, as I intend it not!
KING. 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.
FIRST SERVING-MAN. Content: I'll to the surgeon's.
SECOND SERVING-MAN. And so will I.
THIRD SERVING-MAN. And I will see what physic the tavern affords.
[Exeunt Serving-men, Mayor, &C.]
WARWICK. Accept this scroll, most gracious sovereign; Which in the right of Richard Plantagenet. We do exhibit to your majesty.
GLOUCESTER. Well urged, 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.
KING. And those occasions, uncle, were of force; Therefore, my loving lords, our pleasure is That Richard be restored to his blood.
WARWICK. Let Richard be restored to his blood; So shall his father's wrongs be recompensed.
WINCHESTER. As will the rest, so willeth Winchester.
KING. 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.
PLANTAGENET. Thy humble servant vows obedience And humble service till the point of death.
KING. 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.
PLANTAGENET. And so thrive Richard as thy foes may fall! And as my duty springs, so perish they That grudge one thought against your majesty!
ALL. Welcome, high prince, the mighty Duke of York!
SOMERSET. [Aside] Perish, base prince, ignoble Duke of York!
GLOUCESTER. 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.
KING. When Gloucester says the word, King Henry goes; For friendly counsel cuts off many foes.
GLOUCESTER. Your ships already are in readiness.
[Sennet. Flourish. Exeunt all but Exeter.]
EXETER. Aye, 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 forged love, And will at last break out into a flame; As fest'red 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 named the fifth Was in the mouth of every sucking babe; That Henry born at Monmouth should win all And Henry born at Windsor lose all: Which is so plain, that Exeter doth wish His days may finish ere that hapless time.
SCENE II. France. Before Rouen.
[Enter La Pucelle disguised, with four Soldiers with sacks upon their backs.]
PUCELLE. These are the city gates, the gates of Rouen, 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.
FIRST SOLDIER. Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city, And we be lords and rulers over Rouen; Therefore we 'll knock. [Knocks.]
WATCH. [Within] Qui est la?
PUCELLE. Paysans, pauvres gens de France; Poor market folks that come to sell their corn.
WATCH. Enter, go in; the market bell is rung.
PUCELLE. Now, Rouen, I 'll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.
[Enter Charles, the Bastard of Orleans, Alencon, Reignier, and forces.]
CHARLES. Saint Denis bless this happy stratagem! And once again we 'll sleep secure in Rouen.
BASTARD. Here enter'd Pucelle and her practisants; Now she is there, how will she specify Here is the best and safest passage in?
REIGNIER. 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.
[Enter La Pucelle, on the top, thrusting out a torch burning.]
PUCELLE. Behold, this is the happy wedding torch That joineth Rouen unto her countrymen, But burning fatal to the Talbotites!
BASTARD. See, noble Charles, the beacon of our friend; The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
CHARLES. Now shine it like a comet of revenge, A prophet to the fall of all our foes!
REIGNIER. Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends; Enter, and cry, 'The Dauphin!' presently, And then do execution on the watch.
[An alarum. Enter Talbot in an excursion.]
TALBOT. 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 escaped the pride of France.
[An alarum: excursions.] [Bedford, brought in sick in a chair. Enter Talbot and Burgundy without: within La Pucelle, Charles, Bastard, Alencon, and Reignier, on the walls.]
PUCELLE. 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?
BURGUNDY. 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.
CHARLES. Your Grace may starve perhaps before that time.
BEDFORD. O, let no words, but deeds, revenge this treason!
PUCELLE. What will you do, good graybeard? break a lance, And run a tilt at death within a chair?
TALBOT. 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.
PUCELLE. Are ye so hot? yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace; If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
[The English party whisper together in council. ]
God speed the parliament! who shall be the speaker?
TALBOT. Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field?
PUCELLE. Belike your lordship takes us then for fools, To try if that our own be ours or no.
TALBOT. I speak not to that railing Hecate, But unto thee, Alencon, and the rest; Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out?
ALENCON. Signior, no.
TALBOT. Signior, hang! base muleters of France! Like peasant foot-boys do they keep the walls, And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
PUCELLE. 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.
[Exeunt from the walls.]
TALBOT. And there will we be too, ere it be long, Or else reproach be Talbot's greatest fame! Vow, Burgundy, by honor 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 Coeur-de-lion's heart was buried, So sure I swear to get the town or die.
BURGUNDY. My vows are equal partners with thy vows.
TALBOT. 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.
BEDFORD. Lord Talbot, do not so dishonor me: Here will I sit before the walls of Rouen, And will be partner of your weal or woe.
BURGUNDY. Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade you.
BEDFORD. 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.
TALBOT. 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 but Bedford and Attendants.]
[An alarum: excursions. Enter Sir John Fastolfe and a Captain.]
CAPTAIN. Whither away, Sir John Fastolfe, in such haste?
FASTOLFE. Whither away! to save myself by flight: We are like to have the overthrow again.
CAPTAIN. What! Will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot?
FASTOLFE. Aye, All the Talbots in the world, to save my life.
CAPTAIN. Cowardly knight! ill fortune follow thee!
[Retreat: excursions. La Pucelle, Alencon, and Charles fly.]
BEDFORD. 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.
[Bedford dies, and is carried in by two in his chair.]
[An alarum. Re-enter Talbot, Burgundy, and the rest.]
TALBOT. Lost, and recover'd in a day again! This is a double honor, Burgundy: Yet heavens have glory for this victory!
BURGUNDY. Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy Enshrines thee in his heart, and there erects Thy noble deeds as valor's monuments.
TALBOT. 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? Rouen 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.
BURGUNDY. What Lord Talbot pleaseth Burgundy.
TALBOT. But yet, before we go, let 's not forget The noble Duke of Bedford late deceased, But see his exequies fulfill'd in Rouen: 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.
SCENE III. The plains near Rouen.
[Enter Charles, the Bastard of Orleans, Alencon, La Pucelle, and forces.]
PUCELLE. Dismay not, princes, at this accident, Nor grieve that Rouen 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 ruled.
CHARLES. We have been guided by thee hitherto, And of thy cunning had no diffidence: One sudden foil shall never breed distrust
BASTARD. Search out thy wit for secret policies, And we will make thee famous through the world.
ALENCON. We'll set thy statue in some holy place, And have thee reverenced like a blessed saint. Employ thee then, sweet virgin, for our good.
PUCELLE. 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.
CHARLES. Aye, 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.
ALENCON. For ever should they be expulsed from France, And not have tide of an earldom here.
PUCELLE. Your honours shall perceive how I will work To bring this matter to the wished end.
[Drum sounds 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 at a distance, Talbot and his forces. There goes the Talbot, with his colors spread, And all the troops of English after him.
[French march. Enter the Duke of Burgundy and forces.]
Now in the rearward comes the duke and his: Fortune in favor makes him lag behind. Summon a parley; we will talk with him.
[Trumpets sound a parley.]
CHARLES. A parley with the Duke of Burgundy!
BURGUNDY. Who craves a parley with the Burgundy?
PUCELLE. The princely Charles of France, thy countryman.
BURGUNDY. What say'st thou, Charles? for I am marching hence.
CHARLES. Speak, Pucelle, and enchant him with thy words.
PUCELLE. Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France! Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.
BURGUNDY. Speak on; but be not over-tedious.
PUCELLE. Look on thy country, look on fertile France, And see the cities and the towns defaced 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 given her woful 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.
BURGUNDY. Either she hath bewitch'd me with her words, Or nature makes me suddenly relent.
PUCELLE. 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 wandering lord; Charles and the rest will take thee in their arms.
BURGUNDY. I am vanquished; these haughty words of hers Have batt'red 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.
PUCELLE. [Aside] Done like a Frenchman: turn and turn again!
CHARLES. Welcome, brave duke; thy friendship makes us fresh.
BASTARD. And doth beget new courage in our breasts.
ALENCON. Pucelle hath bravely play'd her part in this, And doth deserve a coronet of gold.
CHARLES. Now let us on, my lords, and join our powers, And seek how we may prejudice the foe.
SCENE IV. Paris. The palace.
[Enter the King, Gloucester, Bishop of Winchester, York, Suffolk, Somerset, Warwick, Exeter: Vernon, Basset, and others. To them with his soldiers, Talbot.]
TALBOT. My gracious Prince, and honourable peers, Hearing of your arrival in this realm, I have awhile given 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. [Kneels.]
KING. Is this the Lord Talbot, uncle Gloucester, That hath so long been resident in France?
GLOUCESTER. Yes, if it please your majesty, my liege.
KING. 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.
[Sennet. Flourish. Exeunt all but Vernon and Basset.]
VERNON. Now, sir, to you, that were so hot at sea, Disgracing of these colors that I wear In honor of my noble Lord of York:— Dar'st thou maintain the former words thou spakest?
BASSET. Yes, sir; as well as you dare patronage The envious barking of your saucy tongue Against my lord the Duke of Somerset.
VERNON. Sirrah, thy lord I honor as he is.
BASSET. Why, what is he? as good a man as York.
VERNON. Hark ye; not so: in witness, take ye that.
BASSET. 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.
VERNON. Well, miscreant, I 'll be there as soon as you; And, after, meet you sooner than you would.
SCENE I. Paris. A hall of state.
[Enter the King, Gloucester, Bishop of Winchester, York, Suffolk, Somerset, Warwick, Talbot, Exeter, the Governor of Paris, and others.]
GLOUCESTER. Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.
WINCHESTER. God save King Henry, of that name the sixth!
GLOUCESTER. 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!
[Enter Sir John Fastolfe.]
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.
TALBOT. 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 surprised 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.
GLOUCESTER. To say the truth, this fact was infamous And ill beseeming any common man, Much more a knight, a captain, and a leader.
TALBOT. 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 honorable 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.
KING. 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.
GLOUCESTER. What means his grace, that he hath changed 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? [Reads] 'I have, upon especial cause, Moved with compassion of my country's wreck, 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?
KING. What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?
GLOUCESTER. He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.
KING. Is that the worst this letter doth contain?
GLOUCESTER. It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.
KING. 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?
TALBOT. Content, my liege! yes; but that I am prevented, I should have begg'd I might have been employ'd.
KING. 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.
TALBOT. I go, my lord, in heart desiring still You may behold confusion of your foes.
[Enter Vernon and Basset.]
VERNON. Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign.
BASSET. And me, my lord, grant me the combat too.
YORK. This is my servant: hear him, noble prince.
SOMERSET. And this is mine: sweet Henry, favor him.
KING. Be patient, lords, and give them leave to speak. Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim? And wherefore crave you combat? or with whom?
VERNON. With him, my lord; for he hath done me wrong.
BASSET. And I with him; for he hath done me wrong.
KING. What is that wrong whereof you both complain? First let me know, and then I'll answer you.
BASSET. 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 Argued 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.
VERNON. 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 provoked 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.
YORK. Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?
SOMERSET. Your private grudge, my Lord of York, will out, Though ne'er so cunningly you smother it.
KING. Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick 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.
YORK. Let this dissension first be tried by fight, And then your highness shall command a peace.
SOMERSET. The quarrel toucheth none but us alone; Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then.
YORK. There is my pledge; accept it, Somerset.
VERNON. Nay, let it rest where it began at first.
BASSET. Confirm it so, mine honorable lord.
GLOUCESTER. Confirm it so! Confounded be your strife! And perish ye, with your audacious prate! Presumptuous vassals, are you not ashamed 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.