William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) online

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Will see his burial better than his life.

[Exeunt Keepers, bearing out MORTIMER.
Here dies the dusky torch of Mortimer,
Choked with ambition of the meaner sort : 1
And, for those wrongs, those bitter injuries,
Which Somerset hath offered to my house,
I doubt not, but with honor 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. [Exit.


SCENE I. The same. The Parliament House*


SOMERSET, and SUFFOLK ; the Bishop of Winches
offers to put up a bill: 3 Winchester snatches it and
tears it.

Win. Com st thou with deep premeditated lines,
With written pamphlets studiously devised,

1 i. e. oppressed by those whose right to the crown was not so good as
his own ; or, according to Warburton, becoming the instrument of others
in their rebellious intrigues, rather than asserting his own claims.

2 This parliament was held in 1426 at Leicester, though here repre
sented to have been held in London. King Henry was now in the fifth
year of his age. In the first parliament, which was held at London shortly
after his father s death, his mother, queen Katharine, brought the young
king from Windsor to the metropolis, and sat on the throne with the infant
in her lap.

3 i. e. articles of accusation.

SC. I.] KING HENRY VI. y 267

Humphrey of Gloster ? 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.

Glo. Presumptuous priest ! this place commands my


Or thou shouldst find thou hast dishonored me.
Think not, although in writing I preferred
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 dissensions pranks,
As very infants prattle of thy pride.
Thou art a most pernicious usurer ;
Froward by nature, enemy to peace ;
Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems
A man of thy profession and degree ;
And for thy treachery, what s more manifest ?
In that thou laid st a trap to take my life,
As well at London bridge, as at the tower ?
Beside, I fear me, if thy thoughts were sifted,
The king, thy sovereign, is not quite exempt
From envious malice of thy swelling heart.

Win. Gloster, 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


Glo. As good ?

Thou bastard of my grandfather ! 1

Win. Ay, lordly sir ; for what are you, I pray,
But one imperious in another s throne ?

Glo. Am I not the protector, saucy priest ?

Win. And am I not a prelate of the church ?

Glo. Yes, as an outlaw in a castle keeps,
And useth it to patronage his theft.

Win. Unreverent Gloster!

Glo. Thou art reverent

Touching thy spiritual function, not thy life.

Win. This Rome shall remedy.

War. Roam thither then.

Som. My lord, it were your duty to forbear.

War. Ay, see the bishop be not overborne.

Som. Methinks my lord should be religious,
And know the office that belongs to such.

War. Methinks his lordship should be humbler ;
It fitteth not a prelate so to plead.

Som. Yes, when his holy state is touched so near.

War. State holy, or unhallowed, what of that ?
Is not his grace protector to the king ?

Plan. 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. [Aside.

K. Hen. Uncles of Gioster, 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 ?

1 The bishop of Winchester was an illegitimate son of John of Gaunt,
duke of Lancaster, by Katharine Swynford, whom the duke afterwards


War. An uproar, I dare warrant,

Begun through malice of the bishop s men.

[A noise again ; Stones ! stones !

Enter the Mayor of London, attended.

May. O, my good lords, and virtuous Henry,
Pity the city of London, pity us !
The bishop and the duke of Gloster s men,
Forbidden late to carry any weapon,
Have filled 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 knocked out:
Our windows are broke down in every street,
And we, for fear, compelled to shut our shops.

Enter, skirmishing, the Retainers of GLOSTER a.id
WINCHESTER, with bloody pates.

K. Hen. We charge you, on allegiance to ourself,
To hold your slaughtering hands, and keep the peace
Pray, uncle Gloster, mitigate this strife.

1 Serv. Nay, if we be

Forbidden stones, we ll fall to it with our teeth.

2 Serv. Do what ye dare, we are as resolute.

[Skirmish agdin.

Glo. You of my household, leave this peevish broil,
And set this unaccustomed fight aside.

3 Serv. My lord, we know your grace to be a man
Just and upright ; and, for your royal birth,
Inferior to none but 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, 1

We, and our wives, and children, all will fight,

And have our bodies slaughtered by thy foes.

1 Serv. Ay, and the very parings of our nails
Shall pitch a field, when we are dead.

[Skirmish again.

1 i. e. a bookish person, a pedant, applied in contempt to a scholar.


Glo. Stay, stay, I say f

And, if you love me, as you say you do,
Let me persuade you to forbear a while.

K. Hen. 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 ?

War. My lord protector, yield ; 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.

Win. He shall submit, or I will never yield.

Glo. Compassion on the king commands me stoop ,
Or I would sec his heart out, ere the priest
Should ever get that privilege of me.

War. Behold, my lord of Winchester, the duke
Hath banished moody, discontented fury,
As by his smoothed brows it doth appear.
Why look you still so stern and tragical ?

Glo. Here, Winchester, I offer thee my hand.

K. Hen. Fie, uncle Beaufort ! I have heard you


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 ?

War. Sweet king ! the bishop hath a kindly gird. 1
For shame, my lord of Winchester ! relent.
What, shall a child instruct you what to do ?

Win. Well, duke of Gloster, I will yield to thee ;
Love for thy love, and hand for hand I give.

Glo. Ay ; but, I fear me, with a hollow heart.
See here, my friends, and loving countrymen ;
This token serveth for a flag of truce,

1 A kindly gird is a kind or gentle reproof. Others suppose the phrase
to mean " some yearnings of kindness."


Betwixt ourselves, and all our followers.
So help me God, as I dissemble not !

Win. So help me God, as I intend it not ! [Aside.

K. Hen. O, loving uncle, kind duke of Gloster,
How joyful am I made by this contract!
Away, my masters! trouble us no more ;
But join in friendship, as your lords have done.

1 Serv. Content ; I ll to the surgeon s.

2 Serv. And so will I.

3 Serv. And I will see what physic the tavern
affords. [Exeunt Servants, Mayor, frc.

War. Accept this scroll, most gracious sovereign ;
Which, in the right of Richard Plantagenet,
We do exhibit to your majesty.

Glo. Well urged, my lord of Warwick ; for, sweet


And 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.

K. Hen. And those occasions, uncle, were of force ;
Therefore, my loving lords, our pleasure is,
That Richard be restored to his blood.

War. Let Richard be restored to his blood ;
So shall his father s wrongs be recompensed.

Win. As will the rest, so willeth Winchester.

K. Hen. 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.

Plan. Thy humble servant vows obedience,
And humble service, till the point of death.

K. Hen. Stoop then, and set your knee against my


And, in reguerdon of that duty done,
I girt thee with the valiant sword of iork.
Rise, Richard, like a true Plantagenet ;
And rise created princely duke of York.

Plan. 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 !
Som. Perish, base prince, ignoble duke of York !

[Asi de.

Glo. Now will it best avail your majesty,
To cross the seas, and to be crowned in France.
The presence of a king engenders love

Amongst his subjects, and his loyal friends :
* i i

As it disammates his enemies.

K. Hen. When Gloster says the word, king Henry

goes ;
For friendly counsel cuts off many foes.

Glo. Your ships already are in readiness.

[Exeunt all but EXETER.

Exe. Ay, we may march in England, or in France,
Not seeing what is likely to ensue.
This late dissension, grown betwixt the peers,
Burns under feigned ashes of forged love,
And will at last break out into a flame;
As festered members rot but by degrees,
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, should lose all :
Which is so plain, that Exeter doth wish
His days may finish ere that hapless time. [Exit. 1

1 The duke of Exeter died shortly after the meeting of this parliament,
and the earl of Warwick was appointed governor or tutor to the king in
his room.


SCENE II. France. Before Rouen.

Enter LA PUCELLE disguised, and Soldiers dressed like
Countrymen, with sacks upon their backs.

Puc. 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 com.
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.

1 Sold. Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city,
And we be lords and rulers over Rouen ;
Therefore we ll knock. [Knocks.

Guard. [Within.] Qui est la?

Puc. Paisans, pauvres gens de France.
Poor market-folks, that come to sell their corn.

Guard. Enter, go in ; the market-bell is rung.

[Opens the gate.

Puc. Now, Rouen, 1 I ll shake thy bulwarks to the
ground. [PUCELLE, &c. enter the city.

Enter CHARLES, Bastard of Orleans, ALEN<JON and


Char. Saint Dennis bless this happy stratagem !
And once again we ll sleep secure in Rouen.

Bast. Here entered Pucelle, and her practisants ; 2
Now she is there, how will she specify
Where is the best and safest passage in ?

Alen. By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower;
Which, once discerned, shows, that her meaning is,
No way to that, 3 for weakness, which she entered.

1 Rouen was anciently written and pronounced Roan.

2 Practice, in the language of the time, was treachery, or insidious
stratagem. Practisants are therefore confederates in treachery.

3 i. e. no way like or compared to that.

VOL. iv. 35


Enter LA PUCELLE on a battlement ; holding out a
torch, burning.

Puc. Behold, this is the happy wedding torch,
That joineth Rouen unto her countrymen,
But burning fatal to the Talbotites.

Bast. See, noble Charles ! the beacon of our friend,
The burning torch in yonder turret stands.

Char. Now shine it like a comet of revenge,
A prophet to the fall of all our foes !

Alen. Defer no time ; delays have dangerous ends ;
Enter, and cry The dauphin! presently,
And then do execution on the watch. [They enter.

Alarums. Enter TALBOT, and certain English.

Tal. France, thou shalt rue this treason with thy


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.

[Exeunt to the town.

Alarum: Excursions. Enter, from the town, BEDFORD,
brought in sick in a chair, with TALBOT, BURGUNDY,
and the English Forces. Then enter, on the walls,

Puc. Good morrow, gallants! want ye corn for

bread ?

I think the duke of Burgundy will fast,
Bofore he ll buy again at such a rate.
Twas full of darnel. 9 Do you like the taste ?

1 Pride signifies haughty power.

2 "Darnel (says Gerarde, in his Herbal) hurteth the eyes, and maketh
them dim, if it happen either in come for breade, or drinkc." La Pucelle
means to intimate that the corn she carried with her had produced the
same effect on the guards of Rouen.


Bur. Scoff on, vile fiend, and shameless courtesan!
I trust, ere long, to choke thee with thine own,
And make thee curse the harvest of that corn.

Char. Your grace may starve, perhaps, before that

Bed. O, let no words, but deeds, revenge this
treason !

Puc. What will you do, good gray-beard ? Break a

And run a tilt at death within a chair ?

Tal. Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite,
Encompassed 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.

Puc. Are you so hot, sir ? Yet, Pucelle, hold thy

peace ;
If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.

[TALBOT and the rest consult together.
God speed the parliament ! Who shall be the speaker ?

Tal. Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field ?

Puc. Belike your lordship takes us then for fools,
To try if that our own be ours, or no.

Tal. I speak not to that railing Hecate,
But unto thee, Alei^on, and the rest.
Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out ?

Alen. Seignior, no.

Tal. Seignior, hang ! Base muleteers of France !
Like peasant footboys do they keep the walls ;
And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.

Puc. Captains, away : let s get us from the walls ;
For Talbot means no goodness, by his looks.
God be wi you, my lord ! we came, sir, but to tell you
That we are here.

[Exeunt LA PUCELLE, &c.from the walls.

Tal. 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,
(Pricked on by public wrongs, sustained 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.

Bur. My vows are equal partners with thy vows.

Tal. 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.

Bed. 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.

Bur. Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade you.

Bed. Not to be gone from hence ; for once I read,
That stout Pendragon, in his litter, sick, 1
Came to the field, and vanquished his foes.
Methinks I should revive the soldiers hearts,
Because I ever found them as myself.

Tal. 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 BURGUNDY, TALBOT, and Forces,,
leaving BEDFORD, and others.

Alarums: Excursions. Enter SIR JOHN FASTOLFE
and a Captain.

Cap. Whither away, sir John Fastolfe, in such haste ?

Fast. Whither away ? to save myself by flight ;
We are like to have the overthrow again.

Cap. What ! will you fly, and leave lord Talbot ?

Fast. Ay,

All the Talbots in the world to save my life. [Exit.

1 This is from Harding s Chronicle, who gives a like account of Uther


Cap. Cowardly knight ! Ill fortune follow thee.


Retreat: Excursions. Enter, from the town, LA
PUCELLE, ALEN90N, CHARLES, &c., and exeunt,

Bed. Now, quiet soul, depart when Heaven please ;
For I have seen our enemies overthrow.
What is the trust or strength of foolish man ?
They, that of late were daring with their scoffs,
Are glad and fain by flight to save themselves.

[Dies, and is carried off in his chair. 1

Alarum : Enter TALBOT, BURGUNDY, and others.

TaL Lost, and recovered in a day again !
This is a double honor, Burgundy.
Yet, Heavens have glory for this victory !

Bur. Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
Enshrines thee in his heart ; and there erects
Thy noble deeds, as valor s monument.

TaL 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 ? 2

What, all amort ? 3 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 Harry, with his nobles, lies.

Bur. What wills lord Talbot, pleaseth Burgundy.

TaL But yet, before we go, let s not forget
The noble duke of Bedford, late deceased,
But see his exequies fulfilled in Rouen.

1 The duke of Bedford died at Rouen in September, 1435, but not in
any action before that town.

2 Scoffs.

3 i. e. cast down, or dispirited.


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. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. The same. The Plains near the City.

Enter CHARLES, the Bastard, ALE^ON, LA PUCELLE,
and Forces.

Puc. 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.

Char. We have been guided by thee hitherto,
And of thy cunning had no diffidence ;
One sudden foil shall never breed distrust.

Bast. Search out thy wit for secret policies,
And we will make thee famous through the world.

Men. 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.

Puc. Then thus it must be ; this doth Joan devise :
By fair persuasions, mixed with sugared words,
We will entice the duke of Burgundy
To leave the Talbot, and to follow us.

Char. Ay, marry, sweeting, if we could do that,
France were no place for Henry s warriors;
Nor should that nation boast it so with us,
But be extirped from our provinces.

Alen. Forever should they be expulsed from France,
And not have title to an earldom here.

Puc. Your honors shall perceive how I will work,
To bring this matter to the wished end.

[Drums heard.


Hark ! by the sound of drum, you may perceive
Their powers are marching unto Paris-ward.

An English March. Enter, and pass over at a dis
tance, TALBOT and his Forces.

There goes the Talbot with his colors spread ;
And all the troops of English after him.

A French March. Enter the DUKE of BURGUNDY and


Now, in the rearward, comes the duke, and his ;
Fortune, in favor, makes him lag behind.
Summon a parley ; we will talk with him.

[A parley sounded.

Char. A parley with the duke of Burgundy.

Bur.. Who craves a parley with the Burgundy ?

Puc. The princely Charles of France, thy country

Bur. What say st thou, Charles ? for I am marching

Char. Speak, Pucelle ; and enchant him with thy

Puc. Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France !
Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.

Bur. Speak on ; but be not over-tedious.

Puc. 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 !


Bur. Either she hath bewitched me with her words,
Or nature makes me suddenly relent.

Puc. Besides, all French and France exclaims on


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 fashioned 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, 1 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 slaughter-men.
Come, come, return ; return, thou wandering lord ;
Charles, and the rest, will take thee in their arms.

Bur. I am vanquished : these haughty words of hers
Have battered 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.

Puc. Done like a Frenchman, turn, and turn again !

Char. Welcome, brave duke ! thy friendship makes
us fresh.

Bast. And doth beget new courage in our breasts.

Alen. Pucelle hath bravely played her part in this,
And doth deserve a coronet of gold.

Char. Now let us on, my lords, and join our powers ;
And seek how we may prejudice the foe. [Exeunt.

1 Another mistake. The duke was not liberated till after Burgundy s
decline to the French interest ; which did not happen, by the way, till
some years after the execution of La Pucelle ; nor was that during the
regency of York, but of Bedford.


SCENE IV. Paris. A Room in the Palace.

Enter KING HENRY, GLOSTER, and oilier Lords, VER-
NON, BASSET, &c. To them TALBOT, and some of
his Officers.

Tal. My gracious prince, and honorable peers,
Hearing of jour arrival in this realm,
I have a while given truce unto my wars,
To do my duty to my sovereign ;
In sign whereof, this arm that hath reclaimed
To your obedience fifty fortresses,

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 20 of 38)