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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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.

K. Hen. Is this the lord Talbot, uncle Gloster, 1
That hath so long been resident in France ?

Glo. Yes, if it please your majesty, my liege.

K. Hen. Welcome, brave captain, and victorious lord !
When I was young, (as yet I am not old,)
I do remember how my father said, 2
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 reguerdoned 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.

and Nobles.

1 Hamner supplied the apparent deficiency in this line, by reading:

"Is this the famed lord Talbot," &c.

2 Malone remarks that " Henry was but nine months old when his
father died."

VOL. iv. 36


Ver. Now, sir, to you, that were so hot at sea,
Disgracing of these colors l that I wear
In honor of rny noble lord of York,
Dar st thou maintain the former words thou spak st ?

Bas. Yes, sir ; as well as you dare patronage
The envious barking of your saucy tongue
Against my lord the duke of Somerset.

Ver. Sirrah, thy lord I honor as he is.

Bas. Why, what is he ? as good a man as York.

Ver. Hark ye ; not so : in witness, take ye that.

[Strikes him.

Bas. Villain, thou know st the law of arms is such.
That whoso draws a sword, tis present death ; 2
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.

Ver. Well, miscreant, I ll be there as soon as you;
And, after, meet you sooner than you would. [Exeunt.


SCENE I. The same. A Room of State.

the Governor of Paris, and others.

Glo. Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.
Win. God save king Henry, of that name the

Sixth !
Glo. Now, governor of Paris, take your oath,

[Governor kneels.

1 i. e. the badge of a rose.

2 By the ancient law, before the conquest, fighting in the king s palace,
or before the king s judges, was punished tvith death.


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 1

Malicious practices against his state :

This shall ye do, so help you righteous God !

[Exeunt Gov. and his Train.


Fast. My gracious sovereign, as I rode from Calais,
To haste unto your coronation,
A letter was delivered to my hands,
Writ to your grace from the duke of Burgundy.

Tal. Shame to the duke of Burgundy, and thee !
I vowed, 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, 2
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.

Glo. To say the truth, this fact was infamous,

1 To pretend is to intend, to design.

2 The old copy has Poidiers instead of Patay. The battle of Poictiers
was fought in 1357, the 31st of king Edward III., and the scene now lies in
the 7th of king Henry VI. viz. 1428. The action happened (according to
Holinshed) "neere unto a village in Beausse, called Pataie. From this
hattel departed, without any stroke stricken, sir John Fastolfe, the same
yeere by his valiantnese elected into the order of the garter. But for
doubt of misdealing at this brunt, the duke of Bedford tooke from him the
image of St. George and his garter," &c.


And ill beseeming any common man ;

Much more a knight, a captain, and a leader.

Tal. When first this order was ordained, 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 furnished 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.

K. Hen. Stain to thy countrymen ! thou hear st thy


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.

Glo. What means his grace, that he hath changed
his style ? [Viewing the superscription.

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 ? / have upon especial cause, [Reads.

Moved with compassion of my countries wreck.

Together with the pitiful complaints

Of such as your oppression feeds upon,

Forsaken your pernicious faction,

And joined 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 ?

K. Hen. What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?

Glo. He doth, my lord ; and is become your foe.

K. Hen. Is that the worst this letter doth contain ?

Glo. It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.

SC. 1.] KING HENRY VI. 285

K. Hen. Why, then, lord Talbot there shall talk

with him,

And give him chastisement for this abuse :
My lord, how say you ? are you not content?

Tal. Content, my liege ? Yes ; but that I am

prevented, 1

I should have begged I might have been employed.
K. Hen. Then gather strength, and inarch unto

him straight :

Let him perceive how ill we brook his treason ;
And what offence it is to flout his friends.

Tal. I go, my lord ; in heart desiring still,
You may behold confusion of your foes. [Exit.


Ver. Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign !

Bas. And me, my lord, grant me the combat too !

York. This is my servant ; hear him, noble prince !

Som. And this is mine ; sweet Henry, favor him !

K. Hen. Be patient, lords ; and give them leave to


Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim ?
And wherefore crave you combat ? or with whom ?

Ver. With him, my lord ; for he hath done me wrong.

Bas. And I with him ; for he hath done me wrong.

K. Hen. What is that wrong whereof you both com
plain ?
First let me know, and then I ll answer you.

Bas. Crossing the sea, from England into France,
This fellow here, with envious, carping tongue,
Upbraided me about the rose I wear ;
Saying the sanguine color of the leaves
Did represent my master s blushing cheeks,
When stubbornly he did repugn 2 the truth,
About a certain question in the law,
Argued betwixt the duke of York and him ;

1 Prevented is anticipated.

2 To repugn is to rtsist ; from the Latin repugno.


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.

Ver. 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
Bewrayed the faintness of my master s heart.

York. Will not this malice, Somerset, be left ?

Som. Your private grudge, my lord of York, will

Though ne er so cunningly you smother it.

K. Hen. Good Lord ! what madness rules in brain
sick men ;

When, for so slight and frivolous a cause,
Such factious emulations shall arise !
Good cousins both, of York and Somerset,
Quiet yourselves, I pray, and be at peace.

York. Let this dissension first be tried by fight,
And then your highness shall command a peace.

Som. The quarrel touchoth none but us alone;
Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then.

York. There is my pledge ; accept it, Somerset.

Ver. Nay, let it rest where it began at first.

Bas. Confirm it so, mine honorable lord.

Glo. 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.

Exe. It grieves his highness ; Good my lords, be


K. Hen. Come hither, you that would be combat

Henceforth, I charge you, as you love our favor,
Quite to forget this quarrel and the cause.
And you, my lords, remember where we are ;
In France, amongst a fickle, wavering nation.
If they perceive dissension in our looks,
And that within ourselves we disagree,
How will their grudging stomachs be provoked
To wilful disobedience, and rebel !
Beside, what infamy will there arise,
When foreign princes shall be certified,
That, for a toy, a thing of no regard,
King Henry s peers, and chief nobility,
Destroyed themselves, and lost the realm of France !
O, think upon the conquest of my father,
My tender years ; and let us not forego
That, for a trifle, that was bought with blood !
Let me be umpire in this doubtful strife.
I see no reason, if I wear this rose,

[Putting on a red rose.

That any one should therefore be suspicious
I more incline to Somerset than York.
Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both ;
As well may they upbraid me with my crown,
Because, forsooth, the king of Scots is crowned.
But your discretions better can persuade,
Than I am able to instruct or teach ;
And therefore, as we hither came in peace,
So let us still continue peace and love.
Cousin of York, we institute your grace
To be our regent in these parts of France ;
And good my lord of Somerset, unite
Your troops of horsemen with his bands of foot ;
And, like true subjects, sons of your progenitors,
Go cheerfully together, and digest
Your angry choler on your enemies.
Ourself, my lord protector, and the rest,
After some respite, will return to Calais ;


From thence to England ; where I hope ere long

To be presented, by jour victories,

With Charles, Alei^on, and that traitorous rout.

[Flourish. Exeunt K. HEN., GLO., SOM.,

War. My lord of York, I promise you, the king
Prettily, methought, did play the orator.

Yor/c. And so he did ; but yet I like it not,
In that he wears the badge of Somerset.

War. Tush ! that was but his fancy ; blame him not;
I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.

York. And if I wist he did, 1 But let it rest ;
Other affairs must now be managed.


Exe. Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy voice ;
For, had the passions of thy heart burst out,
I fear we should have seen deciphered there
More rancorous spite, more furious, raging broils,
Than yet can be imagined or supposed.
But howsoe er, no simple man that sees
This jarring discord of nobility,
This shouldering of each other in the court,
This factious bandying of their favorites,
But that it doth presage some ill event.
Tis much, when sceptres are in children s hands ;
But more, when envy 2 breeds unkind 3 divisions.
There comes the ruin, there begins confusion. [Exit.

SCENE II. France. Before Bordeaux.

Enter TALBOT, with his Forces.

Tal. Go to the gates of Bordeaux, trumpeter,
Summon their general unto the wall.


1 The old copy reads, "And if I wish he did;" an evident typograph
ical error. Sonic modern editions read, " And, if I wist, he did."

2 Envy, in old English writers, frequently means malice, enmity.

3 Unkind is unnatural.



Trumpet sounds a parley. Enter, on the walls, the
General of the French Forces, and others.

English John Talbot, captains, calls you forth,
Servant in arms to Harry king of England.
And thus he would, Open your city gates ;
Be humble to us ; call my sovereign yours,
And do him homage as obedient subjects,
And I ll withdraw me and my bloody power ;
But, if you frown upon this proffered peace,
You tempt the fury of my three attendants,
Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire ;
Who, in a moment, even with the earth
Shall lay your stately and air-braving towers,
If you forsake the offer of our love. 1

Gen. Thou ominous and fearful owl of death,
Our nation s terror, and their bloody scourge !
The period of thy tyranny approacheth.
On us thou canst not enter, but by death ;
For, I protest, we are well fortified,
And strong enough to issue out and fight.
If thou retire, the dauphin, well appointed,
Stands with the snares of war to tangle thee.
On either hand thee there are squadrons pitched,
To wall thee from the liberty of flight ;
And no way canst thou turn thee for redress,
But death doth front thee with apparent spoil,
And pale destruction meets thee in the face.
Ten thousand French have ta en the sacrament,
To rive their dangerous artillery
Upon no Christian soul but English Talbot.
Lo ! there thou stand st, a breathing, valiant man,
Of an invincible, unconquered spirit.
This is the latest glory of thy praise,
That I, thy enemy, due 2 thee withal ;
For ere the glass, that now begins to run,

1 The old editions read " their love." Sir Thomas Hanmer altered it to
u our love."

2 Due for endue, or giving due and merited praise.

VOL. iv. 37


Finish the process of his sandy hour,
These eyes, that see thee now well colored,
Shall see thee withered, bloody, pale, and dead.

[Drum afar off.

Hark ! hark ! the dauphin s drum, a warning bell,
Sings heavy music to thy timorous soul ;
And mine shall ring thy dire departure out.

[Exeunt General, frc.from the walls.
Tal He fables not; I hear the enemy;
Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.
O, negligent and heedless discipline !
How are we parked, and bounded in a pale ;
A little herd of England s timorous deer,
Mazed - vith a yelping kennel of French curs !
If we be English deer, be then in blood ; 1
Not rascal-like, to fall down with a pinch ;
But rather moody-mad, and desperate stags,
Turn on the bloody hounds with heads of steel,
And make the cowards stand aloof at bay.
Sell every man his life as dear as mine,
And they shall find dear deer of us, my friends.
God, and saint George! Talbot, and England s right!
Prosper our colors in this dangerous fight ! [Exeunt.

SCENE III. Plains in Gascony.

Enter YORK, with Forces ; to him a Messenger.

York. Are not the speedy scouts returned again,
That dogged the mighty army of the dauphin ?

Mess. They are returned, my lord ; and give it out,
That he is marched to Bordeaux with his power,
To fight with Talbot. As he marched along,
By your espials were discovered,
Two mightier troops than that the dauphin led ;

1 In Mood is a term of the forest ; a deer was said to be in blood when in
vigor or in good condition, and full of courage ; here put in opposition to ras-
ccd, which was the term for the same animal when lean and out of condition.


Which joined with him, and made their march for Bor

York. A plague upon that villain Somerset ;
That thus delays my promised supply
Of horsemen, that were levied for this siege !
Renowned Talbot doth expect my aid ;
And I am louted 1 by a traitor villain,
And cannot help the noble chevalier.
God comfort him in this necessity !
If he miscarry, farewell wars in France.


Lucy. Thou princely leader of our English strength,
Never so needful on the earth of France,
Spur to the rescue of the noble Talbot ;
Who now is girdled with a waist of iron,
And hemmed about with grim destruction.
To Bordeaux, warlike duke ! to Bordeaux, York !
Else, farewell Talbot, France, and England s honor.

York. O God ! that Somerset who in proud heart
Doth stop my cornets were in Talbot s place !
So should we save a valiant gentleman,
By forfeiting a traitor and a coward.
Mad ire and wrathful fury makes me weep,
That thus we die, while remiss traitors sleep.

Lucy. O, send some succor to the distressed lord !

York. He dies, we lose ; I break my warlike word;
We mourn, France smiles ; we lose, they daily get ;
All long of this vile traitor Somerset.

Lucy. Then, God take mercy on brave Talbot s

soul !

And on his son, young John ; whom, two hours since,
I met in travel toward his warlike father !
This seven years did not Talbot see his son ;
And now they meet where both their lives are done.

1 The meaning of this word here is evidently loitered, retarded ; and the
following quotation from Cotgrave will show that this was sometimes the
sense of to loivt : " Loricarder, to luske, lowt, or lubber it ; to loyter about
like a master-less man."


York. Alas ! what joys shall noble Talbot have,
To bid his young son welcome to his grave !
Away ! vexation almost stops my breath,
That sundered friends greet in the hour of death.
Lucy, farewell ! no more my fortune can,
But curse the cause I cannot aid the man.
Maine, Blois, Poictiers, and Tours, are won away,
Long all of Somerset, and his delay. [Exit.

Lucy. Thus, while the vulture of sedition
Feeds in the bosom of such great commanders,
Sleeping neglection doth betray to loss
The conquest of our scarce-cold conqueror,
That ever-living man of memory,
Henry the Fifth. Whiles they each other cross,
Lives, honors, lands, and all, hurry to loss. [Exit.

SCENE IV. Other Plains of Gascouy.

Enter SOMERSET, with his Forces; an Officer of TAL
BOT s with him.

Som. It is too late ; I cannot send them now :
This expedition was by York, and Talbot,
Too rashly plotted ; all our general force
Might with a sally of the very town
Be buckled with : the over-daring Talbot
Hath sullied all his gloss of former honor,
By this unheedful, desperate, wild adventure :
York set him on to fight, and die in shame,
That, Talbot dead, great York might bear the name.

Off. Here is sir William Lucy, who with me
Set from our o ermatched forces forth for aid.


Som. How now, sir William? whither were you sent?
Lucy. Whither, my lord ? from bought and sold lord
Talbot; 1

1 This expression seems to have been proverbial ; intimating that foul
play had been used.


Who, ringed about 1 with bold adversity,

Cries out for noble York and Somerset,

To beat assailing death from his weak legions.


And whiles the honorable captain there
Drops bloody sweat from his war-wearied limbs,
And, in advantage lingering, 2 looks for rescue,
You, his false hopes, the trust of England s honor,
Keep off aloof with worthless emulation.
Let not your private discord keep away
The levied succors that should lend him aid,
While he, renowned, noble gentleman,
Yields up his life unto a world of odds.
Orleans the Bastard, Charles, and Burgundy,
Alen9on, Reignier, compass him about,
And Talbot perisheth by your default.

Som. York set him on ; York should have sent
him aid.

Lucy. And York as fast upon your grace exclaims ;
Swearing that you withhold his levied host,
Collected for this expedition.

Som. York lies ; he might have sent and had the


I owe him little duty, and less love ;
And take foul scorn, to fawn on him by sending.

Lucy. The fraud of England, not the force of


Hath now entrapped the noble-minded Talbot.
Never to England shall he bear his life ;
But dies, betrayed to fortune by your strife.

Som. Come, go ; I will despatch the horsemen

straight ;
Within six hours they will be at his aid.

Lucy. Too late comes rescue ; he is ta en, or slain ;
For fly he could not, if he would have fled ;
And fly would Talbot never, though he might.

Som. If he be dead, brave Talbot, then adieu !

Lucy. His fame lives in the world, his shame in
you. [Exeunt.

1 Encircled, environed.

2 Protracting his resistance by the advantage of a strong post.


SCENE Ve The English Camp near Bordeaux.

Enter TALBOT and JOHN his Son

TaL O young John Talbot ! I did send for thee,
To tutor thee in stratagems of war ;
That Talbot s name might be in thee revived,
When sapless age, and weak, unable limbs,
Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.
But, O malignant and ill-boding stars !
Now thou art come unto a feast of death,
A terrible and unavoided 1 danger :
Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse ;
And I ll direct thee how thou shalt escape
By sudden flight : come, dally not ; begone.

John. Is my name Talbot ? and am I your son r
And shall I fly ? O, if you love my mother,
Dishonor not her honorable name,
To make a bastard, and a slave of me ;
The world will say He is not Talbot s blood,
That basely fled, when noble Talbot stood.

TaL Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.

John. He that flies so, will ne er return again.

TaL If we both stay, we both are sure to die.

John. Then let me stay ; and, father, do you fly ;
Your loss is great ; so your regard 2 should be ;
My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.
Upon my death the French can little boast;
In yours they will ; in you all hopes are lost.
Flight cannot stain the honor you have won ;
But mine it will, that no exploit have done :
You fled for vantage every one will swear ;
But, if I bow, they ll say it was for fear.
There is no hope that ever I will stay,
If, the first hour, I shrink, and run away.
Here, on my knee, I beg mortality,
Rather than life preserved with infamy.

1 Unavoided for unavoidable. 2 Your care of your own safety.



TaL Shall all thy mother s hopes lie in one tomb ?

John. Ay, rather than I ll shame my mother s

TaL Upon my blessing, I command thee go.

John. To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.

TaL Part of thy father may be saved in thee.

John. No part of him, but will be shame in me.

TaL Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not
lose it.

John. Yes, your renowned name : shall flight
abuse it ?

TaL Thy father s charge shall clear thee from
that stain.

John. You cannot witness for me, being slain.
If death be so apparent, then both fly.

TaL And leave my followers here, to fight, and die ?
My age was never tainted with such shame.

John. And shall my youth be guilty of such blame ?
No more can I be severed from your side,
Than can yourself yourself in twain divide ;
Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I ;
For live I will not, if my father die.

TaL Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,
Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon.
Come, side by side together live and die ;
And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.


SCENE VI. A Field of Battle.

Alarum : Excursions, wherein TALBOT S Son is hemmed
about, and TALBOT rescues him.

TaL Saint George and victory ! fight, soldiers,

fight :

The regent hath with Talbot broke his word,
And left us to the rage of France his sword.
Where is John Talbot ? Pause, and take thy breath ;
I gave thee life, and rescued thee from death.


John. O, twice my father ! twice am I thy son :
The life thou gav st me first, was lost and done ;
Till with thy warlike sword, despite of fate,
To my determined 1 time thou gav st new date.

Tal. When from the dauphin s crest thy sword

struck fire,

It warmed thy father s heart with proud desire
Of bold-faced victory. Then leaden age,
Quickened with youthful spleen and warlike rage,
Beat down Alen9on, Orleans, Burgundy,
And from the pride of Gallia rescued thee.
The ireful bastard Orleans that drew blood

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakspeare... embracing a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (Volume 4) → online text (page 21 of 38)