Bas. 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
But I '11 unto his majesty, and crave
I may have liberty to venge this wrong;
When thou shalt see I '11 meet thee to thy cost.
Ver. Well, miscreant, I '11 be there as soon as you;
And, after, meet you sooner than you would.
38. "the law of arms is such"; "By the ancient law before the
Conquest, fighting in the kings palace, or before the king's judges,
was punished with death. And by Statute 33, Henry VIII, malicious
striking in the king's palace, whereby blood is drawn, is punishable
by perpetual imprisonment and fine at the king's pleasure and also
with loss of the offender's right hand." ā Blackstone.
Act IV. Sc. i. THE FIRST PART OF
Paris. A hall of state.
Enter the King, Gloucester, Bishop of Winchester,
York, Suffolk, Somerset, Warwick, Talbot,
Exeter, the Governor of Paris, and others.
Glou. Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.
Win. God save King Henry, of that name the
Glou. 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.
Fast. My gracious sovereign, as I rode from
To haste unto your coronation, 10
6. "Pretend" was often used in the sense of purpose, or design.
ā H. N. H.
10. The crowning of King Henry at Paris took place December
17, 1431. Concerning that event Holinshed has the following: "To
speake with what honour he was received into the citie of Paris,
what pageants were prepared, and how richlie the gates, streets,
KING HENRY VI Act iv. Sc. i.
A letter was deliver'd to my hands,
Writ to your grace from the Duke of Bur-
Tal. Shame to the Duke of Burgundy and thee!
I vow'd, base knight, when I did meet thee
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, 19
When but in all I was six thousand strong
And that the French were almost ten to one,
bridges on everie side were hanged with costlie clothes of arras
and tapestrie, it would be too long a processe, and therefore I doo
heere passe it over with silence." Nevertheless the occasion was
but poorly attended save by foreigners, none of the higher French
nobility gracing it with tiieir presence. The ceremony of coronation
was of old thought to have a kind of sacramental virtue, confirming
the title of a new king, and rendering his person sacred. Thus the
crowning of Charles at Rheims, which took place in July, 1429,
operated as a charm to engage the loyalty of the people; and it
was with this view that Joan of Arc urged it on so vehemently,
declaring it the main purpose of her celestial mission; and during
the ceremony she stood at the king's side with her banner unfurled,
and as soon as it was over fell on her knees, embraced his feet, said
her mission was at an end, and begged with tears that she might
return to her former station. Charles indeed had been crowned once
before, but it was not done at Rheims, the ancient place of that
ceremony, and therefore it proved ineffectual. This good old local
religion put the regent upon great efforts to have Henry crowned
there; but herein he was still baffled, and, after trying about two
years, he concluded to have it done at Paris, rather than not at all.
The ceremony was performed by the bishop of Winchester, thea
cardinal. ā H. N. H.
19. "at the battle of Patay"; Capell's emendation (adopted by
Mfilone) of "Poktiers" of the Ff. The battle of Poictiers was fought
1357; the date of the present scene is lti?8.ā I. G.
Act IV. Sc. i. THE FIRST PART OF
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.
Gloii. To say the truth, this fact was infamous 30
And ill beseeming any common man,
Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.
Tal. 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, 40
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
Be packing, therefore, thou that wast a knight:
Henceforth we banish thee, on pain of death.
And now, my lord protector, view the letter
^ent from our uncle Duke of Burgundy.
38. "most," utmost. -C. H. H.
KING HENRY VI Act IV. Sc. i.
Olou. What means his grace, that he hath changed
his style ? 50
No more but, plain and bluntly, 'To the kingl'
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
Gloved 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
O monstrous treacherv ! can this be so,
That in alliance, amity and oaths.
There should be found such false dissembling
King. What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?
Glou. He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.
King. Is that the worst this letter doth contain?
Glou. It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.
King. Why, then, Lord Talbot there shall talk
And give him chastisement for this abuse.
How say you, my lord? are you not content? 70
Tal. Content, my liege! yes, but that I am pre-
54. "pretend" here bears the literal sense of hold out ; not the same
as that explained in tlie note to line 6 of this scene. ā H. Jv. H.
71. "prevented," anticipated.ā C. 11. H.
Act IV. Sc. i. THE FIRST PART OF
I should have begg'd I might have been em-
King. Then gather strength, and march unto him
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.
Enter Vernon and Basset.
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
Som. And this is mine: sweet Henry, favor him.
King. Be patient, lords; and give them leave to
Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim?
And wherefore crave you combat? or with
Ver. With him, my lord; for he hath done me
Bas. And I with him ; for he hath done me wrong.
King. What is that wrong whereof you both com-
First let me know, and then I '11 answer you.
Bas. Crossing the sea from England into France,
This fellow here, with envious carping tongue,
78. "combat," i. e. the right of single combat, for which, in the
precincts of the court, the king's permission had to be obtained. ā
C. H. H.
KING HENRY VI Act. iv. Sc. i.
Upbraided me about the rose I wear; 91
Saying, the sanguine color 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 defense of my lord's worthiness,
I crave the benefit of law of arms. 100
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
Bewray'd the faintness of my master's heart.
YorJx. Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?
Som. Your private grudge, my Lord of York, will
Though ne'er so cunningly you smother it. HO
King. Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick
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 bj^ fight.
And then your highness shall command a peace.
Som. The quarrel toucheth none but us alone;
102. "forged quaint conceit," ingenious fabrication. ā C. H. H.
Act IV. Sc. i. THE FIRST PART OF
Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then. 119
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.
Glou. 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; 129
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
King. Come hither, you that would be combatants :
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, 140
How will their grudging stomachs be provoked
To willful disobedience, and rebel!
Beside, what infamy will there arise.
When foreign princes shall be certified
That for a toy, a thing of no regard.
King Henry's peers and chief nobility
Destroy'd themselves, and lost the realm of
141. "stomachs," spirits.ā C. H. H.
KING HENRY VI Act. iv. Sc. i.
O, think upon the conquest of my father,
My tender years, and let us not forgo
That for a trifle that was bought with blood I
Let me be umpire in this doubtful strife. 151
I see no reason, if I wear this rose,
[Putting on a red rose.
That any one should therefore be suspicious
I more inchne to Somerset than York:
Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both:
As well they may upbraid me with my crown,
Because, forsooth, the king of Scots is crown'd.
But your discretions better can persuade
Than I am able to instruct or teach;
And therefore, as M^e hither came in peace, 160
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
And, like true subjects, sons of your progeni-
Go cheerfully together and digest
Your angry choler on your enemies.
Ourself , my lord protector and the rest
After some respite wull return to Calais ; 170
From thence to England; where I hope ere
To be presented, by your victories.
With Charles, Alen^on and that traitorous rout.
IFloiirish. Exeunt all hut York, War-
wickj Exeter and Vernon,
Act IV. Sc. i. THE FIRST PART OF
War. My Lord of York, I promise you, the king
Prettily, methought, did play the orator.
York. 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
York. An if I wist he did, ā but let it rest ; 180
Other affairs must now be managed.
[Exeunt all hut Exeter.
Exe. Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy
For, had the passions of thy heart burst out,
I fear we should have seen decipher'd there
JNIore rancorous spite, more furious raging
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, 190
But that it doth presage some ill event.
'Tis much when scepters are in children's hands ;
But more when envy breeds unkind division;
There comes the ruin, there begins confusion.
180. "An if I wist he did," Capell; Ff., "And if I wish he did";
Rowe, "And if I wish he did. ā "; Theobald (in text), "An if I wis
he did. ā "; (in note), "A^id if I wis, he did. ā "; Johnson, "And if ā
I wish ā he did ā " or "And if he did, ā / wish ā "; Steevens, "And, if
I wist, he did, ā ." ā I. G.
193. "Envy," in old English writers, frequently means malice, en-
mity. "Unkind" is unnatural, ā H. N. H.
KING HENRY VI Act IV. Sc. u.
Enter Talhot, with trump and drum.
Tal. Go to the gates of Bordeaux, trumpeter :
Summon their general unto the wall.
Trumpet sounds. Enter General and others, aloft^
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 '11 withth'aw me and my bloody power :
But, if you frown upon this proff er'd peace,
You tempt the fury of my three attendants, 10
Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing
Who in a moment even with the earth
Shall lay your stately and air-braving towers,
If you forsake the offer of their love.
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: 20
If thou retire, the Dauphin, well appointed,
14. "their love"; Hanmer, "our love."āh G.
Act IV. Sc. ii. THE FIRST PART OF
Stands with the snares of war to tangle thee :
On either hand thee there are squadrons pitch'd,
To wall thee from the liberty of flight ;
And no way canst thou turn thee for redress,
But death doth front thee with apparent spoil,
And pale destruction meets thee in the face.
Ten thousand French have ta'en the sacrament
To rive their dangerous artillery
Upon no Christian soul but English Talbot. 30
Lo, there thou stand'st, a breathing valiant
Of an invincible unconquer'd spirit!
This is the latest glory of thy praise
That I, thy enemy, due thee withal;
For ere the glass, that now begins to run,
Finish the process of his sandy hour,
These eyes, that see thee now well colored.
Shall see thee wither'd, bloody, pale and dead.
[Drum afar off.
Hark! hark! the Dauphin's drum, a warning
Sings heavy music to thy timorous soul; 40
And mine shall ring thy dire departure out.
[Exeunt General, etc.
Tal. He fables not; I hear the enemy:
22. "war"; Capell, "death."ā 1. G.
26. "spoil"; Vaughan, "steel."ā J. G.
"apparent spoil" inevitable ruin. ā C. H. H.
29. "To rive their dangerous artillery" is merely a figurative way
of expressing to discharge it. To rive is to burst; and burst is
applied by Shakespeare more than once to thunder, or to a similar
sound.ā H. N. H.
34. "Due" for endue, which was often used in the sense of invest.
ā H. N. H.
KING HENRY VI Act iv. Sc. iii.
Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their
O, negUgent and heedless discipline!
How are we park'd and bounded in a pale,
A little herd of England's timorous deer,
Mazed with a yelping kennel of French curs!
If we be English deer, be then in blood;
Not rascal-Hke, to fall down with a pinch.
But rather, moody-mad and desperate stags, 50
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
Prosper our colors in this dangerous fight !
Plains in Gascony.
Enter a Messenger that meets York. Enter York
with trumpet and many Soldiers.
York. Are not the speedy scouts return'd again,
That dogg'd the mighty army of the Dauphin?
48. "in blood," in full vigor (a term of the chase). ā C. H. H.
49-51. This use of rascal is well explained by a passage from Vers-
tegan's RfStitution of Decayed InteU'ujence, 1605: "As before I
have showed how the ill names of beasts, in their most contempti-
ble state, are in contempt applied to women; so is rascall, being
the name for an ill-favoured, Icnne, and wortlilesse deere, commonly
Act IV. Sc. iii. THE FIRST PART OF
Mess. They are return'd, my lord, and give it out
That he is march'd to Bordeaux with his power,
To fight with Talbot : as he march'd along,
By your espials were discovered
Two mightier troops than that the Dauphin led,
Which join'd with him and made their march
York. A plague upon that villain Somerset,
That thus delays my promised supply 1^
Of horsemen, that were levied for this siege!
Renowned Talbot doth expect my aid,
And I am lowted by a traitor villain.
And cannot help the noble chevalier:
God comfort him in this necessity!
If he miscariy, farewell wars in France.
Enter Sir William Lucy.
Lucy. Thou princely leader of our Enghsh
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, 20
And hemm'd about with grim destruction :
To Bordeaux, warlike duke! to Bordeaux,
Else, farewell, Talbot, France, and England's
York. O God, that Somerset, who in proud heart
Doth stop my cornets, were in Talbot's place!
So should we save a vahant gentleman
applied unto such men as are held of no credit or worth." The
figure is kept up by using heads of steel for lances, referring to the
deer's horns. ā H. N. H.
KING HENRY VI Act iv. Sc. ai
By forfeiting a traitor and a coward.
Mad ire and wrathful fury makes me weep,
That thus w-e die, while remiss traitors sleep.
Lucy. O, send such succor to the distress'd lord! 30
York. He dies, we lose; I break my warlike word;
We mourn, France smiles; we lose, they daily
All 'long of this vile traitor Somerset.
Luci/. Then God take mercy on brave Talbot's
And on his son young John, who two hours
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
York. Alas, w^hat joy shall noble Talbot have.
To bid his young son welcome to his grave? 40
Away ! vexation almost stops my breath,
That sunder'd friends greet in the hour of
Lucy, farewell : no more my fortune can.
But curse the cause I cannot aid the man.
Maine, Blois, Poictiers, and Tours, are won
'Long all of Somerset and his delay.
[Ecvit, with his soldiers.
33. "Lony all of," that is, all because of, by means or by reason
of. The phrase was used by the gravest writers in the Poet's time.
Hooker has it.ā H. N. H.
46. On the death of Bedford in 1435, York succeeded him in the
regency of France. In U37 he was superseded by Warwick, who
dying about two years after, York was reappointed. In this office
Somerset took special pains to cross and thwart him. The effects
Act IV. Sc. iv. THE FIRST PART OF
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, 50
That ever living man of memory,
Henry the Fifth: whiles they each other cross,
Lives, honors, lands and all hurry to loss.
Other plains in Gascony.
Enter Somerset, with his army; a Captain 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
of their enmity are strongly stated by Holinshed: "Althought the
duke of York was worthie, botii for birth and courage, of this honor
and preferment, yet so disdeined of the duke of Summerset, that
by all means possible sought his hindrance, as one glad of his losse,
and sorie of his well dooing: by reason whereof, yer the duke of
York could get his despatch, Paris and diverse other of the cheefest
places in France were gotten by the French king. The duke of York,
perceiving his evill will, openlie dissembled that which he inwardlie
minded, either of them working things to the others displeasure,
till, through malice and division betweene them, at length by mor-
tall warre, they were both consumed, with almost all their whole
lines and offspring." ā H. N. H.
47. Alluding to the tale of Prometheus.ā H. N. H.
51. "That ever living man of memory," i. e. that ever man of liv-
ing memory. Lettsom, "man of ever-living." ā I. G.
KING HENRY VI Act IV. Sc. iv.
Hath sullied all his gloss of former lionor
By this unheedful, desperate, wild adventure:
York set him on to fight and die in shame,
That, Talbot dead, great York might bear the
Cap. Here is Sir William Lucy, who with me 10
Set from our o'er-match'd forces forth for aid.
Enter Sir William Lucy.
Som. How now, Sir William! whither were you
Lucy. Whither, my lord? from bought and sold
Who, ring'd about with bold adversity,
Cries out for noble York and Somerset,
To beat assailing death from his weak legions :
And whiles the honorable captain there
Drops bloody sweat from his war-wearied limbs,
And, in advantage lingering, looks for rescue,
You, his false hopes, the trust of England's
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, Burgundy,
16. "legions," Howe's emendation of Ff. "Regions."ā I. G.
19. "in advantage lingering"; Staunton, "in disadvantage ling'ring";
Lettsom, "in disvantage lingering"; Vaughan, "disadvantage ling'r-
ing." Johnson explains the phrase, "Protracting his resistance by
the advantage of a strong post"; Malone, "Endeavoring by every
means, with advantage to himself, to linger out the action."ā I. G.
Act IV. Sc. iv. THE FIRST PART OF
Alen^on, Reignier, compass him about,
And Talbot perisheth by your default.
Som, York set him on; York should have sent him
Lucy. And York as fast upon your grace ex-
claims ; SO
Swearing that you witliliold 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 entrapp'd the noble-minded Talbot:
Never to England shall he bear his life ;
But dies, betray'd to fortune by your strife.
So7n. Come, go; I will dispatch the horsemen
straight : 40
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
31. "host"; so Ff. 3, 4; Ff. 1, 2, "hoast"; Theobald's conjecture
(adopted by Hanmer), "horse." ā I. G.
35. "take foul scorn," I scorn (to fawn on him) as a foul dis-
grace. ā C. H. H.
42. "rescue: he is"; Ff. 1, 2, "rescue, he is"; Ff. 3, 4, "rescue, if
he is"; Rowe (ed. 1) "rescxie, if he's"; (ed 2) "rescue, he's"; Pope,
"rescue now, he's." ā I. G.
KING HENRY VI Act iv. Sc. v.
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 di'ooping chair.
But, O mahgnant and ill-boding stars!
Now thou are come unto a feast of death,
A terrible and unavoided danger:
Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest
And 1 11 direct thee how thou shalt escape 10
By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone.