Henry VI, part 1, by William Shakespeare

Act III

Scene I. London. The Parliament-house.

Flourish. Enter King Henry VI, Exeter, Gloucester, Warwick, Somerset, and Suffolk; the Bishop Of Winchester, Richard Plantagenet, and others. Gloucester offers to put up a bill; Bishop Of Winchester snatches it, and tears it

Bishop of 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 dishonour’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,
Forward 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.

Bishop of 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!

Bishop of Winchester Ay, lordly sir; for what are you, I pray,
But one imperious in another’s throne?

Gloucester Am I not protector, saucy priest?

Bishop of 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.

Bishop of Winchester Unreverent Gloster!

Gloucester Thou art reverent
Touching thy spiritual function, not thy life.

Bishop of 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?
Richard

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 Henry VI 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 Henry VI 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.

Skirmish again

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 slaughtered by thy foes.

First Serving-man Ay, and the very parings of our nails
Shall pitch a field when we are dead.

Begin again

Gloucester Stay, stay, I say!
And if you love me, as you say you do,
Let me persuade you to forbear awhile.

King Henry VI 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.

Bishop of 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 stern and tragical?

Gloucester Here, Winchester, I offer thee my hand.

King Henry VI 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?

Bishop of Winchester Well, Duke of Gloucester, I will yield to thee;
Love for thy love and hand for hand I give.

Gloucester [Aside] Ay, 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!

Bishop of Winchester [Aside] So help me God, as I intend it not!

King Henry VI 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: or sweet prince,
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.

King Henry VI 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.

Bishop of Winchester As will the rest, so willeth Winchester.

King Henry VI 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.
Richard

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

King Henry VI Stoop then and set your knee against my foot;
And, in reguerdon of that duty done,
I gird thee with the valiant sword of York:
Rise Richard, like a true Plantagenet,
And rise created princely Duke of York.
Richard

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 Henry VI 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 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 fester’d 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.

Exit

Scene II. France. Before Rouen.

Enter Joan La Pucelle disguised, with four Soldiers with sacks upon their backs

Joan La 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?

Joan 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.

Joan La Pucelle Now, Rouen, I’ll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.

Exeunt

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 Of Orleans Here enter’d Pucelle and her practisants;
Now she is there, how will she specify
Where 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 Joan La Pucelle on the top, thrusting out a torch burning

Joan La Pucelle Behold, this is the happy wedding torch
That joineth Rouen unto her countrymen,
But burning fatal to the Talbotites!

Exit

Bastard Of Orleans 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.

Alarum. Exeunt

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.

Exit

An alarum: excursions. Bedford, brought in sick in a chair. Enter Talbot and Burgundy without: within Joan La Pucelle, Charles, Bastard Of Orleans, Alencon, and Reignier, on the walls

Joan La 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!

Joan La Pucelle What will you do, good grey-beard? 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.

Joan La Pucelle Are ye so hot, sir? yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace;
If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.

The English whisper together in council

God speed the parliament! who shall be the speaker?

Talbot Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field?

Joan La 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.

Joan La 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 honour 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 dishonour 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 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 Ay,
All the Talbots in the world, to save my life!

Exit

Captain Cowardly knight! ill fortune follow thee!

Exit

Retreat: excursions. Joan 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 honour, 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 valour’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 wills 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.

Exeunt

Scene III. The plains near Rouen.

Enter Charles, the Bastard Of Orleans, Alencon, Joan La Pucelle, and forces

Joan La 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 Of Orleans 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.

Joan La 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 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.

Alencon For ever should they be expulsed from France
And not have title of an earldom here.

Joan La 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 colours spread,
And all the troops of English after him.

French march. Enter Burgundy and forces

Now in the rearward comes the duke and his:
Fortune in favour 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?

Joan La 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.

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

Burgundy Speak on; but be not over-tedious.

Joan La 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.

Joan La Pucelle Besides, all French and France exclaims on thee,
Doubting thy birth and lawful progeny.
Who joint’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 joint’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 batter’d 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.

Joan La Pucelle [Aside] Done like a Frenchman: turn, and turn again!

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

Bastard Of Orleans 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.

Exeunt

Scene IV. Paris. The palace.

Enter King Henry VI, 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 Henry VI 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 Henry VI 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 colours that I wear
In honour of my noble Lord of York:
Darest 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 honour as he is.

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

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

Strikes him

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.

Exeunt

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Last updated Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 23:08