Enter King Henry VI, Gloucester, Bishop Of Winchester, York, Suffolk, Somerset, Warwick, Talbot, Exeter, the Governor, of Paris, and others
Gloucester Lord bishop, set the crown upon his head.
Bishop of Winchester God save King Henry, of that name the sixth!
Gloucester Now, governor of Paris, take your oath,
That you elect no other king but him;
Esteem none friends but such as are his friends,
And none your foes but such as shall pretend
Malicious practises against his state:
This shall ye do, so help you righteous God!
Fastolfe My gracious sovereign, as I rode from Calais,
To haste unto your coronation,
A letter was deliver’d to my hands,
Writ to your grace from the Duke of Burgundy.
Talbot Shame to the Duke of Burgundy and thee!
I vow’d, base knight, when I did meet thee next,
To tear the garter from thy craven’s leg,
Plucking it off
Which I have done, because unworthily
Thou wast installed in that high degree.
Pardon me, princely Henry, and the rest
This dastard, at the battle of Patay,
When but in all I was six thousand strong
And that the French were almost ten to one,
Before we met or that a stroke was given,
Like to a trusty squire did run away:
In which assault we lost twelve hundred men;
Myself and divers gentlemen beside
Were there surprised and taken prisoners.
Then judge, great lords, if I have done amiss;
Or whether that such cowards ought to wear
This ornament of knighthood, yea or no.
Gloucester To say the truth, this fact was infamous
And ill beseeming any common man,
Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.
Talbot When first this order was ordain’d, my lords,
Knights of the garter were of noble birth,
Valiant and virtuous, full of haughty courage,
Such as were grown to credit by the wars;
Not fearing death, nor shrinking for distress,
But always resolute in most extremes.
He then that is not furnish’d in this sort
Doth but usurp the sacred name of knight,
Profaning this most honourable 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 Henry VI Stain to thy countrymen, thou hear’st thy doom!
Be packing, therefore, thou that wast a knight:
Henceforth we banish thee, on pain of death.
And now, my lord protector, view the letter
Sent from our uncle Duke of Burgundy.
Gloucester What means his grace, that he hath changed his style?
No more but, plain and bluntly, ‘To the king!’
Hath he forgot he is his sovereign?
Or doth this churlish superscription
Pretend some alteration in good will?
‘I have, upon especial cause,
Moved with compassion of my country’s wreck,
Together with the pitiful complaints
Of such as your oppression feeds upon,
Forsaken your pernicious faction
And join’d with Charles, the rightful King of France.’
O monstrous treachery! can this be so,
That in alliance, amity and oaths,
There should be found such false dissembling guile?
King Henry VI What! doth my uncle Burgundy revolt?
Gloucester He doth, my lord, and is become your foe.
King Henry VI Is that the worst this letter doth contain?
Gloucester It is the worst, and all, my lord, he writes.
King Henry VI Why, then, Lord Talbot there shall talk with him
And give him chastisement for this abuse.
How say you, my lord? are you not content?
Talbot Content, my liege! yes, but that I am prevented,
I should have begg’d I might have been employ’d.
King Henry VI Then gather strength and march unto him straight:
Let him perceive how ill we brook his treason
And what offence it is to flout his friends.
Talbot I go, my lord, in heart desiring still
You may behold confusion of your foes.
Enter Vernon and Basset
Vernon Grant me the combat, gracious sovereign.
Basset And me, my lord, grant me the combat too.
York This is my servant: hear him, noble prince.
Somerset And this is mine: sweet Henry, favour him.
King Henry VI Be patient, lords; and give them leave to speak.
Say, gentlemen, what makes you thus exclaim?
And wherefore crave you combat? or with whom?
Vernon With him, my lord; for he hath done me wrong.
Basset And I with him; for he hath done me wrong.
King Henry VI What is that wrong whereof you both complain?
First let me know, and then I’ll answer you.
Basset Crossing the sea from England into France,
This fellow here, with envious carping tongue,
Upbraided me about the rose I wear;
Saying, the sanguine colour of the leaves
Did represent my master’s blushing cheeks,
When stubbornly he did repugn the truth
About a certain question in the law
Argued betwixt the Duke of York and him;
With other vile and ignominious terms:
In confutation of which rude reproach
And in defence of my lord’s worthiness,
I crave the benefit of law of arms.
Vernon And that is my petition, noble lord:
For though he seem with forged quaint conceit
To set a gloss upon his bold intent,
Yet know, my lord, I was provoked by him;
And he first took exceptions at this badge,
Pronouncing that the paleness of this flower
Bewray’d the faintness of my master’s heart.
York Will not this malice, Somerset, be left?
Somerset Your private grudge, my Lord of York, will out,
Though ne’er so cunningly you smother it.
King Henry VI Good Lord, what madness rules in brainsick men,
When for so slight and frivolous a cause
Such factious emulations shall arise!
Good cousins both, of York and Somerset,
Quiet yourselves, I pray, and be at peace.
York Let this dissension first be tried by fight,
And then your highness shall command a peace.
Somerset The quarrel toucheth none but us alone;
Betwixt ourselves let us decide it then.
York There is my pledge; accept it, Somerset.
Vernon Nay, let it rest where it began at first.
Basset Confirm it so, mine honourable lord.
Gloucester Confirm it so! Confounded be your strife!
And perish ye, with your audacious prate!
Presumptuous vassals, are you not ashamed
With this immodest clamorous outrage
To trouble and disturb the king and us?
And you, my lords, methinks you do not well
To bear with their perverse objections;
Much less to take occasion from their mouths
To raise a mutiny betwixt yourselves:
Let me persuade you take a better course.
Exeter It grieves his highness: good my lords, be friends.
King Henry VI Come hither, you that would be combatants:
Henceforth I charge you, as you love our favour,
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
Destroy’d 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 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 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 your victories,
With Charles, Alencon and that traitorous rout.
Flourish. Exeunt all but York, Warwick, Exeter and Vernon
Warwick 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.
Warwick Tush, that was but his fancy, blame him not;
I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.
York An if I wist he did — but let it rest;
Other affairs must now be managed.
Exeunt all but Exeter
Exeter Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy voice;
For, had the passions of thy heart burst out,
I fear we should have seen decipher’d 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 favourites,
But that it doth presage some ill event.
’Tis much when sceptres are in children’s hands;
But more when envy breeds unkind division;
There comes the rain, there begins confusion.
Enter Talbot, with trump and drum
Talbot Go to the gates of Bourdeaux, 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’ll withdraw me and my bloody power:
But, if you frown upon this proffer’d 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 their love.
General 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 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.
Lo, there thou stand’st, a breathing valiant man,
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 coloured,
Shall see thee wither’d, 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, & c
Talbot He fables not; I hear the enemy:
Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.
O, negligent 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-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 colours in this dangerous fight!
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?
Messenger They are return’d, my lord, and give it out
That he is march’d to Bourdeaux 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 for Bourdeaux.
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 lowted by a traitor villain
And cannot help the noble chevalier:
God comfort him in this necessity!
If he miscarry, farewell wars in France.
Enter Sir William Lucy
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 hemm’d about with grim destruction:
To Bourdeaux, warlike duke! to Bourdeaux, York!
Else, farewell Talbot, France, and England’s honour.
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 distress’d 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, who 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.
York Alas, what joy shall noble Talbot have
To bid his young son welcome to his grave?
Away! vexation almost stops my breath,
That sunder’d 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, with his soldiers
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, honours, lands and all hurry to loss.
Enter Somerset, with his army; a Captain of Talbot’s with him
Somerset 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 honour
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.
Captain Here is Sir William Lucy, who with me
Set from our o’ermatch’d forces forth for aid.
Enter Sir William Lucy
Somerset How now, Sir William! whither were you sent?
Lucy Whither, my lord? from bought and sold Lord Talbot;
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 honourable 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 honour,
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,
Alencon, Reignier, compass him about,
And Talbot perisheth by your default.
Somerset 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.
Somerset York lies; he might have sent and had the horse;
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 France,
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.
Somerset Come, go; I will dispatch 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.
Somerset If he be dead, brave Talbot, then adieu!
Lucy His fame lives in the world, his shame in you.
Enter Talbot and John his son
Talbot 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 danger:
Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse;
And I’ll direct thee how thou shalt escape
By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone.
John Talbot Is my name Talbot? and am I your son?
And shall I fly? O if you love my mother,
Dishonour not her honourable 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.
Talbot Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.
John Talbot He that flies so will ne’er return again.
Talbot If we both stay, we both are sure to die.
John Talbot Then let me stay; and, father, do you fly:
Your loss is great, so your regard 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 honour you have won;
But mine it will, that no exploit have done:
You fled for vantage, everyone 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.
Talbot Shall all thy mother’s hopes lie in one tomb?
John Talbot Ay, rather than I’ll shame my mother’s womb.
Talbot Upon my blessing, I command thee go.
John Talbot To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.
Talbot Part of thy father may be saved in thee.
John Talbot No part of him but will be shame in me.
Talbot Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not lose it.
John Talbot Yes, your renowned name: shall flight abuse it?
Talbot Thy father’s charge shall clear thee from that stain.
John Talbot You cannot witness for me, being slain.
If death be so apparent, then both fly.
Talbot And leave my followers here to fight and die?
My age was never tainted with such shame.
John Talbot And shall my youth be guilty of such blame?
No more can I be sever’d 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.
Talbot 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.
Alarum: excursions, wherein John Talbot is hemmed about, and Talbot rescues him
Talbot 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 Talbot O, twice my father, twice am I thy son!
The life thou gavest me first was lost and done,
Till with thy warlike sword, despite of late,
To my determined time thou gavest new date.
Talbot When from the Dauphin’s crest thy sword struck fire,
It warm’d thy father’s heart with proud desire
Of bold-faced victory. Then leaden age,
Quicken’d with youthful spleen and warlike rage,
Beat down Alencon, Orleans, Burgundy,
And from the pride of Gallia rescued thee.
The ireful bastard Orleans, that drew blood
From thee, my boy, and had the maidenhood
Of thy first fight, I soon encountered,
And interchanging blows I quickly shed
Some of his bastard blood; and in disgrace
Bespoke him thus; ‘Contaminated, base
And misbegotten blood I spill of thine,
Mean and right poor, for that pure blood of mine
Which thou didst force from Talbot, my brave boy:’
Here, purposing the Bastard to destroy,
Came in strong rescue. Speak, thy father’s care,
Art thou not weary, John? how dost thou fare?
Wilt thou yet leave the battle, boy, and fly,
Now thou art seal’d the son of chivalry?
Fly, to revenge my death when I am dead:
The help of one stands me in little stead.
O, too much folly is it, well I wot,
To hazard all our lives in one small boat!
If I to-day die not with Frenchmen’s rage,
To-morrow I shall die with mickle age:
By me they nothing gain an if I stay;
’Tis but the shortening of my life one day:
In thee thy mother dies, our household’s name,
My death’s revenge, thy youth, and England’s fame:
All these and more we hazard by thy stay;
All these are saved if thou wilt fly away.
John Talbot The sword of Orleans hath not made me smart;
These words of yours draw life-blood from my heart:
On that advantage, bought with such a shame,
To save a paltry life and slay bright fame,
Before young Talbot from old Talbot fly,
The coward horse that bears me fail and die!
And like me to the peasant boys of France,
To be shame’s scorn and subject of mischance!
Surely, by all the glory you have won,
An if I fly, I am not Talbot’s son:
Then talk no more of flight, it is no boot;
If son to Talbot, die at Talbot’s foot.
Talbot Then follow thou thy desperate sire of Crete,
Thou Icarus; thy life to me is sweet:
If thou wilt fight, fight by thy father’s side;
And, commendable proved, let’s die in pride.
Alarum: excursions. Enter Talbot led by a Servant
Talbot Where is my other life? mine own is gone;
O, where’s young Talbot? where is valiant John?
Triumphant death, smear’d with captivity,
Young Talbot’s valour makes me smile at thee:
When he perceived me shrink and on my knee,
His bloody sword he brandish’d over me,
And, like a hungry lion, did commence
Rough deeds of rage and stern impatience;
But when my angry guardant stood alone,
Tendering my ruin and assail’d of none,
Dizzy-eyed fury and great rage of heart
Suddenly made him from my side to start
Into the clustering battle of the French;
And in that sea of blood my boy did drench
His over-mounting spirit, and there died,
My Icarus, my blossom, in his pride.
Servant O, my dear lord, lo, where your son is borne!
Enter Soldiers, with the body of John Talbot
Talbot Thou antic death, which laugh’st us here to scorn,
Anon, from thy insulting tyranny,
Coupled in bonds of perpetuity,
Two Talbots, winged through the lither sky,
In thy despite shall ’scape mortality.
O, thou, whose wounds become hard-favour’d death,
Speak to thy father ere thou yield thy breath!
Brave death by speaking, whether he will or no;
Imagine him a Frenchman and thy foe.
Poor boy! he smiles, methinks, as who should say,
Had death been French, then death had died to-day.
Come, come and lay him in his father’s arms:
My spirit can no longer bear these harms.
Soldiers, adieu! I have what I would have,
Now my old arms are young John Talbot’s grave.
Enter Charles, Alencon, Burgundy, Bastard Of Orleans, Joan La Pucelle, and forces
Charles Had York and Somerset brought rescue in,
We should have found a bloody day of this.
Bastard Of Orleans How the young whelp of Talbot’s, raging-wood,
Did flesh his puny sword in Frenchmen’s blood!
Joan La Pucelle Once I encounter’d him, and thus I said:
‘Thou maiden youth, be vanquish’d by a maid:’
But, with a proud majestical high scorn,
He answer’d thus: ‘Young Talbot was not born
To be the pillage of a giglot wench:’
So, rushing in the bowels of the French,
He left me proudly, as unworthy fight.
Burgundy Doubtless he would have made a noble knight;
See, where he lies inhearsed in the arms
Of the most bloody nurser of his harms!
Bastard Of Orleans Hew them to pieces, hack their bones asunder
Whose life was England’s glory, Gallia’s wonder.
Charles O, no, forbear! for that which we have fled
During the life, let us not wrong it dead.
Enter Sir William Lucy, attended; Herald of the French preceding
Lucy Herald, conduct me to the Dauphin’s tent,
To know who hath obtained the glory of the day.
Charles On what submissive message art thou sent?
Lucy Submission, Dauphin! ’tis a mere French word;
We English warriors wot not what it means.
I come to know what prisoners thou hast ta’en
And to survey the bodies of the dead.
Charles For prisoners ask’st thou? hell our prison is.
But tell me whom thou seek’st.
Lucy But where’s the great Alcides of the field,
Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury,
Created, for his rare success in arms,
Great Earl of Washford, Waterford and Valence;
Lord Talbot of Goodrig and Urchinfield,
Lord Strange of Blackmere, Lord Verdun of Alton,
Lord Cromwell of Wingfield, Lord Furnival of Sheffield,
The thrice-victorious Lord of Falconbridge;
Knight of the noble order of Saint George,
Worthy Saint Michael and the Golden Fleece;
Great marshal to Henry the Sixth
Of all his wars within the realm of France?
Joan La Pucelle Here is a silly stately style indeed!
The Turk, that two and fifty kingdoms hath,
Writes not so tedious a style as this.
Him that thou magnifiest with all these titles
Stinking and fly-blown lies here at our feet.
Lucy Is Talbot slain, the Frenchmen’s only scourge,
Your kingdom’s terror and black Nemesis?
O, were mine eyeballs into bullets turn’d,
That I in rage might shoot them at your faces!
O, that I could but call these dead to life!
It were enough to fright the realm of France:
Were but his picture left amongst you here,
It would amaze the proudest of you all.
Give me their bodies, that I may bear them hence
And give them burial as beseems their worth.
Joan La Pucelle I think this upstart is old Talbot’s ghost,
He speaks with such a proud commanding spirit.
For God’s sake let him have ’em; to keep them here,
They would but stink, and putrefy the air.
Charles Go, take their bodies hence.
Lucy I’ll bear them hence; but from their ashes shall be rear’d
A phoenix that shall make all France afeard.
Charles So we be rid of them, do with ’em what thou wilt.
And now to Paris, in this conquering vein:
All will be ours, now bloody Talbot’s slain.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59