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King Henry VI, First Part
by William Shakespeare [Aldus edition]
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EXETER. It grieves his highness: good my lords, be friends.

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, 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 France 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! 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 favorites, 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.

[Exit.]



SCENE II. Before Bordeaux.

[Enter Talbot, with trump and drum.]

TALBOT. 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 '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 colored, 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, etc.]

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 colors in this dangerous fight!

[Exeunt.]



SCENE III. 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?

MESSENGER. 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 for Bordeaux.

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 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 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, honors, lands and all hurry to loss.

[Exit.]



SCENE IV. Other plains in Gascony.

[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 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.

CAPTAIN. Here is Sir William Lucy, who with me Set from our o'er-match'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 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 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, Yield 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.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE V. The English camp near Bordeaux.

[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. Is my name Talbot? and am I your son? 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.

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

JOHN. He that flies so will ne'er return again.

TALBOT. 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 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.

TALBOT. Shall all thy mother's hopes lie in one tomb?

JOHN. Aye, rather than I 'll shame my mother's womb.

TALBOT. Upon my blessing, I command thee go.

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

TALBOT. Part of thy father may be saved in thee.

JOHN. No part of him but will be shame in me.

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

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

TALBOT. 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.

TALBOT. 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 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.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE VI. A field of battle.

[Alarum: excursions, wherein Talbot's Son 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. 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 fate, 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 short'ning 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. 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 fall 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.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE VII. Another part of the field.

[Alarum: excursions. Enter old 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 valor 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-ey'd 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 young 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-favor'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.

[Dies.]

[Enter Charles, Alencon, Burgundy, Bastard, La Pucelle, and forces.]

CHARLES. Had York and Somerset brought rescue in, We should have found a bloody day of this.

BASTARD. How the young whelp of Talbot's, raging-wood, Did flesh his puny sword in Frenchmen's blood!

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. 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 obtain'd 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?

PUCELLE. Here's 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 Frenchman's only scourge, Your kingdom's terror and black Nemesis? O, were mine eye-balls into bullets turn'd, That I in rage might shoot them at your faces! O, that I could but can 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.

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 putrify 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.

[Exeunt.]



ACT FIFTH

SCENE I. London. The palace.

[Sennet. Enter King, Gloucester, and Exeter.]

KING. Have you perused the letters from the pope, The emperor, and the Earl of Armagnac?

GLOUCESTER. I have, my lord: and their intent is this: They humbly sue unto your excellence To have a godly peace concluded of Between the realms of England and of France.

KING. How doth your grace affect their motion?

GLOUCESTER. Well, my good lord; and as the only means To stop effusion of our Christian blood And stablish quietness on every side.

KING. Aye, marry, uncle; for I always thought It was both impious and unnatural That such immanity and bloody strife Should reign among professors of one faith.

GLOUCESTER. Beside, my lord, the sooner to effect And surer bind this knot of amity, The Earl of Armagnac, near knit to Charles, A man of great authority in France, Proffers his only daughter to your grace In marriage, with a large and sumptuous dowry.

KING. Marriage, uncle! alas, my years are young! And fitter is my study and my books Than wanton dalliance with a paramour. Yet call the ambassadors; and, as you please, So let them have their answers every one: I shall be well content with any choice Tends to God's glory and my country's weal.

[Enter Winchester in Cardinal's habit, a Legate and two Ambassadors.]

EXETER. What! is my Lord of Winchester install'd And call'd unto a cardinal's degree? Then I perceive that will be verified Henry the Fifth did sometime prophesy, 'If once he come to be a cardinal, He'll make his cap co-equal with the crown.'

KING. My lords ambassadors, your several suits Have been consider'd and debated on. Your purpose is both good and reasonable; And therefore are we certainly resolved To draw conditions of a friendly peace; Which by my Lord of Winchester we mean Shall be transported presently to France.

GLOUCESTER. And for the proffer of my lord your master, I have inform'd his highness so at large, As liking of the lady's virtuous gifts, Her beauty and the value of her dower, He doth intend she shall be England's Queen.

KING. In argument and proof of which contract, Bear her this jewel, pledge of my affection. And so, my lord protector, see them guarded And safely brought to Dover; where inshipp'd, Commit them to the fortune of the sea.

[Exeunt all but Winchester and Legate.]

WINCHESTER. Stay my lord legate: you shall first receive The sum of money which I promised Should be deliver'd to his holiness For clothing me in these grave ornaments.

LEGATE. I will attend upon your lordship's leisure.

WINCHESTER. [Aside] Now Winchester will not submit, I trow, Or be inferior to the proudest peer. Humphrey of Gloucester, thou shalt well perceive That neither in birth or for authority, The bishop will be overborne by thee: I 'll either make thee stoop and bend thy knee, Or sack this country with a mutiny.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE II. France. Plains in Anjou.

[Enter Charles, Burgundy, Alencon, Bastard, Reignier, La Pucelle, and forces.]

CHARLES. These news, my lords, may cheer our drooping spirits: 'Tis said the stout Parisians do revolt And turn again unto the warlike French.

ALENCON. Then march to Paris, royal Charles of France, And keep not back your powers in dalliance.

PUCELLE. Peace be amongst them, if they turn to us; Else, ruin combat with their palaces!

[Enter Scout.]

SCOUT. Success unto our valiant general, And happiness to his accomplices!

CHARLES. What tidings send our scouts? I prithee, speak.

SCOUT. The English army, that divided was Into two parties, is now conjoin'd in one, And means to give you battle presently.

CHARLES. Somewhat too sudden, sirs, the warning is; But we will presently provide for them.

BURGUNDY. I trust the ghost of Talbot is not there: Now he is gone, my lord, you need not fear.

PUCELLE. Of all base passions, fear is most accursed. Command the conquest, Charles, it shall be thine, Let Henry fret and all the world repine.

CHARLES. Then on, my lords; and France be fortunate!

[Exeunt.]



SCENE III. Before Angiers.

[Alarum. Excursions. Enter La Pucelle.]

PUCELLE. The regent conquers, and the Frenchmen fly. Now help, ye charming spells and periapts; And ye choice spirits that admonish me, And give me signs of future accidents. [Thunder] You speedy helpers, that are substitutes Under the lordly monarch of the north, Appear and aid me in this enterprise.

[Enter Fiends.]

This speedy and quick appearance argues proof Of your accustom'd diligence to me. Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull'd Out of the powerful regions under earth, Help me this once, that France may get the field.

[They walk and speak not.]

O, hold me not with silence over-long! Where I was wont to feed you with my blood, I 'll lop a member off and give it you In earnest of a further benefit, So you do condescend to help me now.

[They hang their heads.]

No hope to have redress? My body shall Pay recompense, if you will grant my suit.

[They shake their heads.]

Cannot my body nor blood-sacrifice Entreat you to your wonted furtherance? Then take my soul, my body, soul and all, Before that England give the French the foil.

[They depart.]

See, they forsake me! Now the time is come That France must vail her lofty-plumed crest, And let her head fall into England's lap. My ancient incantations are too weak, And hell too strong for me to buckle with: Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.

[Exit.]

[Excursions. Re-enter La Pucelle fighting hand to hand with York: La Pucelle is taken. The French fly.]

YORK. Damsel of France, I think I have you fast: Unchain your spirits now with spelling charms, And try if they can gain your liberty. A goodly prize, fit for the devil's grace! See, how the ugly witch doth bend her brows, As if with Circe she would change my shape!

PUCELLE. Chang'd to a worser shape thou canst not be.

YORK. O, Charles the Dauphin is a proper man; No shape but his can please your dainty eye.

PUCELLE. A plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee! And may ye both be suddenly surprised By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!

YORK. Fell banning hag; enchantress, hold thy tongue!

PUCELLE. I prithee, give me leave to curse awhile.

YORK. Curse, miscreant, when thou comest to the stake.

[Exeunt.]

[Alarum. Enter Suffolk, with Margaret in his hand.]

SUFFOLK. Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.

[Gazes on her.]

O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly! For I will touch thee but with reverent hands; I kiss these fingers for eternal peace, And lay them gently on thy tender side. Who art thou? say, that I may honor thee.

MARGARET. Margaret my name, and daughter to a king, The King of Naples, whosoe'er thou art.

SUFFOLK. An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call'd. Be not offended, nature's miracle, Thou art allotted to be ta'en by me. So doth the swan her downy cygnets save, Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings. Yet, if this servile usage once offend, Go and be free again as Suffolk's friend.

[She is going.]

O, stay! I have no power to let her pass; My hand would free her, but my heart says no. As plays the sun upon the glassy streams, Twinkling another counterfeited beam, So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes. Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak: I'll call for pen and ink, and write my mind. Fie, de la Pole! disable not thyself; Hast not a tongue? is she not here? Wilt thou be daunted at a woman's sight? Aye, beauty's princely majesty is such, Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.

MARGARET. Say, Earl of Suffolk,—if thy name be so— What ransom must I pay before I pass? For I perceive I am thy prisoner.

SUFFOLK. How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit, Before thou make a trial of her love?

MARGARET. Why speak'st thou not? what ransom must I pay?

SUFFOLK. She's beautiful and therefore to be woo'd; She is a woman, therefore to be won.

MARGARET. Wilt thou accept of ransom? yea, or no.

SUFFOLK. Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife; Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?

MARGARET. I were best leave him, for he will not hear.

SUFFOLK. There all is marr'd; there lies a cooling card.

MARGARET. He talks at random; sure, the man is mad.

SUFFOLK. And yet a dispensation may be had.

MARGARET. And yet I would that you would answer me.

SUFFOLK. I'll win this Lady Margaret. For whom? Why, for my king; tush, that 's a wooden thing!

MARGARET. He talks of wood: it is some carpenter.

SUFFOLK. Yet so my fancy may be satisfied, And peace established between these realms. But there remains a scruple in that too; For though her father be the King of Naples, Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor, And our nobility will scorn the match.

MARGARET. Hear ye, captain, are you not at leisure?

SUFFOLK. It shall be so, disdain they ne'er so much: Henry is youthful and will quickly yield. Madam, I have a secret to reveal.

MARGARET. What though I be enthrall'd? he seems a knight, And will not any way dishonor me.

SUFFOLK. Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.

MARGARET. Perhaps I shall be rescued by the French; And then I need not crave his courtesy.

SUFFOLK. Sweet madam, give me hearing in a cause—

MARGARET. Tush! women have been captivate ere now.

SUFFOLK. Lady, wherefore talk you so?

MARGARET. I cry you mercy, 'tis but Quid for Quo.

SUFFOLK. Say, gentle princess, would you not suppose Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?

MARGARET. To be a queen in bondage is more vile Than is a slave in base servility; For princes should be free.

SUFFOLK. And so shall you, If happy England's royal king be free.

MARGARET. Why, what concerns his freedom unto me?

SUFFOLK. I'll undertake to make thee Henry's queen, To put a golden scepter in thy hand And set a precious crown upon thy head, If thou wilt condescend to be my—

MARGARET. What?

SUFFOLK. His love.

MARGARET. I am unworthy to be Henry's wife.

SUFFOLK. No, gentle madam; I unworthy am To woo so fair a dame to be his wife, And have no portion in the choice myself. How say you, madam, are ye so content?

MARGARET. An if my father please, I am content.

SUFFOLK. Then call our captain and our colors forth. And, madam, at your father's castle walls We'll crave a parley, to confer with him.

[A parley sounded. Enter Reignier on the walls.]

See, Reignier, see, thy daughter prisoner!

REIGNIER. To whom?

SUFFOLK. To me.

REIGNIER. Suffolk, what remedy? I am a soldier, and unapt to weep, Or to exclaim on fortune's fickleness.

SUFFOLK. Yes, there is remedy enough, my lord: Consent, and for thy honor give consent, Thy daughter shall be wedded to my king; Whom I with pain have woo'd and won thereto; And this her easy-held imprisonment Hath gain'd thy daughter princely liberty.

REIGNIER. Speaks Suffolk as he thinks?

SUFFOLK. Fair Margaret knows That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.

REIGNIER. Upon thy princely warrant, I descend To give thee answer of thy just demand.

[Exit from the walls.]

SUFFOLK. And here I will expect thy coming.

[Trumpets sound. Enter Reignier, below.]

REIGNIER. Welcome, brave earl, into our territories: Command in Anjou what your honor pleases.

SUFFOLK. Thanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child, Fit to be made companion with a king: What answer makes your grace unto my suit?

REIGNIER. Since thou dost deign to woo her little worth To be the princely bride of such a lord; Upon condition I may quietly Enjoy mine own, the country Maine and Anjou, Free from oppression or the stroke of war, My daughter shall be Henry's, if he please.

SUFFOLK. That is her ransom; I deliver her; And those two counties I will undertake Your Grace shall well and quietly enjoy.

REIGNIER. And I again, in Henry's royal name, As deputy unto that gracious king, Give thee her hand, for sign of plighted faith.

SUFFOLK. Reignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks, Because this is in traffic of a king. [Aside] And yet, methinks, I could be well content To be mine own attorney in this case. I 'll over then to England with this news, And make this marriage to be solemnized. So, farewell, Reignier; set this diamond safe In golden palaces, as it becomes.

REIGNIER. I do embrace thee as I would embrace The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.

MARGARET. Farewell, my lord: good wishes, praise and prayers. Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret. [Going.

SUFFOLK. Farewell, sweet madam: but hark you, Margaret; No princely commendations to my king?

MARGARET. Such commendations as becomes a maid, A virgin and his servant, say to him.

SUFFOLK. Words sweetly placed and modestly directed. But, madam, I must trouble you again; No loving token to his majesty?

MARGARET. Yes, my good lord, a pure unspotted heart, Never yet taint with love, I send the king.

SUFFOLK. And this withal. [Kisses her.]

MARGARET. That for thyself: I will not so presume To send such peevish tokens to a king.

[Exeunt Reignier and Margaret.]

SUFFOLK. O, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay; Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth; There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk. Solicit Henry with her wondrous praise: Bethink thee on her virtues that surmount, And natural graces that extinguish art; Repeat their semblance often on the seas, That, when thou comest to kneel at Henry's feet, Thou mayst bereave him of his wits with wonder.

[Exit.]



SCENE IV. Camp of the Duke of York in Anjou.

[Enter York, Warwick, and others.]

YORK. Bring forth that sorceress condemn'd to burn.

[Enter La Pucelle, guarded, and a Shepherd.]

SHEPHERD. Ah, Joan, this kills thy father's heart outright! Have I sought every country far and near, And now it is my chance to find thee out, Must I behold thy timeless cruel death? Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I 'll die with thee!

PUCELLE. Decrepit miser! base ignoble wretch! I am descended of a gentler blood: Thou art no father nor no friend of mine.

SHEPHERD. Out, out! My lords, as please you, 'tis not so; I did beget her, all the parish knows. Her mother liveth yet, can testify She was the first fruit of my bachelorship.

WARWICK. Graceless! wilt thou deny thy parentage?

YORK. This argues what her kind of life hath been, Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes.

SHEPHERD. Fie, Joan, that thou wilt be so obstacle! God knows thou art a collop of my flesh; And for thy sake have I shed many a tear: Deny me not, I prithee, gentle Joan.

PUCELLE. Peasant, avaunt! You have suborn'd this man, Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.

SHEPHERD. 'Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest The morn that I was wedded to her mother. Kneel down and take my blessing, good my girl. Wilt thou not stoop? Now cursed be the time Of thy nativity! I would the milk Thy mother gave thee when thou suck'dst her breast, Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake! Or else, when thou didst keep my lambs a-field, I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee! Dost thou deny thy father, cursed drab? O, burn her, burn her! hanging is too good.

[Exit.]

YORK. Take her away; for she hath lived too long, To fill the world with vicious qualities.

PUCELLE. First, let me tell you whom you have condemn'd: Not me begotten of a shepherd swain, But issued from the progeny of kings; Virtuous and holy; chosen from above, By inspiration of celestial grace, To work exceeding miracles on earth. I never had to do with wicked spirits: But you, that are polluted with your lusts, Stain'd with the guiltless blood of innocents, Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices, Because you want the grace that others have, You judge it straight a thing impossible To compass wonders but by help of devils. No, misconceived! Joan of Arc hath been A virgin from her tender infancy, Chaste and immaculate in very thought; Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused, Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.

YORK. Aye, aye: away with her to execution!

WARWICK. And hark ye, sirs; because she is a maid, Spare for no faggots, let there be enow: Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake, That so her torture may be shortened.

PUCELLE. Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts? Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity, That warranteth by law to be thy privilege. I am with child, ye bloody homicides: Murder not then the fruit within my womb, Although ye hale me to a violent death.

YORK. Now heaven forfend! the holy maid with child!

WARWICK. The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought: Is all your strict preciseness come to this?

YORK. She and the Dauphin have been juggling: I did imagine what would be her refuge.

WARWICK. Well, go to; we'll have no bastards live; Especially since Charles must father it.

PUCELLE. You are deceived; my child is none of his: It was Alencon that enjoy'd my love.

YORK. Alencon! that notorious Machiavel! It dies, an if it had a thousand lives.

PUCELLE. O, give me leave, I have deluded you: 'Twas neither Charles nor yet the duke I named, But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevail'd.

WARWICK. A married man! that's most intolerable.

YORK. Why, here's a girl! I think she knows not well There were so many, whom she may accuse.

WARWICK. It's sign she hath been liberal and free.

YORK. And yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure. Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee: Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.

PUCELLE. Then lead me hence; with whom I leave my curse: May never glorious sun reflex his beams Upon the country where you make abode: But darkness and the gloomy shade of death Environ you, till mischief and despair Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves!

[Exit, guarded.]

YORK. Break thou in pieces and consume to ashes, Thou foul accursed minister of hell!

[Enter Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, attended.]

CARDINAL. Lord regent, I do greet your excellence With letters of commission from the king. For know, my lords, the states of Christendom, Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils, Have earnestly implored a general peace Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French; And here at hand the Dauphin and his train Approacheth, to confer about some matter.

YORK. Is all our travail turn'd to this effect? After the slaughter of so many peers, So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers, That in this quarrel have been overthrown, And sold their bodies for their country's benefit, Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace? Have we not lost most part of all the towns, By treason, falsehood, and by treachery, Our great progenitors had conquered? O, Warwick, Warwick! I foresee with grief The utter loss of all the realm of France.

WARWICK. Be patient, York: if we conclude a peace, It shall be with such strict and severe covenants As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby.

[Enter Charles, Alencon, Bastard, Reignier, and others.]

CHARLES. Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed That peaceful truce shall be proclaim'd in France, We come to be informed by yourselves What the conditions of that league must be.

YORK. Speak, Winchester; for boiling choler chokes The hollow passage of my poison'd voice, By sight of these our baleful enemies.

CARDINAL. Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus: That, in regard King Henry gives consent, Of mere compassion and of lenity, To ease your country of distressful war, And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace, You shall become true liegemen to his crown: And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear To pay him tribute and submit thyself, Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him, And still enjoy the regal dignity.

ALENCON. Must he be then as shadow of himself? Adorn his temples with a coronet, And yet, in substance and authority, Retain but privilege of a private man? This proffer is absurd and reasonless.

CHARLES. 'Tis known already that I am possess'd With more than half the Gallian territories, And therein reverenced for their lawful king: Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquish'd, Detract so much from that prerogative, As to be call'd but viceroy of the whole? No, lord ambassador, I 'll rather keep That which I have than, coveting for more, Be cast from possibility of all.

YORK. Insulting Charles! hast thou by secret means Used intercession to obtain a league, And, now the matter grows to compromise, Stand'st thou aloof upon comparison? Either accept the title thou usurp'st, Of benefit proceeding from our king And not of any challenge of desert, Or we will plague thee with incessant wars.

REIGNIER. My lord, you do not well in obstinacy To cavil in the course of this contract: If once it be neglected, ten to one We shall not find like opportunity.

ALENCON. To say the truth, it is your policy To save your subjects from such massacre And ruthless slaughters as are daily seen, By our proceeding in hostility; And therefore take this compact of a truce, Although you break it when your pleasure serves.

WARWICK. How say'st thou, Charles? shall our condition stand?

CHARLES. It shall; Only reserv'd, you claim no interest In any of our towns of garrison.

YORK. Then swear allegiance to his majesty, As thou art knight, never to disobey Nor be rebellious to the crown of England Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England. So, now dismiss your army when ye please; Hang up your ensigns, let your drums be still, For here we entertain a solemn peace.

[Exeunt.]



SCENE V. London. The royal palace.

[Enter Suffolk in conference with the King, Gloucester and Exeter.]

KING. Your wondrous rare description, noble earl, Of beauteous Margaret hath astonish'd me. Her virtues graced with external gifts Do breed love's settled passions in my heart: And like as rigor of tempestuous gusts Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide, So am I driven by breath of her renown, Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive Where I may have fruition of her love.

SUFFOLK. Tush, my good lord, this superficial tale Is but a preface of her worthy praise; The chief perfections of that lovely dame, Had I sufficient skill to utter them, Would make a volume of enticing lines, Able to ravish any dull conceit: And, which is more, she is not so divine, So full-replete with choice of all delights, But with as humble lowliness of mind She is content to be at your command; Command, I mean, of virtuous intents, To love and honor Henry as her lord.

KING. And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume. Therefore, my lord protector, give consent That Margaret may be England's royal queen.

GLOUCESTER. So should I give consent to flatter sin. You know, my lord, your highness is betroth'd Unto another lady of esteem: How shall we then dispense with that contract, And not deface your honor with reproach?

SUFFOLK. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths; Or one that, at a triumph having vow'd To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists By reason of his adversary's odds: A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds, And therefore may be broke without offense.

GLOUCESTER. Why, what, I pray, is Margaret more than that? Her father is no better than an earl, Although in glorious titles he excel.

SUFFOLK. Yes, my lord, her father is a king, The King of Naples and Jerusalem; And of such great authority in France, As his alliance will confirm our peace, And keep the Frenchmen in allegiance.

GLOUCESTER. And so the Earl of Armagnac may do, Because he is near kinsman unto Charles.

EXETER. Beside, his wealth doth warrant a liberal dower, Where Reignier sooner will receive than give.

SUFFOLK. A dower, my lords! disgrace not so your king, That he should be so abject, base and poor, To choose for wealth and not for perfect love. Henry is able to enrich his queen, And not to seek a queen to make him rich: So worthless peasants bargain for their wives, As market-men for oxen, sheep, or horse. Marriage is a matter of more worth Than to be dealt in by attorneyship; Not whom we will; but whom his grace affects, Must be companion of his nuptial bed: And therefore, lords, since he affects her most, It most of all these reasons bindeth us, In our opinions she should be preferr'd. For what is wedlock forced but a hell, An age of discord and continual strife? Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss, And is a pattern of celestial peace. Whom should we match with Henry, being a king, But Margaret, that is daughter to a king? Her peerless feature, joined with her birth, Approves her fit for none but for a king; Her valiant courage and undaunted spirit, More than in women commonly is seen, Will answer our hope in issue of a king; For Henry, son unto a conqueror, Is likely to beget more conquerors, If with a lady of so high resolve As is fair Margaret he be link'd in love. Then yield, my lords; and here conclude with me That Margaret shall be queen, and none but she.

KING. Whether it be through force of your report, My noble Lord of Suffolk, or for that My tender youth was never yet attaint With any passion of inflaming love, I cannot tell; but this I am assured, I feel such sharp dissension in my breast, Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear, As I am sick with working of my thoughts. Take, therefore, shipping; post, my lord, to France; Agree to any covenants, and procure That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come To cross the seas to England, and be crown'd King Henry's faithful and anointed queen: For your expenses and sufficient charge, Among the people gather up a tenth. Be gone, I say; for till you do return, I rest perplexed with a thousand cares. And you, good uncle, banish all offense: If you do censure me by what you were, Not what you are, I know it will excuse This sudden execution of my will. And so, conduct me where, from company, I may revolve and ruminate my grief.

[Exit.]

GLOUCESTER. Aye, grief, I fear me, both at first and last.

[Exeunt Gloucester and Exeter.]

SUFFOLK. Thus Suffolk hath prevail'd; and thus he goes, As did the youthful Paris once to Greece, With hope to find the like event in love, But prosper better than the Troyan did. Margaret shall now be queen, and rule the king; But I will rule both her, the king and realm.

[Exit.]

THE END

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