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Glo. We will not fly, but to our enemies' throats :-
Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.
Bed. Gloster, why doubt'st thou of my forwardness ?
An army have I muster'd in my thoughts,
Wherewith already France is overrun.
Enter a third Messenger. Third Mess. My gracious lords, to add to your laments, Wherewith you now bedew King Henry's hearse, I must inform you of a dismal fight Betwixt the stout Lord Talbot and the French.
Win. What! wherein Talbot overcame? is't so ?
Third Mess. O, no; wherein Lord Talbot was o'erthrown: The circumstance I'll tell you more at large. The tenth of August last, this dreadful lord, Retiring from the siege of Orleans, Having full scarce six thousand in his troop, By three-and-twenty thousand of the French Was round encompassèd and set upon. No leisure had he to enrank his men; He wanted pikes to set before his archers; Instead whereof, sharp stakes, pluck'd out of hedges, They pitched in the ground confusedly, To keep the horsemen off from breaking in. More than three hours the fight continuèd ; Where valiant Talbot, above human thought, Enacted wonders with his sword and lance: Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him ; Here, there, and every where, enrag'd he flew:( The French exclaim'd, the devil was in arms; All the whole army stood agaz'd on him : His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit, “A Talbot ! a Talbot !” cried out amain, And rush'd into the bowels of the batile. Here had the conquest fully been seal'd up, If Sir John Fastolfe'lo) had not play'd the coward : He, being in the vaward,-plac'd behind, With purpose to relieve and follow them,Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke. Hence grew the general wreck and massacre;
Enclosed were they with their enemies :
A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin's grace,
Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back;
Whom all France, with their chief assembled strength,
Durst not presume to look once in the face.
Bed. Is Talbot slain ? then I will slay myself,
For living idly here in pomp and ease,
Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
Unto his dastard foemen is betray'd.
Third Mess. 0, no, he lives; but is took prisoner,
And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford :
Most of the rest slaughter'd or took likewise.
Bed. His ransom there is none but I shall pay :
I'll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne,-
His crown shall be the ransom of my friend;
Four of their lords I'll change for one of ours.-
Farewell, my masters; to my task will I;
Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make,
To keep our great Saint George's feast withal:
Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take,
Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.
Third Mess. So you had need; for Orleans is besieg’d;
The English army is grown weak and faint:
The Earl of Salisbury craveth supply,
And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.
Exe. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn,
Either to quell the Dauphin utterly,
Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.
Bed. I do remember 't;02) and here take my leave,
To go about my preparation.
Glo. I'll to the Tower, with all the haste I can,
To view th' artillery and munition ;
And then I will proclaim young Henry king.
Exe. To Eltham will I, where the young king is,
Being ordain'd his special governor;
And for his safety there I'll best devise.
Win. Each hath his place and function to attend :
I am left out; for me nothing remains.
But long I will not be Jack-out-of-office:
The king from Eltham I intend to steal,
And sit at chiefest stern of public weal. (18)
[Exit. Scene closes.
SCENE II. France. Before Orleans.
Flourish. Enter CHARLES, with his Forces ; ALENÇON, REIGNIER,
Char. Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens,
So in the earth, to this day is not known :
Late did he shine upon the English side;
Now we are victors, upon us he smiles.
What towns of any moment but we have ?
At pleasure here we lie, near Orleans;
The whiles(14) the famish’d English, like pale ghosts,
Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.
Alen. They want their porridge and their fat bull-beeves:
Either they must be dieted like mules,
And have their provender tied to their mouths,
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice.
Reig. Let's raise the siege: why lie we idly here ?(16)
Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear:
Remaineth none but mad-brain'd Salisbury;
And he may well in fretting spend his gall,-
Nor men nor money hath he to make war.
Char. Sound, sound alarum ! we will rush on them.
Now for the honour of the forlorn(10) French !-
Him I forgive my death that killeth me
When he sees me go back one foot or flee. 17) [Exeunt.
Alarums; excursions; afterwards a retreat. Re-enter CHARLES,
ALENÇON, REIGNIER, and others.
Char. Who ever saw the like? what men have I!
Dogs! cowards ! dastards !-I would ne'er have fled,
But that they left me midst my enemies.
Reig. Salisbury is a desperate homicide ;
He fighteth as one weary of his life.
The other lords, like lions wanting food,
Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.
Alen. Froissart, a countryman of ours, records,
England all Olivers and Rowlands bred (18)
During the time Edward the Third did reign.
More truly now may this be verified;
For none but Samsons and Goliases
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten !
Lean raw-bon’d rascals ! who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity ?
Char. Let's leave this town; for they are hare-brain'd slaves,
And hunger will enforce them be(19) more eager:
Of old I know them ; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down than forsake the siego.
Reig. I think, by some odd gimmers or device,
Their arms are set like clocks, still to strike on ;(20)
Else ne'er could they hold out so as they do.
By my consent, we'll even let them alone.
Alen. Be it so.
Enter the Bastard of Orleans.
Bast. Where's the Prince Daupþin? I have news for him.
Char. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us.
Bast. Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appallid :
Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence ?
Be not dismay'd, for succour is at hand:
A holy maid hither with me I bring,
Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven,
Ordainèd is to raise this tedious siege,
And drive the English forth the bounds of France.
The spirit of deep prophecy she hath,
Exceeding the nine sibyls of old Rome:
What's past and what's to come she can descry.
Speak, shall I call her in? Believe my words,
For they are certain and unfallible.
Char. Go, call her in. [Exit Bastard.] But first, to try
her skill, Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place : Question her proudly; let thy looks be stern: By this means shall we sound what skill she hath. [Retires.
Re-enter the Bastard of Orleans, with La PUCELLE. Reig. Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these wondrous feats ?
Puc. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest to beguile me?
Where is the Dauphin 2-Come, come from behind;
I know thee well, though never seen before.
Be not amaz'd, there's nothing hid from me:
In private will I talk with thee apart. —
Stand back, you lords, and give us leave awhile.
Reig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash.
Puc. Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter,
My wit untrain'd in any kind of art.
Heaven and our Lady gracious(21) hath it pleas'd
To shine on my contemptible estate :
Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs,
And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks,
God's mother deigned to appear to me,
And, in a vision full of majesty,
Willd me to leave my base vocation,
And free my country from calamity:
Her aid she promis'd, and assur'd success :
In complete glory she reveal'd herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infus'd on me
That beauty am I bless'd with which you see. (22)
Ask me what question thou canst possible,
And I will answer unpremeditated :
My courage try by combat, if thou dar'st,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this,—thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
Char. Thou hast astonish'd me with thy high terms:
Only this proof I'll.of thy valour make,
In single combat thou shalt buckle with me;
And if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
Otherwise I renounce all confidence.
Puc. I am prepard : here is my keen-edg'd sword,
Deck'd with five 23) flower-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in Saint Katharine's churchyard,
Out of a deal old iron I chose forth.(24)
Char. Then come, o God's name; I fear(25) no woman.
Puc. And, while I live, I'll ne'er fly from a man.