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Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magic verses have contrived his end?
Win. He was a king blessed of the King of kings.
Unto the French the dreadful judgment day
So dreadful will not be, as was his sight.
The battles of the Lord of Hosts he fought;
The church's prayers made him so prosperous.
Glo. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen prayed,
His thread of life had not so soon decayed.
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a schoolboy, you may overawe.
Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector;
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe,
More than God, or religious churchmen, may.
Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov'st the flesh; And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st, Except it be to pray against thy foes.
Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace!
Let's to the altar;-heralds, wait on us:
Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms;
Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead.—
Posterity, await for wretched years,
When at their mothers' moist eyes babes shall suck;
Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears,
And none but women left to wail the dead.-
Henry the Fifth! thy ghost I invocate;
Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils!
Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
A far more glorious star thy soul will make,
Than Julius Cæsar, or bright-
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My honorable lords, health to you
Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture.
Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,
Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost.
Bed. What say'st thou, man, before dead Henry's corse?
Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns
Will make him burst his lead, and rise from death.
Glo. Is Paris lost? is Rouen yielded up?
If Henry were recalled to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
Exe. How were they lost? what treachery was used?
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and money
Among the soldiers this is muttered,-
That here you maintain several factions;
And, whilst a field should be despatched and fought,
You are disputing of your generals.
One would have lingering wars, with little cost;
Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
A third man thinks, without expense at all,
By guileful, fair words peace may be obtained.
Awake, awake, English nobility!
Let not sloth dim your honors, new begot.
Cropped are the flower-de-luces in your arms;
Of England's coat one half is cut away.
Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.
Bed. Me they concern; regent I am of France.—
Give me my steeled coat; I'll fight for France.—
Away with these disgraceful, wailing robes!
Wounds I will lend the French, instead of eyes,
To weep their intermissive miseries.
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance.
France is revolted from the English quite;
Except some petty towns of no import;
The dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims;
The bastard of Orleans with him is joined;
Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
The duke of Alençon flieth to his side.
Exe. The dauphin crowned king! all fly to him!
O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?
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 mustered in my thoughts, Wherewith already France is overrun.
Enter a third Messenger.
3 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?
3 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 encompassed and set upon.
No leisure had he to enrank his men;
He wanted pikes to set before his archers;
Instead whereof, sharp stakes, plucked out of hedges,
They pitched in the ground confusedly,
To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
More than three hours the fight continued;
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, enraged, he slew.
The French exclaimed, the devil was in arms;
All the whole army stood agazed on him:
His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit,
A Talbot! a Talbot! cried out amain,
And rushed into the bowels of the battle.
Here had the conquest fully been sealed up,
If sir John Fastolfe had not played the coward;
He, being in the vaward, (placed behind,
With purpose to relieve and follow them,)
Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Hence grew the general wreck and massacre;
Inclosed 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 foeman is betrayed.
3 Mess. O, no; he lives; but is took prisoner, And lord Scales with him, and lord Hungerford; Most of the rest slaughtered, 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.
3 Mess. So you had need; for Orleans is besieged; 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 it; and here take leave, To go about my preparation.
Glo. I'll to the Tower, with all the haste I can, To view the artillery and munition; And then I will proclaim young Henry king. [Exit. Exe. To Eltham will I, where the young king is, Being ordained 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.
[Exit. Scene closes.
SCENE II. France. Before Orleans.
Enter CHARLES, with his Forces; ALENÇON, REignier, and others.
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; Otherwhiles, the famished 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 live we idly here? Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear. Remaineth none but mad-brained 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 honor of the forlorn French.-
Him I forgive my death, that killeth me,
When he sees me go back one foot, or fly.
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. Froissard, a countryman of ours, records,
England all Olivers and Rowlands bred,
During the time Edward the Third did reign.
More truly now may this be verified;
For none but Samsons and Goliasses
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!
Lean, raw-boned rascals! who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity?
Char. Let's leave this town; for they are hair-brained slaves,
And hunger will enforce them to be more eager.
Of old I know them; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down, than forsake the siege.
Reig. I think, by some odd gimmals or device,
Their arms are set, like clocks, still to strike on:
Else ne'er could they hold out so as they do.
By my consent, we'll e'en let them alone.
Alen. Be it so.
Which, by a vision sent to her from Heaven,
Ordained is to raise this tedious siege,
Enter the Bastard of Orleans.
Bast. Where's the prince dauphin? I have news for him. Char. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us. Bast. Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appalled. Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence? Be not dismayed, for succor is at hand. A holy maid hither with me I bring,
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.