Page images


Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
The duke of Alençon flieth to his side.

Exe. The dauphio 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 doublst thou of my forwardness? An army have I muster'd 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. 0, 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 bad he to enrank his men; He wanted pikes to set before his archers; Instead whereof, sharp stakes, pluck'd out of bedges, They pitched iu 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 dursl stand bim; Here, there, and every where, enrag'd he slew : The French'exclạiın'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 amaiú, And rush'd into the bowels of the battle. Here had the conquest fully been seald up, If sir John Fastolle had not play'd the coward; He being in the vaward (plac'd bebind,

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 foe-men is betray'd.

3 Mess. O no, he lives; but is look 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 throue,
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,
Wbose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

3 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. Reineinber, 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.

[Exit. Glo. I'll to the Tower, with all the hastc I can, To view the artillery and munition ; And then I will proclaim young Henry king.. [Exit.

Ere. To Eltham will 1, where the young king is, Being ordain’d his special governor; And for his safety there I'II best devise. [Exit.

Win. Each hath his place and function to attend :

I am left ont; for me nothing remains.
But long I will not be Jack-out-of-office;
The king from Eltham I intend to send,
And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.

[Exit. Scene closes. SCENE II, FRANCE. Before ORLEANS. Enter CHARLES, with his Forces; Alençon, REIG

NIER, and others. Char. Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens, So in the earth, to this day is not known : Lale 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 famish'd English, like pale ghosts, Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.

Alen. They want their porridge, and their fat bullEither they must be dieted like mules, [beeves : 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-braiu'd Salisbury; And he may well in fretting spend his gall, Nor men, nor money, hath le to make war.

Char. Sound, sound alarum; we will rush on them. Now for the bonour of the forlorn French : Him I forgive my death, that killeth me, When he sees me go back one foot, or fly. [Exeunt. Alarums; Excursions ; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter

CHARLES, ALENÇON, REIGNIER, and others. Char. Who ever saw the like? whal 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 fighleth 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,
land all Olivers and Rowlands bred,

During the time Edward the third did reign.
More truly now inay this be verified;
For none but Sampsons, and Goliaşos,
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!
Lean raw-bon'd rascals! who would e'er sappose
They had such courage and audacity? (slaver,

Char. Let's leave this town; fer they are hair-brain'd
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 bold out so, as they do.
By my consent, we'll e'en let them alone.
Alen. Be it so.

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 appallid; Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence? Be not dismay'd, for succoar is at hand : A holy maid hither with me I bring, Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven, Ordained 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. [try her skill,

Char. Go, call her in: [Exit Bastard] But, first, to Reigoier, 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. Enter La Pucelle, BASTARD of Orleans, and others.

Reig. Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these wond'rous feats? Puc. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest lo beguile me?Where is the dauphin ?--come, come from behind; I know thee well, though never seen before. Be not amaz’d, there's nothing hid from me:

you see.

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, 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,
Will'd me to leave my base vocation,'
And free my country from calamily:
Her aid she promis'd, and assur'd success:
In complete glory she reveald 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
Ask me what question thou canst possible,
And I will answer unpremeditated:
My courage try by combat, if thou dar’st,
And thou shall 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 makeIn single combat thou shalt buckle with me; And, if thou vanquishest, thy words are true; Otherwise, I renounce all confidence.

Puc. I am prepar'd: here is my keen-edg’d sword,
Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side;
The which, at Touraine, in saint Katharine's churchyard,
Out of a deal of old iron I chose forth.

Char. Then come o'God's name, I fear no woman.
Puc. And, wbile I live, I'll ne'er fly from a man.

[They fight. Char. Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon, And fightest with the sword of Deborah.

Puc. Christ's mother helps me, else I were too weak. Char. Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must help me; patiently I burn with thy desire;

« PreviousContinue »