The First Part of Henry the Sixth
¥ I.1 Dead march. Enter the funeral of King Henry the Fifth, attended on by the Duke of Bedford, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of Warwick, the Bishop of Winchester, and the Duke of Somerset.
Hung be the heavens with black! Yield, day, to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
That have consented unto Henry's death-
King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long.
England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
England ne'er had a king until his time.
Virtue he had, deserving to command.
His brandished sword did blind men with his beams.
His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings.
His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
More dazzled and drove back his enemies
Than midday sun, fierce bent against their faces.
What should I say? His deeds exceed all speech.
He ne'er lift up his hand but conquerd.
We mourn in black; why mourn we not in blood?
Henry is dead, and never shall revive.
Upon a wooden coffin we attend,
And death's dishonorable victory
We with our stately presence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What, shall we curse the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory's overthrow?
Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magic verses have contrived his end?
bishop of winchester
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.
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.
bishop of winchester
Gloucester, 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.
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.
Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace.
Let's to the altar. Heralds, wait on us.
Exeunt Warwick, Somerset, and Heralds with coffin.
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' moistened eyes, babes shall suck,
Our isle be made a marish 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 Caesar or bright-
Enter a Messenger.
My honorable lords, health to you all.
Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture.
Guyenne, Compigne, Rouen, Rheims, Orlans,
Paris, Gisors, Poitiers are all quite lost.
What sayst thou, man, before dead Henry's corpse?
Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns
Will make him burst his lead and rise from death.
gloucester To the Messenger
Is Paris lost? Is Rouen yielded up?
If Henry were recalled to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
exeter To the Messenger
How were they lost? What treachery was used?
No treachery, but want of men and money.
Amongst the soldiers this is mutterd:
That here you maintain several factions,
And whilst a field should be dispatched and fought,
You are disputing of your generals.
One would have ling'ring wars, with little cost;
Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
A third 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.Exit.
Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.
Me they concern; Regent I am of France.
Give me my steeld coat. I'll fight for France.
Away with these disgraceful wailing robes!
He removes his mourning robe.
Wounds will I lend the French, instead of eyes,
To weep their intermissive miseries.
Enter to them another Messenger, with letters.
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 crownd king in Rheims;
The Bastard of Orlans with him is joined;
Ren, Duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
The Duke of Alenon flieth to his side.Exit.
The dauphin crownd king? All fly to him?
O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?
We will not fly, but to our enemies' throats.
Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.
Gloucester, why doubt'st thou of my forwardness?
An army have I mustered in my thoughts,
Wherewith already France is overrun.
Enter another Messenger.
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.
bishop of winchester
What, wherein Talbot overcame-is't so?
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 Orlans,
Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
By three and twenty thousand of the French
Was round encompassd 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 pitchd in the ground confusdly,
To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
More than three hours the fight continud,
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 everywhere, 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 Fastolf had not played the coward.
He, being in the vanguard placed behind,
With purpose to relieve and follow them,
Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Hence grew the general wrack and massacre.
Enclosd 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.
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 betrayed.
O no, he lives, but is took prisoner,
And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford;
Most of the rest slaughtered, or took likewise.
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.
So you had need. Fore Orlans, 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.Exit.
Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn:
Either to quell the dauphin utterly,
Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.
I do remember it, and here take my leave
To go about my preparation.Exit.
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. Exit.
To Eltham will I, where the young king is,
Being ordained his special governor,
And for his safety there I'll best devise.Exit.
bishop of winchester
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.
¥ I.2 Sound a flourish. Enter Charles the Dauphin, the Duke of Alenon, and Ren Duke of Anjou, marching with Drummer and Soldiers.
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 Orlans
Otherwhiles the famished English, like pale ghosts,
Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.
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 drownd mice.
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.
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 flee.Exeunt.
¥ I.3 Here alarum. The French are beaten back by the English with great loss. Enter Charles the Dauphin, the Duke of Alenon, and Ren Duke of Anjou.
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.
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.
Froissart, a countryman of ours, records
England all Olivers and Rolands bred
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-boned rascals, who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity?
Let's leave this town, for they are harebrained 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.
I think by some odd gimmers 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 even let them alone.
Be it so.
Enter the Bastard of Orlans.
Where's the Prince Dauphin? I have news for him.
Bastard of Orlans, thrice welcome to us.
Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appalled.
Hath the late overthrow wrought this offense?
Be not dismayed, for succor is at hand.
A holy maid hither with me I bring,
Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven,
Ordaind 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.
Go call her in.Exit Bastard.
But first, to try her skill,
Ren 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.
Enter the Bastard of Orlans with Joan la Pucelle, armed.
ren As Charles
Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these wondrous feats?
Ren, is't thou that thinkest to beguile me?
Where is the dauphin? (To Charles) Come, come from behind.
I know thee well, though never seen before.
Be not amazed. There's nothing hid from me.
In private will I talk with thee apart.
Stand back you lords, and give us leave awhile.
Ren, Alenon, and Bastard stand apart.
ren To Alenon and Bastard
She takes upon her bravely, at first dash.
Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter,
My wit untrained in any kind of art.
Heaven and our Lady gracious hath it pleased
To shine on my contemptible estate.
Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs,
And to sun's parching heat displayed my cheeks,
God's mother deignd to appear to me,
And in a vision, full of majesty,
Willed me to leave my base vocation
And free my country from calamity.
Her aid she promised, and assured success.
In complete glory she revealed herself-
And whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infused on me
That beauty am I blessed with, which you may see.
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.
Thou hast astonished me with thy high terms.
Only this proof I'll of thy valor make:
In single combat thou shalt buckle with me.
An if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
Otherwise, I renounce all confidence.
I am prepared. Here is my keen-edged sword,
Decked with five flower-de-luces on each side-
The which at Touraine, in Saint Katherine's churchyard,
Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.
Then come a God's name. I fear no woman.
And while I live, I'll ne'er fly from a man.
Here they fight, and Joan la Pucelle overcomes.
Copyright © 2018 by William Shakespeare. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.