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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,
Ere. To Eltham will I, where the young king is,
Being ordain'd his special governor;
And for his safety there I'll best advise.
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 send,
And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.
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;
Other whiles, 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 live we idly here ?
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 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-brain'd 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.
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‡ appall'd;
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,
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.
Char. Go, call her in [Exit BASTARD]: But, first, to try her
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.
*For which they are hungry.
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 to beguile me ?—
Where is the Dauphin ?-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 a while.
Reig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash.
Puc. Dauphin, 1 am by birth a shepherd's daughter,
My wit untrain'd 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 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 calamity:
Her aid she promised, and assured success:
In complete glory she reveal'd herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infused on me,
That beauty am I bless'd with, which you 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.
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.
Pac. I am prepared: here is my keen-edged sword,
Deck'd with five fleur-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in St. Katharine's church-yard,
Out of a deal of old iron I chose forth.
Char. Then come o' God's name, I fear no woman.
Puc. And, while 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 :
Impatiently I burn with thy desire;
My heart and hands thou hast at once subdued.
Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so,
Let me thy servant, and not sovereign, be;
Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus.
* Be firmly persuaded of it.
Puc. I must not yield to any rites of love,
For my profession's sacred from above:
When I have chased all thy foes from hence,
Then will I think upon a recompense.
Char. Meantime, look gracious on thy prostrate thrall.
Reig. My lord, methinks, is very long in talk.
Alen. Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock;
Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech.
Reig. Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean?
Alen. He may mean more than we poor men do know:
These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues.
Reig. My lord, where are you? what devise you on?
Shall we give over Orleans or no?
Puc. Why, no, I say, distrustful recreants!
Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.
Char. What she says, I'll confirm; we'll fight it out.
Puc. Assign'd am I to be the English scourge.
This night the siege assuredly I'll raise:
Expect Saint Martin's summer,* halcyon days,
Since I have entered into these wars.
Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till, by broad spreading, it disperse to nought.
With Henry's death, the English circle ends;
Dispersed are the glories it included.
Now am I like that proud insulting ship,
Which Cæsar and his fortune bear at once.
Char. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove?
Thou with an eagle art inspired then.
Helen, the mother of great Constantine,
Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters,† were like thee.
Bright star of Venus, fallen down on the earth,
How may I reverently worship thee enough?
Alen. Leave off delays, and let us raise the siege.
Reig. Woman, do what thou canst to save our honours;
Drive them from Orleans, and be immortalized.
Char. Presently we'll try:-come let's away about it: No prophet will I trust, if she prove false.
SCENE III.-London. Hill before the Tower. Enter, at the Gates, the Duke of GLOSTER, with his Servingmen in blue coats.
Glo. I am come to survey the Tower this day; Since Henry's death, I fear, there is conveyance.I-Where be these warders, that they wait not here? Open the gates; Gloster it is that calls. [Servants knock.
* Expect prosperity after misfortune.
The four daughters of Philip mentioned in Acts xxi. 9.
1 Ward. [within]. Who is there that knocks so imperiously? 1 Serv. It is the noble duke of Gloster.
2 Ward. [within]. Whoe'er he be, you may not be let in. 1 Serv. Answer you so the lord protector, villains ?
1 Ward. [within]. The Lord protect him! so we answer him: We do no otherwise than we are will'd.
Glo. Who will'd you? or whose will stands but mine?
There's none protector of the realm but I.-
Break up the gates, I'll be your warrantize :
Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms?
SERVANTS rush at the Tower gates. Enter, to the gates,
WOODVILLE, the Lieutenant.
Wood. [within]. What noise is this? what traitors have we here?
Glo. Lieutenant, is it you, whose voice I hear? Open the gates; here's Gloster that would enter.
Wood. [within]. Have patience, noble duke: I may not open; The cardinal of Winchester forbids: From him I have express commandment, That thou, nor none of thine, shall be let in.
Glo. Faint-hearted Woodville, prizest him 'fore me ?
Arrogant Winchester ? that haughty prelate,
Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook?
Thou art no friend to God, or to the king:
Open the gates, or I'll shut thee out shortly.
1 Serv. Open the gates unto the lord protector;
Or we'll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.
Enter WINCHESTER, attended by a Train of Servants in tawny coats.
Win. How now, ambitious Humphrey? what means this?
Glo. Piel'd priest,t dost thou command me to be shut out?
Win. I do, thou most usurping proditor,+
And not protector of the king or realm..
Glo. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator;
Thou, that contriv'dst to murder our dead lord;
Thou, that giv'st whores indulgences to sin:
Pll canvas§ thee in thy broad cardinal's hat,
If thou proceed in this thy insolence.
Win. Nay, stand thou back, I will not budge a foot;
This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,
To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt. I
Glo. I will not slay thee, but I'll drive thee back: Thy scarlet robes, as a child's bearing-cloth
Fl use, to carry thee out of this place.
Win. Do what thou dar'st; I beard thee to thy face.
Glo. What? am I dared, and bearded to my face ?
+ Alluding to his shaven crown.
I Cain is said to have slain Abe on an eminence four miles from Damascus.