Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)
  • Editor:

  • Copyright . This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)

    Enter [Joan la] Pucelle disguised, with four [French] Soldiers with sacks upon their backs.
    These are the city gates, the gates of Rouen,
    1425Through which our policy must make a breach.
    Take heed. Be wary how you place your words.
    Talk like the vulgar sort of market men
    That come to gather money for their corn.
    If we have entrance, as I hope we shall,
    1430And that we find the slothful watch but weak,
    I'll by a sign give notice to our friends,
    That Charles the Dauphin may encounter them.
    Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city,
    And we be lords and rulers over Rouen.
    1435Therefore we'll knock.
    [They] knock.
    Qui là.
    Paysans, la pauvre gens de France:
    Poor market folks that come to sell their corn.
    Enter, go in, the market bell is rung.
    Now, Rouen, I'll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.
    Enter Charles [the Dauphin, the] Bastard [of Orléans, the Duke of] Alencon, [Reignier Duke of Anjou, and French Soldiers.]
    Saint Denis bless this happy stratagem,
    And once again we'll sleep secure in Rouen.
    Here entered Pucelle and her practisants.
    Now she is there, how will she specify
    "Here is the best and safest passage in"?
    By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower;
    Which, once discerned, shows that her meaning is:
    1450No way to that, for weakness, which she entered.
    Enter [Joan la] Pucelle on the top, thrusting out a torch burning.
    Behold, this is the happy wedding torch
    That joineth Rouen unto her countrymen,
    1455But burning fatal to the Talbonites.
    See, noble Charles, the beacon of our friend.
    The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
    Now shine it like a comet of revenge.
    A prophet to the fall of all our foes.
    Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.
    Enter and cry, "The Dauphin", presently,
    And then do execution on the watch.
    Alarum. [Exeunt.]
    An Alarum. [Enter Lord] Talbot in an excursion.
    France, thou shalt rue this treason with thy tears,
    1465If Talbot but survive thy treachery.
    Pucelle, that witch, that damnèd sorceress,
    Hath wrought this hellish mischief unawares,
    That hardly we escaped the pride of France.
    An Alarum: Excursions. [The Duke of] Bedford brought 1470in sick in a chair. Enter [Lord] Talbot and [the Duke of] Burgundy without; within, [Joan la] Pucelle, Charles [the Dauphin, the] Bastard [of Orléans, the Duke of Alencon], and Reignier [Duke of Anjou] on the walls.
    Good morrow gallants. Want ye corn for bread?
    I think the Duke of Burgundy will fast
    1475Before he'll buy again at such a rate.
    'Twas full of darnel. Do you like the taste?
    Scoff on, vile fiend, and shameless courtesan.
    I trust ere long to choke thee with thine own,
    And make thee curse the harvest of that corn.
    Your grace may starve, perhaps, before that time.
    O let no words, but deeds, revenge this treason.
    What will you do, good grey-beard? 1485Break a lance
    And run a-tilt at death within a chair?
    Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite,
    Encompassed with thy lustful paramours,
    Becomes it thee to taunt his valiant age
    1490And twit with cowardice a man half dead?
    Damsel, I'll have a bout with you again,
    Or else let Talbot perish with this shame.
    Are ye so hot, sir? Yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace.
    If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
    1495 They [the English] whisper together in counsel.
    God speed the parliament; who shall be the Speaker?
    Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field?
    Belike your lordship takes us then for fools,
    To try if that our own be ours or no.
    I speak not to that railing Hecate,
    But unto thee, Alencon, and the rest.
    Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out?
    Seigneur, no.
    Seigneur, hang. Base muleteers of France,
    1505Like peasant footboys do they keep the walls
    And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
    Away, captains, let's get us from the walls,
    For Talbot means no goodness by his looks.
    Goodbye, my Lord. We came but to tell you
    1510That we are here.
    Exeunt [French] from the walls.
    And there will we be, too, ere it be long,
    Or else reproach be Talbot's greatest fame.
    Vow Burgundy, by honor of thy house,
    Pricked on by public wrongs sustained in France,
    1515Either to get the town again, or die.
    And I, as sure as English Henry lives,
    And as his father here was conqueror;
    As sure as in this late betrayèd town,
    Great Coeur-de-lion's heart was buryèd,
    1520So sure I swear to get the town or die.
    My vows are equal partners with thy vows.
    But ere we go, regard this dying prince,
    The valiant Duke of Bedford. [To Bedford.] Come, my lord,
    1525We will bestow you in some better place,
    Fitter for sickness and for crazy age.
    Lord Talbot, do not so dishonor me.
    Here will I sit before the walls of Rouen,
    And will be partner of your weal or woe.
    Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade you.
    Not to be gone from hence; for once I read
    That stout Pendragon, in his litter sick,
    Came to the field and vanquishèd his foes.
    Methinks I should revive the soldiers' hearts,
    1535Because I ever found them as myself.
    Undaunted spirit in a dying breast.
    Then be it so; heavens keep old Bedford safe.
    And now no more ado, brave Burgundy,
    But gather we our forces out of hand,
    1540And set upon our boasting enemy.
    Exit [with Burgundy].
    An Alarum. Excursions. Enter Sir John Falstaff, and a Captain.
    Whither away, Sir John Falstaff, in such haste?
    Whither away? To save myself by flight.
    1545We are like to have the overthrow again.
    What, will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot?
    Aye, all the Talbots in the world, to save my life.
    Cowardly knight, ill fortune follow thee.
    Retreat. Excursions. [Joan la] Pucelle, Alencon, and Charles fly.
    Now quiet soul, depart when heaven please,
    For I have seen our enemy's overthrow.
    1555What is the trust or strength of foolish man?
    They that of late were daring with their scoffs
    Are glad and fain by flight to save themselves.
    Bedford dies, and is carried in by two in his chair.
    An Alarum. Enter [Lord] Talbot, [the Duke of] Burgundy, and 1560the rest [of the English Soldiers].
    Lost and recovered in a day again.
    This is a double honor, Burgundy;
    Yet heavens have glory for this victory.
    Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
    1565Enshrines thee in his heart, and there erects
    Thy noble deeds as valor's monuments.
    Thanks, gentle Duke. But where is Pucelle now?
    I think her old familiar is asleep.
    Now where's the Bastard's braves, and Charles his gleeks?
    1570What all amort? Rouen hangs her head for grief
    That such a valiant company are fled.
    Now will we take some order in the town,
    Placing therein some expert officers,
    And then depart to Paris, to the King,
    1575For there young Henry with his nobles lie.
    What wills lord Talbot pleaseth Burgundy.
    But yet, before we go, let's not forget
    The noble Duke of Bedford late deceased,
    But see his exequies fulfilled in Rouen.
    1580A braver soldier never couchèd lance;
    A gentler heart did never sway in court.
    But kings and mightiest potentates must die,
    For that's the end of human misery.