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History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act I, Scene 4



[Enter, on the walls, a Master Gunner and his Boy]

  • Master-Gunner. Sirrah, thou know'st how Orleans is besieged, 455
    And how the English have the suburbs won.
  • Boy. Father, I know; and oft have shot at them,
    Howe'er unfortunate I miss'd my aim.
  • Master-Gunner. But now thou shalt not. Be thou ruled by me:
    Chief master-gunner am I of this town; 460
    Something I must do to procure me grace.
    The prince's espials have informed me
    How the English, in the suburbs close intrench'd,
    Wont, through a secret grate of iron bars
    In yonder tower, to overpeer the city, 465
    And thence discover how with most advantage
    They may vex us with shot, or with assault.
    To intercept this inconvenience,
    A piece of ordnance 'gainst it I have placed;
    And even these three days have I watch'd, 470
    If I could see them.
    Now do thou watch, for I can stay no longer.
    If thou spy'st any, run and bring me word;
    And thou shalt find me at the governor's.


  • Boy. Father, I warrant you; take you no care;
    I'll never trouble you, if I may spy them.
    [Enter, on the turrets, SALISBURY and TALBOT,]
    GLANSDALE, GARGRAVE, and others] 480
  • Earl of Salisbury. Talbot, my life, my joy, again return'd!
    How wert thou handled being prisoner?
    Or by what means got'st thou to be released?
    Discourse, I prithee, on this turret's top.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner 485
    Call'd the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles;
    For him was I exchanged and ransomed.
    But with a baser man of arms by far
    Once in contempt they would have barter'd me:
    Which I, disdaining, scorn'd; and craved death, 490
    Rather than I would be so vile esteem'd.
    In fine, redeem'd I was as I desired.
    But, O! the treacherous Fastolfe wounds my heart,
    Whom with my bare fists I would execute,
    If I now had him brought into my power. 495
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. With scoffs and scorns and contumelious taunts.
    In open market-place produced they me,
    To be a public spectacle to all:
    Here, said they, is the terror of the French, 500
    The scarecrow that affrights our children so.
    Then broke I from the officers that led me,
    And with my nails digg'd stones out of the ground,
    To hurl at the beholders of my shame:
    My grisly countenance made others fly; 505
    None durst come near for fear of sudden death.
    In iron walls they deem'd me not secure;
    So great fear of my name 'mongst them was spread,
    That they supposed I could rend bars of steel,
    And spurn in pieces posts of adamant: 510
    Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had,
    That walked about me every minute-while;
    And if I did but stir out of my bed,
    Ready they were to shoot me to the heart.

[Enter the Boy with a linstock]

  • Earl of Salisbury. I grieve to hear what torments you endured,
    But we will be revenged sufficiently
    Now it is supper-time in Orleans:
    Here, through this grate, I count each one
    and view the Frenchmen how they fortify: 520
    Let us look in; the sight will much delight thee.
    Sir Thomas Gargrave, and Sir William Glansdale,
    Let me have your express opinions
    Where is best place to make our battery next.

[Here they shoot. SALISBURY and GARGRAVE fall]

  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. What chance is this that suddenly hath cross'd us?
    Speak, Salisbury; at least, if thou canst speak:
    How farest thou, mirror of all martial men?
    One of thy eyes and thy cheek's side struck off! 535
    Accursed tower! accursed fatal hand
    That hath contrived this woful tragedy!
    In thirteen battles Salisbury o'ercame;
    Henry the Fifth he first train'd to the wars;
    Whilst any trump did sound, or drum struck up, 540
    His sword did ne'er leave striking in the field.
    Yet livest thou, Salisbury? though thy speech doth fail,
    One eye thou hast, to look to heaven for grace:
    The sun with one eye vieweth all the world.
    Heaven, be thou gracious to none alive, 545
    If Salisbury wants mercy at thy hands!
    Bear hence his body; I will help to bury it.
    Sir Thomas Gargrave, hast thou any life?
    Speak unto Talbot; nay, look up to him.
    Salisbury, cheer thy spirit with this comfort; 550
    Thou shalt not die whiles—
    He beckons with his hand and smiles on me.
    As who should say 'When I am dead and gone,
    Remember to avenge me on the French.'
    Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero, 555
    Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn:
    Wretched shall France be only in my name.
    [Here an alarum, and it thunders and lightens]
    What stir is this? what tumult's in the heavens?
    Whence cometh this alarum and the noise? 560

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, my lord, the French have gathered head:
    The Dauphin, with one Joan la Pucelle join'd,
    A holy prophetess new risen up,
    Is come with a great power to raise the siege. 565

[Here SALISBURY lifteth himself up and groans]

  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Hear, hear how dying Salisbury doth groan!
    It irks his heart he cannot be revenged.
    Frenchmen, I'll be a Salisbury to you:
    Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish, 570
    Your hearts I'll stamp out with my horse's heels,
    And make a quagmire of your mingled brains.
    Convey me Salisbury into his tent,
    And then we'll try what these dastard Frenchmen dare.

[Alarum. Exeunt]