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History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act II, Scene 1

Before Orleans.


[Enter a Sergeant of a band with two Sentinels]

  • Sergeant. Sirs, take your places and be vigilant:
    If any noise or soldier you perceive
    Near to the walls, by some apparent sign
    Let us have knowledge at the court of guard. 665
  • First Sentinel. Sergeant, you shall.
    [Exit Sergeant]
    Thus are poor servitors,
    When others sleep upon their quiet beds,
    Constrain'd to watch in darkness, rain and cold. 670
    [Enter TALBOT, BEDFORD, BURGUNDY, and Forces, with]
    scaling-ladders, their drums beating a dead march]
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Lord Regent, and redoubted Burgundy,
    By whose approach the regions of Artois,
    Wallon and Picardy are friends to us, 675
    This happy night the Frenchmen are secure,
    Having all day caroused and banqueted:
    Embrace we then this opportunity
    As fitting best to quittance their deceit
    Contrived by art and baleful sorcery. 680
  • Duke of Bedford. Coward of France! how much he wrongs his fame,
    Despairing of his own arm's fortitude,
    To join with witches and the help of hell!
  • Duke of Burgundy. Traitors have never other company.
    But what's that Pucelle whom they term so pure? 685
  • Duke of Burgundy. Pray God she prove not masculine ere long,
    If underneath the standard of the French
    She carry armour as she hath begun. 690
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Well, let them practise and converse with spirits:
    God is our fortress, in whose conquering name
    Let us resolve to scale their flinty bulwarks.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Not all together: better far, I guess, 695
    That we do make our entrance several ways;
    That, if it chance the one of us do fail,
    The other yet may rise against their force.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. And here will Talbot mount, or make his grave.
    Now, Salisbury, for thee, and for the right
    Of English Henry, shall this night appear
    How much in duty I am bound to both.
  • Sentinels. Arm! arm! the enemy doth make assault! 705
    [Cry: 'St. George,' 'A Talbot.']
    [The French leap over the walls in their shirts.]
    Enter, several ways, the BASTARD OF ORLEANS,
    ALENCON, and REIGNIER, half ready, and half unready]
  • Reignier. 'Twas time, I trow, to wake and leave our beds,
    Hearing alarums at our chamber-doors.
  • Duke of Alencon. Of all exploits since first I follow'd arms,
    Ne'er heard I of a warlike enterprise 715
    More venturous or desperate than this.
  • Reignier. If not of hell, the heavens, sure, favour him.


  • Charles, King of France. Is this thy cunning, thou deceitful dame?
    Didst thou at first, to flatter us withal,
    Make us partakers of a little gain,
    That now our loss might be ten times so much? 725
  • Joan la Pucelle. Wherefore is Charles impatient with his friend!
    At all times will you have my power alike?
    Sleeping or waking must I still prevail,
    Or will you blame and lay the fault on me?
    Improvident soldiers! had your watch been good, 730
    This sudden mischief never could have fall'n.
  • Charles, King of France. Duke of Alencon, this was your default,
    That, being captain of the watch to-night,
    Did look no better to that weighty charge.
  • Duke of Alencon. Had all your quarters been as safely kept 735
    As that whereof I had the government,
    We had not been thus shamefully surprised.
  • Charles, King of France. And, for myself, most part of all this night, 740
    Within her quarter and mine own precinct
    I was employ'd in passing to and fro,
    About relieving of the sentinels:
    Then how or which way should they first break in?
  • Joan la Pucelle. Question, my lords, no further of the case, 745
    How or which way: 'tis sure they found some place
    But weakly guarded, where the breach was made.
    And now there rests no other shift but this;
    To gather our soldiers, scatter'd and dispersed,
    And lay new platforms to endamage them. 750
    [Alarum. Enter an English Soldier, crying 'A]
    Talbot! a Talbot!' They fly, leaving their
    clothes behind]
  • Soldier. I'll be so bold to take what they have left.
    The cry of Talbot serves me for a sword; 755
    For I have loaden me with many spoils,
    Using no other weapon but his name.