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He that is strucken blind cannot forget
The precious treasure of his eyesight lost.

      — Romeo and Juliet, Act I Scene 1


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History of Henry VI, Part I


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Scene 1. London. The Parliament-house.

Scene 2. France. Before Rouen.

Scene 3. The plains near Rouen.

Scene 4. Paris. The palace.


Act III, Scene 1

London. The Parliament-house.

      next scene .

[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VI, EXETER, GLOUCESTER,] [p]WARWICK, SOMERSET, and SUFFOLK; the BISHOP OF [p]WINCHESTER, RICHARD PLANTAGENET, and others. [p]GLOUCESTER offers to put up a bill; BISHOP OF [p]WINCHESTER snatches it, and tears it]

  • Winchester. Comest thou with deep premeditated lines,
    With written pamphlets studiously devised,
    Humphrey of Gloucester? If thou canst accuse,
    Or aught intend'st to lay unto my charge,
    Do it without invention, suddenly; 1225
    As I with sudden and extemporal speech
    Purpose to answer what thou canst object.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Presumptuous priest! this place commands my patience,
    Or thou shouldst find thou hast dishonour'd me.
    Think not, although in writing I preferr'd 1230
    The manner of thy vile outrageous crimes,
    That therefore I have forged, or am not able
    Verbatim to rehearse the method of my pen:
    No, prelate; such is thy audacious wickedness,
    Thy lewd, pestiferous and dissentious pranks, 1235
    As very infants prattle of thy pride.
    Thou art a most pernicious usurer,
    Forward by nature, enemy to peace;
    Lascivious, wanton, more than well beseems
    A man of thy profession and degree; 1240
    And for thy treachery, what's more manifest?
    In that thou laid'st a trap to take my life,
    As well at London bridge as at the Tower.
    Beside, I fear me, if thy thoughts were sifted,
    The king, thy sovereign, is not quite exempt 1245
    From envious malice of thy swelling heart.
  • Winchester. Gloucester, I do defy thee. Lords, vouchsafe
    To give me hearing what I shall reply.
    If I were covetous, ambitious or perverse,
    As he will have me, how am I so poor? 1250
    Or how haps it I seek not to advance
    Or raise myself, but keep my wonted calling?
    And for dissension, who preferreth peace
    More than I do?—except I be provoked.
    No, my good lords, it is not that offends; 1255
    It is not that that hath incensed the duke:
    It is, because no one should sway but he;
    No one but he should be about the king;
    And that engenders thunder in his breast
    And makes him roar these accusations forth. 1260
    But he shall know I am as good—
  • Winchester. Ay, lordly sir; for what are you, I pray,
    But one imperious in another's throne? 1265
  • Winchester. And am not I a prelate of the church?
  • Duke of Gloucester. Yes, as an outlaw in a castle keeps
    And useth it to patronage his theft.
  • Earl of Warwick. Methinks his lordship should be humbler;
    it fitteth not a prelate so to plead. 1280
  • Earl of Warwick. State holy or unhallow'd, what of that?
    Is not his grace protector to the king?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Plantagenet, I see, must hold his tongue, 1285
    Lest it be said 'Speak, sirrah, when you should;
    Must your bold verdict enter talk with lords?'
    Else would I have a fling at Winchester.
  • Henry VI. Uncles of Gloucester and of Winchester,
    The special watchmen of our English weal, 1290
    I would prevail, if prayers might prevail,
    To join your hearts in love and amity.
    O, what a scandal is it to our crown,
    That two such noble peers as ye should jar!
    Believe me, lords, my tender years can tell 1295
    Civil dissension is a viperous worm
    That gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth.
    [A noise within, 'Down with the tawny-coats!']
    What tumult's this?
  • Earl of Warwick. An uproar, I dare warrant, 1300
    Begun through malice of the bishop's men.

[A noise again, 'Stones! stones!' Enter Mayor]

  • Lord Mayor of London. O, my good lords, and virtuous Henry,
    Pity the city of London, pity us!
    The bishop and the Duke of Gloucester's men, 1305
    Forbidden late to carry any weapon,
    Have fill'd their pockets full of pebble stones
    And banding themselves in contrary parts
    Do pelt so fast at one another's pate
    That many have their giddy brains knock'd out: 1310
    Our windows are broke down in every street
    And we for fear compell'd to shut our shops.

[Enter Serving-men, in skirmish, with bloody pates]

  • Henry VI. We charge you, on allegiance to ourself,
    To hold your slaughtering hands and keep the peace. 1315
    Pray, uncle Gloucester, mitigate this strife.

[Skirmish again]

  • Duke of Gloucester. You of my household, leave this peevish broil
    And set this unaccustom'd fight aside.
  • Third Serving-Man. My lord, we know your grace to be a man
    Just and upright; and, for your royal birth,
    Inferior to none but to his majesty: 1325
    And ere that we will suffer such a prince,
    So kind a father of the commonweal,
    To be disgraced by an inkhorn mate,
    We and our wives and children all will fight
    And have our bodies slaughtered by thy foes. 1330
  • First Serving-Man. Ay, and the very parings of our nails
    Shall pitch a field when we are dead.

[Begin again]

  • Duke of Gloucester. Stay, stay, I say!
    And if you love me, as you say you do, 1335
    Let me persuade you to forbear awhile.
  • Henry VI. O, how this discord doth afflict my soul!
    Can you, my Lord of Winchester, behold
    My sighs and tears and will not once relent?
    Who should be pitiful, if you be not? 1340
    Or who should study to prefer a peace.
    If holy churchmen take delight in broils?
  • Earl of Warwick. Yield, my lord protector; yield, Winchester;
    Except you mean with obstinate repulse
    To slay your sovereign and destroy the realm. 1345
    You see what mischief and what murder too
    Hath been enacted through your enmity;
    Then be at peace except ye thirst for blood.
  • Winchester. He shall submit, or I will never yield.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Compassion on the king commands me stoop; 1350
    Or I would see his heart out, ere the priest
    Should ever get that privilege of me.
  • Earl of Warwick. Behold, my Lord of Winchester, the duke
    Hath banish'd moody discontented fury,
    As by his smoothed brows it doth appear: 1355
    Why look you still so stern and tragical?
  • Henry VI. Fie, uncle Beaufort! I have heard you preach
    That malice was a great and grievous sin;
    And will not you maintain the thing you teach, 1360
    But prove a chief offender in the same?
  • Earl of Warwick. Sweet king! the bishop hath a kindly gird.
    For shame, my lord of Winchester, relent!
    What, shall a child instruct you what to do?
  • Winchester. Well, Duke of Gloucester, I will yield to thee; 1365
    Love for thy love and hand for hand I give.
  • Duke of Gloucester. [Aside] Ay, but, I fear me, with a hollow heart.—
    See here, my friends and loving countrymen,
    This token serveth for a flag of truce
    Betwixt ourselves and all our followers: 1370
    So help me God, as I dissemble not!
  • Winchester. [Aside] So help me God, as I intend it not!
  • Henry VI. O, loving uncle, kind Duke of Gloucester,
    How joyful am I made by this contract!
    Away, my masters! trouble us no more; 1375
    But join in friendship, as your lords have done.

[Exeunt Serving-men, Mayor, &c]

  • Earl of Warwick. Accept this scroll, most gracious sovereign,
    Which in the right of Richard Plantagenet
    We do exhibit to your majesty.
  • Duke of Gloucester. Well urged, my Lord of Warwick: or sweet prince,
    And if your grace mark every circumstance, 1385
    You have great reason to do Richard right;
    Especially for those occasions
    At Eltham Place I told your majesty.
  • Henry VI. And those occasions, uncle, were of force:
    Therefore, my loving lords, our pleasure is 1390
    That Richard be restored to his blood.
  • Earl of Warwick. Let Richard be restored to his blood;
    So shall his father's wrongs be recompensed.
  • Winchester. As will the rest, so willeth Winchester.
  • Henry VI. If Richard will be true, not that alone 1395
    But all the whole inheritance I give
    That doth belong unto the house of York,
    From whence you spring by lineal descent.
  • Henry VI. Stoop then and set your knee against my foot;
    And, in reguerdon of that duty done,
    I gird thee with the valiant sword of York:
    Rise Richard, like a true Plantagenet, 1405
    And rise created princely Duke of York.
  • All. Welcome, high prince, the mighty Duke of York!
  • Duke of Gloucester. Now will it best avail your majesty
    To cross the seas and to be crown'd in France:
    The presence of a king engenders love 1415
    Amongst his subjects and his loyal friends,
    As it disanimates his enemies.
  • Henry VI. When Gloucester says the word, King Henry goes;
    For friendly counsel cuts off many foes.

[Sennet. Flourish. Exeunt all but EXETER]

  • Duke of Exeter. Ay, we may march in England or in France,
    Not seeing what is likely to ensue.
    This late dissension grown betwixt the peers
    Burns under feigned ashes of forged love 1425
    And will at last break out into a flame:
    As fester'd members rot but by degree,
    Till bones and flesh and sinews fall away,
    So will this base and envious discord breed.
    And now I fear that fatal prophecy 1430
    Which in the time of Henry named the Fifth
    Was in the mouth of every sucking babe;
    That Henry born at Monmouth should win all
    And Henry born at Windsor lose all:
    Which is so plain that Exeter doth wish 1435
    His days may finish ere that hapless time.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

France. Before Rouen.

      next scene .

[Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE disguised, with four Soldiers] [p]with sacks upon their backs]

  • Joan la Pucelle. These are the city gates, the gates of Rouen, 1440
    Through 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, 1445
    And 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.
  • First Soldier. Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city,
    And we be lords and rulers over Rouen; 1450
    Therefore we'll knock.


  • Watch. [Within] Qui est la?
  • Joan la Pucelle. Paysans, pauvres gens de France;
    Poor market folks that come to sell their corn. 1455
  • Watch. Enter, go in; the market bell is rung.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Now, Rouen, I'll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.
    REIGNIER, and forces] 1460
  • Bastard of Orleans. Here enter'd Pucelle and her practisants;
    Now she is there, how will she specify
    Where is the best and safest passage in? 1465
  • Reignier. By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower;
    Which, once discern'd, shows that her meaning is,
    No way to that, for weakness, which she enter'd.
    [Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE on the top, thrusting out a]
    torch burning] 1470
  • Joan la Pucelle. Behold, this is the happy wedding torch
    That joineth Rouen unto her countrymen,
    But burning fatal to the Talbotites!


  • Bastard of Orleans. See, noble Charles, the beacon of our friend; 1475
    The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
  • Reignier. Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends;
    Enter, and cry 'The Dauphin!' presently, 1480
    And then do execution on the watch.

[Alarum. Exeunt]

[An alarum. Enter TALBOT in an excursion]

  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. France, thou shalt rue this treason with thy tears,
    If Talbot but survive thy treachery. 1485
    Pucelle, that witch, that damned sorceress,
    Hath wrought this hellish mischief unawares,
    That hardly we escaped the pride of France.
    [An alarum: excursions. BEDFORD, brought in sick] 1490
    in a chair. Enter TALBOT and BURGUNDY without:
    ALENCON, and REIGNIER, on the walls]
  • Joan la Pucelle. Good morrow, gallants! want ye corn for bread?
    I think the Duke of Burgundy will fast 1495
    Before he'll buy again at such a rate:
    'Twas full of darnel; do you like the taste?
  • Duke of Burgundy. Scoff on, vile fiend and shameless courtezan!
    I trust ere long to choke thee with thine own
    And make thee curse the harvest of that corn. 1500
  • Joan la Pucelle. What will you do, good grey-beard? break a lance,
    And run a tilt at death within a chair?
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite, 1505
    Encompass'd with thy lustful paramours!
    Becomes it thee to taunt his valiant age
    And twit with cowardice a man half dead?
    Damsel, I'll have a bout with you again,
    Or else let Talbot perish with this shame. 1510
  • Joan la Pucelle. Are ye so hot, sir? yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace;
    If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
    [The English whisper together in council]
    God speed the parliament! who shall be the speaker?
  • Joan la Pucelle. Belike your lordship takes us then for fools,
    To try if that our own be ours or no.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. I speak not to that railing Hecate,
    But unto thee, Alencon, and the rest;
    Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out? 1520
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Signior, hang! base muleters of France!
    Like peasant foot-boys do they keep the walls
    And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Away, captains! let's get us from the walls; 1525
    For Talbot means no goodness by his looks.
    God be wi' you, my lord! we came but to tell you
    That we are here.

[Exeunt from the walls]

  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. And there will we be too, ere it be long, 1530
    Or else reproach be Talbot's greatest fame!
    Vow, Burgundy, by honour of thy house,
    Prick'd on by public wrongs sustain'd in France,
    Either to get the town again or die:
    And I, as sure as English Henry lives 1535
    And as his father here was conqueror,
    As sure as in this late-betrayed town
    Great Coeur-de-lion's heart was buried,
    So sure I swear to get the town or die.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. But, ere we go, regard this dying prince,
    The valiant Duke of Bedford. Come, my lord,
    We will bestow you in some better place,
    Fitter for sickness and for crazy age.
  • Duke of Bedford. Lord Talbot, do not so dishonour me: 1545
    Here will I sit before the walls of Rouen
    And will be partner of your weal or woe.
  • Duke of Bedford. Not to be gone from hence; for once I read
    That stout Pendragon in his litter sick 1550
    Came to the field and vanquished his foes:
    Methinks I should revive the soldiers' hearts,
    Because I ever found them as myself.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Undaunted spirit in a dying breast!
    Then be it so: heavens keep old Bedford safe! 1555
    And now no more ado, brave Burgundy,
    But gather we our forces out of hand
    And set upon our boasting enemy.
    [Exeunt all but BEDFORD and Attendants]
    [An alarum: excursions. Enter FASTOLFE and] 1560
    a Captain]
  • Captain. Whither away, Sir John Fastolfe, in such haste?
  • Sir John Fastolfe. Whither away! to save myself by flight:
    We are like to have the overthrow again.
  • Captain. What! will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot? 1565


  • Captain. Cowardly knight! ill fortune follow thee!
    [Exit] 1570
    [Retreat: excursions. JOAN LA PUCELLE, ALENCON,]
    and CHARLES fly]
  • Duke of Bedford. Now, quiet soul, depart when heaven please,
    For I have seen our enemies' overthrow.
    What is the trust or strength of foolish man? 1575
    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. Re-enter TALBOT, BURGUNDY, and the rest]

  • Duke of Burgundy. Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
    Enshrines thee in his heart and there erects
    Thy noble deeds as valour's monuments. 1585
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. 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?
    What, all amort? Rouen hangs her head for grief
    That such a valiant company are fled. 1590
    Now will we take some order in the town,
    Placing therein some expert officers,
    And then depart to Paris to the king,
    For there young Henry with his nobles lie.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. But yet, before we go, let's not forget
    The noble Duke of Bedford late deceased,
    But see his exequies fulfill'd in Rouen:
    A braver soldier never couched lance,
    A gentler heart did never sway in court; 1600
    But kings and mightiest potentates must die,
    For that's the end of human misery.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

The plains near Rouen.

      next scene .


  • Joan la Pucelle. Dismay not, princes, at this accident,
    Nor grieve that Rouen is so recovered:
    Care is no cure, but rather corrosive,
    For things that are not to be remedied.
    Let frantic Talbot triumph for a while 1610
    And like a peacock sweep along his tail;
    We'll pull his plumes and take away his train,
    If Dauphin and the rest will be but ruled.
  • Charles, King of France. We have been guided by thee hitherto,
    And of thy cunning had no diffidence: 1615
    One sudden foil shall never breed distrust.
  • Bastard of Orleans. Search out thy wit for secret policies,
    And we will make thee famous through the world.
  • Duke of Alencon. We'll set thy statue in some holy place,
    And have thee reverenced like a blessed saint: 1620
    Employ thee then, sweet virgin, for our good.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Then thus it must be; this doth Joan devise:
    By fair persuasions mix'd with sugar'd words
    We will entice the Duke of Burgundy
    To leave the Talbot and to follow us. 1625
  • Charles, King of France. Ay, marry, sweeting, if we could do that,
    France were no place for Henry's warriors;
    Nor should that nation boast it so with us,
    But be extirped from our provinces.
  • Duke of Alencon. For ever should they be expulsed from France 1630
    And not have title of an earldom here.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Your honours shall perceive how I will work
    To bring this matter to the wished end.
    [Drum sounds afar off]
    Hark! by the sound of drum you may perceive 1635
    Their powers are marching unto Paris-ward.
    [Here sound an English march. Enter, and pass over]
    at a distance, TALBOT and his forces]
    There goes the Talbot, with his colours spread,
    And all the troops of English after him. 1640
    [French march. Enter BURGUNDY and forces]
    Now in the rearward comes the duke and his:
    Fortune in favour makes him lag behind.
    Summon a parley; we will talk with him.

[Trumpets sound a parley]

  • Joan la Pucelle. Brave Burgundy, undoubted hope of France!
    Stay, let thy humble handmaid speak to thee.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Look on thy country, look on fertile France,
    And see the cities and the towns defaced 1655
    By wasting ruin of the cruel foe.
    As looks the mother on her lowly babe
    When death doth close his tender dying eyes,
    See, see the pining malady of France;
    Behold the wounds, the most unnatural wounds, 1660
    Which thou thyself hast given her woful breast.
    O, turn thy edged sword another way;
    Strike those that hurt, and hurt not those that help.
    One drop of blood drawn from thy country's bosom
    Should grieve thee more than streams of foreign gore: 1665
    Return thee therefore with a flood of tears,
    And wash away thy country's stained spots.
  • Duke of Burgundy. Either she hath bewitch'd me with her words,
    Or nature makes me suddenly relent.
  • Joan la Pucelle. Besides, all French and France exclaims on thee, 1670
    Doubting thy birth and lawful progeny.
    Who joint'st thou with but with a lordly nation
    That will not trust thee but for profit's sake?
    When Talbot hath set footing once in France
    And fashion'd thee that instrument of ill, 1675
    Who then but English Henry will be lord
    And thou be thrust out like a fugitive?
    Call we to mind, and mark but this for proof,
    Was not the Duke of Orleans thy foe?
    And was he not in England prisoner? 1680
    But when they heard he was thine enemy,
    They set him free without his ransom paid,
    In spite of Burgundy and all his friends.
    See, then, thou fight'st against thy countrymen
    And joint'st with them will be thy slaughtermen. 1685
    Come, come, return; return, thou wandering lord:
    Charles and the rest will take thee in their arms.
  • Duke of Burgundy. I am vanquished; these haughty words of hers
    Have batter'd me like roaring cannon-shot,
    And made me almost yield upon my knees. 1690
    Forgive me, country, and sweet countrymen,
    And, lords, accept this hearty kind embrace:
    My forces and my power of men are yours:
    So farewell, Talbot; I'll no longer trust thee.
  • Duke of Alencon. Pucelle hath bravely play'd her part in this,
    And doth deserve a coronet of gold.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

Paris. The palace.



  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. My gracious prince, and honourable peers,
    Hearing of your arrival in this realm,
    I have awhile given truce unto my wars,
    To do my duty to my sovereign: 1710
    In sign, whereof, this arm, that hath reclaim'd
    To your obedience fifty fortresses,
    Twelve cities and seven walled towns of strength,
    Beside five hundred prisoners of esteem,
    Lets fall his sword before your highness' feet, 1715
    And with submissive loyalty of heart
    Ascribes the glory of his conquest got
    First to my God and next unto your grace.


  • Henry VI. Is this the Lord Talbot, uncle Gloucester, 1720
    That hath so long been resident in France?
  • Henry VI. Welcome, brave captain and victorious lord!
    When I was young, as yet I am not old,
    I do remember how my father said 1725
    A stouter champion never handled sword.
    Long since we were resolved of your truth,
    Your faithful service and your toil in war;
    Yet never have you tasted our reward,
    Or been reguerdon'd with so much as thanks, 1730
    Because till now we never saw your face:
    Therefore, stand up; and, for these good deserts,
    We here create you Earl of Shrewsbury;
    And in our coronation take your place.

[Sennet. Flourish. Exeunt all but VERNON and BASSET]

  • Vernon. Now, sir, to you, that were so hot at sea,
    Disgracing of these colours that I wear
    In honour of my noble Lord of York:
    Darest thou maintain the former words thou spakest?
  • Basset. Yes, sir; as well as you dare patronage 1740
    The envious barking of your saucy tongue
    Against my lord the Duke of Somerset.
  • Vernon. Sirrah, thy lord I honour as he is.
  • Basset. Why, what is he? as good a man as York.
  • Vernon. Hark ye; not so: in witness, take ye that. 1745

[Strikes him]

  • Basset. Villain, thou know'st the law of arms is such
    That whoso draws a sword, 'tis present death,
    Or else this blow should broach thy dearest blood.
    But I'll unto his majesty, and crave 1750
    I may have liberty to venge this wrong;
    When thou shalt see I'll meet thee to thy cost.
  • Vernon. Well, miscreant, I'll be there as soon as you;
    And, after, meet you sooner than you would.