Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act IV, Scene 5

The English camp near Bourdeaux.


[Enter TALBOT and JOHN his son]

  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. O young John Talbot! I did send for thee 2135
    To tutor thee in stratagems of war,
    That Talbot's name might be in thee revived
    When sapless age and weak unable limbs
    Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.
    But, O malignant and ill-boding stars! 2140
    Now thou art come unto a feast of death,
    A terrible and unavoided danger:
    Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse;
    And I'll direct thee how thou shalt escape
    By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone. 2145
  • John Talbot. Is my name Talbot? and am I your son?
    And shall I fly? O if you love my mother,
    Dishonour not her honourable name,
    To make a bastard and a slave of me!
    The world will say, he is not Talbot's blood, 2150
    That basely fled when noble Talbot stood.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.
  • John Talbot. He that flies so will ne'er return again.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. If we both stay, we both are sure to die.
  • John Talbot. Then let me stay; and, father, do you fly: 2155
    Your loss is great, so your regard should be;
    My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.
    Upon my death the French can little boast;
    In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost.
    Flight cannot stain the honour you have won; 2160
    But mine it will, that no exploit have done:
    You fled for vantage, everyone will swear;
    But, if I bow, they'll say it was for fear.
    There is no hope that ever I will stay,
    If the first hour I shrink and run away. 2165
    Here on my knee I beg mortality,
    Rather than life preserved with infamy.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Shall all thy mother's hopes lie in one tomb?
  • John Talbot. Ay, rather than I'll shame my mother's womb.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Upon my blessing, I command thee go. 2170
  • John Talbot. To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Part of thy father may be saved in thee.
  • John Talbot. No part of him but will be shame in me.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not lose it.
  • John Talbot. Yes, your renowned name: shall flight abuse it? 2175
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Thy father's charge shall clear thee from that stain.
  • John Talbot. You cannot witness for me, being slain.
    If death be so apparent, then both fly.
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. And leave my followers here to fight and die?
    My age was never tainted with such shame. 2180
  • John Talbot. And shall my youth be guilty of such blame?
    No more can I be sever'd from your side,
    Than can yourself yourself in twain divide:
    Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I;
    For live I will not, if my father die. 2185
  • Lord Talbot/Earl of Shrewsbury. Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,
    Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon.
    Come, side by side together live and die.
    And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.