« ZurückWeiter »
Lords, Captains, Soldiers, Messengers, and several Attendants both on the English and French. The SCENE is partly in England, and partly in France.
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky;
Glo. England ne'er had a king, until his time.
His brandish'dsword did blind men with his beams;
More dazzled and drove back his enemies,
Than mid-day sun, fierce bent against their faces.
'Mr. Theobald observes, that, "the historical transactions contained in this play, take in the compass of above thirty years. I must observe, however, that our author, in the three parts of Henry VI has not been very precise to the date and disposition of his facts; but shuffled thein, backwards and forwards, out of time. For instance; the lord Talbot is kill'd at the end of the fourth act of this play, who in reality did not fall till the 13th of July 1453; and The Second Part of Henry VI. opens with the marriage of the king, which was solemniz'd eight years before Talbot's death, in the year 1445. Again, in the second part, dame Eleanor Cobham is introduced to insult queen Margaret; though her penance and banishment for sorcery happened three years before that princess came over to England. I could point out many other transgressions against history, as far as the order of time is concerned. Indeed, though there are several master-strokes in these three plays, which incontestably betray the workmanship of Shakspeare; yet I am almost doubtful whether they were entirely of his writing. And unless they were wrote by him very early, I should rather imagine them to have been brought to him as a director of the stage; and so have received some finishing beauties at his hand. An accurate ob> server will easily see, the diction of them is more obsolete, and the numbers more mean and prosaical, than in the generality of his genuine compositions."
What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech:
Exe. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not
Henry is dead, and never shall revive:
Among the soldiers this is muttered,
One would have ling'ring wars with little cost;
10 Let not sloth dim your honours, new-begot:
Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral, These tidings would call forth their flowing tides.
Win. He was a king blest of the King of Kings. 15 Bed. Me they concern; regent I am of France:-
Unto the French the dreadful judgment-day
So dreadful will not be, as was his sight.
Glo. The church ! where is it? Had not church-20
Iis thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
Give me my steeled coat, I'll fight for France.—
Enter to them another Messenger.
2 Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad
France is revolted from the English quite;
Glo. Namenot religion, for thou lov'st the flesh;300, whither shall we fly from this reproach? [him!
And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st,
Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds
Let's to the altar:-Heralds, wait on us:-
When at their mothers' moist eyes babes shall suck;
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My honourable lords, health to you all!|
Glo. We will not fly but to our enemies' throats:Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.
Bed. Gloster, why doubt'st thou of my for-
35 An army have I muster'd in my thoughts,
Enter a third Messenger.
3 Mess. My gracious lords,—to add to your la
40 Wherewith you now bedew king Henry's hearse,I must inform you of a dismal fight,
Betwixt the stout lord Talbot and the French.
Win. What! wherein Talbot overcame? is't so?
The circumstance I'll tell you more at large.
Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and
To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
Nourish here signifies a nurse. i. e. their miseries Henry the Fifth's death to my coming amongst them,
which have had only a short intermission from i. e. scarcely.
All the whole army stood agaz'd on him:
Bed. Is Talbot slain? then I will slay myself,
So in the earth, to this day is not known:
Alen. They want their porridge, and their fat
10 Either they must be dieted, like mules,
Reig. Let's raise the siege; Whylivewe idlyhere?
3 Mess. O no, he lives; but is took prisoner, 20 And lord Scales with him, and lord Hungerford: Most of the rest slaughter'd, or took, likewise.
Bed. His ransom there is none but I shall pay :
Now for the honour of the forlorn French:-
Re-enter Charles, Alençon, and Reignier.
Alen. Froisard, a countryman of ours, records,
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!
Glo. I'll to the Tower with all the haste I can,
I am left out; for me nothing remains.
Before Orleans in France.
Enter Charles, Alençon, and Reignier, marching with a Drum and Soldiers.
Char. Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens,
Char. Let's leave this town; for they are hair-
And hunger will enforce them to be more eager:
1i. e. the back part of the can or front. 2 These were two of the most famous in the list of, Charlemagne's twelve peers; and their exploits are render'd so ridiculously and equally extravagant by the old romancers, that from thence arose that saying amongst our plain and sensible ancestors, of giving one a Rowland for his Oliver, to signify the matching one incredible lye with another; or, as in the modern acceptation of the proverb, to give a person as good a one as he brings. A gimmal is a piece of jointed work, where one piece moves within another, whence it is taken at large for an engine. It is now vulgarly called a gimcrack. 4 Chear is countenance, appearance. N n
A holy maid hither with me I bring,
Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven, Ordained is to raise this tedious siege,
And drive the English forth the bounds of France. The spirit of deep prophecy she hath, Exceeding the nine sibyls of old Rome; What's past, and what's to come, she can descry. Speak, shall I call her in? Believe my 2 words, For they are certain and unfallible.
Dau. Go, call her in: But first, to try her skill, Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place: Question her proudly, let thy looks be stern;By this means shall we sound what skill she hath. Enter Joan la Pucelle.
Reig. Fairmaid, is't thouwiltdo thesewond'rous 15
Pucel. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest to beguile
My wit untrain'd in any kind of art.
Heaven, and our Lady gracious, hath it pleas'd
Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs,
Dau. Then come o' God's name, I fear nowo
Pucel. And, while I live, I'll never fly no man.
[Here they fight,and Joan la Pucelle overcomes. Dau. Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon, And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
Pucel. Christ's mother helps me, else I were too [help me; Dau. Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must Impatiently I burn with thy desire; My heart and hands thou hast at once subdu’d. Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so, Let me thy servant, and not sovereign, be; Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus. Pucel. I must not yield to any rites of love, For my profession's sacred from above: When I have chased all thy foes from hence, Then will I think upon a recompence.
Dau. Mean time, look gracious on thy pro
Reig. My lord, methinks, is very long in talk. Alen. Doubtless, he shrives this woman to her
Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech. Reig. Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no
Alen. He may mean more than we poor men do know: [tongues. These women are shrewd tempters with their
And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks, 30 Reig. My lord, where are you? what devise
God's mother deigned to appear to me;
Daly this proof I'll of thy valour make,--
Pusel. I am prepar'd: here is my keen-edg'd sword,
Pucel. Assign'd I am to be the English scourge.
Now am I like that proud insulting ship,
Dau. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove +?
Deck'd with fine flower-de-laces on each side;[ Thewhich,at TouraineinSaint Katharine's church-55 yard,
Out of a deal of old iron I chose forth.
Alen. Leave off delays,and let us raise the siege. Reig. Woman, do what thou canst to save our honours;
Drive them from Orleans, and be immortaliz’d.
There were no nine sibyls of Rome! but our author confounds things, and mistakes this for the nine books of Sibylline oracles, brought to one of the Tarquins. 2 It should be read, believe her words. 3 That is, expect prosperity after misfortune, like fair weather at Martlemas, after winter has begun. 4 Mahomet had a dove, which he used to feed with wheat out of his ear; which dove, when it was hungry, lighted on Mahomet's shoulder, and thrust its bill in to find its breaktast; Mahomet persuading the rude and simple Arabians, that it was the Holy Ghost that gave him advice. 5 Meaning, the four daughters of Philip mentioned in the Acts.
Glo. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator;
Enter Gloster, with his Serving-men.
Where be these warders, that they wait not here?
1 Ward. Who's there, that knocketh so im-
1 Man. It is the noble duke of Gloster.
1 Ward. The Lord protect him! so we 20
We do no otherwise than we are will'd.
Glo. Who will'd you? or whose will stands,
Glo. I will not slay thee,but I'll drive thee back:
[face. Win. Do what thou dar'st; I beard thee to thy Glo. What? am I dar'd, and bearded to my Draw, men, for all this privileged place; [face?— Blue-coats to tawny-coats. Priest, beware thy beard;
I mean to tug it, and to cuff you soundly:
There's none protector of the realm, but I.—
Glo. Lieutenant, is it you, whose voice I hear?
The cardinal of Winchester forbids:
Glo. Faint-hearted Woodvile, prizest him fore
Mayor. Fie, lords! that you, being supreme
35 Here's Beaufort, that regards nor God nor king, Hath here distrain'd the Tower to his use.
Win. Here's Gloster too, a foe to citizens; One that still motions war, and never peace, O'er-charging your free purses with large fincs; 40 That seeks to overthrow religion,
Because he is protector of the realm;
But to make open proclamation:-
1 Conveyance means theft. 2 A tawny coat was the dress of the officer whose business it was to summon offenders to an ecclesiastical court. These are the proper attendants therefore on the bishop of Winchester. Alluding to his shaven crown. In Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 154, Robert Baldocke, bishop of London, is called a peeled priest, pilide clerk, seemingly in allusion to his shaven crown alone. So, bald-head was a term of scorn and mockery, 4 The public stews were formerly under the district of the bishop of Winchester. This means, I believe, I'll tumble thee into thy great hat, and shake thee, as bran and meal are shaken in a sieve. 6 Maundrel, in his Travels, says, that about four miles from Damascus is a high hill, reported to be the same on which Cain slew his brother Abel, 7 A strumpet, or the consequences of her love, was a Winchester goose, Nn 2