Page images

The cry
of Talbot serves me for a sword;
For I have loaden me with many spoils,
Using no other weapon but his name.


Orleans. Within the Town.


Enter TALBOT, BEDFORD, BURGUNDY, a Captain, and Others.

Bed. The day begins to break, and night is fled,
Whose pitchy mantle over-veil'd the earth.
Here sound retreat, and cease our hot pursuit.

[Retreat sounded.

Tal. Bring forth the body of old Salisbury;
And here advance it in the market-place,
The middle centre of this cursed town.-
Now have I paid my vow unto his soul;'
For every drop of blood was drawn from him,
There hath at least five Frenchmen died to-night.
And that hereafter ages may behold

What ruin happen'd in revenge of him,
Within their chiefest temple I'll erect

A tomb, wherein his corpse shall be interr'd:
Upon the which, that every one may read,
Shall be engrav'd the sack of Orleans;

The treacherous manner of his mournful death,
And what a terror he had been to France.

8 Enter an English Soldier, crying, a Talbot! a Talbot!] And afterwards:

"The cry of Talbot serves me for a sword."

Here a popular tradition, exclusive of any chronicle-evidence,
was in Shakspeare's mind. Edward Kerke, the old commenta-
tor on Spenser's Pastorals, first published in 1579, observes in
his notes on June, that Lord Talbot's "noblenesse bred such a
terrour in the hearts of the French, that oftimes greate armies
were defaited and put to flight, at the only hearing of his name:
insomuch that the French women, to affray their children, would
tell them, that the TALBOT cometh." See also sc. iii.
T. Warton.
9 Now have I paid my vow unto his soul; &c.] So, in the old
spurious play of King John:

"Thus hath king Richard's son perform'd his vow,
"And offer'd Austria's blood for sacrifice

"Unto his father's ever-living soul." Steevens?

But, lords, in all our bloody massacre,

I muse, we met not with the Dauphin's grace;
His new-come champion, virtuous Joan of Arc;
Nor any of his false confederates.

Bed. 'Tis thought, lord Talbot, when the fight began,
Rous'd on the sudden from their drowsy beds,
They did, amongst the troops of armed men,
Leap o'er the walls for refuge in the field.

Bur. Myself (as far as I could well discern,
For smoke, and dusky vapours of the night,)
Am sure, I scar'd the Dauphin, and his trull;
When arm in arm they both came swiftly running,
Like to a pair of loving turtle-doves,

That could not live asunder day or night.

After that things are set in order here,

We'll follow them with all the power we have.

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. All hail, my lords! which of this princely train Call ye the warlike Talbot, for his acts

So much applauded through the realm of France?

Tal. Here is the Talbot; who would speak with him? Mess. The virtuous lady, countess of Auvergne, With modesty admiring thy renown,

By me entreats, great lord, thou wouldst vouchsafe
To visit her poor castle where she lies;'
That she may boast, she hath beheld the man
Whose glory fills the world with loud report.
Bur. Is it even so? Nay, then, I see, our wars
Will turn into a peaceful comick sport,
When ladies crave to be encounter'd with.-
You may not, my lord, despise her gentle suit.

Tal. Ne'er trust me then; for, when a world of men

Could not prevail with all their oratory,

Yet hath a woman's kindness over-rul'd:-
And therefore tell her, I return great thanks;
And in submission will attend on her.

Will not your honours bear me company?
Bed. No, truly; it is more than manners will:
And I have heard it said,-Unbidden guests
Are often welcomest when they are gone.


where she lies;] i. e. where she dwells. Malone.

Tal. Well then, alone, since there's no remedy, I mean to prove this lady's courtesy.

Come hither, captain. [whispers]-You perceive my mind.

Capt. I do, my lord; and mean accordingly. [Exeunt.


Auvergne. Court of the Castle.

Enter the Countess and her Porter.

Count. Porter, remember what I gave in charge; And, when you have done so, bring the keys to mc. Port. Madam, I will.

[F.xit. Count. The plot is laid: if all things fall out right, I shall as famous be by this exploit,

As Scythian Thomyris by Cyrus' death.

Great is the rumour of this dreadful knight,
And his achievements of no less account:

Fain would mine eyes be witness with mine ears,

To give their censure of these rare reports.

Enter Messenger and TALBOT.

Mess. Madam,

According as your ladyship desir'd,

By message crav'd, so is lord Talbot come.

Count. And he is welcome. What! is this the man? Mess. Madam, it is.


Is this the scourge of France?

Is this the Talbot, so much fear'd abroad,

That with his name the mothers still their babes?3

I see, report is fabulous and false:

I thought, I should have seen some Hercules,
A second Hector, for his grim aspéct,

And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs.
Alas! this is a child, a silly dwarf:

It cannot be, this weak and writhled shrimp

2 ·their censure —] i. e. their opinion. So, in King Richard III:

"And give your censures in this weighty business." Steevens. 3 That with his name the mothers still their babes?] Dryden has transplanted this idea into his Don Sebastian, King of Portugal: "Nor shall Sebastian's formidable name

"Be longer us'd, to lull the crying babe." Steevens.

Should strike such terror to his enemies.

Tal Madam, I have been bold to trouble you: But, since your ladyship is not at leisure,

I'll sort some other time to visit you.

Count. What means he now?-Go ask him, whither

he goes.

Mess. Stay, my lord Talbot; for my lady craves
To know the cause of your abrupt departure.
Tal. Marry, for that she 's in a wrong belief,
I go to certify her, Talbot's here.

Re-enter Porter, with Keys.

Count. If thou be he, then art thou prisoner.
Tal Prisoner! to whom?

To me, blood-thirsty lord;
And for that cause I train'd thee to my house.
Long time thy shadow hath been thrall to me,
For in my gallery thy picture hangs:

But now the substance shall endure the like;
And I will chain these legs and arms of thine,
That hast by tyranny, these many years,

Wasted our country, slain our citizens,
And sent our sons and husbands captivate."

Tal. Ha, ha, ha!

Count. Laughest thou, wretch? thy mirth shall turn

to moan.

Tal. I laugh to see your ladyship so fond,

To think that you have aught but Talbot's shadow,
Whereon to practise your severity.

Count. Why, art not thou the man?

Count. Then have I substance too.

I am, indeed.

4 writhled- i. e. wrinkled. The word is used by Spen ser. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-wrizled, which has been followed in subsequent editions. Malone.

The instance from Spenser, is the following:

"Her writhled skin, as,rough as maple rind."

Again, in Marston's fourth Satire:

[merged small][ocr errors]

"Cold, writhled eld, his lives wet almost spent." Steevens. captivate.] So, in Soliman and Perseda:

"If not destroy'd and bound, and captivate,

"If captivate, then forc'd from holy faith." Steevens.

so fond,] i, e. so foolish. So, in King Henry IV, P. II: "Fondly brought here, and foolishly sent hence," Steevens.

Tal. No, no, I am but shadow of myself:
You are deceiv'd, my substance is not here;
For what you see, is but the smallest part
And least proportion of humanity:

I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here,
It is of such a spacious lofty pitch,

Your roof were not sufficient to contain it.

Count. This is a riddling merchant for the nonce; *. He will be here, and yet he is not here:

How can these contrarieties agree?

Tal. That will I show you presently."

He winds a Horn, Drums heard; then a Peal of Ord-
nance. The Gates being forced, enter Soldiers.
How say you, madam? are you now persuaded,
That Talbot is but shadow of himself?

These are his substance, sinews, arms, and strength,
With which he yoketh your rebellious necks;
Razeth your cities, and subverts your towns,
And in a moment makes them desolate.

Count. Victorious Talbot! pardon my abuse:
I find, thou art no less than fame hath bruited,1
And more than may be gather'd by thy shape.
Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath;
For I am sorry, that with reverence

I did not entertain thee as thou art.

Tal. Be not dismay'd, fair lady; nor misconstrue The mind of Talbot, as you did mistake

The outward composition of his body.

What you have done, hath not offended me:
No other satisfaction do I crave,

7 - I am but shadow of myself:] So, in King Henry VIII: "I am the shadow of poor Buckingham." Steevens.

8 This is a riddling merchant &c.] So, in Romeo and Juliet: "What saucy merchant was this?"

See a note on this passage, Act II, sc. iv. Steevens.

9 That will I show you presently.] The deficient foot in this line may properly be supplied, by reading:


That, madam, will I show you presently. Steevens.

bruited,] To bruit is to proclaim with noise, to announce loudly. So, in Macbeth:

[ocr errors]

one of greatest note

"Seems bruited."

« PreviousContinue »