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Enter LA PUCELLE, BASTARD of Orleans, and others.
Reig. Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these wond'rous feats?
Puc. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest to beguile me ?-
Where is the Dauphin ?-come, come from behind;
I know thee well, though never seen before.
Be not amazed, there's nothing hid from me:
In private will I talk with thee apart :-
Stand back, you lords, and give us leave a while.
Reig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash.
Puc. Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter,
My wit untrain❜d in any kind of art.
Heaven, and our lady gracious, hath it pleased
To shine on my contemptible estate:
Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs,
And to sun's parching heat display'd my cheeks,
God's mother deigned to appear to me;
And, in a vision full of majesty,
Will'd me to leave my base vocation,
And free my country from calamity:
Her aid she promised, and assured success:
In complete glory she reveal'd herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infused on me,
That beauty am I bless'd with, which you see.
Ask me what question thou canst possible,
And I will answer unpremeditated:
My courage try by combat, if thou dar'st,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this:* Thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
Char. Thou hast astonish'd me with thy high terms;
Only this proof I'll of thy valour make,-
In single combat thou shalt buckle with me;
And, if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
Otherwise, I renounce all confidence.
Puc. I am prepared: here is my keen-edged sword,
Deck'd with five fleur-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in St. Katharine's church-yard,
Out of a deal of old iron I chose forth.
Char. Then come o' God's name, I fear no woman.
Puc. And, while I live, I'll ne'er fly from a man. [They fight. Char. Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon, And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
Puc. Christ's mother helps me, else I were too weak.
Char. Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must help me :
Impatiently I burn with thy desire;
My heart and hands thou hast at once subdued.
Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so,
Let me thy servant, and not sovereign, be;
"Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus.
* Be firmly persuaded of it.
Puc. 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 recompense.
Char. Meantime, look gracious on thy prostrate thrall.
Reig. My lord, methinks, is very long in talk.
Alen. Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock; Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech.
Reig. Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean? Alen. He may mean more than we poor men do know : These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues. Reig. My lord, where are you? what devise you on? Shall we give over Orleans or no?
Puc. Why, no, I say, distrustful recreants!
Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.
Char. What she says, I'll confirm; we'll fight it out.
Puc. Assign'd am I to be the English scourge.
This night the siege assuredly I'll raise :
Expect Saint Martin's summer,* halcyon days,
Since I have entered into these wars.
Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till, by broad spreading, it disperse to nought.
With Henry's death, the English circle ends;
Dispersed are the glories it included.
Now am I like that proud insulting ship,
Which Cæsar and his fortune bear at once.
Char. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove ?
Thou with an eagle art inspired then.
Helen, the mother of great Constantine,
Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters,† were like thee.
Bright star of Venus, fallen down on the earth,
How may I reverently worship thee enough?
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 immortalized.
Char. Presently we'll try :-come let's away about it: No prophet will I trust, if she prove false.
SCENE III.-London. Hill before the Tower. Enter, at the Gates, the Duke of GLOSTER, with his Servingmen in blue coats.
Glo. I am come to survey the Tower this day; Since Henry's death, I fear, there is conveyance.-Where be these warders, that they wait not here? Open the gates; Gloster it is that calls. [Servants knock.
* Expect prosperity after misfortune.
+ The four daughters of Philip mentioned in Acts xxi. 9.
1 Ward. [within]. Who is there that knocks so imperiously? 1 Serv. It is the noble duke of Gloster.
2 Ward. [within]. Whoe'er he be, you may not be let in.
1 Serv. Answer you so the lord protector, villains?
1 Ward. [within]. The Lord protect him! so we answer him: We do no otherwise than we are will'd.
Glo. Who will'd you? or whose will stands but mine?
There's none protector of the realm but I.—
Break up the gates, I'll be your warrantize :
Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms?
SERVANTS rush at the Tower gates. Enter, to the gates,
WOODVILLE, the Lieutenant.
Wood. [within]. What noise is this? what traitors have we here?
Glo. Lieutenant, is it you, whose voice I hear? Open the gates; here's Gloster that would enter.
Wood. [within]. Have patience, noble duke: I may not open;
The cardinal of Winchester forbids:
From him I have express commandment,
That thou, nor none of thine, shall be let in.
Glo. Faint-hearted Woodville, prizest him 'fore me ?
Arrogant Winchester? that haughty prelate,
Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook?
Thou art no friend to God, or to the king:
Open the gates, or I'll shut thee out shortly.
1 Serv. Open the gates unto the lord protector;
Or we'll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.
Enter WINCHESTER, attended by a Train of Servants in tawny coats.
Win. How now, ambitious Humphrey? what means this?
Glo. Piel'd priest,† dost thou command me to be shut out?
Win. I do, thou most usurping proditor,+
And not protector of the king or realm.
Glo. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator;
Thou, that contriv'dst to murder our dead lord;
Thou, that giv'st whores indulgences to sin :
I'll canvas§ thee in thy broad cardinal's hat,
If thou proceed in this thy insolence.
Win. Nay, stand thou back, I will not budge a foot;
This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,
To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.
Glo. I will not slay thee, but I'll drive thee back:
Thy scarlet robes, as a child's bearing-cloth
I'll use, to carry thee out of this place.
Win. Do what thou dar'st; I beard thee to thy face.
Glo. What? am I dared, and bearded to my face ?-
+ Alluding to his shaven crown.
Cain is said to have slain Abe on an eminence four miles from Damascus.
Draw, men, for all this privileged place; Blue-coats to tawny-coats. Priest, beware your beard; [GLOSTER and his men attack the Bishop.
I mean to tug it, and to cuff you soundly:
Under my feet I stamp thy cardinal's hat;
In spite of pope or dignities of church,
Here by the cheeks I'll drag thee up and down.
Win. Gloster, thou'lt answer this before the pope.
Glo. Winchester goose! I cry-a rope! a rope!
Now beat them hence. Why do you let them stay?
Thee I'll chase hence, thou wolf in sheep's array.―
Out, tawny coats! out scarlet hypocrite!
Here a great tumult. In the midst of it, Enter the MAYOR of London and Officers.
May. Fie, lords! that you, being supreme magistrates,
Thus contumeliously should break the peace!
Glo. Peace, mayor; thou know'st little of my wrongs:
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'ercharging your free purses with large fines;
That seeks to overthrow religion,
Because he is protector of the realm;
And would have armour here out of the Tower,
To crown himself king, and suppress the prince.
Glo. I will not answer thee with words, but blows.
[Here they skirmish again.
May. Nought rests for me, in this tumultuous strife,
But to make open proclamation:-
Come, officer; as loud as e'er thou canst.
Off. All manner of men, assembled here in arms this day, against God's peace and the king's, we charge and command you, in his highness' name, to repair to your several dwelling-places; and not to wear, handle, or use, any sword, weapon, or dagger, henceforward, upon pain of death.
Glo. Cardinal, I'll be no breaker of the law: But we shall meet, and break our minds at large.
Win. Gloster, we'll meet; to thy dear cost, be sure : Thy heart-blood I will have for this day's work.
May. I'll call for clubs,† if you will not away :-
This cardinal is more haughty than the devil.
Glo. Mayor, farewell: thou dost but what thou mayst.
Win. Abominable Gloster! guard thy head;
For I intend to have it, ere long.
May. See the coast clear'd, and then we will depart.-
Good God! that nobles should such stomachs bear!
I myself fight not once in forty year.
*An allusion to the bishop's licentious manners.
+ That is, for peace-officers armed with clubs or staves.
SCENE IV-France. Before Orleans.
Enter, on the walls, the MASTER GUNNER and his SON. M. Gun. Sirrah, thou know'st how Orleans is besieged; And how the English have the suburbs won.
Son. Father, I know; and oft have shot at them,
Howe'er, unfortunate, I miss'd my aim.
M. Gun. But now thou shalt not. Be thou ruled by me:
Chief master-gunner am I of this town;
Something I must do to procure me grace:
The prince's espials have informed me,
How the English, in the suburbs close intrench'd,
Wont, through a secret gate of iron bars
In yonder tower, to overpeer the city;
And thence discover, how, with most advantage,
They may vex us, with shot, or with assault.
To intercept this inconvenience,
A piece of ordnance 'gainst it I have placed;
And fully even these three days have I watch'd,
If I could see them. Now, boy, do thou watch,
For I can stay no longer.
If thou spy'st any, run and bring me word;
And thou shalt find me at the governor's.
Son. Father, I warrant you; take you no care; I'll never trouble you, if I may spy them.
Sal. Talbot, my life, my joy, again return'd!
How wert thou handled, being prisoner ?
Or by what means got'st thou to be released?
Discourse, I pr'ythee, on this turret's top.
Tal. The duke of Bedford had a prisoner,
Called-the brave lord Ponton de Santrailles;
For him I was exchanged and ransomed.
But with a baser man of arms by far,
Once, in contempt, they would have barter'd me:
Which I, disdaining, scorn'd; and craved death
Rather than I would be so piled esteem'd.+
In fine, redeem'd I was as I desired.
Enter, in an upper chamber of a tower, the Lords SALISBURY and TALBOT, SIR WILLIAM GLANSDALE, SIR THOMAS GARGRAVE, and others.
But, O! the treacherous Fastolfe wounds my heart!
Whom with my bare fists I would execute,
If I now had him brought into my power.
Sal. Yet tell'st thou not, how thou wert entertain❜d.
Tal. With scoffs, and scorns, and contumelious taunts.
In open market-place produced they me,
To be a public spectacle to all;
Here, said they, is the terror of the French,
+ Stripped of honours.