Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 1 King Henry VI.
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The First Part of King Henry the Sixth
 
Act IV. Scene II.
 
Before Bourdeaux.
 
Enter TALBOT, with his Forces.
  Tal.  Go to the gates of Bourdeaux, trumpeter;
Summon their general unto the wall.
 
Trumpet sounds a parley.  Enter, on the Walls, the General of the French Forces, and Others.
        5
English John Talbot, captains, calls you forth,
Servant in arms to Harry King of England;
And thus he would: Open your city gates,
Be humble to us, call my sov’reign yours,
And do him homage as obedient subjects,        10
And I’ll withdraw me and my bloody power;
But, if you frown upon this proffer’d peace,
You tempt the fury of my three attendants,
Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire;
Who in a moment even with the earth        15
Shall lay your stately and air-braving towers,
If you forsake the offer of their love.
  Gen.  Thou ominous and fearful owl of death,
Our nation’s terror and their bloody scourge!
The period of thy tyranny approacheth.        20
On us thou canst not enter but by death;
For, I protest, we are well fortified,
And strong enough to issue out and fight:
If thou retire, the Dauphin, well appointed,
Stands with the snares of war to tangle thee:        25
On either hand thee there are squadrons pitch’d,
To wall thee from the liberty of flight;
And no way canst thou turn thee for redress
But death doth front thee with apparent spoil,
And pale destruction meets thee in the face.        30
Ten thousand French have ta’en the sacrament,
To rive their dangerous artillery
Upon no Christian soul but English Talbot.
Lo! there thoustand’st, a breathing valiant man,
Of an invincible unconquer’d spirit:        35
This is the latest glory of thy praise,
That I, thy enemy, ’due thee withal;
For ere the glass, that now begins to run,
Finish the process of his sandy hour,
These eyes, that see thee now well coloured,        40
Shall see thee wither’d, bloody, pale, and dead.  [Drum afar off.
Hark! hark! the Dauphin’s drum, a warning bell,
Sings heavy music to thy timorous soul;
And mine shall ring thy dire departure out.  [Exeunt General, &c., from the Walls.
  Tal.  He fables not; I hear the enemy:        45
Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.
O! negligent and heedless discipline;
How are we park’d and bounded in a pale,
A little herd of England’s timorous deer,
Maz’d with a yelping kennel of French curs!        50
If we be English deer, be then, in blood;
Not rascal-like, to fall down with a pinch,
But rather moody-mad and desperate stags,
Turn on the bloody hounds with heads of steel,
And make the cowards stand aloof at bay:        55
Sell every man his life as dear as mine,
And they shall find dear deer of us, my friends.
God and Saint George, Talbot and England’s right,
Prosper our colours in this dangerous fight!  [Exeunt.
 
 
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