Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 1 King Henry VI.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
The First Part of King Henry the Sixth
Act I. Scene IV.
France.  Before Orleans.
Enter, on the walls, the Master-Gunner and his Boy.
  M. Gun.  Sirrah, thou know’st how Orleans is besieg’d,
And how the English have the suburbs won.
  Son.  Father, I know; and oft have shot at them,        5
Howe’er unfortunate I miss’d my aim.
  M. Gun.  But now thou shalt not. Be thou rul’d 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        10
How the English, in the suburbs close entrench’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.        15
To intercept this inconvenience,
A piece of ordnance ’gainst it I have plac’d;
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.        20
If thou spy’st any, run and bring me word;
And thou shalt find me at the Governor’s.  [Exit.
  Son.  Father, I warrant you; take you no care;
I’ll never trouble you if I may spy them.  [Exit.
  Sal.  Talbot, my life, my joy! again return’d!
How wert thou handled being prisoner?
Or by what means got’st thou to be releas’d,
Discourse, I prithee, on this turret’s top.
  Tal.  The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner        30
Called the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles;
For him I was exchang’d and ransomed.
But with a baser man at arms by far
Once in contempt they would have barter’d me:
Which I disdaining scorn’d, and craved death        35
Rather than I would be so vile-esteem’d.
In fine, redeem’d I was as I desir’d.
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.        40
  Sal.  Yet tell’st thou not how thou wert entertain’d.
  Tal.  With scoffs and scorns and contumelious taunts.
In open market-place produc’d they me,
To be a public spectacle to all:
Here, said they, is the terror of the French,        45
The scarecrow that affrights our children so.
Then broke I from the officers that led me,
And with my nails digg’d stones out of the ground
To hurl at the beholders of my shame.
My grisly countenance made others fly.        50
None durst come near for fear of sudden death.
In iron walls they deem’d me not secure;
So great fear of my name ’mongst them was spread
That they suppos’d I could rend bars of steel
And spurn in pieces posts of adamant:        55
Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had,
That walk’d about me every minute-while;
And if I did but stir out of my bed
Ready they were to shoot me to the heart.
Enter the Boy with a linstock.
  Sal.  I grieve to hear what torments you endur’d;
But we will be reveng’d sufficiently.
Now it is supper-time in Orleans:
Here, through this grate, I count each one,
And view the Frenchmen how they fortify:        65
Let us look in; the sight will much delight thee.
Sir Thomas Gargrave, and Sir William Glansdale,
Let me have your express opinions
Where is best place to make our battery next.
  Gar.  I think at the North gate; for there stand lords.        70
  Glan.  And I, here, at the bulwark of the bridge.
  Tal.  For aught I see, this city must be famish’d,
Or with light skirmishes enfeebled.  [Here they shoot. SALISBURY and SIR THOMAS GARGRAVE fall.
  Sal.  O Lord! have mercy on us, wretched sinners.
  Gar.  O Lord! have mercy on me, woeful man.        75
  Tal.  What chance is this that suddenly hath cross’d us?
Speak, Salisbury; at least, if thou canst speak:
How far’st thou, mirror of all martial men?
One of thy eyes and thy cheek’s side struck off!
Accursed tower! accursed fatal hand        80
That hath contriv’d this woeful tragedy!
In thirteen battles Salisbury o’ercame;
Henry the Fifth he first train’d to the wars;
Whilst any trump did sound or drum struck up,
His sword did ne’er leave striking in the field.        85
Yet liv’st thou, Salisbury? though thy speech doth fail,
One eye thou hast to look to heaven for grace:
The sun with one eye vieweth all the world.
Heaven, be thou gracious to none alive,
If Salisbury wants mercy at thy hands!        90
Bear hence his body; I will help to bury it.
Sir Thomas Gargrave, hast thou any life?
Speak unto Talbot; nay, look up to him.
Salisbury, cheer thy spirit with this comfort;
Thou shalt not die, whiles—        95
He beckons with his hand and smiles on me,
As who should say, ‘When I am dead and gone,
Remember to avenge me on the French.’
Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero,
Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn:        100
Wretched shall France be only in my name.  [It thunders and lightens.  An alarum.
What stir is this? What tumult’ sin the heavens?
Whence cometh this alarum and the noise?
Enter a Messenger.
  Mess.  My lord, my lord! the French have gather’d head:        105
The Dauphin, with one Joan la Pucelle join’d,
A holy prophetess new risen up
Is come with a great power to raise the siege.  [Here SALISBURY lifteth himself up and groans.
  Tal.  Hear, hear how dying Salisbury doth groan!
It irks his heart he cannot be reveng’d.        110
Frenchmen, I’ll be a Salisbury to you:
Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish,
Your hearts I’ll stamp out with my horse’s heels
And make a quagmire of your mingled brains.
Convey me Salisbury into his tent,        115
And then we’ll try what these dastard Frenchmen dare.  [Exeunt, bearing out the bodies.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.