William Shakespeare's First Part of King Henry the Sixth in the complete original text.
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First Part of King Henry the Sixth

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Act I. Scene II.

Scene II.—France. Before Orleans.

Flourish. Enter CHARLES, with his Forces:
ALENÇ0N, REIGNIER, and Others.

Char. Mars his true moving, even as in the
heavens
So in the earth, to this day is not known.
Late did he shine upon the English side;
Now we are victors; upon us he smiles.
What towns of any moment but we have?
At pleasure here we lie near Orleans;
Otherwhiles the famish'd English, like pale
ghosts,
Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.
Alen. They want their porridge and their fat
bull-beeves:
Either they must be dieted like mules
And have their provender tied to their mouths,
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice.
Reig. Let's raise the siege: why live we idly
here?
Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear:
Remaineth none but mad-brain'd Salisbury,
And he may well in fretting spend his gall;
Nor men nor money hath he to make war.
Char. Sound, sound alarum! we will rush on
them.
Now for the honour of the forlorn French!
Him I forgive my death that killeth me
When he sees me go back one foot or fly.
[Exeunt.
Alarums; Excursions; afterwards a retreat.

Re-enter CHARLES, ALENÇON,
REIGNIER, and Others.
Char. Who ever saw the like? what men
have I!
Dogs! cowards! dastards! I would ne'er have
fled
But that they left me 'midst my enemies.
Reig. Salisbury is a desperate homicide;
He fighteth as one weary of his life:
The other lords, like lions wanting food,
Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.
Alen. Froissart, a countryman of ours, re-
cords,
England all Olivers and Rowlands bred
During the time Edward the Third did reign.
More truly now may this be verified;
For none but Samsons and Goliases,
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!
Lean raw-bon'd rascals! who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity?
Char. Let's leave this town; for they are
hare-brain'd slaves,
And hunger will enforce them to be more eager:
Of old I know them; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down than forsake the
siege.
Reig. I think, by some odd gimmals or
device,
Their arms are set like clocks, still to strike on;
Else ne'er could they hold out so as they do.
By my consent, we'll e'en let them alone.
Alen. Be it so.

Enter the BASTARD OF ORLEANS.
Bast. Where's the prince Dauphin? I have
news for him.
Char. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome
to us.
Bast. Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer
appall'd:
Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence?
Be not dismayed, for succour is at hand:
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 wha's to come she can descry.
Speak, shall I call her in? Believe my words,
For they are certain and unfallible.
Char. Go, call her in. [Exit BASTARD.] 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. [Retires.

Re-enter the BASTARD OF ORLEANS, with JOAN
LA
PUCELLE and Others.
Reig. Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these won-
drous feats?
Joan. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest to be-
guile me?
Where is the Dauphin? Come, come from
behind;
I know thee well, though never seen before.
Be not amaz'd, 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.
Joan. 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 pleas'd
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 promis'd and assur'd success;
In complete glory she revealed herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infus'd 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 war-like 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.
Joan. I am prepar'd: here is my keen-edg'd
sword,
Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in Saint Katharine's
churchyard,
Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.
Char. Then come, o' God's name; I fear no
woman.
Joan. And, while I live, I'll ne'er fly from a
man.
[They fight, and JOAN LA PUCELLE overcomes.
Char. Stay, stay thy hands! thou art an
Amazon,
And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
Joan. 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 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.
Joan. 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 pros-
trate 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?
Joan. 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.
Joan. 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 bare 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, fall'n 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 immortalis'd.
Char. Presently we'll try. Come, let's away
about it:
No prophet will I trust if she prove false.
[Exeunt.
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