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Henry VI, Pt. 1: Act 1, Scene 1

Henry VI, Pt. 1
Act 1, Scene 1

Scene 1

Westminster Abbey.

  1. Dead march. Enter the Funeral of King Henry the Fifth,
  2. attended on by the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Gloucester,
  3. the Duke of Exeter, the Earl of Warwick, the Bishop of
  4. Winchester, and the Duke of Somerset; Heralds, etc.

Duke of Bedford

5 - 11
  1. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
  2. Comets, importing change of times and states,
  3. Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
  4. And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
  5. That have consented unto Henry’s death:
  6. King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!
  7. England ne’er lost a king of so much worth.

Duke of Gloucester

12 - 20
  1. England ne’er had a king until his time:
  2. Virtue he had, deserving to command;
  3. His brandish’d sword did blind men with his beams;
  4. His arms spread wider than a dragon’s wings;
  5. His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
  6. More dazzled and drove back his enemies
  7. Than midday sun fierce bent against their faces.
  8. What should I say? His deeds exceed all speech:
  9. He ne’er lift up his hand but conquered.

Duke of Exeter

21 - 31
  1. We mourn in black, why mourn we not in blood?
  2. Henry is dead, and never shall revive.
  3. Upon a wooden coffin we attend,
  4. And death’s dishonorable victory
  5. We with our stately presence glorify,
  6. Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
  7. What? Shall we curse the planets of mishap
  8. That plotted thus our glory’s overthrow?
  9. Or shall we think the subtile-witted French
  10. Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
  11. By magic verses have contriv’d his end?

Bishop of Winchester

32 - 36
  1. He was a king blest of the King of kings.
  2. Unto the French the dreadful Judgment Day
  3. So dreadful will not be as was his sight.
  4. The battles of the Lord of hosts he fought;
  5. The Church’s prayers made him so prosperous.

Duke of Gloucester

37 - 40
  1. The Church? Where is it? Had not churchmen pray’d,
  2. His thread of life had not so soon decay’d.
  3. None do you like but an effeminate prince,
  4. Whom like a schoolboy you may overawe.

Bishop of Winchester

41 - 44
  1. Gloucester, what e’er we like, thou art Protector,
  2. And lookest to command the Prince and realm.
  3. Thy wife is proud, she holdeth thee in awe,
  4. More than God or religious churchmen may.

Duke of Gloucester

45 - 47
  1. Name not religion, for thou lov’st the flesh,
  2. And ne’er throughout the year to church thou go’st
  3. Except it be to pray against thy foes.

Duke of Bedford

48 - 60
  1. Cease, cease these jars and rest your minds in peace.
  2. Let’s to the altar. Heralds, wait on us.
  3. In stead of gold, we’ll offer up our arms,
  4. Since arms avail not now that Henry’s dead.
  5. Posterity, await for wretched years,
  6. When at their mothers’ moist’ned eyes babes shall suck,
  7. Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears,
  8. And none but women left to wail the dead.
  9. Henry the Fifth, thy ghost I invocate:
  10. Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils,
  11. Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
  12. A far more glorious star thy soul will make
  13. Than Julius Caesar or bright
  1. Enter a Messenger.

First Messenger

62 - 66
  1. My honorable lords, health to you all!
  2. Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
  3. Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture:
  4. Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orléans,
  5. Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost.

Duke of Bedford

67 - 69
  1. What say’st thou, man, before dead Henry’s corse?
  2. Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns
  3. Will make him burst his lead and rise from death.

Duke of Gloucester

70 - 72
  1. Is Paris lost? Is Roan yielded up?
  2. If Henry were recall’d to life again,
  3. These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.

Duke of Exeter

73
  1. How were they lost? What treachery was us’d?

First Messenger

74 - 86
  1. No treachery, but want of men and money.
  2. Amongst the soldiers this is muttered,
  3. That here you maintain several factions;
  4. And whilst a field should be dispatch’d and fought,
  5. You are disputing of your generals.
  6. One would have ling’ring wars with little cost;
  7. Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
  8. A third thinks, without expense at all,
  9. By guileful fair words peace may be obtain’d.
  10. Awake, awake, English nobility!
  11. Let not sloth dim your honors new begot.
  12. Cropp’d are the flower-de-luces in your arms,
  13. Of England’s coat one half is cut away.
  1. Exit.

Duke of Exeter

88 - 89
  1. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
  2. These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.

Duke of Bedford

90 - 94
  1. Me they concern, Regent I am of France.
  2. Give me my steeled coat, I’ll fight for France.
  3. Away with these disgraceful wailing robes!
  4. Wounds will I lend the French in stead of eyes,
  5. To weep their intermissive miseries.
  1. Enter to them another Messenger.

Second Messenger

96 - 102
  1. Lords, view these letters full of bad mischance.
  2. France is revolted from the English quite,
  3. Except some petty towns of no import.
  4. The Dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims;
  5. The Bastard of Orléans with him is join’d;
  6. Reignier, Duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
  7. The Duke of Alanson flieth to his side.
  1. Exit.

Duke of Exeter

104 - 105
  1. The Dauphin crowned king? All fly to him?
  2. O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?

Duke of Gloucester

106 - 107
  1. We will not fly but to our enemies’ throats.
  2. Bedford, if thou be slack, I’ll fight it out.

Duke of Bedford

108 - 110
  1. Gloucester, why doubt’st thou of my forwardness?
  2. An army have I muster’d in my thoughts,
  3. Wherewith already France is overrun.
  1. Enter another Messenger.

Third Messenger

112 - 115
  1. My gracious lords, to add to your laments,
  2. Wherewith you now bedew King Henry’s hearse,
  3. I must inform you of a dismal fight
  4. Betwixt the stout Lord Talbot and the French.

Bishop of Winchester

116
  1. What? Wherein Talbot overcame, is’t so?

Third Messenger

117 - 149
  1. O no; wherein Lord Talbot was o’er-thrown.
  2. The circumstance I’ll tell you more at large.
  3. The tenth of August last this dreadful lord,
  4. Retiring from the siege of Orléans,
  5. Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
  6. By three and twenty thousand of the French
  7. Was round encompassed, and set upon.
  8. No leisure had he to enrank his men;
  9. He wanted pikes to set before his archers;
  10. In stead whereof sharp stakes pluck’d out of hedges
  11. They pitched in the ground confusedly,
  12. To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
  13. More than three hours the fight continued,
  14. Where valiant Talbot above human thought
  15. Enacted wonders with his sword and lance:
  16. Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him;
  17. Here, there, and every where, enrag’d he slew.
  18. The French exclaim’d, the devil was in arms;
  19. All the whole army stood agaz’d on him.
  20. His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit,
  21. A Talbot! A Talbot!” cried out amain,
  22. And rush’d into the bowels of the battle.
  23. Here had the conquest fully been seal’d up,
  24. If Sir John Falstaff had not play’d the coward.
  25. He, being in the vaward, plac’d behind
  26. With purpose to relieve and follow them,
  27. Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
  28. Hence grew the general wrack and massacre;
  29. Enclosed were they with their enemies.
  30. A base Wallon, to win the Dauphin’s grace,
  31. Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back,
  32. Whom all France with their chief assembled strength
  33. Durst not presume to look once in the face.

Duke of Bedford

150 - 153
  1. Is Talbot slain then? I will slay myself
  2. For living idly here in pomp and ease,
  3. Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
  4. Unto his dastard foemen is betray’d.

Third Messenger

154 - 156
  1. O no, he lives, but is took prisoner,
  2. And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford.
  3. Most of the rest slaughter’d or took likewise.

Duke of Bedford

157 - 165
  1. His ransom there is none but I shall pay:
  2. I’ll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne,
  3. His crown shall be the ransom of my friend;
  4. Four of their lords I’ll change for one of ours.
  5. Farewell, my masters, to my task will I.
  6. Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make,
  7. To keep our great Saint George’s feast withal.
  8. Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take,
  9. Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

Third Messenger

166 - 170
  1. So you had need, for Orléans is besieg’d;
  2. The English army is grown weak and faint;
  3. The Earl of Salisbury craveth supply,
  4. And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
  5. Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.
  1. Exit.

Duke of Exeter

172 - 174
  1. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn:
  2. Either to quell the Dauphin utterly,
  3. Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

Duke of Bedford

175 - 176
  1. I do remember it, and here take my leave,
  2. To go about my preparation.
  1. Exit Bedford.

Duke of Gloucester

178 - 180
  1. I’ll to the Tower with all the haste I can,
  2. To view th’ artillery and munition,
  3. And then I will proclaim young Henry king.
  1. Exit Gloucester.

Duke of Exeter

182 - 184
  1. To Eltam will I, where the young King is,
  2. Being ordain’d his special governor,
  3. And for his safety there I’ll best devise.
  1. Exit.

Bishop of Winchester

186 - 190
  1. Each hath his place and function to attend:
  2. I am left out; for me nothing remains.
  3. But long I will not be Jack out of office.
  4. The King from Eltam I intend to send,
  5. And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.
  1. Exeunt.
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