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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Henry VI, Part 1 Scenes


Scene 5

English camp near Bourdeaux.

(Lord Talbot; John Talbot)


John Talbot, who has galloped to join his father when he heard of the danger the older man was in, refuses to flee, and instead insists that Talbot himself be the one to go. Both too proud to leave, though anxious to save the other, they in the end both remain. ( line)

Enter Talbot and his son, John.

TAL.

O young John Talbot, I did send for thee

To tutor thee in stratagems of war,

That Talbot’s name might be in thee reviv’d,

When sapless age and weak unable limbs

Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.

But O malignant and ill-boding stars!

Now thou art come unto a feast of death,

A terrible and unavoided danger;

Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse,

And I’ll direct thee how thou shalt escape

By sudden flight. Come, dally not, be gone.

JOHN.

Is my name Talbot? And am I your son?

And shall I fly? O, if you love my mother,

Dishonor not her honorable name

To make a bastard and a slave of me!

The world will say, he is not Talbot’s blood,

That basely fled when noble Talbot stood.

TAL.

Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.

JOHN.

He that flies so will ne’er return again.

TAL.

If we both stay, we both are sure to die.

JOHN.

Then let me stay, and, father, do you fly.

Your loss is great, so your regard should be;

My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.

Upon my death the French can little boast;

In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost.

Flight cannot stain the honor you have won,

But mine it will, that no exploit have done.

You fled for vantage, every one will swear;

But if I bow, they’ll say it was for fear.

There is no hope that ever I will stay,

If the first hour I shrink and run away.

Here on my knee I beg mortality,

Rather than life preserv’d with infamy.

TAL.

Shall all thy mother’s hopes lie in one tomb?

JOHN.

Ay, rather than I’ll shame my mother’s womb.

TAL.

Upon my blessing I command thee go.

JOHN.

To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.

TAL.

Part of thy father may be sav’d in thee.

JOHN.

No part of him but will be shame in me.

TAL.

Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not lose it.

JOHN.

Yes, your renowned name. Shall flight abuse it?

TAL.

Thy father’s charge shall clear thee from that stain.

JOHN.

You cannot witness for me, being slain.

If death be so apparent, then both fly.

TAL.

And leave my followers here to fight and die?

My age was never tainted with such shame.

JOHN.

And shall my youth be guilty of such blame?

No more can I be severed from your side

Than can yourself yourself in twain divide.

Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I;

For live I will not if my father die.

TAL.

Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,

Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon.

Come, side by side, together live and die,

And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.

Exeunt.

 
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