France. Before Orleans.
(Master Gunner of Orléans; Master Gunner’s Boy; Earl of Salisbury; Lord Talbot; Sir William Glansdale; Sir Thomas Gargrave; Fourth Messenger)
The French master gunner has his boy keep a lookout for the English leaders on the tower from which they spy on the defenses, planning to blow them out of the air at the first opportunity. Talbot, recently freed from French captivity, joins the other English leaders, telling them of how poorly he was treated by the French, and swearing revenge on Falstolfe, whose cowardice led to his capture. The gunner’s boy fires his cannon, killing Salisbury and Gargrave. Talbot vows vengeance for their deaths; a messenger brings news that the dolphin and Joan la Pucelle have arrived to raise the siege. (111 lines)
Enter the Master Gunner of Orléans and his Boy.
Sirrah, thou know’st how Orleance is besieg’d,
And how the English have the suburbs won.
Father, I know, and oft have shot at them,
Howe’er unfortunate I miss’d my aim.
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
How the English, in the suburbs close intrench’d,
Wont through a secret grate 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.
To intercept this inconvenience,
A piece of ord’nance ’gainst it I have plac’d,
And even these three days have I watch’d
If I could see them.
Now do thou watch, for I can stay no longer.
If thou spy’st any, run and bring me word,
And thou shalt find me at the Governor’s.
Father, I warrant you, take you no care,
I’ll never trouble you, if I may spy them.
Enter Salisbury and Talbot, Sir William Glansdale, Sir Thomas Gargrave, on the turrets, with others.
Talbot, my life, my joy, again return’d?
How wert thou handled, being prisoner?
Or by what means gots thou to be releas’d?
Discourse, I prithee, on this turret’s top.
The Earl of Bedford had a prisoner
Call’d the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles,
For him was I exchang’d and ransomed.
But with a baser man of arms by far
Once in contempt they would have barter’d me;
Which I, disdaining, scorn’d, and craved death
Rather than I would be so pill’d esteem’d:
In fine, redeem’d I was as I desir’d.
But O, the treacherous Falstaff wounds my heart,
Whom with my bare fists I would execute,
If I now had him brought into my power.
Yet tell’st thou not how thou wert entertain’d.
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,
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,
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 were spread
That they suppos’d I could rend bars of steel,
And spurn in pieces posts of adamant;
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.
I grieve to hear what torments you endur’d,
But we will be reveng’d sufficiently.
Now it is supper-time in Orleance:
Here, through this grate, I count each one,
And view the Frenchmen how they fortify.
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 batt’ry next?
I think at the North Gate, for there stands lords.
And I here, at the bulwark of the bridge.
For aught I see, this city must be famish’d,
Or with light skirmishes enfeebled.
Here they shoot, and Salisbury falls down together with Gargrave.
O Lord, have mercy on us, wretched sinners!
O Lord, have mercy on me, woeful man!
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
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.
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!
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—
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:
Wretched shall France be only in my name.
Here an alarum, and it thunders and lightens.
What stir is this? What tumult’s in the heavens?
Whence cometh this alarum, and the noise?
Enter a Messenger.
My lord, my lord, the French have gather’d head.
The Dauphin, with one Joan de 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.
Hear, hear how dying Salisbury doth groan!
It irks his heart he cannot be reveng’d.
Frenchmen, I’ll be a Salisbury to you.
Pucelle or puzzel, Dauphin 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,
And then we’ll try what these dastard Frenchmen dare.
Alarum. Exeunt bearing out the bodies.