France. Before Rouen.
(Joan de Pucelle; First Soldier; Three Soldiers; Soldier of the Watch; Charles the Dauphin of France; Bastard of Orléans; Duke of Alanson; Reignier; Lord Talbot; Duke of Bedford; Lord Talbot; Duke of Burgundy; Sir John Falstaff; Captain)
Joan la Pucelle and four men disguised as peasants sneak into Rouen and open the gates to Charles, who takes the town. Talbot and the English find themselves outside the walls. Talbot insults Joan and tries to convince the French soldiers to fight it out in the open field, but the French decline, as they would be giving up a great advantage in doing do. The ill Bedford is urged to retire to a safer place, but he refuses. Bedford watches as Talbot and the others take the town back from the French. Sir John Falstofe runs away from the battle in fear of his life. Having seen Rouen taken back, Bedford is content to die. Talbot and the others plan to go to King Henry in Paris once they have buried Bedford. (138 lines)
Enter Pucelle, disguis’d, with four Soldiers with sacks upon their backs.
These are the city-gates, the gates of Roan,
Through which our policy must make a breach.
Take heed, be wary how you place your words,
Talk like the vulgar sort of market men
That come to gather money for their corn.
If we have entrance, as I hope we shall,
And that we find the slothful watch but weak,
I’ll by a sign give notice to our friends,
That Charles the Dauphin may encounter them.
Our sacks shall be a mean to sack the city,
And we be lords and rulers over Roan,
Therefore we’ll knock.
Paysans, la pauvre gens de France,
Poor market folks that come to sell their corn.
Enter, go in, the market bell is rung.
Now, Roan, I’ll shake thy bulwarks to the ground.
Exeunt to the town.
Enter Charles, Bastard, Alanson, Reignier, and forces.
Saint Denis bless this happy stratagem!
And once again we’ll sleep secure in Roan.
Here ent’red Pucelle and her practisants.
Now she is there, how will she specify
Here is the best and safest passage in?
By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower,
Which once discern’d, shows that her meaning is,
No way to that, for weakness, which she ent’red.
Enter Pucelle on the top, thrusting out a torch burning.
Behold, this is the happy wedding torch
That joineth Roan unto her countrymen,
But burning fatal to the Talbonites!
See, noble Charles, the beacon of our friend,
The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
Now shine it like a comet of revenge,
A prophet to the fall of all our foes!
Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends,
Enter and cry “The Dauphin!” presently,
And then do execution on the watch.
An alarum. Enter Talbot in an excursion.
France, thou shalt rue this treason with thy tears,
If Talbot but survive thy treachery.
Pucelle, that witch, that damned sorceress,
Hath wrought this hellish mischief unawares,
That hardly we escap’d the pride of France.
An alarum. Excursions. Bedford brought in sick in a chair. Enter Talbot and Burgundy without; within, Pucelle, Charles, Bastard, Alanson, and Reignier, on the walls.
Good morrow, gallants, want ye corn for bread?
I think the Duke of Burgundy will fast
Before he’ll buy again at such a rate.
’Twas full of darnel; do you like the taste?
Scoff on, vile fiend and shameless courtezan!
I trust ere long to choke thee with thine own,
And make thee curse the harvest of that corn.
Your Grace may starve, perhaps, before that time.
O, let no words, but deeds, revenge this treason!
What will you do, good greybeard? Break a lance,
And run a-tilt at Death within a chair?
Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite,
Encompass’d with thy lustful paramours!
Becomes it thee to taunt his valiant age,
And twit with cowardice a man half dead?
Damsel, I’ll have a bout with you again,
Or else let Talbot perish with this shame.
Are ye so hot, sir? Yet, Pucelle, hold thy peace,
If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
They, the English, whisper together in council.
God speed the parliament! Who shall be the speaker?
Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field?
Belike your lordship takes us then for fools,
To try if that our own be ours or no.
I speak not to that railing Hecate,
But unto thee, Alanson, and the rest.
Will ye, like soldiers, come and fight it out?
Signior, hang! Base muleters of France!
Like peasant footboys do they keep the walls,
And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
Away, captains, let’s get us from the walls,
For Talbot means no goodness by his looks.
God buy, my lord, we came but to tell you
That we are here.
Exeunt from the walls.
And there will we be too, ere it be long,
Or else reproach be Talbot’s greatest fame!
Vow, Burgundy, by honor of thy house,
Prick’d on by public wrongs sustain’d in France,
Either to get the town again, or die:
And I, as sure as English Henry lives
And as his father here was conqueror,
As sure as in this late-betrayed town
Great Coeur de Lion’s heart was buried,
So sure I swear to get the town, or die.
My vows are equal partners with thy vows.
But ere we go, regard this dying prince,
The valiant Duke of Bedford. Come, my lord,
We will bestow you in some better place,
Fitter for sickness and for crazy age.
Lord Talbot, do not so dishonor me:
Here will I sit before the walls of Roan
And will be partner of your weal or woe.
Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade you.
Not to be gone from hence; for once I read
That stout Pendragon in his litter sick
Came to the field and vanquished his foes.
Methinks I should revive the soldiers’ hearts,
Because I ever found them as myself.
Undaunted spirit in a dying breast!
Then be it so. Heavens keep old Bedford safe!
And now no more ado, brave Burgundy,
But gather we our forces out of hand,
And set upon our boasting enemy.
Exit with Burgundy and forces into the town.
An alarum. Excursions. Enter Sir John Falstaff and a Captain.
Whither away, Sir John Falstaff, in such haste?
Whither away? To save myself by flight.
We are like to have the overthrow again.
What? Will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot?
All the Talbots in the world, to save my life.
Cowardly knight, ill fortune follow thee!
Exit into the town.
Retreat. Excursions. Pucelle, Alanson, and Charles enter from the town and fly.
Now, quiet soul, depart when heaven please,
For I have seen our enemies’ overthrow.
What is the trust or strength of foolish man?
They that of late were daring with their scoffs
Are glad and fain by flight to save themselves.
Bedford dies, and is carried in by two in his chair.
An alarum. Enter Talbot, Burgundy, and the rest.
Lost, and recovered in a day again!
This is a double honor, Burgundy;
Yet heavens have glory for this victory!
Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
Enshrines thee in his heart, and there erects
Thy noble deeds as valor’s monuments.
Thanks, gentle Duke. But where is Pucelle now?
I think her old familiar is asleep.
Now where’s the Bastard’s braves, and Charles his glikes?
What, all amort? Roan hangs her head for grief
That such a valiant company are fled.
Now will we take some order in the town,
Placing therein some expert officers,
And then depart to Paris to the King,
For there young Henry with his nobles lie.
What wills Lord Talbot pleaseth Burgundy.
But yet before we go, let’s not forget
The noble Duke of Bedford late deceas’d,
But see his exequies fulfill’d in Roan.
A braver soldier never couched lance,
A gentler heart did never sway in court;
But kings and mightiest potentates must die,
For that’s the end of human misery.