The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Henry VI, Part 1 Scenes

Scene 2

France. Before Bourdeaux.

(Lord Talbot; Talbot’s Trumpeter; General of the French Force at Bordeaux)

Talbot calls on the commander of Bordeaux to surrender, but the latter refuses, informing the English commander that he has fallen into a trap and is doomed: Bordeaux is well-defended and the Charles is approaching with a strong army, and the Frenchmen have all pledged to kill Talbot. Talbot realizes the danger, but rallies his troops all the same, urging them to sell their lives dearly. (56 lines)

Enter Talbot with Trump and Drum before Bordeaux.


Go to the gates of Bordeaux, trumpeter,

Summon their general unto the wall.

Trumpet sounds. Enter General and others aloft.

English John Talbot, captains, calls you forth,

Servant in arms to Harry King of England,

And thus he would: Open your city-gates,

Be humble to us, call my sovereign yours,

And do him homage as obedient subjects,

And I’ll withdraw me and my bloody power.

But if you frown upon this proffer’d peace,

You tempt the fury of my three attendants,

Lean famine, quartering steel, and climbing fire,

Who in a moment even with the earth

Shall lay your stately and air-braving towers,

If you forsake the offer of their love.


Thou ominous and fearful owl of death,

Our nation’s terror and their bloody scourge!

The period of thy tyranny approacheth.

On us thou canst not enter but by death;

For I protest we are well fortified,

And strong enough to issue out and fight.

If thou retire, the Dauphin, well appointed,

Stands with the snares of war to tangle thee.

On either hand thee there are squadrons pitch’d,

To wall thee from the liberty of flight;

And no way canst thou turn thee for redress,

But death doth front thee with apparent spoil,

And pale destruction meets thee in the face.

Ten thousand French have ta’en the sacrament

To rive their dangerous artillery

Upon no Christian soul but English Talbot.

Lo, there thou stand’st, a breathing valiant man,

Of an invincible unconquer’d spirit!

This is the latest glory of thy praise

That I thy enemy due thee withal;

For ere the glass, that now begins to run,

Finish the process of his sandy hour,

These eyes, that see thee now well colored,

Shall see thee withered, bloody, pale, and dead.

Drum afar off.

Hark, hark, the Dauphin’s drum, a warning bell,

Sings heavy music to thy timorous soul,

And mine shall ring thy dire departure out.

Exit with others above.


He fables not, I hear the enemy.

Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.

O negligent and heedless discipline!

How are we park’d and bounded in a pale,

A little herd of England’s timorous deer,

Maz’d with a yelping kennel of French curs!

If we be English deer, be then in blood,

Not rascal-like, to fall down with a pinch,

But rather, moody-mad; and, desperate stags,

Turn on the bloody hounds with heads of steel,

And make the cowards stand aloof at bay.

Sell every man his life as dear as mine,

And they shall find dear deer of us, my friends.

God and Saint George, Talbot and England’s right,

Prosper our colors in this dangerous fight!



Use Power Search to search the works

Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site free.


Log in or Register

Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app