France. Before Angiers.
(Joan de Pucelle; Fiends; Duke of Burgundy; Duke of York; Earl of Suffolk; Margaret; Reignier)
Joan la Pucelle, seeing the French fleeing before the English, invokes fiends to help her, but despite all her offers they refuse to speak to her, and she realizes that she is done for. York captures her and walks her off to the stake. Suffolk comes in, having captured Margaret, the daughter of the French leader Reignier. Besotted by his captive, he is at a loss what to do, as he is already married but cannot bring himself to give her up. He comes up instead with the plan of marrying her to the King, though he knows the other nobles will object as she has neither great political connections nor any money. She assents to this proposal, and he acquires the consent of her father on condition that he be allowed to rule over his counties of Anjou and Maine in peace. Suffolk steals a kiss from Margaret as he leaves, still wishing she could be for himself, but preparing to sing her praises to the King. (201 lines)
Alarum. Excursions. Enter Joan de Pucelle.
The Regent conquers, and the Frenchmen fly.
Now help, ye charming spells and periapts,
And ye choice spirits that admonish me
And give me signs of future accidents.
You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
Under the lordly Monarch of the North,
Appear, and aid me in this enterprise.
This speedy and quick appearance argues proof
Of your accustom’d diligence to me.
Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull’d
Out of the powerful regions under earth,
Help me this once, that France may get the field.
They walk, and speak not.
O, hold me not with silence over-long!
Where I was wont to feed you with my blood,
I’ll lop a member off and give it you
In earnest of a further benefit,
So you do condescend to help me now.
They hang their heads.
No hope to have redress? My body shall
Pay recompense, if you will grant my suit.
They shake their heads.
Cannot my body nor blood-sacrifice
Entreat you to your wonted furtherance?
Then take my soul—my body, soul, and all,
Before that England give the French the foil.
See, they forsake me! Now the time is come
That France must vail her lofty-plumed crest
And let her head fall into England’s lap.
My ancient incantations are too weak,
And hell too strong for me to buckle with:
Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.
Excursions. Burgundy and York enter and fight hand to hand.
French fly. Pucelle is brought in captive.
Damsel of France, I think I have you fast:
Unchain your spirits now with spelling charms,
And try if they can gain your liberty.
A goodly prize, fit for the devil’s grace!
See how the ugly witch doth bend her brows,
As if, with Circe, she would change my shape!
Chang’d to a worser shape thou canst not be.
O, Charles the Dauphin is a proper man,
No shape but his can please your dainty eye.
A plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee!
And may ye both be suddenly surpris’d
By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!
Fell banning hag, enchantress, hold thy tongue!
I prithee give me leave to curse a while.
Curse, miscreant, when thou com’st to the stake.
Alarum. Enter Suffolk with Margaret in his hand.
Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.
Gazes on her.
O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly,
For I will touch thee but with reverend hands.
I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
And lay them gently on thy tender side.
Who art thou? Say, that I may honor thee.
Margaret my name, and daughter to a king,
The King of Naples, whosoe’er thou art.
An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call’d.
Be not offended, nature’s miracle,
Thou art allotted to be ta’en by me;
So doth the swan her downy cygnets save,
Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
Yet, if this servile usage once offend,
Go, and be free again, as Suffolk’s friend.
She is going.
I have no power to let her pass,
My hand would free her, but my heart says no.
As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,
Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak:
I’ll call for pen and ink, and write my mind.
Fie, De la Pole, disable not thyself.
Hast not a tongue? Is she not here?
Wilt thou be daunted at a woman’s sight?
Ay; beauty’s princely majesty is such,
’Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.
Say, Earl of Suffolk—if thy name be so—
What ransom must I pay before I pass?
For I perceive I am thy prisoner.
How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit,
Before thou make a trial of her love?
Why speak’st thou not? What ransom must I pay?
She’s beautiful; and therefore to be wooed:
She is a woman; therefore to be won.
Wilt thou accept of ransom, yea or no?
Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife,
Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?
I were best to leave him, for he will not hear.
There all is marr’d; there lies a cooling card.
He talks at randon; sure the man is mad.
And yet a dispensation may be had.
And yet I would that you would answer me.
I’ll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
Why, for my king. Tush, that’s a wooden thing!
He talks of wood; it is some carpenter.
Yet so my fancy may be satisfied,
And peace established between these realms.
But there remains a scruple in that too;
For though her father be the King of Naples,
Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor,
And our nobility will scorn the match.
Hear ye, captain? Are you not at leisure?
It shall be so, disdain they ne’er so much.
Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.—
Madam, I have a secret to reveal.
What though I be enthrall’d, he seems a knight,
And will not any way dishonor me.
Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.
Perhaps I shall be rescu’d by the French,
And then I need not crave his courtesy.
Sweet madam, give me hearing in a cause.
Tush, women have been captivate ere now.
Lady, wherefore talk you so?
I cry you mercy, ’tis but quid for quo.
Say, gentle Princess, would you not suppose
Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?
To be a queen in bondage is more vile
Than is a slave in base servility;
For princes should be free.
And so shall you,
If happy England’s royal king be free.
Why, what concerns his freedom unto me?
I’ll undertake to make thee Henry’s queen,
To put a golden sceptre in thy hand,
And set a precious crown upon thy head,
If thou wilt condescend to be my—
I am unworthy to be Henry’s wife.
No, gentle madam, I unworthy am
To woo so fair a dame to be his wife
And have no portion in the choice myself.
How say you, madam, are ye so content?
And if my father please, I am content.
Then call our captains and our colors forth,
And, madam, at your father’s castle walls
We’ll crave a parley, to confer with him.
Sound a parley. Enter Reignier on the walls.
See, Reignier, see, thy daughter prisoner!
Suffolk, what remedy?
I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
Or to exclaim on fortune’s fickleness.
Yes, there is remedy enough, my lord.
Consent, and for thy honor give consent,
Thy daughter shall be wedded to my king,
Whom I with pain have wooed and won thereto;
And this her easy-held imprisonment
Hath gain’d thy daughter princely liberty.
Speaks Suffolk as he thinks?
Fair Margaret knows
That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.
Upon thy princely warrant, I descend
To give thee answer of thy just demand.
Exit from the walls.
And here I will expect thy coming.
Trumpets sound. Enter Reignier below.
Welcome, brave Earl, into our territories!
Command in Anjou what your honor pleases.
Thanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child,
Fit to be made companion with a king.
What answer makes your Grace unto my suit?
Since thou dost deign to woo her little worth
To be the princely bride of such a lord,
Upon condition I may quietly
Enjoy mine own, the country Maine and Anjou,
Free from oppression or the stroke of war,
My daughter shall be Henry’s, if he please.
That is her ransom; I deliver her,
And those two counties I will undertake
Your Grace shall well and quietly enjoy.
And I again, in Henry’s royal name,
As deputy unto that gracious king,
Give thee her hand, for sign of plighted faith.
Reignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks,
Because this is in traffic of a king.
And yet methinks I could be well content
To be mine own attorney in this case.—
I’ll over then to England with this news,
And make this marriage to be solemniz’d.
So farewell, Reignier! Set this diamond safe
In golden palaces, as it becomes.
I do embrace thee, as I would embrace
The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.
Farewell, my lord! Good wishes, praise, and prayers
Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.
She is going.
Farewell, sweet madam! But hark you, Margaret,
No princely commendations to my king?
Such commendations as becomes a maid,
A virgin, and his servant, say to him.
Words sweetly plac’d and modestly directed.
But, madam, I must trouble you again,
No loving token to his Majesty?
Yes, my good lord, a pure unspotted heart,
Never yet taint with love, I send the King.
And this withal.
That for thyself; I will not so presume
To send such peevish tokens to a king.
Exeunt Reignier and Margaret.
O, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay,
Thou mayest not wander in that labyrinth,
There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk.
Solicit Henry with her wondrous praise;
Bethink thee on her virtues that surmount,
And natural graces that extinguish art;
Repeat their semblance often on the seas,
That, when thou com’st to kneel at Henry’s feet,
Thou mayest bereave him of his wits with wonder.