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Henry VI, Part 1 Scenes

Scene 4

Anjou. Camp of the Duke of York.

(Duke of York; Earl Warwick; Shepherd; Joan de Pucelle; Cardinal Beauford; Charles the Dauphin of France; Duke of Alanson; Bastard of Orléans; Reignier)

Joan’s father laments his daughter’s condemnation to death, but she refuses to recognize him as her father, insisting that she is of higher birth than a mere shepherd’s daughter. He curses her when she refuses to acknowledge him and urges the English to burn her. She claims to be a virgin, which only makes the English promise to burn her quickly, to alleviate her suffering; she then claims that she is pregnant, and claims that each of the French leaders in turn is the father, but each one merely makes the English ready to kill the child as well. Seeing that the English are inflexible, she curses them as she is led off to burn. The Cardinal (Winchester) enters on his peace mission, to the disgust of York, who sees all of the English losses as in vain if they simply give up fighting now. Charles and his party enter and negotiate; in the end, Charles accepts to become viceroy under Henry, being certain he’ll find opportunities to take over the rest of France and be full King at some point in the future.The French swear loyalty to the English. (175 lines)

Enter York, Warwick, Shepherd, Pucelle guarded.


Bring forth that sorceress condemn’d to burn.


Ah, Joan, this kills thy father’s heart outright!

Have I sought every country far and near,

And now it is my chance to find thee out,

Must I behold thy timeless cruel death?

Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I’ll die with thee!


Decrepit miser! Base ignoble wretch!

I am descended of a gentler blood.

Thou art no father nor no friend of mine.


Out, out! My lords, and please you, ’tis not so,

I did beget her, all the parish knows.

Her mother liveth yet, can testify

She was the first fruit of my bach’lorship.


Graceless, wilt thou deny thy parentage?


This argues what her kind of life hath been,

Wicked and vile, and so her death concludes.


Fie, Joan, that thou wilt be so obstacle!

God knows thou art a collop of my flesh,

And for thy sake have I shed many a tear.

Deny me not, I prithee, gentle Joan.


Peasant, avaunt!—You have suborn’d this man

Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.


’Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest

The morn that I was wedded to her mother.

Kneel down and take my blessing, good my girl.

Wilt thou not stoop? Now cursed be the time

Of thy nativity! I would the milk

Thy mother gave thee, when thou suck’st her breast,

Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake!

Or else, when thou didst keep my lambs a-field,

I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee!

Dost thou deny thy father, cursed drab?

O, burn her, burn her! Hanging is too good.



Take her away, for she hath liv’d too long,

To fill the world with vicious qualities.


First let me tell you whom you have condemn’d:

Not me begotten of a shepherd swain,

But issued from the progeny of kings;

Virtuous and holy, chosen from above,

By inspiration of celestial grace,

To work exceeding miracles on earth.

I never had to do with wicked spirits.

But you, that are polluted with your lusts,

Stain’d with the guiltless blood of innocents,

Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,

Because you want the grace that others have,

You judge it straight a thing impossible

To compass wonders but by help of devils.

No, misconceived! Joan of Aire hath been

A virgin from her tender infancy,

Chaste, and immaculate in very thought,

Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effus’d,

Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.


Ay, ay; away with her to execution!


And hark ye, sirs: because she is a maid,

Spare for no faggots, let there be enow.

Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,

That so her torture may be shortened.


Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts?

Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity,

That warranteth by law to be thy privilege.

I am with child, ye bloody homicides!

Murder not then the fruit within my womb,

Although ye hale me to a violent death.


Now heaven forfend, the holy maid with child?


The greatest miracle that e’er ye wrought!

Is all your strict preciseness come to this?


She and the Dauphin have been juggling.

I did imagine what would be her refuge.


Well, go to, we’ll have no bastards live,

Especially since Charles must father it.


You are deceiv’d, my child is none of his,

It was Alanson that enjoy’d my love.


Alanson, that notorious Machevile?

It dies, and if it had a thousand lives.


O, give me leave, I have deluded you,

’Twas neither Charles nor yet the duke I nam’d,

But Reignier, King of Naples, that prevail’d.


A married man! That’s most intolerable.


Why, here’s a girl! I think she knows not well

(There were so many) whom she may accuse.


It’s sign she hath been liberal and free.


And yet forsooth she is a virgin pure.

Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee.

Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.


Then lead me hence; with whom I leave my curse:

May never glorious sun reflex his beams

Upon the country where you make abode;

But darkness and the gloomy shade of death

Environ you, till mischief and despair

Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves!

Exit guarded.


Break thou in pieces and consume to ashes,

Thou foul accursed minister of hell!

Enter Winchester, now Cardinal Beauford, attended.


Lord Regent, I do greet your Excellence

With letters of commission from the King.

For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,

Mov’d with remorse of these outrageous broils,

Have earnestly implor’d a general peace

Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French;

And here at hand the Dauphin and his train

Approacheth, to confer about some matter.


Is all our travail turn’d to this effect?

After the slaughter of so many peers,

So many captains, gentlemen, and soldiers,

That in this quarrel have been overthrown

And sold their bodies for their country’s benefit,

Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?

Have we not lost most part of all the towns,

By treason, falsehood, and by treachery,

Our great progenitors had conquered?

O Warwick, Warwick, I foresee with grief

The utter loss of all the realm of France.


Be patient, York. If we conclude a peace,

It shall be with such strict and severe covenants,

As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby.

Enter Charles, Alanson, Bastard, Reignier, and others.


Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed

That peaceful truce shall be proclaim’d in France,

We come to be informed by yourselves

What the conditions of that league must be.


Speak, Winchester, for boiling choler chokes

The hollow passage of my poison’d voice,

By sight of these our baleful enemies.


Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus:

That, in regard King Henry gives consent,

Of mere compassion and of lenity,

To ease your country of distressful war

And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace,

You shall become true liegemen to his crown.

And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear

To pay him tribute and submit thyself,

Thou shalt be plac’d as viceroy under him,

And still enjoy thy regal dignity.


Must he be then as shadow of himself?

Adorn his temples with a coronet,

And yet, in substance and authority,

Retain but privilege of a private man?

This proffer is absurd and reasonless.


’Tis known already that I am possess’d

With more than half the Gallian territories,

And therein reverenc’d for their lawful king.

Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquish’d,

Detract so much from that prerogative

As to be call’d but viceroy of the whole?

No, lord ambassador, I’ll rather keep

That which I have than, coveting for more,

Be cast from possibility of all.


Insulting Charles, hast thou by secret means

Us’d intercession to obtain a league,

And, now the matter grows to compromise,

Stand’st thou aloof upon comparison?

Either accept the title thou usurp’st,

Of benefit proceeding from our king,

And not of any challenge of desert,

Or we will plague thee with incessant wars.


Aside to Charles.

My lord, you do not well in obstinacy

To cavil in the course of this contract.

If once it be neglected, ten to one

We shall not find like opportunity.


Aside to Charles.

To say the truth, it is your policy

To save your subjects from such massacre

And ruthless slaughters as are daily seen

By our proceeding in hostility,

And therefore take this compact of a truce,

Although you break it when your pleasure serves.


How say’st thou, Charles? Shall our condition stand?


It shall;

Only reserv’d, you claim no interest

In any of our towns of garrison.


Then swear allegiance to his Majesty,

As thou art knight, never to disobey

Nor be rebellious to the crown of England.

Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England.

Charles and his party give tokens of fealty.

So, now dismiss your army when ye please;

Hang up your ensigns, let your drums be still,

For here we entertain a solemn peace.



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