Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

If sir John Fastolfeo had not play'd the coward;
He being in the vaward, (plac'd behind,
With purpose to relieve and follow them,)
Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Hence grew the general wreck and massacre;
Enclosed were they with their enemies:
A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin's grace,
Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back;
Whom all France, with their chief assembled

strength,
Durst not presume to look once in the face.

Bed. Is Talbot slain? then I will slay myself,
For living idly here, in pomp and ease,
Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
Unto his dastard foe-men is betray’d.

3 Mess. O no, he lives; but is took prisoner,
And lord Scales with him, and lord Hungerford:
Most of the rest slaughter'd, or took, likewise.
Bed. His ransome there is none but I shall

pay: I'll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne, His crown shall be the ransome of my friend; Four of their lords I'll change for one of ours.Farewell, iny masters; to my task will I; Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make, To keep our great Saint George's feast withal: Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take, Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

3 Mess. So you had need; for Orleans is besieg'd; The English army is grown weak and faint : The earl of Salisbury craveth supply, And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,

6 If sir John Fastolfe, &c.] For an account of this sir John Fastolfe, see Anstis's Treatise on the Order of the Garter; Parkins's Supplement to Blomfield's History of Norfolk ; Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannica; or Capel's notes, Vol. II. p. 221; Sir John Fenn's Collection of the Paston Letters; and Biographiu Britannica, Vol. V.

Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.
Exe. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry

sworn;
Either to quell the Dauphin utterly,
Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

Bed. I do remember it; and here take leave, To go about my preparation.

(Exit. Glo. I'll to the Tower, with all the haste I can, To view the artillery and munition; And then I will proclaim young Henry king.

[Exit. Exe. To Eltham will I, where the young king is, Being ordain’d his special governor; And for his safety there I'll best devise. [Exit.

Win. Each hath his place and function to attend: I am left out; for me nothing remains. But long I will not be Jack-out-of-office; The king from Eltham I intend to send, And sit at chiefest stern of publick weal.

[Exit. Scene closes.

SCENE II.

France. Before Orleans.

Enter CHARLES, with his Forces; ALENÇON,

ReiGNIER, and Others. Char. Mars his true moving, even as in the hea

vens, So in the earth, to this day is not known: Late did he shine upon the English side; Now we are victors upon us he smiles. What towns of any moment, but we have? At pleasure here we lie, near Orleans; Otherwhiles, the famish'd English, like pale ghosts, Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.

Alen. They want their porridge, and their fat

bull-beeves: Either they must be dieted like mules, And have their provender tyed to their mouths, Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice. Reig. Let's raise the siege; Why live we idly

here?
Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear:
Remaineth none but mad-brain’d Salisbury;
And he may well in fretting spend his gall,
Nor men, nor money, hath he to make war.
Char. Sound, sound alarum; we will rush on

them.
Now for the honour of the forlorn French:
Him I forgive my death, that killeth me,
When he sees me go back one foot, or fly.

[Exeunt. Alarums ; Excursions; afterwards a Retreat. Re-enter Charles, Alençon, Reignier, and

Others.
Char. Who ever saw the like? what men have 1?-
Dogs! cowards ! dastards !—I would ne'er have fled,
But that they left me 'midst my enemies.

Reig. Salisbury is a desperate homicide;
He fighteth as one weary of his life.
The other lords, like lions wanting food,
Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.?

Alen. Froissard, a countryman of ours, records,
England all Olivers and Rowlands bred,
During the time Edward the third did reign.

7

8

as their hungry prey.) i. e. the prey for which they are hungry.

England all Olivers and Rowlands bred,] These were two of the most famous in the list of Charlemagne's twelve peers; and their exploits are rendered so ridiculously and equally extravagant by the old romancers, that from thence arose that saying amongst

More truly now may this be verified;
For none but Samsons, and Goliasses,
It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!
Lean raw-bon'd rascals! who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity?
Char. Let's leave this town; for they are hair-

brain'd slaves,
And hunger will enforce them to be more eager:
Of old I know them; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down, than forsake the siege.

Reig. I think, by some odd gimmals or device, Their arms are set, like clocks, still to strike on; Else ne'er could they hold out so, as they do. By my consent, we'll e'en let them alone.

Alen. Be it so.

Enter the Bastard of Orleans. Bast. Where's the prince Dauphin, I have news

for him. Char. Bastard of Orleans,' thrice welcome to us. Bast. Methinks, your looks are sad, your cheer

appallid;

[ocr errors]

our plain and sensible ancestors, of giving one a Rowland for his Oliver, to signify the matching one incredible lie with another.

WARBURTON. Rather, to oppose one hero to another ; i. e. to give a person as good a one as he brings. Steevens.

-gimmals-) A gimmal is a piece of jointed work, where one piece moves within another, whence it is taken at large for an engine. It is now by the vulgar called a gimcrack.

Bastard of Orleans,] That this in forme: times was not a term of reproach, see Bishop Hurd's Letters on Chivalry and Romance, in the third volume of his Dialogues, p. 233, who observing on circumstances of agreement between the heroick and Gothick manners, says that “ Bastardy was in credit with both.” One of William the Conqueror's charters begins, “ Ego Gulielmus cognomento Bastardus." Nor was bastardy reckoned a disgrace among the ancients. See the eighth Iliad, in which the illegitimacy of Teucer is mentioned as a panegyrick upon him, ver. 284.

Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence?
Be not dismay'd, for succour is at hand:
A holy maid hither with me I bring,
Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven,
Ordained is to raise this tedious siege,
And drive the English forth the bounds of France.
The spirit of deep prophecy she hath,
Exceeding the nine sibyls of old Rome;?
What’s past, and what's to come, she can descry.
Speak, shall I call her in ? Believe my words,
For they are certain and unfallible.
Char. Go, call her in: [Exit Bastard.] But, first,

to try her skill
Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place:
Question her proudly, let thy looks be stern :-
By this means shall we sound what skill she hath.

[Retires.

Enter La Pucelle, Bastard of Orleans, and Others. Reig. Fair maid, is't thou wilt do these wond'rous

feats? Puc. Reignier, is't thou that thinkest to beguile

me? Where is the Dauphin ?-come, come from behind; I know thee well, though never seen before. Be not amaz’d, there's nothing hid from me: In private will I talk with thee apart;Stand back, you lords, and give us leave a while.

Reig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash.

Puc. Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter, My wit untraind in any kind of art. Heaven, and our Lady gracious, hath it pleas’d To shine on my contemptible estate:

nine sibyls of old Rome;] There was no nine sibyls of Rome ; but he confounds things, and mistakes this for the nine books of Sibylline oracles, brought to one of the Tarquins.

« ElőzőTovább »