Sign up for the free Shakespeare Newsletter

   King Henry VI, Part I
ACT V SCENE IV Camp of the YORK in Anjou. 
 Enter YORK, WARWICK, and others 
YORK Bring forth that sorceress condemn'd to burn. 
 Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE, guarded, and a Shepherd 
Shepherd 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, 5
 Must I behold thy timeless cruel death? 
 Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I'll die with thee! 
JOAN LA PUCELLE Decrepit miser! base ignoble wretch! 
 I am descended of a gentler blood: 
 Thou art no father nor no friend of mine. 10
Shepherd Out, out! My lords, an 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 bachelorship. 
WARWICK Graceless! wilt thou deny thy parentage? 15
YORK This argues what her kind of life hath been, 
 Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes. 
Shepherd 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: 20
 Deny me not, I prithee, gentle Joan. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE Peasant, avaunt! You have suborn'd this man, 
 Of purpose to obscure my noble birth. 
Shepherd 'Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest 
 The morn that I was wedded to her mother. 25
 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'dst her breast, 
 Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake! 30
 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. 
YORK Take her away; for she hath lived too long, 35
 To fill the world with vicious qualities. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE 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, 40
 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, 45
 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 Arc hath been 50
 A virgin from her tender infancy, 
 Chaste and immaculate in very thought; 
 Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused, 
 Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven. 
YORK Ay, ay: away with her to execution! 55
WARWICK 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. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts? 60
 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. 65
YORK Now heaven forfend! the holy maid with child! 
WARWICK The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought: 
 Is all your strict preciseness come to this? 
YORK She and the Dauphin have been juggling: 
 I did imagine what would be her refuge. 70
WARWICK Well, go to; we'll have no bastards live; 
 Especially since Charles must father it. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE You are deceived; my child is none of his: 
 It was Alencon that enjoy'd my love. 
YORK Alencon! that notorious Machiavel! 75
 It dies, an if it had a thousand lives. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE O, give me leave, I have deluded you: 
 'Twas neither Charles nor yet the duke I named, 
 But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevail'd. 
WARWICK A married man! that's most intolerable. 80
YORK Why, here's a girl! I think she knows not well, 
 There were so many, whom she may accuse. 
WARWICK It's sign she hath been liberal and free. 
YORK And yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure. 
 Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee: 85
 Use no entreaty, for it is in vain. 
JOAN LA PUCELLE 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 90
 Environ you, till mischief and despair 
 Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves! 
 Exit, guarded 
YORK Break thou in pieces and consume to ashes, 
 Thou foul accursed minister of hell! 
CARDINALOF WINCHESTER Lord regent, I do greet your excellence 95
 With letters of commission from the king. 
 For know, my lords, the states of Christendom, 
 Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils, 
 Have earnestly implored a general peace 
 Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French; 100
 And here at hand the Dauphin and his train 
 Approacheth, to confer about some matter. 
YORK Is all our travail turn'd to this effect? 
 After the slaughter of so many peers, 
 So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers, 105
 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, 110
 Our great progenitors had conquered? 
 O Warwick, Warwick! I foresee with grief 
 The utter loss of all the realm of France. 
WARWICK Be patient, York: if we conclude a peace, 
 It shall be with such strict and severe covenants 115
 As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby. 
CHARLES 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. 120
YORK Speak, Winchester; for boiling choler chokes 
 The hollow passage of my poison'd voice, 
 By sight of these our baleful enemies. 
CARDINALOF WINCHESTER Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus: 
 That, in regard King Henry gives consent, 125
 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 130
 To pay him tribute, submit thyself, 
 Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him, 
 And still enjoy thy regal dignity. 
ALENCON Must he be then as shadow of himself? 
 Adorn his temples with a coronet, 135
 And yet, in substance and authority, 
 Retain but privilege of a private man? 
 This proffer is absurd and reasonless. 
CHARLES 'Tis known already that I am possess'd 
 With more than half the Gallian territories, 140
 And therein reverenced 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 145
 That which I have than, coveting for more, 
 Be cast from possibility of all. 
YORK Insulting Charles! hast thou by secret means 
 Used intercession to obtain a league, 
 And, now the matter grows to compromise, 150
 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. 155
REIGNIER 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. 
ALENCON To say the truth, it is your policy 160
 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. 165
WARWICK How say'st thou, Charles? shall our condition stand? 
CHARLES It shall; 
 Only reserved, you claim no interest 
 In any of our towns of garrison. 
YORK Then swear allegiance to his majesty, 170
 As thou art knight, never to disobey 
 Nor be rebellious to the crown of England, 
 Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England. 
 So, now dismiss your army when ye please: 
 Hang up your ensign, let your drums be still, 175
 For here we entertain a solemn peace. 

 | home  |  what's new  |  about this site  |  contact  |  notice of copyright  | 
©1999-2021 Shakespeare Online. All Rights Reserved.