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King Henry VI, Part I

ACT II SCENE I Before Orleans.
[Enter a Sergeant of a band with two Sentinels]
Sergeant Sirs, take your places and be vigilant:
If any noise or soldier you perceive
Near to the walls, by some apparent sign
Let us have knowledge at the court of guard.
First Sentinel Sergeant, you shall. 5
[Exit Sergeant]
Thus are poor servitors,
When others sleep upon their quiet beds,
Constrain’d to watch in darkness, rain and cold.
[ Enter TALBOT, BEDFORD, BURGUNDY, and Forces, with scaling-ladders, their drums beating a dead march ]
TALBOT Lord Regent, and redoubted Burgundy,
By whose approach the regions of Artois, 10
Wallon and Picardy are friends to us,
This happy night the Frenchmen are secure,
Having all day caroused and banqueted:
Embrace we then this opportunity
As fitting best to quittance their deceit 15
Contrived by art and baleful sorcery.
BEDFORD Coward of France! how much he wrongs his fame,
Despairing of his own arm’s fortitude,
To join with witches and the help of hell!
BURGUNDY Traitors have never other company. 20
But what’s that Pucelle whom they term so pure?
TALBOT A maid, they say.
BEDFORD A maid! and be so martial!
BURGUNDY Pray God she prove not masculine ere long,
If underneath the standard of the French 25
She carry armour as she hath begun.
TALBOT Well, let them practise and converse with spirits:
God is our fortress, in whose conquering name
Let us resolve to scale their flinty bulwarks.
BEDFORD Ascend, brave Talbot; we will follow thee. 30
TALBOT Not all together: better far, I guess,
That we do make our entrance several ways;
That, if it chance the one of us do fail,
The other yet may rise against their force.
BEDFORD Agreed: I’ll to yond corner. 35
BURGUNDY And I to this.
TALBOT And here will Talbot mount, or make his grave.
Now, Salisbury, for thee, and for the right
Of English Henry, shall this night appear
How much in duty I am bound to both. 40
Sentinels Arm! arm! the enemy doth make assault!
[Cry: ‘St. George,’ ‘A Talbot.’]
[ The French leap over the walls in their shirts. Enter, several ways, the BASTARD OF ORLEANS, ALENCON, and REIGNIER, half ready, and half unready ]
ALENCON How now, my lords! what, all unready so?
BASTARD OF ORLEANS Unready! ay, and glad we ‘scaped so well.
REIGNIER ‘Twas time, I trow, to wake and leave our beds,
Hearing alarums at our chamber-doors. 45
ALENCON Of all exploits since first I follow’d arms,
Ne’er heard I of a warlike enterprise
More venturous or desperate than this.
BASTARD OF ORLEANS I think this Talbot be a fiend of hell.
REIGNIER If not of hell, the heavens, sure, favour him. 50
ALENCON Here cometh Charles: I marvel how he sped.
BASTARD OF ORLEANS Tut, holy Joan was his defensive guard.
CHARLES Is this thy cunning, thou deceitful dame?
Didst thou at first, to flatter us withal,

Make us partakers of a little gain, 55
That now our loss might be ten times so much?
JOAN LA PUCELLE Wherefore is Charles impatient with his friend!
At all times will you have my power alike?
Sleeping or waking must I still prevail,
Or will you blame and lay the fault on me? 60
Improvident soldiers! had your watch been good,
This sudden mischief never could have fall’n.
CHARLES Duke of Alencon, this was your default,
That, being captain of the watch to-night,
Did look no better to that weighty charge. 65
ALENCON Had all your quarters been as safely kept
As that whereof I had the government,
We had not been thus shamefully surprised.
BASTARD OF ORLEANS Mine was secure.
REIGNIER And so was mine, my lord. 70
CHARLES And, for myself, most part of all this night,
Within her quarter and mine own precinct
I was employ’d in passing to and fro,
About relieving of the sentinels:
Then how or which way should they first break in? 75
JOAN LA PUCELLE Question, my lords, no further of the case,
How or which way: ’tis sure they found some place
But weakly guarded, where the breach was made.
And now there rests no other shift but this;
To gather our soldiers, scatter’d and dispersed, 80
And lay new platforms to endamage them.
[ Alarum. Enter an English Soldier, crying ‘A Talbot! a Talbot!’ They fly, leaving their clothes behind ]
Soldier I’ll be so bold to take what they have left.
The cry of Talbot serves me for a sword;
For I have loaden me with many spoils,
Using no other weapon but his name. 85

Continue to 1 Henry VI, Act 2, Scene 2