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Henry VI, Part 1 - Act 2, scene 3
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 1 - Act 2, scene 3
Act 2, scene 3
The Countess plots to capture and kill the visiting Talbot.Enter Countess ⌜of Auvergne, with Porter.⌝
0753 Porter, remember what I gave in charge,
0754 And when you have done so, bring the keys to me.
PORTER 0755 Madam, I will.He exits.
0756 The plot is laid. If all things fall out right,
0757 5 I shall as famous be by this exploit
0758 As Scythian Tamyris by Cyrus’ death.
0759 Great is the rumor of this dreadful knight,
0760 And his achievements of no less account.
0761 Fain would mine eyes be witness with mine ears
0762 10 To give their censure of these rare reports.
Enter Messenger and Talbot.
0763 Madam, according as your Ladyship desired,
0764 By message craved, so is Lord Talbot come.
0765 And he is welcome. What, is this the man?
0766 Madam, it is.
COUNTESS 0767 15 Is this the scourge of France?
0768 Is this the Talbot, so much feared abroad
0769 That with his name the mothers still their babes?
0770 I see report is fabulous and false.
0771 I thought I should have seen some Hercules,
0772 20 A second Hector, for his grim aspect
0773 And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs.
0774 Alas, this is a child, a silly dwarf!
0775 It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp
0776 Should strike such terror to his enemies.
0777 25 Madam, I have been bold to trouble you.
0778 But since your Ladyship is not at leisure,
0779 I’ll sort some other time to visit you.
⌜He begins to exit.⌝
COUNTESS, ⌜to Messenger⌝
0780 What means he now? Go ask him whither he goes.
0781 Stay, my Lord Talbot, for my lady craves
0782 30 To know the cause of your abrupt departure.
0783 Marry, for that she’s in a wrong belief,
0784 I go to certify her Talbot’s here.
Enter Porter with keys.
COUNTESS, ⌜to Talbot⌝
0785 If thou be he, then art thou prisoner.
0786 Prisoner? To whom?
COUNTESS 0787 35 To me, bloodthirsty lord.
0788 And for that cause I trained thee to my house.
0789 Long time thy shadow hath been thrall to me,
0790 For in my gallery thy picture hangs.
p. 730791 But now the substance shall endure the like,
0792 40 And I will chain these legs and arms of thine,
0793 That hast by tyranny these many years
0794 Wasted our country, slain our citizens,
0795 And sent our sons and husbands captivate.
TALBOT 0796 Ha, ha, ha!
0797 45 Laughest thou, wretch? Thy mirth shall turn to moan.
0798 I laugh to see your Ladyship so fond
0799 To think that you have aught but Talbot’s shadow
0800 Whereon to practice your severity.
COUNTESS 0801 Why, art not thou the man?
TALBOT 0802 50I am, indeed.
COUNTESS 0803 Then have I substance too.
0804 No, no, I am but shadow of myself.
0805 You are deceived; my substance is not here,
0806 For what you see is but the smallest part
0807 55 And least proportion of humanity.
0808 I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here,
0809 It is of such a spacious lofty pitch
0810 Your roof were not sufficient to contain ’t.
0811 This is a riddling merchant for the nonce:
0812 60 He will be here and yet he is not here.
0813 How can these contrarieties agree?
0814 That will I show you presently.
Winds his horn. Drums strike up;
a peal of ordnance.
0815 How say you, madam? Are you now persuaded
0816 That Talbot is but shadow of himself?
p. 750817 65 These are his substance, sinews, arms, and strength,
0818 With which he yoketh your rebellious necks,
0819 Razeth your cities, and subverts your towns,
0820 And in a moment makes them desolate.
0821 Victorious Talbot, pardon my abuse.
0822 70 I find thou art no less than fame hath bruited,
0823 And more than may be gathered by thy shape.
0824 Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath,
0825 For I am sorry that with reverence
0826 I did not entertain thee as thou art.
0827 75 Be not dismayed, fair lady, nor misconster
0828 The mind of Talbot as you did mistake
0829 The outward composition of his body.
0830 What you have done hath not offended me,
0831 Nor other satisfaction do I crave
0832 80 But only, with your patience, that we may
0833 Taste of your wine and see what cates you have,
0834 For soldiers’ stomachs always serve them well.
0835 With all my heart, and think me honorèd
0836 To feast so great a warrior in my house.