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Henry VI, Part 1 - Act 5, scene 4
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Navigate this workHenry VI, Part 1 - Act 5, scene 4
Act 5, scene 4
Pucelle, on her way to be executed by the English, is visited by her shepherd father, whom she scorns and who curses her. She pleads for a stay of execution on the grounds that she is pregnant, but her plea is denied. Cardinal Winchester enters to announce the peace between England and France, news that at first displeases both York and Charles.Enter York, Warwick, Shepherd,
⌜and⌝ Pucelle, ⌜guarded.⌝
2431 Bring forth that sorceress condemned to burn.
2432 Ah, Joan, this kills thy father’s heart outright.
2433 Have I sought every country far and near,
2434 And, now it is my chance to find thee out,
2435 5 Must I behold thy timeless cruel death?
2436 Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I’ll die with thee.
2437 Decrepit miser, base ignoble wretch!
2438 I am descended of a gentler blood.
2439 Thou art no father nor no friend of mine.
2440 10 Out, out!—My lords, an please you, ’tis not so!
2441 I did beget her, all the parish knows;
2442 Her mother liveth yet, can testify
2443 She was the first fruit of my bach’lorship.
2444 Graceless, wilt thou deny thy parentage?
2445 15 This argues what her kind of life hath been,
2446 Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes.
2447 Fie, Joan, that thou wilt be so obstacle!
p. 2152448 God knows thou art a collop of my flesh,
2449 And for thy sake have I shed many a tear.
2450 20 Deny me not, I prithee, gentle Joan.
2451 Peasant, avaunt!—You have suborned this man
2452 Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.
2453 ’Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest
2454 The morn that I was wedded to her mother.—
2455 25 Kneel down and take my blessing, good my girl.
2456 Wilt thou not stoop? Now cursèd be the time
2457 Of thy nativity! I would the milk
2458 Thy mother gave thee when thou ⌜suck’dst⌝ her
2460 30 Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake!
2461 Or else, when thou didst keep my lambs afield,
2462 I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee!
2463 Dost thou deny thy father, cursèd drab?
2464 O burn her, burn her! Hanging is too good.He exits.
2465 35 Take her away, for she hath lived too long
2466 To fill the world with vicious qualities.
2467 First, let me tell you whom you have condemned:
2468 Not ⌜one⌝ begotten of a shepherd swain,
2469 But issued from the progeny of kings,
2470 40 Virtuous and holy, chosen from above
2471 By inspiration of celestial grace
2472 To work exceeding miracles on earth.
2473 I never had to do with wicked spirits.
2474 But you, that are polluted with your lusts,
2475 45 Stained with the guiltless blood of innocents,
2476 Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,
2477 Because you want the grace that others have,
2478 You judge it straight a thing impossible
p. 2172479 To compass wonders but by help of devils.
2480 50 No, misconceivèd! Joan of ⌜Arc⌝ hath been
2481 A virgin from her tender infancy,
2482 Chaste and immaculate in very thought,
2483 Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused,
2484 Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.
2485 55 Ay, ay.—Away with her to execution.
2486 And hark you, sirs: because she is a maid,
2487 Spare for no faggots; let there be enow.
2488 Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake
2489 That so her torture may be shortenèd.
2490 60 Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts?
2491 Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity,
2492 That warranteth by law to be thy privilege:
2493 I am with child, you bloody homicides.
2494 Murder not then the fruit within my womb,
2495 65 Although you hale me to a violent death.
2496 Now heaven forfend, the holy maid with child?
WARWICK, ⌜to Pucelle⌝
2497 The greatest miracle that e’er you wrought!
2498 Is all your strict preciseness come to this?
2499 She and the Dauphin have been juggling.
2500 70 I did imagine what would be her refuge.
2501 Well, go to, we’ll have no bastards live,
2502 Especially since Charles must father it.
2503 You are deceived; my child is none of his.
2504 It was Alanson that enjoyed my love.
2505 75 Alanson, that notorious Machiavel?
2506 It dies an if it had a thousand lives!
2507 O, give me leave! I have deluded you.
2508 ’Twas neither Charles nor yet the Duke I named,
2509 But Reignier, King of Naples, that prevailed.
2510 80 A married man? That’s most intolerable.
2511 Why, here’s a girl! I think she knows not well—
2512 There were so many—whom she may accuse.
2513 It’s sign she hath been liberal and free.
2514 And yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure!—
2515 85 Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee.
2516 Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.
2517 Then lead me hence, with whom I leave my curse:
2518 May never glorious sun reflex his beams
2519 Upon the country where you make abode,
2520 90 But darkness and the gloomy shade of death
2521 Environ you, till mischief and despair
2522 Drive you to break your necks or hang yourselves.
She exits, ⌜led by Guards.⌝
2523 Break thou in pieces, and consume to ashes,
2524 Thou foul accursèd minister of hell!
Enter ⌜Winchester, as⌝ Cardinal.
2525 95 Lord Regent, I do greet your Excellence
2526 With letters of commission from the King.
2527 For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,
p. 2212528 Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils,
2529 Have earnestly implored a general peace
2530 100 Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French;
2531 And here at hand the Dauphin and his train
2532 Approacheth to confer about some matter.
2533 Is all our travail turned to this effect?
2534 After the slaughter of so many peers,
2535 105 So many captains, gentlemen, and soldiers
2536 That in this quarrel have been overthrown
2537 And sold their bodies for their country’s benefit,
2538 Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?
2539 Have we not lost most part of all the towns—
2540 110 By treason, falsehood, and by treachery—
2541 Our great progenitors had conquerèd?
2542 O, Warwick, Warwick, I foresee with grief
2543 The utter loss of all the realm of France!
2544 Be patient, York; if we conclude a peace
2545 115 It shall be with such strict and severe covenants
2546 As little shall the Frenchmen gain thereby.
Enter Charles, Alanson, Bastard,
Reignier, ⌜with Attendants.⌝
2547 Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed
2548 That peaceful truce shall be proclaimed in France,
2549 We come to be informèd by yourselves
2550 120 What the conditions of that league must be.
2551 Speak, Winchester, for boiling choler chokes
2552 The hollow passage of my poisoned voice
2553 By sight of these our baleful enemies.
2554 Charles and the rest, it is enacted thus:
p. 2232555 125 That, in regard King Henry gives consent,
2556 Of mere compassion and of lenity,
2557 To ease your country of distressful war
2558 And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace,
2559 You shall become true liegemen to his crown.
2560 130 And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear
2561 To pay him tribute and submit thyself,
2562 Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him,
2563 And still enjoy thy regal dignity.
2564 Must he be then as shadow of himself—
2565 135 Adorn his temples with a coronet,
2566 And yet, in substance and authority,
2567 Retain but privilege of a private man?
2568 This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
2569 ’Tis known already that I am possessed
2570 140 With more than half the Gallian territories,
2571 And therein reverenced for their lawful king.
2572 Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquished,
2573 Detract so much from that prerogative
2574 As to be called but viceroy of the whole?
2575 145 No, lord ambassador, I’ll rather keep
2576 That which I have than, coveting for more,
2577 Be cast from possibility of all.
2578 Insulting Charles, hast thou by secret means
2579 Used intercession to obtain a league
2580 150 And, now the matter grows to compromise,
2581 Stand’st thou aloof upon comparison?
2582 Either accept the title thou usurp’st,
2583 Of benefit proceeding from our king
2584 And not of any challenge of desert,
2585 155 Or we will plague thee with incessant wars.
REIGNIER, ⌜aside to Charles⌝
2586 My lord, you do not well in obstinacy
p. 2252587 To cavil in the course of this contract.
2588 If once it be neglected, ten to one
2589 We shall not find like opportunity.
ALANSON, ⌜aside to Charles⌝
2590 160 To say the truth, it is your policy
2591 To save your subjects from such massacre
2592 And ruthless slaughters as are daily seen
2593 By our proceeding in hostility;
2594 And therefore take this compact of a truce
2595 165 Although you break it when your pleasure serves.
2596 How say’st thou, Charles? Shall our condition stand?
2597 It shall—only reserved you claim no interest
2598 In any of our towns of garrison.
2599 Then swear allegiance to his Majesty,
2600 170 As thou art knight, never to disobey
2601 Nor be rebellious to the crown of England,
2602 Thou nor thy nobles, to the crown of England.
⌜Charles, Alanson, Bastard, and Reignier
swear allegiance to Henry.⌝
2603 So, now dismiss your army when you please;
2604 Hang up your ensigns, let your drums be still,
2605 175 For here we entertain a solemn peace.