List iconHenry VI, Part 1List icon

Henry VI, Part 1
Act 1, scene 1

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With an underage boy now king of England, Henry VI, Part 1, depicts the collapse of England’s role in France, as…

Act 1, scene 1

The funeral procession for Henry V is interrupted first by a quarrel between Gloucester and Winchester and then by messengers…

Act 1, scene 2

Charles the Dauphin, leader of the French, is defeated by a small English force that is besieging Orleance. He is…

Act 1, scene 3

Gloucester visits the Tower of London, only to be denied entry by Winchester. The servants of the two nobles skirmish…

Act 1, scene 4

The master gunner of Orleance shows his boy how to fire on the English when they come to spy. The…

Act 1, scene 5

Talbot attacks, fights Pucelle, fails to defeat her, and accuses her of witchcraft. The English, defeated, retreat.

Act 1, scene 6

The French celebrate Pucelle’s victory.

Act 2, scene 1

The English forces, led by Bedford, Burgundy, and Talbot, scale the walls of Orleance and drive out the French, who…

Act 2, scene 2

The English plan a grand tomb for the dead Salisbury, in part as a monument to their recent victory. Talbot…

Act 2, scene 3

The Countess plots to capture and kill the visiting Talbot.

Act 2, scene 4

Richard Plantagenet and Somerset, having quarreled over a case at law, withdraw into a garden, where the supporters of Plantagenet…

Act 2, scene 5

Edmund Mortimer, imprisoned by Henry IV because of his strong claim to the throne, and kept in prison by Henry…

Act 3, scene 1

Gloucester and Winchester quarrel openly in Henry VI’s royal court. Their supporters, forbidden to carry weapons, have been fighting in…

Act 3, scene 2

Pucelle and four soldiers, disguised as peasants, enter Roan. From a tower within the city, Pucelle signals to the French…

Act 3, scene 3

As Talbot and Burgundy march separately to Paris for the coronation of Henry VI, Pucelle entices Burgundy to join the…

Act 3, scene 4

In Paris, a grateful Henry VI creates Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury in recompense for his victories in France. Vernon, a…

Act 4, scene 1

Henry VI is crowned. Fastolf arrives with a letter from Burgundy and, because of his earlier cowardice in battle, is…

Act 4, scene 2

As Talbot draws up his troops before Bordeaux, he learns that he is surrounded by much greater French forces.

Act 4, scene 3

Sir William Lucy urges York to help Talbot, but York refuses to march until Somerset unites his cavalry with York’s…

Act 4, scene 4

Sir William Lucy chastises Somerset for not having helped Talbot, but Somerset blames York, who has apparently refused to communicate…

Act 4, scene 5

Talbot has been joined by his son John Talbot, whom he urges to flee certain death. John Talbot refuses to…

Act 4, scene 6

Talbot again urges his son to flee and is again rebuffed.

Act 4, scene 7

Talbot, holding his dead son, dies. Sir William Lucy comes to claim their bodies from the victorious French.

Act 5, scene 1

Henry follows Gloucester’s advice to make peace with France and to agree to marry the daughter of the earl of…

Act 5, scene 2

Charles is informed that the divided English army has united and is advancing toward him.

Act 5, scene 3

As the French face likely defeat, Pucelle conjures up devils, but they refuse to help, and she is captured by…

Act 5, scene 4

Pucelle, on her way to be executed by the English, is visited by her shepherd father, whom she scorns and…

Act 5, scene 5

Suffolk persuades Henry to marry Margaret over the objections of Gloucester. Suffolk plans to control Margaret and, through her, the…

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Scene 1
Dead March. Enter the funeral of King Henry the Fifth,
attended on by the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France;
the Duke of Gloucester, Protector; the Duke of Exeter;
the Earl of Warwick; the Bishop of Winchester; and
the Duke of Somerset, with Heralds and Attendants.


BEDFORD 
 Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
 Comets, importing change of times and states,
 Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
 And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
5 That have consented unto Henry’s death:
 King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long.
 England ne’er lost a king of so much worth.
GLOUCESTER 
 England ne’er had a king until his time.
 Virtue he had, deserving to command;
10 His brandished sword did blind men with his beams;
 His arms spread wider than a dragon’s wings;
 His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
 More dazzled and drove back his enemies
 Than midday sun fierce bent against their faces.
15 What should I say? His deeds exceed all speech.
 He ne’er lift up his hand but conquerèd.
EXETER 
 We mourn in black; why mourn we not in blood?
 Henry is dead and never shall revive.
 Upon a wooden coffin we attend,
20 And Death’s dishonorable victory
7

9
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 1

 We with our stately presence glorify,
 Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
 What? Shall we curse the planets of mishap
 That plotted thus our glory’s overthrow?
25 Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
 Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
 By magic verses have contrived his end?
WINCHESTER 
 He was a king blest of the King of kings;
 Unto the French the dreadful Judgment Day
30 So dreadful will not be as was his sight.
 The battles of the Lord of Hosts he fought;
 The Church’s prayers made him so prosperous.
GLOUCESTER 
 The Church? Where is it? Had not churchmen prayed,
 His thread of life had not so soon decayed.
35 None do you like but an effeminate prince
 Whom like a schoolboy you may overawe.
WINCHESTER 
 Gloucester, whate’er we like, thou art Protector
 And lookest to command the Prince and realm.
 Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe
40 More than God or religious churchmen may.
GLOUCESTER 
 Name not religion, for thou lov’st the flesh,
 And ne’er throughout the year to church thou go’st,
 Except it be to pray against thy foes.
BEDFORD 
 Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace!
45 Let’s to the altar.—Heralds, wait on us.—
 Instead of gold, we’ll offer up our arms,
 Since arms avail not, now that Henry’s dead.
 Posterity, await for wretched years
 When at their mothers’ moistened eyes babes shall
50 suck,

11
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears,
 And none but women left to wail the dead.
 Henry the Fifth, thy ghost I invocate:
 Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils,
55 Combat with adverse planets in the heavens.
 A far more glorious star thy soul will make
 Than Julius Caesar or bright—

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER 
 My honorable lords, health to you all.
 Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
60 Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture:
 Guyen, Champaigne, Rheims, Roan, Orleance,
 Paris, Gisors, Poitiers, are all quite lost.
BEDFORD 
 What say’st thou, man, before dead Henry’s corse?
 Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns
65 Will make him burst his lead and rise from death.
GLOUCESTER 
 Is Paris lost? Is Roan yielded up?
 If Henry were recalled to life again,
 These news would cause him once more yield the
 ghost.
EXETER 
70 How were they lost? What treachery was used?
MESSENGER 
 No treachery, but want of men and money.
 Amongst the soldiers, this is mutterèd:
 That here you maintain several factions
 And, whilst a field should be dispatched and fought,
75 You are disputing of your generals.
 One would have ling’ring wars with little cost;
 Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
 A third thinks, without expense at all,

13
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 1

 By guileful fair words peace may be obtained.
80 Awake, awake, English nobility!
 Let not sloth dim your honors new begot.
 Cropped are the flower-de-luces in your arms;
 Of England’s coat, one half is cut away.He exits.
EXETER 
 Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
85 These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.
BEDFORD 
 Me they concern; regent I am of France.
 Give me my steelèd coat, I’ll fight for France.
 Away with these disgraceful wailing robes.
 Wounds will I lend the French instead of eyes
90 To weep their intermissive miseries.

Enter to them another Messenger, with papers.

SECOND MESSENGER 
 Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance.
 France is revolted from the English quite,
 Except some petty towns of no import.
 The Dauphin Charles is crownèd king in Rheims;
95 The Bastard of Orleance with him is joined;
 Reignier, Duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
 The Duke of Alanson flieth to his side.He exits.
EXETER 
 The Dauphin crownèd king? All fly to him?
 O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?
GLOUCESTER 
100 We will not fly but to our enemies’ throats.—
 Bedford, if thou be slack, I’ll fight it out.
BEDFORD 
 Gloucester, why doubt’st thou of my forwardness?
 An army have I mustered in my thoughts,
 Wherewith already France is overrun.

Enter another Messenger.


15
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 1

THIRD MESSENGER 
105 My gracious lords, to add to your laments,
 Wherewith you now bedew King Henry’s hearse,
 I must inform you of a dismal fight
 Betwixt the stout Lord Talbot and the French.
WINCHESTER 
 What? Wherein Talbot overcame, is ’t so?
THIRD MESSENGER 
110 O no, wherein Lord Talbot was o’erthrown.
 The circumstance I’ll tell you more at large.
 The tenth of August last, this dreadful lord,
 Retiring from the siege of Orleance,
 Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
115 By three and twenty thousand of the French
 Was round encompassèd and set upon.
 No leisure had he to enrank his men.
 He wanted pikes to set before his archers,
 Instead whereof, sharp stakes plucked out of hedges
120 They pitchèd in the ground confusedly
 To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.
 More than three hours the fight continuèd,
 Where valiant Talbot, above human thought,
 Enacted wonders with his sword and lance.
125 Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him;
 Here, there, and everywhere, enraged, he slew.
 The French exclaimed the devil was in arms;
 All the whole army stood agazed on him.
 His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit,
130 “À Talbot! À Talbot!” cried out amain
 And rushed into the bowels of the battle.
 Here had the conquest fully been sealed up
 If Sir John Fastolf had not played the coward.
 He, being in the vaward, placed behind
135 With purpose to relieve and follow them,
 Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
 Hence grew the general wrack and massacre.

17
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Enclosèd were they with their enemies.
 A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin’s grace,
140 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.
BEDFORD 
 Is Talbot slain then? I will slay myself
145 For living idly here, in pomp and ease,
 Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
 Unto his dastard foemen is betrayed.
THIRD MESSENGER 
 O, no, he lives, but is took prisoner,
 And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford;
150 Most of the rest slaughtered or took likewise.
BEDFORD 
 His ransom there is none but I shall pay.
 I’ll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne;
 His crown shall be the ransom of my friend.
 Four of their lords I’ll change for one of ours.
155 Farewell, my 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.
THIRD MESSENGER 
160 So you had need; ’fore Orleance besieged,
 The English army is grown weak and faint;
 The Earl of Salisbury craveth supply
 And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
 Since they so few watch such a multitude.
He exits.
EXETER 
165 Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn:
 Either to quell the Dauphin utterly
 Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

19
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

BEDFORD 
 I do remember it, and here take my leave
 To go about my preparation.Bedford exits.
GLOUCESTER 
170 I’ll to the Tower with all the haste I can
 To view th’ artillery and munition,
 And then I will proclaim young Henry king.
Gloucester exits.
EXETER 
 To Eltham will I, where the young king is,
 Being ordained his special governor;
175 And for his safety there I’ll best devise.He exits.
WINCHESTER, aside 
 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 steal,
180 And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.
He exits at one door; at another door,
Warwick, Somerset, Attendants and
Heralds exit with the coffin.