List iconHenry VI, Part 1List icon

Henry VI, Part 1
Act 1, scene 2

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

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…

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 2
Sound a flourish. Enter Charles the Dauphin,
Alanson, and Reignier, marching with Drum
and Soldiers.


CHARLES 
 Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens
 So in the Earth, to this day is not known.
 Late did he shine upon the English side;
 Now we are victors; upon us he smiles.
5 What towns of any moment but we have?
 At pleasure here we lie, near Orleance.
 Otherwhiles, the famished English, like pale ghosts,
 Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.

21
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

ALANSON 
 They want their porridge and their fat bull beeves.
10 Either they must be dieted like mules
 And have their provender tied to their mouths,
 Or piteous they will look, like drownèd mice.
REIGNIER 
 Let’s raise the siege. Why live we idly here?
 Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear.
15 Remaineth none but mad-brained Salisbury,
 And he may well in fretting spend his gall;
 Nor men nor money hath he to make war.
CHARLES 
 Sound, sound alarum! We will rush on them.
 Now for the honor of the forlorn French!
20 Him I forgive my death that killeth me
 When he sees me go back one foot, or fly.
They exit. Here alarum. They are beaten
back by the English, with great loss.


Enter Charles, Alanson, and Reignier.

CHARLES 
 Whoever saw the like? What men have I!
 Dogs, cowards, dastards! I would ne’er have fled
 But that they left me ’midst my enemies.
REIGNIER 
25 Salisbury is a desperate homicide.
 He fighteth as one weary of his life.
 The other lords, like lions wanting food,
 Do rush upon us as their hungry prey.
ALANSON 
 Froissart, a countryman of ours, records
30 England all Olivers and Rolands bred
 During the time Edward the Third did reign.
 More truly now may this be verified,
 For none but Samsons and Goliases
 It sendeth forth to skirmish. One to ten!

23
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

35 Lean rawboned rascals! Who would e’er suppose
 They had such courage and audacity?
CHARLES 
 Let’s leave this town, for they are hare-brained slaves,
 And hunger will enforce them to be more eager.
 Of old I know them; rather with their teeth
40 The walls they’ll tear down than forsake the siege.
REIGNIER 
 I think by some odd gimmers or device
 Their arms are set, like clocks, still to strike on;
 Else ne’er could they hold out so as they do.
 By my consent, we’ll even let them alone.
ALANSON 45Be it so.

Enter the Bastard of Orleance.

BASTARD 
 Where’s the Prince Dauphin? I have news for him.
CHARLES 
 Bastard of Orleance, thrice welcome to us.
BASTARD 
 Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appalled.
 Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence?
50 Be not dismayed, for succor is at hand.
 A holy maid hither with me I bring,
 Which, by a vision sent to her from heaven,
 Ordainèd is to raise this tedious siege
 And drive the English forth the bounds of France.
55 The spirit of deep prophecy she hath,
 Exceeding the nine Sibyls of old Rome.
 What’s past and what’s to come she can descry.
 Speak, shall I call her in? Believe my words,
 For they are certain and unfallible.
CHARLES 
60 Go call her in.Bastard exits.
 But first, to try her skill,
 Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place;

25
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Question her proudly; let thy looks be stern.
 By this means shall we sound what skill she hath.

Enter Bastard, with Joan la Pucelle.

REIGNIER, as Charles 
65 Fair maid, is ’t thou wilt do these wondrous feats?
PUCELLE 
 Reignier, is ’t thou that thinkest to beguile me?
 Where is the Dauphin?—Come, come from behind.
 I know thee well, though never seen before.
 Be not amazed; there’s nothing hid from me.
70 In private will I talk with thee apart.—
 Stand back, you lords, and give us leave a while.
REIGNIER 
 She takes upon her bravely at first dash.
Alanson, Reignier, and Bastard exit.
PUCELLE 
 Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd’s daughter,
 My wit untrained in any kind of art.
75 Heaven and Our Lady gracious hath it pleased
 To shine on my contemptible estate.
 Lo, whilst I waited on my tender lambs,
 And to sun’s parching heat displayed my cheeks,
 God’s Mother deignèd to appear to me,
80 And in a vision full of majesty
 Willed me to leave my base vocation
 And free my country from calamity.
 Her aid she promised and assured success.
 In complete glory she revealed herself;
85 And whereas I was black and swart before,
 With those clear rays which she infused on me
 That beauty am I blest with, which you may see.
 Ask me what question thou canst possible,
 And I will answer unpremeditated.
90 My courage try by combat, if thou dar’st,
 And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.

27
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Resolve on this: thou shalt be fortunate
 If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
CHARLES 
 Thou hast astonished me with thy high terms.
95 Only this proof I’ll of thy valor make:
 In single combat thou shalt buckle with me,
 And if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
 Otherwise I renounce all confidence.
PUCELLE 
 I am prepared. Here is my keen-edged sword,
100 Decked with fine flower-de-luces on each side—
 Aside. The which at Touraine, in Saint Katherine’s
 churchyard,
 Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.
CHARLES 
 Then come, a’ God’s name! I fear no woman.
PUCELLE 
105 And while I live, I’ll ne’er fly from a man.
Here they fight, and
Joan la Pucelle overcomes.

CHARLES 
 Stay, stay thy hands! Thou art an Amazon,
 And fightest with the sword of Deborah.
PUCELLE 
 Christ’s mother helps me; else I were too weak.
CHARLES 
 Whoe’er helps thee, ’tis thou that must help me.
110 Impatiently I burn with thy desire.
 My heart and hands thou hast at once subdued.
 Excellent Pucelle, if thy name be so,
 Let me thy servant and not sovereign be.
 ’Tis the French Dauphin sueth to thee thus.
PUCELLE 
115 I must not yield to any rights of love,
 For my profession’s sacred from above.

29
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 2

 When I have chasèd all thy foes from hence,
 Then will I think upon a recompense.
CHARLES 
 Meantime look gracious on thy prostrate thrall.

Enter Reignier and Alanson.

REIGNIER, aside to Alanson 
120 My lord, methinks, is very long in talk.
ALANSON, aside to Reignier 
 Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock,
 Else ne’er could he so long protract his speech.
REIGNIER, aside to Alanson 
 Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean?
ALANSON, aside to Reignier 
 He may mean more than we poor men do know.
125 These women are shrewd tempters with their
 tongues.
REIGNIER, to Charles 
 My lord, where are you? What devise you on?
 Shall we give o’er Orleance, or no?
PUCELLE 
 Why, no, I say. Distrustful recreants,
130 Fight till the last gasp. I’ll be your guard.
CHARLES 
 What she says I’ll confirm: we’ll fight it out.
PUCELLE 
 Assigned am I to be the English scourge.
 This night the siege assuredly I’ll raise.
 Expect Saint Martin’s summer, halcyons’ days,
135 Since I have enterèd into these wars.
 Glory is like a circle in the water,
 Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself
 Till by broad spreading it disperse to naught.
 With Henry’s death, the English circle ends;
140 Dispersèd are the glories it included.

31
Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Now am I like that proud insulting ship
 Which Caesar and his fortune bare at once.
CHARLES 
 Was Mahomet inspirèd with a dove?
 Thou with an eagle art inspirèd then.
145 Helen, the mother of great Constantine,
 Nor yet Saint Philip’s daughters were like thee.
 Bright star of Venus, fall’n down on the Earth,
 How may I reverently worship thee enough?
ALANSON 
 Leave off delays, and let us raise the siege.
REIGNIER 
150 Woman, do what thou canst to save our honors.
 Drive them from Orleance and be immortalized.
CHARLES 
 Presently we’ll try. Come, let’s away about it.
 No prophet will I trust if she prove false.
They exit.