List iconHenry VI, Part 1List icon

Henry VI, Part 1
Act 2, scene 3



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…

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Scene 3
Enter Countess of Auvergne, with Porter.

 Porter, remember what I gave in charge,
 And when you have done so, bring the keys to me.
PORTER Madam, I will.He exits.
 The plot is laid. If all things fall out right,
5 I shall as famous be by this exploit
 As Scythian Tamyris by Cyrus’ death.
 Great is the rumor of this dreadful knight,
 And his achievements of no less account.
 Fain would mine eyes be witness with mine ears
10 To give their censure of these rare reports.

Enter Messenger and Talbot.

 Madam, according as your Ladyship desired,
 By message craved, so is Lord Talbot come.
 And he is welcome. What, is this the man?

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Madam, it is.
COUNTESS 15 Is this the scourge of France?
 Is this the Talbot, so much feared abroad
 That with his name the mothers still their babes?
 I see report is fabulous and false.
 I thought I should have seen some Hercules,
20 A second Hector, for his grim aspect
 And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs.
 Alas, this is a child, a silly dwarf!
 It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp
 Should strike such terror to his enemies.
25 Madam, I have been bold to trouble you.
 But since your Ladyship is not at leisure,
 I’ll sort some other time to visit you.
He begins to exit.
COUNTESS, to Messenger 
 What means he now? Go ask him whither he goes.
 Stay, my Lord Talbot, for my lady craves
30 To know the cause of your abrupt departure.
 Marry, for that she’s in a wrong belief,
 I go to certify her Talbot’s here.

Enter Porter with keys.

COUNTESS, to Talbot 
 If thou be he, then art thou prisoner.
 Prisoner? To whom?
COUNTESS 35 To me, bloodthirsty lord.
 And for that cause I trained thee to my house.
 Long time thy shadow hath been thrall to me,
 For in my gallery thy picture hangs.

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 3

 But now the substance shall endure the like,
40 And I will chain these legs and arms of thine,
 That hast by tyranny these many years
 Wasted our country, slain our citizens,
 And sent our sons and husbands captivate.
TALBOT Ha, ha, ha!
45 Laughest thou, wretch? Thy mirth shall turn to moan.
 I laugh to see your Ladyship so fond
 To think that you have aught but Talbot’s shadow
 Whereon to practice your severity.
COUNTESS Why, art not thou the man?
TALBOT 50I am, indeed.
COUNTESS Then have I substance too.
 No, no, I am but shadow of myself.
 You are deceived; my substance is not here,
 For what you see is but the smallest part
55 And least proportion of humanity.
 I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here,
 It is of such a spacious lofty pitch
 Your roof were not sufficient to contain ’t.
 This is a riddling merchant for the nonce:
60 He will be here and yet he is not here.
 How can these contrarieties agree?
 That will I show you presently.
Winds his horn. Drums strike up;
a peal of ordnance.

Enter Soldiers.

 How say you, madam? Are you now persuaded
 That Talbot is but shadow of himself?

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

65 These are his substance, sinews, arms, and strength,
 With which he yoketh your rebellious necks,
 Razeth your cities, and subverts your towns,
 And in a moment makes them desolate.
 Victorious Talbot, pardon my abuse.
70 I find thou art no less than fame hath bruited,
 And more than may be gathered by thy shape.
 Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath,
 For I am sorry that with reverence
 I did not entertain thee as thou art.
75 Be not dismayed, fair lady, nor misconster
 The mind of Talbot as you did mistake
 The outward composition of his body.
 What you have done hath not offended me,
 Nor other satisfaction do I crave
80 But only, with your patience, that we may
 Taste of your wine and see what cates you have,
 For soldiers’ stomachs always serve them well.
 With all my heart, and think me honorèd
 To feast so great a warrior in my house.
They exit.