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SCENE IV. Camp of the Duke of York, in Anjou.
Enter YORK, WARWICK, and others. York. Bring forth that sorceress, condemned to burn.
Enter LA PUCELLE, guarded, and a Shepherd.
Shep. Ah, Joan! this kills thy father's heart outright!
Have I sought every country far and near,
And, now it is my chance to find thee out,
Must I behold thy timeless, cruel death?
Ah, Joan, sweet daughter Joan, I'll die with thee!
Puc. Decrepit miser! base, ignoble wretch!
I am descended of a gentler blood;
Thou art no father, nor no friend, of mine.
Shep. Out, out !-My lords, an please you, it is not so ;
I did beget her, all the parish knows.
Her mother liveth yet, can testify,
She was the first fruit of my bachelorship.
War. Graceless ! wilt thou deny thy parentage ?
York. This argues what her kind of life hath been ;
Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes.
Shep. Fie, Joan! that thou wilt be so obstacle !
God knows, thou art a collop of my flesh;
And for thy sake have I shed many a tear.
Deny me not, I pr’ythee, gentle Joan.
Puc. Peasant, avaunt! You have suborned this mani, Of purpose to obscure my noble birth.
Shep. 'Tis true, I gave a noble to the priest, The morn that I was wedded to her mother.Kneel down and take my blessing, good my girl. Wilt thou not stoop? Now cursed be the time Of thy nativity! I would the milk Thy mother gave thee, when thou suck'st her breast, Had been a little ratsbane for thy sake! Or else, when thou didst keep my lambs a-field, I wish some ravenous wolf had eaten thee! Dost thou deny thy father, cursed drab? O, burn her, burn her; hanging is too good. [Erit.
York. Take her away, for she hath lived too long, To fill the world with vicious qualities.
Puc. First, let me tell you whom you have condemned. Not one begotten of a shepherd swain, But issued from the progeny of kings; Virtuous and holy; chosen from above, By inspiration of celestial grace,
To work exceeding miracles on earth.
I never had to do with wicked spirits ;
But you,— that are polluted with your lusts,
Stained with the guiltless blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it straight a thing impossible
To compass wonders, but by help of devils.
No, misconceived ! Joan of Arc hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,
Chaste and immaculate in every thought;
Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.
York. Ay, ay ;- away with her to execution.
War. And hark ye, sirs; because she is a maid,
Spare for no fagots; let there be enough.
Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,
That so her torture may be shortened.
Puc. Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts ?--
Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity;
That warranteth by law to be thy privilege. -
I am with child, ye bloody homicides;
Murder not then the fruit within my womb.
Although ye hale me to a violent death.
York. Now Heaven forefend! the holy maid with child !
War. The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought. Is all your strict preciseness come to this?
York. She and the dauphin have been juggling; I did imagine what would be her refuge.
War. Well, go to; we will have no bastards live; Especially, since Charles must father it.
Puc. You are deceived; my child is none of his. It was Alençon, that enjoyed my love.
York. Alençon ! that notorious Machiavel! It dies, an if it had a thousand lives.
Puc. O, give me leave, I have deluded you. 'Twas neither Charles, nor yet the duke I named, But Reignier, king of Naples, that prevailed.
War. A married man ! that's most intolerable.
York. Why, here's a girl! I think she knows not well, There were so many, whom she may accuse.
War. It's a sign, she hath been liberal and free.
York. And yet, forsooth, she is a virgin pure.Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat, and thee; Use no entreaty, for it is in vain.
Puc. Then lead me hence; with whom I leave my curse:
May never glorious sun reflex his beams
Upon the country where you make abode !
But darkness and the gloomy shade of death
Environ you; till mischief, and despair,
Drive you to break your necks, or hang yourselves !
[Exit, guarded. York. Break thou in pieces, and consume to ashes, Thou foul, accursed minister of hell !
Enter CARDINAL BEAUFORT, attended.
Car. Lord regent, I do greet your excellence
With letters of commission from the king.
For know, my lords, the states of Christendom,
Moved with remorse of these outrageous broils,
Have earnestly implored a general peace
Betwixt our nation and the aspiring French;
And here at hand the dauphin, and his train,
Approacheth, to confer about some matter.
York. Is all our travail turned to this effect?
After the slaughter of so many peers,
So many captains, gentlemen and soldiers,
That in this quarrel have been overthrown,
And sold their bodies for their country's benefit,
Shall we at last conclude effeminate peace?
Have we not lost most part of all the towns,
By treason, falsehood, and by treachery,
Our great progenitors had conquered ?- ?
O Warwick, Warwick! I foresee with grief
The utter loss of all the realm of France.
War. Be patient, York; if we conclude a peace,
It shall be with such strict and severe covenants,
As little shall the Frenchman gain thereby.
Enter CHARLES, attended; ALENÇON, Bastard, REIGNIER,
Char. Since, lords of England, it is thus agreed,
That peaceful truce shall be proclaimed in France,
We come to be informed by yourselves
What the conditions of that league must be.
York. Speak, Winchester; for boiling choler chokes
The hollow passage of my poisoned voice,
By sight of these our baleful enemies.
Win. Charles, and the rest, it is enacted thus :
That-in regard king Henry gives consent,
Of mere compassion, and of lenity,
To ease your country of distressful war,
KING HENRY VI.
And suffer you to breathe in fruitful peace,
You shall become true liegemen to his crown.
And, Charles, upon condition thou wilt swear
To pay him tribute, and submit thyself,
Thou shalt be placed as viceroy under him,
And still enjoy thy regal dignity.
Alen. Must he be then as shadow of himself?
Adorn his temples with a coronet ;
And yet, in substance and authority,
Retain but privilege of a private man?
This proffer is absurd and reasonless.
Char. 'Tis known, already, that I am possessed
With more than half the Gallian territories,
And therein reverenced for their lawful king.
Shall I, for lucre of the rest unvanquished,
Detract so much from that prerogative,
As to be called but viceroy of the whole ?
No, lord ambassador; I'll rather keep
That which I have, than, coveting for more,
Be cast from possibility of all.
York. Insulting Charles ! hast thou by secret means
Used intercession to obtain a league ;
And, now the matter grows to compromise,
Stand’st thou aloof upon comparison ?
Either accept the title thou usurp'st,
Of benefit proceeding from our king,
And not of any challenge of desert,
Or we will plague thee with incessant wars.
Reig. My lord, you do not well in obstinacy
To cavil in the course of this contract.
If once it be neglected, ten to one,
We shall not find like opportunity.
Alen. To say the truth, it is your policy,
To save your subjects from such massacre,
And ruthless slaughters, as are daily seen
By our proceeding in hostility.
And therefore take this compact of a truce,
Although you break it when your pleasure serves.
[Aside to CHARLES War. How say'st thou, Charles ? shall our condition stand ?
Char. It shall :
Only reserved, you claim no interest
In any of our towns of garrison.
York. Then swear allegiance to his majesty;
As thou art knight, never to disobey,
Nor be rebellious to the crown of England,
Thou, nor thy nobles, to the crown of England
.; [CHARLES, and the rest, give tokens of fealty So, now dismiss your army when ye please ; Hang up your ensigns; let your drums be still ; For here we entertain a solemn peace. [Exeunt
SCENE V. London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING HENRY, in conference with SUFFOLK ; GLOS
TER and EXETER following.
K. Hen. Your wondrous rare description, noble earl,
Of beauteous Margaret hath astonished me.
Her virtues, graced with external gifts,
Do breed love's settled passions in my heart;
And, like as rigor in tempestuous gusts
Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide;
So am I driven, by breath of her renown,
Either to suffer shipwreck, or arrive
Where I may have fruition of her love.
Suff. Tush! my good lord ! this superficial tale
Is but a preface of her worthy praise.
The chief perfections of that lovely dame
(Had I sufficient skill to utter them)
Would make a volume of enticing lines,
Able to ravish any dull conceit.
And, which is more, she is not so divine,
So full replete with choice of all delights,
But, with as humble lowliness of mind,
She is content to be at your command;
Command, I mean, of virtuous, chaste intents,
To love and honor Henry as her lord.
K. Hen. And otherwise will Henry ne'er presume.
Therefore, my lord protector, give consent,
That Margaret may be England's royal queen.
Glo. So should I give consent to flatter sin.
You know, my lord, your highness is betrothed
Unto another lady of esteem;
How shall we then dispense with that contract,
And not deface your honor with reproach?
Suff. As doth a ruler with unlawful oaths :
Or one, that, at a triumph having vowed
To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists
By reason of his adversary's odds.
A poor earl's daughter is unequal odds ;
And therefore may be broke without offence.