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Bast. Here enter'd Pucelle, and her practisants”; Now she is there, how will she specify Where is the best and safest passage in ?
Alen. By thrusting out a torch from yonder tower; Which, once discern’d, shows, that her meaning is, No way
to that', for weakness, which she enter'd. Enter La Pucelle on a Battlement; holding out
a Torch burning. Puc. Behold, this is the happy wedding torch, That joineth Roüen unto her countrymen : But burning fatal to the Talbotites.
Bast. See, noble Charles ! the beacon of our friend, The burning torch in yonder turret stands.
Char. Now shine it like a comet of revenge, A prophet to the fall of all our foes !
Alen. Defer no time, Delays have dangerous ends;
[Exeunt to the Town.
2 Practice, in the language of the time, was treachery, or insidious stratagem. Practisants are therefore confederates in treachery.
3 i. e. no way like or compared to that. See vol. iv. p. 272, note 9.
4 Pride signifies haughty power. The same speaker afterwards says, in Act iv.:
* And from the pride of Gallia rescued thee.'
Alarum: Excursions. Enter from the Town Bed
FORD, brought in sick in a Chair, with TALBOT, BURGUNDY, and the English Forces. Then, enter on the Walls, LA PUCELLE, CHARLES, Bastard, ALENÇON, and Others. Puc. Good morrow, gallants ! want ye corn for
bread ? I think, the duke of Burgundy will fast, Before he'll buy again at such a rate: 'Twas full of darnel 5; Do you like the taste ?
Bur. Scoff on, vile fiend, and shameless courtesan! I trust, ere long, to choke thee with thine own, And make thee curse the harvest of that corn. Char. Your grace may starve, perhaps, before
that time. Bed. 0, let no words, but deeds, revenge
this treason ! Puc. What will you do, good gray-beard? break
a lance, And run a tilt at death within a chair?
Tal. Foul fiend of France, and hag of all despite, Encompass'd with thy lustful paramours ! Becomes it thee to taunt his valiant age, And twit with cowardice a man half dead?' Damsel, I'll have a bout with you again, Or else let Talbot perish with this shame. Puc. Are you so hot, sir?-Yet, Pucelle, hold
thy peace; 5 • Darnel (says Gerarde, in his Herbal) hurteth the eyes, and maketh them dim, if it happen either in córne for breade,or drinke.' Hence the old proverb-Lolio victitare, applied to such as were dim-sighted. Thus also Ovid. Fast. i. 691:
* Et careant loliis oculos vitiantibus agri.' La Pucelle means to intimate that the corn she carried with her had. produced the same effect on the guards of Rouen; otherwise they would have seen through her disguise, and defeated her stratagem.
If Talbot do but thunder, rain will follow.
[TALBOT, and the rest, consult together. God speed the parliament! who shall be the speaker?
Tal. Dare ye come forth and meet us in the field ? · Puc. Belike, your lordship takes us then for fools, To try if that our own be ours, or no.
Tal. I speak not to that railing Hecaté,
Alen. Signior, no.
Tal. Signior, hang !-base muleteers of France ! Like peasant footboys do they keep the walls, And dare not take up arms like gentlemen.
Puc. Captains, away: let's get us from the walls; For Talbot means no goodness, by his looks.God be wi' you, my lord! we came, sir, but to tell you That we are here.
[Exeunt LA PUCELLE, &c. from the Walls. Tal. And there will we be too, ere it be long, Or else reproach be Talbot's greatest fame! Vow, Burgundy, by honour of thy house, (Prick'd on by publick wrongs, sustain'd in France), Either to get the town again, or die: And I,-as sure as English Henry lives, And as his father here was conqueror; As sure as in this late-betrayed town Great Cour-de-lion's heart was buried; So sure I swear, to get the town, or die.
Bur. My vows are equal partners with thy vows.
Tal. But, ere we go, regard this dying prince, The valiant duke of Bedford: -Come, my lord, We will bestow you in some better place, Fitter for sickness, and for crazy age.
Bed. Lord Talbot, do not so dishonour me: Here will I sit before the walls of Rouen, And will be partner of your weal, or woe.
Bur. Courageous Bedford, let us now persuade
you. Bed. Not to be gone from hence; for once I read, That stout Pendragon, in his litter, sick, Came to the field, and vanquished his foes: Methinks, I should revive the soldiers' hearts, Because I ever found them as myself.
Tal. Undaunted spirit in a dying breast!Then be it so:—Heavens keep old Bedford safe! And now no more ado, brave Burgundy, But gather we our forces out of hand, And set upon our boasting enemy. [Exeunt BURGUNDY, TALBOT, and Forces,
leaving BEDFORD, and Others.
Alarums: Excursions. Enter Sir John FASTOLFE
and a Captain. Cap. Whither away, Sir John Fastolfe, in such
haste? Fast. Whither away? to save myself by flight; We are like to have the overthrow again.
Cap. What! will you fly, and leave Lord Talbot? Fast.
Ay, All the Talbots in the world to save my life. [.Exit. Cap. Cowardly knight! ill fortune follow thee.
6 This is from Harding's Chronicle, who gives this account of Uther Pendragon:
For which the king ordained a horse-litter
Retreat: Excursions. Enter, from the Town, LA
PUCELLE, ALENÇON, CHARLES, 8c. and exeunt, flying.
Bed. Now, quiet soul, depart when heaven please; For I have seen our enemies' overthrow. What is the trust or strength of foolish man ? They, that of late were daring with their scoffs, Are glad and fain by flight to save themselves.
[Dies, and is carried off in his Chair7. Alarum: Enter Talbot, BURGUNDY, and Others.
Tal. Lost, and recover'd in a day again!
Bur. Warlike and martial Talbot, Burgundy
now? I think, her old familiar is asleep: Now where's the Bastard's braves, and Charles his
gleeks 8? What, all a-morto ? Roüen hangs her head for grief, That such a valiant company are fled. Now will we take some order 10 in the town, Placing therein some expert officers ; And then depart to Paris, to the king; For there young Harry, with his nobles, lies.
Bur. What wills Lord Talbot, pleaseth Burgundy.
7 The duke of Bedford died at Rouen in September, 1435; but not in any action before that town. 8 Scoff's.
9 i. e. what quite cast down, or dispirited. See vol. iii. p. 418, note 3.
10 Make some necessary dispositions.