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What towns of any moment but we have?
At pleasure here we lie near Orleans;
Otherwhiles the famish'd English, like pale ghosts,
Faintly besiege us one hour in a month.

Alen. They want their porridge and their fat
bull-beeves:

Either they must be dieted like mules

And have their provender tied to their mouths
Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice.

Reig. Let's raise the siege: why live we idly
here?

Talbot is taken, whom we wont to fear:
Remaineth none but mad-brain'd Salisbury;
And he may well in fretting spend his gall,
Nor men nor money hath he to make war.

Char. Sound, sound alarum! we will rush on
them.

Now for the honour of the fórlorn French!
Him I forgive my death that killeth me

When he sees me go back one foot or fly. [Exeunt.

Here alarum; they are beaten back by the
English with great loss.
Re-enter CHARLES,
ALENÇON, and REIGNIER.

Char. Who ever saw the like? what men
have I!

Dogs! cowards! dastards! I would ne'er have fled,

But that they left me 'midst my enemies.

Reig. 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.

7. Otherwhiles, at other times. 14. wont, were wont. Wont' is originally the preterite of VOL. V

33

wonen, 'be accustomed.'

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19. forlorn, desperate, miserable.

D

Alen. Froissart, a countryman of ours, records,
England all Olivers and Rowlands 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!
Lean raw-boned rascals! who would e'er suppose
They had such courage and audacity?

Char. Let's leave this town; for they are hare-
brain'd slaves,

And hunger will enforce them to be more eager :
Of old I know them; rather with their teeth
The walls they'll tear down than forsake the siege.
Reig. I think, by some odd gimmors 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.
Alen. Be it so.

Enter the BASTARD of Orleans.

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Bast. Where's the Prince Dauphin? I have news for him.

Char. Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us.
Bast. Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer
appall'd:

Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence?
Be not dismay'd, for succour is at hand:

A holy maid hither with me I bring,
Which by a vision sent to her from heaven
Ordained is to raise this tedious siege

And drive the English forth the bounds of France.

29. Froissart. This record' of Froissart's was probably known to the writer only as quoted by Holinshed.

33. Goliases, Goliaths.

35. rascals; with a play upon the technical sense: 'lean deer,

not fit for hunting.'

30

40

50

4I. gimmors, contrivance ; here of the mechanism by which artificial figures, with uplifted hammers, were made to strike the hours.

54. forth, out of.

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.

Char. Go, call her in. [Exit Bastard.] But
first, to try her skill,

Reignier, stand thou as Dauphin in my place :
Question her proudly; let thy looks be stern:
By this means shall we sound what skill she hath.

Re-enter the BASTARD of Orleans, with JOAN
LA PUCELLE.

Reig. Fair maid, is 't thou wilt do these wondrous feats?

Puc. 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:
In private will I talk with thee apart.

Stand back, you lords, and give us leave awhile.

Reig. She takes upon her bravely at first dash. Puc. Dauphin, I am by birth a shepherd's daughter,

My wit untrain'd in any kind of art.

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 display'd my cheeks,
God's mother deigned to appear to me
And in a vision full of majesty

56. the nine sibyls; ancient tradition variously enumerated four or ten sibyls, none of whom were literally of old Rome.'

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There is probably a confusion with the nine 'Sibylline books' offered to Tarquinius by the Sibyl of Cumæ.

Will'd me to leave my base vocation

And free my country from calamity :
Her aid she promised and assured success:
In cómplete glory she reveal'd herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infused on me
That beauty am I bless'd with which you see.
Ask me what question thou canst possible,
And I will answer unpremeditated:

My courage try by combat, if thou darest,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this, thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.

Char. Thou hast astonish'd me with thy high

terms:

Only this proof I'll of thy valour make,
In single combat thou shalt buckle with me,
And if thou vanquishest, thy words are true;
Otherwise I renounce all confidence.

Puc. I am prepared: here is my keen-edged
sword,

Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in Saint Katharine's
churchyard,

Out of a great deal of old iron I chose forth.

Char. Then come, o' God's name; I fear no

woman.

Puc. And while I live, I'll ne'er fly from a

man.

[Here they fight, and Joan La Pucelle

overcomes.

Char. Stay, stay thy hands! thou art an

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V

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100. at Touraine. The writer seems to regard Touraine as a town. Holinshed has: 'from

Saint Katherine's church at
Fierbois in Touraine.'

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And fightest with the sword of Deborah.

Puc. Christ's mother helps me, else I were too weak.

Char. Whoe'er helps thee, 'tis thou that must help me :

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.
Puc. I must not yield to any rites of love,
For my profession 's sacred from above:
When I have chased all thy foes from hence,
Then will I think upon a recompense.

Char. Meantime look gracious on thy prostrate
thrall.

Reig. My lord, methinks, is very long in talk. Alen. Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock;

Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech. Reig. Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean?

Alen. He may mean more than we poor men do know:

These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues.

Reig. My lord, where are you? what devise

you on?

Shall we give over Orleans, or no?

Puc. Why, no, I say, distrustful recreants! Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard. Char. What she says I'll confirm: we'll fight it out.

Puc. Assign'd am I to be the English scourge.

108. thy desire, desire for thee. III. servant, lover.

IIO

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120

121. keeps no mean, observes

no measure.

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