Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

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,
Will'd me to leave my base vocation,
And free my country from calamity:
Her aid she promis'd, and assur'd success:
In complete glory she reveal'd herself;
And, whereas I was black and swart before,
With those clear rays which she infus'd 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 dar'st,
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 prepar'd: here is my keen-edg'd sword,
Deck'd with five flower-de-luces on each side;
The which at Touraine, in Saint Katharine's church-
yard,

Out of a 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. [They fight. Char. Stay, stay thy hands; thou art an Amazon, And fightest with the sword of Deborah.

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

weak.

Resolve on this:] i. e. be firmly persuaded of it.

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

Impatiently I burn with thy desire;

My heart and hands thou hast at once subdu'd.
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. Mean time, 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.

4

Puc. Assign'd am I to be the English scourge.
This night the siege assuredly I'll raise:
Expect Saint Martin's summer, halcyon days,
Since I have entered into these wars.
Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,

4

+ Expect Saint Martin's summer,] That is, expect prosperity after misfortune, like fair weather at Martlemas, after winter has begun.

Till, by broad spreading, it disperse to nought.
With Henry's death, the English circle ends;
Dispersed are the glories it included.
Now am I like that proud insulting ship,
Which Cæsar and his fortune bare at once.

Char. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove?
Thou with an eagle art inspired then.
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?

Alen. Leave off delays, and let us raise the siege. Reig. Woman, do what thou canst to save our honours;

Drive them from Orleans, and be immortaliz'd.
Char. Presently we'll try:-Come, let's away

about it:

No prophet will I trust, if she prove false.

SCENE III.

London. Hill before the Tower.

[Exeunt.

Enter, at the Gates, the Duke of GLOSTER, with his Serving-men, in blue Coats.

Glo. I am come to survey the Tower this day; Since Henry's death, I fear, there is conveyance. Where be these warders, that they wait not here? Open the gates; Gloster it is that calls.

[Servants knock.

1 Ward. [Within.] Who is there that knocks so imperiously?

1 Serv. It is the noble duke of Gloster.

Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters,] Meaning the four daughters of Philip mentioned in the Acts.

6 there is conveyance.] Conveyance means theft.

2 Ward. [Within.] Whoe'er he be, you may not

be let in.

1 Serv. Answer you so the lord protector, villains? 1 Ward. [Within.] The Lord protect him! so we

answer him:

We do no otherwise than we are will'd.

Glo. Who willed you? or whose will stands, but mine?

There's none protector of the realm, but I.—
Break up the gates, I'll be your warrantize:
Shall I be flouted thus by dunghill grooms?

Servants rush at the Tower Gates. Enter, to the Gates, WOODVILLE, the Lieutenant.

Wood. [Within.] What noise is this? what

traitors have we here?

Glo. Lieutenant, is it you, whose voice I hear? Open the gates; here's Gloster, that would enter. Wood. [Within.] Have patience, noble duke; I may not open;

The cardinal of Winchester forbids:
From him I have express commandement,
That thou, nor none of thine, shall be let in.
Glo. Faint-hearted Woodville, prizest him 'fore
me?

Arrogant Winchester? that haughty prelate, Whom Henry, our late sovereign, ne'er could brook?

Thou art no friend to God, or to the king:
Open the gates, or I'll shut thee out shortly.

1 Serv. Open the gates unto the lord protector; Or we'll burst them open, if that you come not

quickly.

7 Break up the gates,] To break up in Shakspeare's age was the same as to break open.

Enter WINCHESTER, attended by a Train of Servants in tawny Coats.

8

Win. How now, ambitious Humphry? what means this?

Glo. Piel'd priest,
shut out?
Win. I do, thou most usurping proditor,
And not protector of the king or realm.

Glo. Stand back, thou manifest conspirator;
Thou, that contriv'dst to murder our dead lord;
Thou, that giv'st whores indulgences to sin:1
I'll canvas thee in thy broad cardinal's hat,
If thou proceed in this thy insolence.

Win. Nay, stand thou back, I will not budge a foot;

dost thou command me to be

[ocr errors]

This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,3
To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.

Glo. I will not slay thee, but I'll drive thee back:
Thy scarlet robes, as a child's bearing cloth
I'll use, to carry thee out of this place.

Win. Do what thou dar'st; I beard thee to thy face.

Glo. What? am I dar'd, and bearded to my face?

Draw, men, for all this privileged place;

8

tawny coats.] Tawny was a colour worn for mourning, as well as black; and was therefore the suitable and sober habit of any person employed in an ecclesiastical court.

9 Piel'd priest,] Alluding to his shaven crown.

1

Thou, that giv'st whores indulgences to sin:] The public stews were formerly under the district of the bishop of Winches

ter.

2 I'll canvas thee-] i. e. I'll sift thee.

3 This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,] About four miles from Damascus is a high hill, reported to be the same on which Cain slew his brother Abel.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »