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Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1 Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Sound a flourish. Enter CHARLES, ALENCON, and REIGNIER, marching with drum and Soldiers

CHARLES

Mars his true moving, even as in the heavens So in the earth, to this day is not known: Late did he shine upon the English side; Now we are victors; upon us he smiles. 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.

CHARLES

We still don't know the exact way in which Mars moves in the heavens or on earth. Recently, he has shown favor to the English, but now we have won and he seems to smile on us. What important towns do we have? We are happily here near Orleans. Otherwise the starving English, looking like pale ghosts, would surround us slowly, in their weak state.

ALENCON

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.

ALENCON

They only want to eat their porridge and beef. We must either feed them as if they were mules and have their animal food tied close to their mouths, or they will look miserable, like drowned mice.

REIGNIER

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.

REIGNIER

Let's increase our attacks. Why are we so lazy these days? We used to be scared of Talbot, but he is captured. The only one left is the crazy Salisbury and he is so impatient that he will probably lose his anger. Plus, he hasn't got any men or money to start a war. 

CHARLES

Sound, sound alarum! we will rush on them. Now for the honour of the forlorn French! Him I forgive my death that killeth me When he sees me go back one foot or fly.

CHARLES

Call our men to battle! We will hurry towards them. We fight for the honor of the hopeless French! I forgive whoever will kill me, when he sees that I step one foot back and run away. 

Exeunt

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

CHARLES

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.

CHARLES

Who has ever seen anything like this before? What kind of men do I have? Dogs! Cowards! I wouldn't have run away if they hadn't left me alone surrounded by my enemies.

REIGNIER

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.

REIGNIER

Salisbury is a desperate murderer. He fought as if he were tired of his own life. The other lords were like lions who want food—they hurried towards us. They were the hungry lions, we were the prey. 

ALENCON

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?

ALENCON

Our countryman, Froissart, writes that England brought to life all Olivers and Rowlands, during Edward the Third's rule. Now, we can confirm this is true, because England have sent out only Samsons and Goliases to fight. One English man for every ten French ones! Thin, skeleton-like villains! Who would have thought they had such courage and boldness? 

CHARLES

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.

CHARLES

Let's leave this town, because they are reckless villains. Hunger will make them even more eager. I have known them for a while. They would rather tear down the walls with their teeth than give up this attack. 

REIGNIER

I think, by some odd gimmors or device Their arms are set like clocks, stiff to strike on; Else ne'er could they hold out so as they do. By my consent, we'll even let them alone.

REIGNIER

I think that by some mechanism or device their arms are like clocks. Their arms remain firm when you hit them. Otherwise, they could not last as long as they do now. I say, let's leave them alone. 

ALENCON

Be it so.

ALENCON

Let's. 

Enter the BASTARD OF ORLEANS

BASTARD OF ORLEANS

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

BASTARD OF ORLEANS

Where is the Prince Dauphin? I have news for him. 

CHARLES

Bastard of Orleans, thrice welcome to us.

CHARLES

You're very welcome, Bastard of Orleans. 

BASTARD OF ORLEANS

Methinks your looks are sad, your cheer appall'd: Hath the late overthrow wrought this offence? Be not dismay'd, for succor 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. 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.

BASTARD OF ORLEANS

I think you look sad, and your face is pale. Did our recent loss cause this? Don't fear! Help is on its way. I bring a holy girl with me. She has been sent a vision from heaven by which God appointed her to end this battle and drive the English out of France. She is a prophet, even more powerful than the nine sibyls of old Rome and she sees the past and the future. Tell me, should I ask her to come in? Believe the words I speak, because they are true and reliable. 

CHARLES

Go, call her in.

CHARLES

Go, tell her to come in. 

Exit BASTARD OF ORLEANS

CHARLES

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.

CHARLES

But let's test how good she is first. Reignier, pretend that you are the Dauphin and sit in my place. Ask her proud questions and look harshly on her. This way, we can test her skills.

Re-enter the BASTARD OF ORLEANS, with JOAN LA PUCELLE

REIGNIER

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

REIGNIER

Pretty girl, is it you who will perform these miraculous actions?

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

Reignier, do you think that you can deceive me? Where is the Dauphin? Come, come from behind. I know you well although I have never seen you before. Don't be surprised, you can't hide anything from me. I will talk to you alone. Stand back, you lords, and leave us for a while. 

REIGNIER

She takes upon her bravely at first dash.

REIGNIER

For her first meeting, she plays her part well. 

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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 Will'd me to leave my base vocation And free my country from calamity: Her aid she promised and assured success: In complete 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.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

Dauphin, I am a shepherd's daughter, I am unintelligent and uneducated. But Heaven and the Virgin Mary have decided to shine on my low status. While I was taking care of my young lambs, and the sun's heat burned my cheeks, God's mother appeared to me in an impressive vision. She wanted me to leave my poor job and save my country from disaster. In her perfect glory, she promised me her help and said it was guaranteed that I would succeed. I was dark and ugly before but she made me beautiful, as you can see, with her bright rays. Ask me anything you want and I will answer it straight away. Test my courage in a fight, if you dare to and you will find that I am better at it than other women. If you agree, you will be lucky, because you can have me as your partner in this war. 

CHARLES

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.

CHARLES

I am amazed by your well-spoken words. I will only test your courage in one fight with you. If you overcome me and win, your words are true. If not, you lose all my trust. 

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

I am ready. Here is my sharp sword, decorated with five flower-de-luces on each side. I picked this sword out of old iron at Touraine, in Saint Katherine's churchyard. 

CHARLES

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

CHARLES

Then let's do this, in God's name! I am not afraid of any woman.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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

JOAN LA PUCELLE

And while I am alive, I will never run away from any man. 

Here they fight, and JOAN LA PUCELLE overcomes

CHARLES

Stay, stay thy hands! thou art an AmazonAnd fightest with the sword of Deborah.

CHARLES

Stop, stop your hands! You are an Amazon and you fight with the sword of Deborah

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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

JOAN LA PUCELLE

I would be too weak without the help of the Virgin Mary. 

CHARLES

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.

CHARLES

Whoever is it that helps you, it is you that must help me. The same urge to fight that you feel now burns in me, impatiently. You have conquered my heart and my hands. You are excellent, Pucelle—if that is your name. Let me be your servant instead of your ruler. The French Dauphin begs you so.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

I must not give in to love, because my purpose is blessed from the heavens. When I have frightened away all your enemies, then I will think about a payment. 

CHARLES

Meantime look gracious on thy prostrate thrall.

CHARLES

In the meantime, look with favor on your kneeling slave.

REIGNIER

My lord, methinks, is very long in talk.

REIGNIER

I think my lord is talking too much.

ALENCON

Doubtless he shrives this woman to her smock;Else ne'er could he so long protract his speech.

ALENCON

He must be hearing her confession and offering her forgiveness, otherwise he wouldn't speak for so long. 

REIGNIER

Shall we disturb him, since he keeps no mean?

REIGNIER

Should we interrupt him, since he is taking so long? 

ALENCON

He may mean more than we poor men do know:These women are shrewd tempters with their tongues.

ALENCON

He may know more than us poor men do. These women can tempt with their sharp tongues. 

REIGNIER

My lord, where are you? What devise you on?Shall we give over Orleans, or no?

REIGNIER

My lord, what are your intentions? What are you planning to do? Should we abandon Orleans or not? 

JOAN LA PUCELLE

Why, no, I say, distrustful recreants!Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

I say: "No!" you doubting cowards! You will fight until your last breath. I will be your guard. 

CHARLES

What she says I'll confirm: we'll fight it out.

CHARLES

I can confirm what she says. We will fight!

JOAN LA PUCELLE

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 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 Caesar and his fortune bare at once.

JOAN LA PUCELLE

I have been chosen to punish the English. I will start the attack tonight. Expect Saint Martin's summer and calm days, now that I have come to fight in these battles. Glory is like a circle in the water, which never stops making itself bigger until by spreading widely it vanishes into nothing. The English circle ended with Henry's death and his glories will soon vanish. Now I am like that proud, mocking ship that once carried Caesar and all his good luck.

CHARLES

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?

CHARLES

Was Mahomet inspired by a dove? Then you are inspired by an eagle. Neither Helen, the mother of the great Constantine, nor Saint Philip's daughters were as good as you. Venus, you shining star, that has fallen onto the earth, how can I worship you properly?

ALENCON

Leave off delays, and let us raise the siege.

ALENCON

Let's not waste time and let's start the attack. 

REIGNIER

Woman, do what thou canst to save our honours;Drive them from Orleans and be immortalized.

REIGNIER

Woman, do what you can to save our honor. Drive them away from Orleans and gain immortal fame. 

CHARLES

Presently we'll try: come, let's away about it:No prophet will I trust, if she prove false.

CHARLES

Immediately, we'll try to do it. Come, let's go! I will trust no prophet if she turns out to be wrong. 

Exeunt

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Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.